What Would You Like?

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Daphnes Mixed Media Artwork

What would you like to see here on The Artful Parent?

I'm in a brainstorming mood and am setting up a planning and inspiration wall in the office. I want to be just a bit more intentional about my blog and not fly by the seat of my pants quite so much.

Perhaps one of these days I'll even do a proper survey, but for now, would you please share what you like and what you don't like about The Artful Parent?

  • What do you want more of? What do you want less of?
  • What works and doesn't work in the design and navigation of the site?
  • Are my posts too long and involved? Do you want even more in-depth posts? 
  • Do you want me to stop asking you to get on Google+ already?
  • Do you want less art and more life? Or more art and less life?
  • Is there a topic you'd like me to write about?
  • A question you have?

You don't have to answer all of those, by any means, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on one or two.

I can't promise I'll act on everything, but I would appreciate your feedback as I move forward.

So tell me, what would you like to see here?

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  1. Amelia says

    I think your blog is lovely Jean! I love the design, the header especially. I love the rainbow-coloured letters! I think the site navigation is fine, especially with your recent thematic organizing.
    I don’t think that you need to get more personal necesarrily. But continuing to document and share your love of art, creativity, and imagination. Just “follow your bliss” and it will continue to be awesome ^_^

  2. Belinda says

    Love your blog. I would like to see more ideas maybe about items that we can recycle or make our own of to save money, like making our own paints, using plastic just affordable ways to create art. I have been printing all your ideas for recyclable art so far and they are great and easy to make. I work with big groups of children, so am always looking for ways to save and create with them. Thank you for such a beautiful blog!

  3. says

    I love your blog as is…I know that is not really all that helpful. :/ But its true. Your blog is THE “go-to” blog for all things related to kids, creativity, and art. When folks comment on all the fun stuff I do with my kid, I send them your way. In fact, this Friday I’m doing a blog post about “Art with Aria” and I’ll be linking back to your blog since so many of my ideas are from The Artful Parent.

  4. Brandee says

    I love your blog exactly how it is already! The only thing I would love to personally see would be maybe some simple recipes (savory or sweet!) with step by step instructions on what the little ones could do to help incorporate them in the cooking. (I personally have a 6 year old daughter and a 4 year old boy).This is something I have been looking for and would love to see :) With the new school year coming up I think it would also be nice to see some “going back to school” specials, like maybe how to make the school supplies personal to the child, a welcoming gift for a new teacher, creative lunch ideas for them, or how to help make homework a more creative and fun time…Just some thoughts. Thank you so much for all the great ideas, they have truly added so much to me and my children’s lives :)

  5. molly says

    I love it, too….I like your variety of some days we get more about you and your sweet kids, followed by a day with lots of great artsy activities. I’ve never wished for anything other than what you do here, and can’t think of a thing to change, so, sorry about the lack of help there! =) I look forward to anything new you want to try! Thanks again for all the amazing inspiration!

  6. Amy Fields says

    I love your blog. I would love to see more ideas geared towards children with special needs. Most of your ideas easily tailored for it. I blog myself and think you have a great balance between your personal life and art. Your blog is geared towards art and it is perfect the way it is=). Looking forward to many more wonderful posts from you!!!

  7. Renee says

    I love your blog! I can’t remember how I got turned on to it, but I have used several of your ideas and links for summer projects. I have recently been asked, on a number of occasions, where I got the ideas for the great projects and I have found myself referring to your site the most. So I am thankful for you and your clever ability to present your blog in such an easy and beautiful format. I especially love how you show your kids handling each project so differently due to their ages. I have a similar split agewise, and it is very helpful to know kind of what to expect, as well as providing creative ways to tailor the activities to my situation. Keep up the great work! : )

  8. Jamie says

    I’ve been loving your ideas! I’m a somewhat new follower, but everything seems really easy to set up and do. Stuff for the everyday parent who wants to have some fun with their kids! I love it!

  9. Adelle F. says

    I actually really like your blog as is, as well. I like the mix between personal and art, find lots of great projects, think the post length is good. I don’t use Google+ so I don’t have much to say about that part. I think your current header is beautiful and I usually have a pretty easy time navigating to find projects. I like the recipe idea the poster above had, I would find that useful as well….I liked when you did the scones.

  10. AP says

    I love the blog, and I have probably gotten more ideas from it than any other blog I’ve looked at. I save posts for ideas when I need them or for when my 4-year-old is a bit older to try the project. You may have addressed this topic already, but what do you do with the art once it’s done? (Let’s face it, not all art pieces are ones you want or can save.) What to do with the leftover art? I try to use the front and back of paper, but still…. And then what about keeping the good stuff? How do you decide what to keep or how to store it? I’ve taken digital pictures of some art, maybe for a photo book later. Any other ideas?

  11. says

    Like everyone else–I LOVE your blog and often am pinning or sharing things and linking back to you–because you do it so well the first time ;) I have to say any type of art with kids, resource list, and “how to make your own ___ cheaply” are my favorites. With that, I’ll fill in the blanks of your own questions:
    What do you want more of? Resource lists and what you use, and ANYTHING involving art with kids in seasons. I also love the interviews with others in this area.
    What do you want less of? can’t really think of anything!
    What works and doesn’t work in the design and navigation of the site? I actually think your site is great. It’s uncluttered and easy to find things…especially all the new link-ups you just did!
    Are my posts too long and involved? Do you want even more in-depth posts? I think they are a great size. Short, sweet, and to the point with plenty of pictures. Perfect!
    Do you want me to stop asking you to get on Google+ already? I don’t have google+, and won’t get it. I barely know what it is.
    Do you want less art and more life? Or more art and less life? If I had to choose, I’d pick more art, because your art tutorials (and with showing what the girls made) is so inspirational.
    Is there a topic you’d like me to write about? seasonal projects, holiday projects is really all that comes to mind.
    A question you have? I love the fact that you gave away so many awesome books…but my question is: why didn’t you kepe them for yourselves?! :)
    Sarah M

  12. mary says

    I love your blog, mostly as is. I like the current mix of art and life. This blog is different from many blogs because it shows what really happens when kids make art. As in, the parent has an idea of how it will work out, and the kids do it in a different way. (I like that you told us that your youngest didn’t want to make a fruit necklace, but instead made a snake.) Pinterest is a nice way to kill time, but it’s hard to tell what happened in reality, to that really cool birthday party setup or art idea.
    I don’t like the Lijit search. It’s confusing and often brings up too many results in a little box.
    I’m not going to get on Google+ .
    It might be fun to do a book club here. As in, your readers read a book together, week by week? I have loved your book suggestions and suggest Maryanne Kohl and Susan Striker to everyone who will listen!
    Topic ideas:
    How to talk to relatives who don’t get your ideas on art (Maybe the messiness, or waiting to demonstrate writing, or not using coloring books.)
    Whether or not to archive every drawing (as Susan Striker suggests). How to archive the art.
    What kind of “help yourself” art stations are appropriate at what ages.
    Thanks for such a great blog!

  13. Julia says

    I know you’re working on an archive of arts activities–awesome! (Can’t find the link right now–maybe because it’s not yet “live”?) I would like to suggest you have a symbol denoting projects that use easy-to-find and affordable materials, or materials people probably already have around the house. Also, maybe indicate for each project an ideal age range? Or, since I’m sure many ages work for many projects, just a symbol for projects good for young toddlers? I started following when my daughter was less than 2 and I feel like I’m still waiting for her to be ready for many of your ideas. Maybe the archive could let you sort by these categories? Thanks for being such an amazing resource!

  14. says

    You guys are all so supportive! Thank you! And thanks for all the great ideas, too! I’m making notes and will add them to my planning wall. :)

  15. says

    Thanks, Julia! Here’s the archive link: http://www.artfulparent.com/arts-and-crafts-directory.html You can also find it up on the navigation bar at the top of the page. I’m planning to add art category buttons in the sidebar (which may be more readily visible), but my first couple attempts at that haven’t worked well, so I’ll have to give it another go.
    I’ll consider adding a symbol denoting affordable and easy-to-find materials. That’s a good idea. As for the age range, that’s something I’ve struggled with a bit, because so many of the art activities we do really can be adapted to most ages. Perhaps if I clearly stated how a project could be adapted for younger/older kids or if it’s a project that is definitely for older kids only? And I like the idea of specifying which would be good for young toddlers.
    How old is your daughter now? I’d be glad to help you come up with art ideas that she might enjoy.

  16. says

    Love your ideas, Mary! Thanks! I’m adding your topic ideas to my blog post ideas list. Re: archiving art (the quick version)– I don’t save it all. What I save I put in plastic storage bins (http://www.artfulparent.com/2008/02/organizing-and-storing-maias-art.html); the large stuff goes in a paper portfolio or just lies flat on a shelf.
    A book club sounds fun! I’m not sure I would be the best moderator for one, though. I read quickly and then move on to the next book. But would be willing to make an exception for something like this… Especially if it were a group discussion and I didn’t have to lead it too much! :)

  17. says

    Thanks for the feedback and kind words, Sarah! I’ll keep them in mind as I go forward. I love to share seasonal and holiday arts and crafts ideas but get more into some (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day) than others. I’m planning to organize them as well by season/holiday to make them easier to find. I kept plenty of Barefoot Books for our family. :)

  18. says

    Thanks, AP! You’re not the only one to ask about what to do with the art once it’s made. I think I’ll work on a blog post on that subject. I have a lot of ideas!

  19. says

    Thanks, Belinda! I’ll work on the recyclable and affordable art idea. Have you seen this round up post of 35 Homemade Art Materials? Some are mine, some are others — but there are a lot of ideas there!

  20. says

    Thanks, Brandee! We do a fair amount of cooking and baking although I may not have been specific in my posts about what the kids did and how. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page on “Modeling with Playdough, Clay, and Other Doughs” you’ll see some posts I did about baking with the kids: http://www.artfulparent.com/modeling-with-playdough-clay-other-doughs.html . I have more, too, (but not a whole lot) and plan to put together a cooking section. Maybe I’ll start posting more about cooking with Maia and Daphne… I did do some step by step cooking posts when I wrote for Babble last year (like this one: http://blogs.babble.com/toddler-times/2011/07/11/cooking-with-toddlers-mini-fruit-gelatin-molds/).
    Thanks for the other ideas, as well!

  21. says

    Thanks for your feedback, Amy! I don’t have any experience with children with special needs, so don’t feel that I could write authentically about ideas for those kids. How about if I seek out guest posts or interviews with people who could share art ideas for kids with special needs?
    I did write a guest post over at ADHD mom a while back :: “Art can be as unique as the child” http://www.artfulparent.com/2011/02/art-can-be-as-unique-as-the-child.html

  22. says

    Mmm… Scones… :) I still bake scones regularly! And have some recipes that I have adapted and love, including a cherry almond scone. Perhaps it’s time to share?

  23. says

    You’re doing a great job, Jean! I teach Art (kids 18mo-18 yrs)for military families at Ft Hood, so I come looking for ideas for my Art projects. I enjoy your bright, simple, colored photos of your cutesy girls (please never pressure your girls for more! I LOVE kid’s pics to be spontaneous and carefree). Thank you for all you do.

  24. says

    With the school year beginning soon, I would love to read a series of posts of fairly simple, after-school art projects. I would like to set out art projects once a week that will entice my kids and could use a little inspiration!

  25. Dena says

    Hi Jean,
    I love your blog, and the amount of art and family you put in it. When I come to your blog, I feel welcomed to share your ideas and comfortable enough to try them, for a creative, yet not an artist type of person. I think you give just enough detail and guide me through them with ease. You are the only art blog I subscribe to, the rest I just have book marked!!
    I do have some questions:
    My liquid water colors don’t always come out being what the color is supposed to be, is this normal? (red usually looks pink, etc.)
    How often do you do the project with them versus letting them be on their own.
    I can’t draw very well, and really don’t want her to take after me, would you suggest an art class as a good idea for a 3 year old? There are a few in my area that look fun.
    How many days a week do you think it’s good to do a project that you set up versus free art?
    Thanks Jean for all you do, I wouldn’t change a thing!!

  26. says

    What brand liquid watercolors do you buy? And do you water them down or use them full strength?
    I think I’ll answer your other questions with blog posts! Thanks for your feedback!

  27. Dena says

    Hi Jean,
    I have the colorations from Discount School Supply. I usually water them down. I was also thinking someone should interview you as part of your series that you do.
    Thanks again,

  28. [email protected] says

    Hello Jean,
    I love your blog and ideas !!! You are a source of inspiration ! If I would like something more is to know approximatively for wich age is the activity :-)
    Emilie from France