You don't have to search for long if you're trying to uncover the benefits of artwork for children. It fosters their motor skills, language development, and decision-making skills (to name a few). 

This is true for many different variations of art. However, mixed media in particular, swings open a robust, new door that removes restrictions and creates canvases out of even the most unique surfaces. 

Perhaps your little one is showing an affinity for painting and sculpture. Perhaps your middle-schooler is developing a love for photography. The best news is, with mixed media art, they're not limited to one form. 

They can blend photography with paper crafting or they can mix sculpture with painting. The options are endless.

Below, we're going to explore the world of mixed media art and outline new ways to kickstart the process. Get ready for your child to start thinking in new ways as they truly understand that the world is their canvas and they can create anything on it. 

 

What is mixed media?

Mixed media is a wonderful form of self-expression that combines two or more art forms. Some liken it to collage-making, but it's far more in-depth than that.  

There are many different ways for children to approach this art form. For example, they might paint on top of a photograph. Or, they might lay down a tea-stained sheet of music and paint atop that. 

It doesn't stop there. If your little one has taken an interest in sculpting, then this, too, can become mixed media art. Perhaps, one day, they'll start painting on their sculptures.

Essentially, what mixed media art looks at everything as a potential canvas. An old piece of barn wood can become a canvas for painting or photography. Even something like embroidery can be mixed with other elements, such as paper flowers or photographs. 

 

Types of mixed media

Since the world is your child's oyster when it comes to mixed media, it can be a little difficult to list all the different types of mixed media. We won't try to limit things too much here. But, we will outline some of the best ways to get started. 

Papercraft

The first and most popular form of mixed media for children involves papercraft. This medium has a lot to do with layering and, when you consider the world of paper, this opens a lot of exciting doors.

So, you might teach your children to trim and lay various pieces of scrapbook keeping paper on a canvas, or old photographs, or postcards, or sheets of music. Then, they can start painting over each medium to create one, complete work of art.

They can even get 3D with mixed media papercraft. If they've ever learned the art of origami, this can easily be incorporated into a mixed media project to create unique, new dimensions.  

Photography

One of the many benefits of mixed media is that it starts to turn the whole world into a canvas. Mixed media and photography take on a bit of a collaging effect.

Perhaps you'd like to teach your child some of the basics of photography. That's wonderful! They can certainly start creating a mixed media work of art using their own photographs. 

Or they can scan various books and magazines and trim out photographs that catch their eye. These images can be layered together on any number of surfaces to create a one-of-a-kind mixed media project. 

Sculpture

Here's where things get wild, crazy, and fun. Painting or paper crafting over a sculpture opens a floodgate of possibility. 

Imagine giving your child the freedom to build a large Lego structure and then paper collage over it? Or how about taking a Thanksgiving pumpkin and adding family photographs to it?

Children can also take antique books and paint or paper collage over them to create a unique piece of art. And, of course, an actual sculpture can be mixed with other mediums to create something totally unique and memorable. 

Painting

Finally, of course, mixed media can take shape simply by experimenting with different types of paint. Something as simple as mixing watercolors with acrylics creates a new mixed media art project. 

Don't forget about some of the more specialized paints that can create unique twists like chalkboard paint or spray paint.

Mixing these with acrylics, adding in papercraft, or positioning magazine clippings throughout the canvas can create a memorable mixed media project for your little ones to look back on with pride.

 

Mixed media art for your children

Introducing your children to mixed media art is sure to broaden their horizons and foster a unique appreciation for the endless world of art. Encouraging them to mix mediums removes boundaries and opens their minds to new freedoms. 

The moment you tell them a piece of driftwood can be turned into a sculpture, they're sure to be intrigued. Suddenly, everything is a canvas! 

Here at Sawyer, we help parents discover a wonder-filled world of classes, camps, events, and activities — as well as a wealth of free activities.

You can filter by age, date, location, and activity. Of course, we'd be delighted to pair you with mixed media classes. We hope this opens up an endless array of new opportunities for your little ones to put on their creativity caps and develop a lifelong appreciation for art.