Do those blue and green blobs on the page depict a flower, Dora the Explorer, or your family dog? Don't ask! "What is it?" is just about the worst conversation starter when it comes to a creation, says art teacher Katherine Fisk of Ypsilanti, MI, who's the mother of a 5-year-old son. "How your child created her prized piece is much more important than if it actually looks like something, so concentrate on the process, not the product," explains Fisk. Try these talking points:
What can you tell me about your idea?
By asking your child her motivations, you can learn what interests her -- and find out why she was inspired to construct a dinosaur out of cotton swabs and adhesive bandages.
What did you discover?
Maybe your child realized that plastic spoons don't stick well to paper with paste, or that staples won't go through cardboard. Knowing you're excited about how she built her sculpture will help her feel more confident.
Why did you use... paints? markers? buttons?
To your child just about anything can become material for her artwork. Figuring out what mediums she prefers will help you learn more about her personality -- or it may reinforce something you already knew. Engineer in the making? No wonder your daughter tends toward three-dimensional projects, like a dollhouse put together with magazines and tape.