Kids and Photoshop

Remember when you first tried using Photoshop?  Maybe it was recently or in college.  If you are still a spring chicken, it might have been in a class in High School.  I am married to a Designer, so my daughter started scribbling with a wacom pen (see image below) when she was 18 months old. A wacom pad is super fun for kids, but quite expensive. 

 My sister Deborah, who is a veteran home-schooler, taught her kids to use a computer as pre-schoolers and they enjoyed using educational software, such as Reader Rabbit.  In order to join the ranks of computer savvy tots learning with software and using key-commands like pros, my 3-year-old girl will need to learn how to use a mouse. (I know, touch-pads and touch screen technology is quickly taking over the tech scene, but I will stick with a mouse for now..)  We experimented with this a couple of times, and she just wiggled the mouse back and forth on the pad, unable to see how it related to the little arrow on the screen.  I then thought of pulling up Photoshop and using the paintbrush tool to try to show her that when she moved the mouse, the paintbrush would also move, and paint on the screen.  She was really digging this and wanted to do it all morning. She was slowly learning how to draw circles, and learning how to “click and drag” in order to paint digitally. You can adjust the size of the brush, so that they can see a nice large circle on the screen to follow, instead of the tiny arrow you usually see with a mouse.  We also adjusted the brush texture, so it looked like a little grey cloud of dots swishing around on the screen, and she called this her “bumblebees”, and would say, “My bumblebees are coloring.”   I know that there is a lot more she can learn and gain from playing in Photoshop, and I will continue to post about her adventures in Digital Art.

If you are new to Photoshop, you can download a 30-day free trial from Adobe to check it out!  Then view the video below for a handy YouTube tutorial in trying out the different brushes in Photoshop.


One thought on “Kids and Photoshop

  1. Great idea for tots! Altering the mouse symbol is key and so is the paintbrush tool. When I taught Kindergarten, we used a similar paint program for the kids to draw a pumpkin outline and “stamp” the triangle features on it…..I think we made a template first (the round pumpkin) and each kid could then
    put on eyes, nose, etc. and fill in the colors; then switch to ABC’s and write their name or initials….we then printed them out and hung them up. Kids progressed to drawing their own outlines and writing their names using a brush. Of course, we were using kid-friendly programs and they contained images that were holiday-appropriate.

    We did something like this every month as each of the 25-ish kids had to complete theirs within a rotating station activity (say 1/2 hour per day meant 2 kids per day could finish…that took all month, naturally!)
    In the home, you have the luxury of working with just 1 or more kids and instantly tailoring it for your individual child…before doing such a structured activity (the kind teachers set up) it’s important to give lots of exploration time where they can just “mess about” so when they’re ready, you can introduce a structured activity.

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