Educating children in art is significantly different from teaching adults. Adults have a wealth of experiences to draw from and have more developed dexterity and physical skills than elementary students. Given these differences, the focus shifts from instructing in technique and style to developing the creativity of the student through activities in various media. A number of fun projects can encourage 8- and 9-year-olds to explore their creativity and develop their talent.
Dedicating a wall to a mural is a wise investment for an instructor. Even if the school won't allow painting directly on the surface, huge sheets of craft or butcher paper can provide a space to work. Applying a specific theme to the mural gives enough direction to focus everyone's efforts without stifling their creative approach. Poster paints, crayons and colored markers, either individually or mix-and-match, are standard working media.
Working in clay is an activity that encourages a more tactile approach to creativity than other media. "Clayscape" activities are to clay what a murals are to paint. Pick a theme and give each student an equal portion of modeling clay to build elements that contribute to a greater landscape. A good clayscape activity takes place over several days and results in a sprawling world. Fun themes include fantasy castles, outer space or cartoons like Pokemon.
Structured activities like origami seem counter to the idea of creativity, but since the paper itself can be decorated, even a step-by-step paper-folding exercise offers an avenue for self-expression. Cut-out models are another exploration within the medium and can be found in a multitude of designs, from fancy flowers and cute creatures to transforming robots. Other fun paper crafts include kirigami, card-making and scrapbooking.
Mosaic mania is a simple activity that uses old magazines to make something fun and new. Students are given a magazine, scissors, glue and a sheet to work on and are assigned a topic for their creations, such as funny faces, crazy places or freaky fashions. They cut out pieces of pictures from the magazines and paste them together into scenes that fit the theme. Classmates then vote on pictures that are the funniest or weirdest.