By Deborah Shelton

Making self-portraits and pictures of family, friends, and even pets, is a great way to connect with children (and it’s a lot of fun!). There are so many imaginative ways to create a person’s image. Try these techniques, then invent some of your own.

* Traditional. Drawing the way most of us are used to: with pencils, crayons, markers, paint and paper. Just because this uses traditional supplies doesn’t mean that your picture has to be traditional. Try out Picasso’s abstract style or even a minimalist portrait (think stick people with a little more detail).

* Crafty. This is where all of those scrap pieces of fabric and miscellaneous office supplies come in handy. Buttons, flat marbles, googly eyes, and coiled paperclips work well for eyes. Shredded paper strips, yarn, and shoelaces can be used as hair. Small rubber bands are cute for curly hair.

* Food. Ah, the wonders of elbow macaroni…it’s delicious and artistic! Create a dry pasta portrait, or an edible picture with slices of cucumbers or olives for eyes, small carrots for noses, a slice of bell pepper for a mouth, whipped cream hair–anything goes!

* Hands-On. In other words, finger painting! The secret to having fun with this hands-on technique is to use only your hands and fingers–no brushes. Double fingerprints, one inside the other, work great for eyes. Apply dark lipstick on your lips and kiss the paper to add a mouth!

* Artistic. Object painting can become very addictive once you get started, so go through your garage sale box to find plenty of “canvases.” Paint portraits on clear dinner plates, keepsake boxes, T-shirts, tote bags, and any other object that lacks pizzazz.

About the Author:
Deborah Shelton is a mother, a freelance writer, and author of the brand new book, “The Five Minute Parent: Fun & Fast Activities for You and Your Little Ones.” Visit Deborah’s website for more fun ideas and book ordering information: