I've spent the last 20 years – almost my entire working life – employed by various museums. I worked every position there is, from janitor all the way up to head art curator, but my favorite positions have always been child outreach. It is not hard to explain why. Although it is commonly believed in the art world that viewing and understanding art is something that is difficult and only can be achieved by a cultured few, in reality there is nothing further from the truth. Anyone can appreciate what is beautiful – at least what is beautiful to them. What most people don't have is not the ability to appreciate art, but the ability to create it freely. That is what I love about directing children's art projects.
What is so thrilling about our projects for kids is that they still have their imaginations intact. I cannot say as much about many art projects created by some of the most respected artists in the entire world. Technique can be learned, but imagination once forgotten is often never reclaimed. There are people who make their whole careers out of kids art projects – I have made a good part of mine out of just that. But in reality, there is nothing simpler than art for kids. Any adult who is not yet lost his or her imagination can figure out how it is done!
When designing kids are projects you only need three things: a story, a technique, and tools. The story puts the art project into context. You might, for example, tell them something about Egyptian history and the fantastic carvings and hieroglyphic letters that the Egyptians had on the wall. Then for the art projects technique, you would show them a little bit about how to draw, paint, carve, sculpt, or whatever in the style of the Egyptians. It is not important to get all the details perfect. What is important is to give them a place to start from, than to give them the right tools (by which I mean art supplies) and let them do their thing. From there the art projects take care of themselves.
This is why almost any kid who has been given the opportunity to do elementary art projects in school will simply love them as long as they have been taught correctly. The problem is that, a controlling teacher who thinks that art projects must all be done in one way, is likely to do irreversible damage to the self-esteem of one of their students. Creativity must be nurtured, never bullied.