The Artful Parent http://artfulparent.com Kids Art & Family Creativity Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:15:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 The Garden as Classroom http://artfulparent.com/2015/04/the-garden-classroom.html http://artfulparent.com/2015/04/the-garden-classroom.html#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:06:38 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=21012 Heads up :: Make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post. I love gardening and gardens and have wanted to share that joy with my kids from the beginning. When Cathy James of NurtureStore first wrote an eBook on gardening with kids a couple of years ago, I liked it so much...

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A Gardening with Kids Quote

Heads up :: Make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post.

This post contains affiliate links.I love gardening and gardens and have wanted to share that joy with my kids from the beginning.

The Garden Classroom Book by Cathy JamesWhen Cathy James of NurtureStore first wrote an eBook on gardening with kids a couple of years ago, I liked it so much that I introduced her to my publisher.

Now there’s a wonderful physical book that I can hold in my hands and flip through for ideas and inspiration and I like it even more. (Plus it’s been updated and added to!)

It’s called The Garden Classroom :: Hands on Activities in Math, Science, Literacy & Art.

Disclaimer :: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher and am participating in the book tour; all opinions expressed are my own.

While classroom is in the title, and it would certainly be perfect for any school, the gardening information and the activities are perfect for families and backyards, too.

The book is about gardening and all that you can learn from gardens, plants, and the cycles of nature. As it says on the cover, it is filled with “creative ways to use the garden to inspire learning.”

Nature as Classroom Quote by Cathy James

The Garden Classroom is not just about how to plant seeds and grow things, but also includes chapters on ::

The Garden Classroom - Play and Imagination

Play and Imagination (with ideas on setting up an outdoor play space, building forts, outdoor pretend play, fairy gardens, small world play, sensory exploration, and more)

The Garden Classroom - Reading and Writing

Reading and Writing (including keeping a garden journal, an outdoor chalkboard, making a nature treasure bag, story stones, and a fairy mailbox)

The Garden Classroom - Science and Math

Science and Math (math games in the garden, a nature investigation table, experiments with seeds, using magnifying glasses in the garden, and creating wildlife havens)

The Garden Classroom - Arts and Crafts

Arts and Crafts (nature printing, making natural plant dyes, cement tile art, garden bunting, leaf collages and suncatchers, land art ideas and more)

The Garden Classroom - Garden Recipes

Garden recipes (soup, pesto, edible flowers, using herbs, etc)

There is so much in the way of good information and activities in this book!

The Garden Classroom - Clay Leaf Impressions

We were inspired by the clay leaf impressions activity to make nature prints with air dry clay.

Make Nature Prints with Air Dry Clay

This was such a lovely activity to do with the kids and the detail captured was incredible. Plus the air dry clay was soft and easy to work with.

There are so many other wonderful nature and garden activities in this book that I want to try!

I highly recommend The Garden Classroom for families and schools. It could be used equally well in classrooms (whether you have a school garden or not) and in your own backyard no matter the size.

The Garden Classroom Book by Cathy James

The Garden Classroom is available at your local independent bookstore and online at Amazon, Roost Books, Barnes & Noble, and Powell’s Books.

Buy a copy for yourself or your classroom. Buy a copy as a gift for your child’s teacher. Buy a copy for your kids and for the next generation.

Cathy James Gardening with Kids Quote

And now let’s all get outside in the garden already!

When you come back inside, you can follow along on the book tour for The Garden Classroom and enter the giveaway below.

The Garden Classroom Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For a chance to win a copy of The Garden Classroom :: Hands on Activities in Math, Science, Literacy & Art by Cathy James, leave a comment to this post by Friday, April 24th at 11:59 pm EST. Then come back up the rafflecopter widget and tell it that you’re entering the giveaway. The winner will be announced here on Saturday, April 25th. Giveaway open to readers over the age of 18 worldwide.

Good Luck!

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The Garden Classroom - Learning from and playing in nature

Making Nature Prints with Air Dry Clay

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Kids Art Room Ideas and Inspiration http://artfulparent.com/2015/04/the-kids-art-room-is-the-new-playroom.html http://artfulparent.com/2015/04/the-kids-art-room-is-the-new-playroom.html#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:12:46 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=20773 “Your art space, no matter how small, is an educational space.” - Megan Schiller I’ve followed Megan Schiller’s progression from her Littlest Birds Studio classes and blog to The Art Pantry (which started out as an online kids’ art supply shop, then became a kids art space consulting business). Now, she has written an e-guide to help parents...

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Kids Art Room Ideas and Inspiration

“Your art space, no matter how small, is an educational space.” - Megan Schiller

I’ve followed Megan Schiller’s progression from her Littlest Birds Studio classes and blog to The Art Pantry (which started out as an online kids’ art supply shop, then became a kids art space consulting business).

Now, she has written an e-guide to help parents and educators set up a kids art room or space.

I feel like we’re pretty similar, Megan and I, and that if we lived closer, we’d get together over coffee and talk about kids art, art spaces, and encouraging creativity.

Make art a priority

We both believe in the importance of a space for art. She’s so passionate about it that she helps people create kids art spaces in their homes and schools for a living.

And now she’s written an ebook to help people set up a kids art room on their own.

The New Playroom Kids Art Space eGuide

The New Playroom

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Set up a Home Art Space for Kids

By Megan Schiller

Disclaimer :: I received a copy of the eguide for free to review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Kids Art Room Ideas and Inspiration

Since I’ve been in the process of cleaning, organizing, and renovating our art studio, I decided to try out a few of Megan’s ideas.

Kids Splatter Painting on a DIY Wall Mount Easel

I finally took our old kids easel to Goodwill (we had left it out in the rain one too many times) and mounted a large sheet of plexiglass on one wall as a space-saving, yet much larger, wall mount easel.

It’s a perfect place to stand up and work large, for one or more of us.

Painting at the New Wall Mount Easel

The kids have used it several times already, singly and as a group.

At first, I just tape up sheets of butcher paper to the plexi but intended to mount a couple of bulldog clips along the top.

Using Suction Cup Clamps on the new Plexi Wall Mount Easel

Until I came across these suction cup clips at AC Moore, that is! I didn’t even know such a thing existed, but they are perfect for the new wall easel! The suction cups can be attached anywhere on the plexi, so when Daphne wanted to draw and paint on a piece of poster board, I used them to attach the poster board at her height.

While I’ve never considered myself short of art space ideas (I even wrote a chapter on the subject in my book), Megan’s book has been helpful for me by providing both fresh ideas and the motivation to revitalize our studio. Besides adding the wall mount easel, which has been transformative, I’ve moved a clunky dresser out of the studio, and pared down our overflowing art supplies. I have a few more ideas I’d like to implement, but I am so happy with how our art room is shaping up!

Megan Schillers eBooksIf you could use some inspiration and information on setting up or updating an art space for your kids, I highly recommend Megan’s ebook. Plus if you buy The New Playroom, you receive an awesome bonus guide on setting up art invitations!

You can find out more information or purchase the eguides here.

Disclaimer :: I received a copy of the eguide for free to review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Pin It for Later ::

Kids Art Room Ideas and Inspiration

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A Tissue Paper Suncatcher on Wax Paper http://artfulparent.com/2015/04/a-tissue-paper-suncatcher-on-wax-paper.html http://artfulparent.com/2015/04/a-tissue-paper-suncatcher-on-wax-paper.html#respond Mon, 13 Apr 2015 14:45:41 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=20886 I wanted to show you the new tissue paper suncatcher we made in the decorative wood frame. The flowers in the flower petal suncatcher decayed and browned after a time and I pulled off the contact paper suncatcher off the wood frame. This time, I wanted to try a technique I learned from our Blossom...

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How to Make an Eco Friendly Tissue Paper Suncatcher

I wanted to show you the new tissue paper suncatcher we made in the decorative wood frame.

The flowers in the flower petal suncatcher decayed and browned after a time and I pulled off the contact paper suncatcher off the wood frame.

This time, I wanted to try a technique I learned from our Blossom Box Kids activity kit :: a tissue paper suncatcher with wheat paste on wax paper.

Tissue Paper Suncatcher on Wax Paper

A Tissue Paper Suncatcher on Wax Paper

MATERIALS

  • Wax paper
  • Colored tissue paper
  • Wheat paste (1 tablespoon flour mixed with 2 tablespoons water)
  • Wood frame (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Here’s how we made this…

Stapling Wax Paper to a Wood Frame

I cut a piece of wax paper to fit, then stapled it to the back of the frame.

How to Make an Eco-Friendly Tissue Paper Suncatcher

Then I turned the frame over (so the staples didn’t show) and set it on the table with the colored tissue paper, a bowl of wheat paste, and a paint brush.

A Tissue Paper Suncatcher for Kids

I pasted on about two pieces of the tissue paper before Daphne wandered over and asked to do the pasting, so I let her take over.

A Tissue Paper Suncatcher for Kids

While we did this tissue paper suncatcher in the wood frame, you could also do it without a frame (like this one) or create a cardboard frame (like these) or use a paper plate as a frame (like with these suncatchers).

Tissue Paper Suncatcher on Wax Paper

Once Daphne said the suncatcher was finished, I hung it in the window where the previous one had been (using a suction cup hook from the dollar store). It was still wet but not at all drippy, so we got to enjoy and admire it even while it dried.

Tissue Paper Suncatcher on Wax Paper

I like how the paint strokes from the wheat paste add texture and visual interest to the finished piece.

I recommend giving this eco-friendly suncatcher a try!*

*As much as we love contact paper for suncatchers, it is not terribly eco-friendly.

5 More Tissue Paper Suncatcher Ideas

A Giveaway

By the way, the folks at Blossom Box Kids (from whom I learned the wheat paste suncatcher idea), are giving away a 3-month subscription to their nature-inspired kids’ craft and activity boxes. Head over to their facebook page to enter… (As a new company with a new/small fb audience, your odds of winning are better than usual!)

Update :: The giveaway is now over.

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Tissue Paper Suncatcher with Wax Paper and Wheat Paste

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Why Read Aloud Time is Drawing Time http://artfulparent.com/2015/04/why-read-aloud-time-is-drawing-time.html http://artfulparent.com/2015/04/why-read-aloud-time-is-drawing-time.html#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 16:20:55 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=20836 Maia likes to read with me and so we often take turns reading and listening. We do this for some of her homework books, even. I don’t know if it’s strictly kosher but she’s a great reader so I don’t worry about it. We often combine reading time with drawing time or sewing time. Combining read-aloud...

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Why Read Aloud Time is Drawing with Kids Time

Maia likes to read with me and so we often take turns reading and listening.

We do this for some of her homework books, even. I don’t know if it’s strictly kosher but she’s a great reader so I don’t worry about it.

We often combine reading time with drawing time or sewing time.

Combining read-aloud time and drawing time seems like a good way to keep the non-reader’s hands and body occupied. One of us fidgets and flips and does all kinds of gymnastics otherwise (not naming names, of course) and the other of us has a hard time reading when this is going on.

This post contains affiliate links.So long ago we started hand sewing, doing embroidery, finger knitting, knitting with needles, and drawing during our reading sessions. Sometimes we go through stretches where Maia finger knits yards and yards of yarn. Or I embroider designs on wool felt.

Turtle in Paradise BookLately though, we’ve been doing a lot of reading and drawing.

A couple of days ago, we finished reading Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm* and drew up a storm.

*SUCH a wonderful book for reading aloud! It’s aimed at 8 to 12 year olds according to the Amazon listing, but Daphne (age 5) and I (age 38) enjoyed it just as much as Maia did. We liked it so much that I’m planning to give some of Jennifer Holm’s other books a try soon.

Magazine Collage Drawing Prompts for Kids

I read while the kids did magazine collage challenge drawings and drew with oil pastels.

Oil Pastel Drawings and Scratch Art in the Sketchbook

Maia took her turns reading while I drew with oil pastels (and experimented with scratch art designs) in my somewhat neglected “daily” sketchbook.

Magazine Drawing Prompt

Daphne didn’t do any of the reading, but she drew and drew.

Daphnes Oil Pastel Drawings Made During Read Aloud Time

And drew some more.

Drawing plus wikki stix

And even added some Wikki Stix designs to her oil pastel art.

Drawing Time While Reading Aloud

Later in the evening, Maia did a pen drawing while we finished the book.

I’ve always been a doodler and liked to doodle in my notebook during class growing up and in college. It helps give my hand and body something interesting to do while I listen. Plus, as a visual person, I think it helps me to retain what I hear.

As for Maia, to say she’s an active kid might be an understatement. She always seems to be moving and fidgeting.

Products for the Active Child

We have a wobble seat and a mini trampoline and a yoga ball for her inside and swings, stilts, hula hoops, jump ropes, and even a slackline for her outside. (And Daphne, too, of course!) She does gymnastics and has taken dance and aerial arts in the past.

She just needs to move.

A lot.

Telling her to sit still is hard (and not usually effective) but giving her something to do with her hands, whether finger knitting, sewing, or drawing seems to help.

Drawing with Kids while Reading Out Loud

I think reading time and drawing time go hand in hand wonderfully and recommend giving this combo a try with your kids, whether they are extra active or not.

Drawing with Kids while Reading Out Loud

Here are some drawing and art ideas we’ve done while reading aloud ::

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Reading Time and Drawing with Kids can go hand in hand

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Blossom Box Kids Activity Kits by Subscription http://artfulparent.com/2015/04/blossom-box-kids-activity-kits-by-subscription.html http://artfulparent.com/2015/04/blossom-box-kids-activity-kits-by-subscription.html#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 14:29:56 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=20770 Have you tried any of the kids activity kits that you receive in the mail? We’ve had the opportunity to test and review several over the years but Blossom Box is the first eco-friendly subscription box that we’ve received and tried. Blossom Box Kids is a new craft subscription box for kids that includes nature-focused, eco-friendly, and non-toxic crafts and...

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Kids Activity Kits by Blossom Box Kids

Have you tried any of the kids activity kits that you receive in the mail? We’ve had the opportunity to test and review several over the years but Blossom Box is the first eco-friendly subscription box that we’ve received and tried.

Blossom Box Kids is a new craft subscription box for kids that includes nature-focused, eco-friendly, and non-toxic crafts and activities delivered monthly.

The folks at Blossom Box sent us two of their kids activity boxes to sample ::

Color exploration

Storytelling

Disclaimer :: Blossom Box sent us the boxes for free to test and review and this is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Heads Up :: Blossom Box Kids is running a special discount this month only (April 2015). Take half off your first box when you sign up for a subscription using the code HALFOFFBOX at checkout.

Blossom Box Color Exploration Kit

Blossom Box Kids Activity Kits by Subscription

We opened the color exploration box first and Maia and Daphne tried a few of the activities from it.

Blossom Box Art Activity - A Tissue Paper Suncatcher with Homemade Flour Paste

The tissue paper suncatcher was a fun art activity and used a homemade wheat paste as an ecological alternative to glue or laundry starch (I was initially skeptical, but it worked remarkably well).

Blossom Box Craft for Kids - Gods Eye Weaving with Craft Sticks

Maia liked the stick weaving craft the most and taught Daphne how to do one.

I don’t think I’ve made one of these since I was a kid! But I’m inspired to try one again now, perhaps on a larger scale…

Blossom Box Art Activity with DIY Drink Mix Watercolors

The watercolors and salt art activity had the kids mixing up their own liquid watercolors with some powdered drink mix that was included. The kitchen smelled like Kool-Aid for this one! Maia and Daphne painted with the “watercolors”—although they were disappointed that the blue didn’t show up well—then sprinkled the salt that was included over the wet color.

We’ve been working our way through the activities in the storytelling box as well… 

Blossom Box Craft for Kids - Wood Peg Dolls

The kids decorated the wood peg dolls then set up “a spring photo shoot” with one of their recent collages as a backdrop.

(The flower fairies were brought in by bus for the photo shoot as well. When I asked why they didn’t just fly, I was told their wings were tired. Of course.)

Blossom Box Craft for Kids - Felt Crown

We decided to make the felt crown as a birthday gift for a friend who was turning 6. Maia drew the crown lines on the felt (with chalk) and Daphne designed the felt gems. I cut it all out and sewed it together with the elastic band that was included. So easy! The kit came with a needle and thread for kiddo hand sewing but we were trying to make it as a last-minute present and it just seemed faster and easier to get out the machine while the girls were busy making birthday cards. Once it was sewn, Maia and Daphne decided it needed more in the way of decoration and added sequins and jewels (which I, um, hot glued on in the name of time).

Kids Activity Kits by Blossom Box Kids

We haven’t done all the activities in the boxes yet but are looking forward to trying the rest!

If you want to do more hands-on activities with your kids but would like some help with ideas and execution, then a kit like Blossom Box could be just what you need.

  • The activities are picked out already
  • The instructions are included
  • And, the materials are included

7 Reasons to Buy An Activity Box for Kids Even if You're not a Kit Person

How about you? Have you tried a kids activity kit like this? Would you?

Blossom Box Kids Activity Kits and Eco Friendly Crafts

You can learn more about Blossom Box Kids and their eco-friendly subscription boxes on their websiteIf you’d like to give their activity boxes a try, you can buy a single box or subscribe for 3, 6, or 12 months worth of activity boxes delivered.

Blossom Box Kids is running a special discount this month only (April 2015). Take half off your first box when you sign up for a subscription using the code HALFOFFBOX at checkout.

You can also follow Blossom Box Kids on Facebook or on Instagram to stay in the loop with what they are up to.

Pin It for Later ::

Blossom Box Kids Activity Kits

Disclaimer :: Blossom Box sent us the boxes for free to test and review and this is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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15 Favorite Art Activities for Children http://artfulparent.com/2015/04/favorite-art-activities-for-children.html http://artfulparent.com/2015/04/favorite-art-activities-for-children.html#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 16:33:23 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=20731 We all have our family faves when it comes to art activities for children, yet we’re also always on the look-out for new awesome contenders to join the list of favorites. Right? I know I am! So, my friends, I asked my fellow bloggers from the Rockin’ Art for Kids group to share their favorite...

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Some Favorite Activities for Children

We all have our family faves when it comes to art activities for children, yet we’re also always on the look-out for new awesome contenders to join the list of favorites. Right?

I know I am!

So, my friends, I asked my fellow bloggers from the Rockin’ Art for Kids group to share their favorite kids’ art activities with us today.

Here you go…

The favorite art activities for children by some of the best kids art bloggers out there.

Enjoy!

15 Favorite Art Activities for Children

Sandpaper Art with Kids

Sandpaper Art Project

“We enjoyed creating this art project since it was done at the  spur of the moment when we were completely exploring and experimenting with our supplies in our art/craft stash. I have never used chalk and sandpaper together and that was a first. The 4 year old was very much excited to use these set of supplies together. The project took a form of its own and we explored liquid chalk, chalk and crayons together on the sandpaper and loved the results.” – Suja, Kids Play Box

Watercolor Art Garland

Watercolor Garland

“This garland is one of my favorite open-ended art projects to do with my art class because giving them that smaller paper size and a different art supply to paint with creates such a wonderful mood and level of concentration. They get really into how the paint moves with the Q-tip, how the colors blend, and how they can create multiple little paintings. Sometimes we make them into garland, other times we have made them into quilts, or simply taped them to the wall. Such a simple project with beautiful expression.” – Barbara Rucci, Art Bar Blog

Oil Pastel Painting Activity

Oil Pastels + Oil = Paint!

“This is an easy yet magical art activity. My kids love watching the transformation, blending the colours and experimenting. Plus it is easy to set up and fairly low mess.” – Kate Fairlie, Picklebums 

Cosmic Suncatcher

Cosmic Suncatchers

“My kids loved this project because of the “wow factor” when making the color swirls. I was testing it out when my children saw it and immediately asked to try too, a very good sign with art projects!” – Ana Dziengel, Babble Dabble Do

Fizzing Ice Chalk

Erupting Ice Chalk

“My boys and I love making our own paint recipes, and we covered our driveway with this erupting ice chalk paint many times last summer.” Allison Sonnier, Learn Play Imagine

Matisse Inspired Collage for Kids

Matisse Murals with Kids

“My son doesn’t always love making things with me, but recently we both had fun making this Matisse collage together. He enjoyed the activity because he loooves using scissors and glue.   I loved the activity because we were working on a project together and he was engaged and having fun.  My favorite part of the activity was when he looked at me and declared, “Look at me mommy, I’m an artist.”  That totally melted my heart (and made me forget about the marker mural that he drew on our walls.) :)” – Leslie, Pink Stripey Socks

Spin Art Rocks

Spin Art Rocks

“We love Spin Art Rocks! This activity is great for any age group, including toddlers.  It’s easy and the mess is contained in the salad spinner! Kids love spinning that salad spinner to see what kind of art they get inside.  Plus, rocks are a cheap, easy to find resource.  Have fun!” – Meri Cherry, Meri Cherry

Scribble Creatures

Simple as Pie Scribble Creatures

“Lately this has been our favorite thing to do, because it’s quick and fun and funny. There’s nothing better than sitting around with your kids and sharing some art and laughs with them (especially when they’re years apart in age.) This drawing game seems to please everyone and only gets more fun the more you do it!” – Jeanette Nyberg, Tiny Rotten Peanuts

Crumpled Paper Kids Art Activity

Crumpled Paper Art Project

“We absolutely love to paint with watercolors! Such a simple art material can inspire all kinds of creativity and is perfect for just about any age. Usually we just pull out some watercolor paper and paints and start painting, but sometimes the process inspires a new idea- like with our recent crumpled paper art! This watercolor technique is so very simple and leads to some amazing creations that the kids just love!” – Chelsey Marashian, Buggy and Buddy

Cardboard Masks Art

Masks in the Making

“We love this art project as it uses reclaimed + repurposed cardboard and just a few simple art materials!  The final piece is a very individualize relief sculpture and the creative process takes children from 2-D to 3-D, which children always LOVE!  …plus a little bonus, it ties in the art of a famous artist!” – Ami Maes, Handmakery

Colorful Coffee Filter Flowers

Vibrantly Colored Coffee Filter Flowers

“This is one of our favorite art activities because we LOVE bright colors.  We also enjoy experimenting with techniques, and these are extra vibrant as a result of one of our discoveries.” – Asia Citro, Fun at Home with Kids

Easy Leaf Wreaths

Easiest Leaf Wreath (Ever)

“I absolutely love making these leaves because they’re beautiful and making them is so much fun and involve so many things I cherish with the kids: walks, talks, collecting leaves + then creativity.” – Gina, Willowday

Papier Mache Bracelets

Papier Mache Bracelets

“Blank canvas paper bracelets for kids to create striking personality rich artistic statements on their wrist! This is one of my favourite site by side projects made with my daughter, she was so engaged and invested right through the process. This fun and doable project is great for kids age 5+ to explore form, colour and pattern…. and impress their friends :)” – Michelle, MollyMoo Crafts

Homemade Beads

Homemade Sparkling Beads

“Our favorite art projects always involve making wearable art – homemade sparkly beads were super simple to make, and use very little materials.  We just grabbed some colored twine & turned our newest art creation into a necklace – wearing glitter will never get easier!” – Melissa Klinker, Mama Miss

Shaving Cream Marbling Art Activity

Shaving Cream Marbling with Liquid Watercolors

“Shaving cream marbling is one of our all-time favorite art activities because it’s so fun, sensory-rich, and just gorgeous.” – Jean Van’t Hul, The Artful Parent (I had to include one of mine, too!)

Favorite Activities for Children

How about you? What are your favorite art activities for children?

What are their favorite art activities? (And are they the same or different?)

For more awesome kids art activities

Pin It for Later ::

15 Favorite Art Activities for Kids and Families

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Contact Paper Suncatcher in a Wood Frame http://artfulparent.com/2015/03/contact-paper-suncatcher-in-a-wood-frame.html http://artfulparent.com/2015/03/contact-paper-suncatcher-in-a-wood-frame.html#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:59:16 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=20700 Earlier this week I came across a wall of decorative wooden frames at Michael’s and immediately thought of using one for a contact paper suncatcher. Sort of like a permanent window display for a changing display of suncatcher art over time. Can’t you see it? A flower petal suncatcher one month and a colored tissue...

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Making a Contact Paper Suncatcher with Flower Petals

Earlier this week I came across a wall of decorative wooden frames at Michael’s and immediately thought of using one for a contact paper suncatcher.

Sort of like a permanent window display for a changing display of suncatcher art over time.

Can’t you see it?

A flower petal suncatcher one month and a colored tissue paper suncatcher the next? Then when fall rolls around, the suncatcher will be a gorgeous window display of Autumn leaves. And in winter, it will be the perfect place for showcasing coffee filter snowflakes.

Decorative Wooden Frames

Anyway… I was so excited by the idea that I bought one of the larger wooden frames. It was $7.99 but I had a 40% off coupon on the Michael’s app on my phone so it ended up being remarkably inexpensive.

Here’s how we made the suncatcher, plus more ideas for changing out the suncatcher artwork over time…

Make a Flower Petal Suncatcher in a Wood Frame

Contact Paper Suncatcher in a Wood Frame

MATERIALS

  • A decorative wooden frame (you can find them in the wood craft section of the chain arts and crafts supply stores)
  • Transparent contact paper / sticky back plastic (you can find this with the shelf liner paper at the grocery store or drug store)
  • Stapler (optional)
  • Flowers and leaves
  • Ribbon or string

INSTRUCTIONS

Materials for a Contact Paper Suncatcher in a Wood Frame

1. Cut a piece of contact paper to fit the frame, large enough to overlap part of the wood.

2. Attach the contact paper to the frame. Here’s how I did it :: Pull the paper backing off the contact paper and lay it on the table, sticky side up. Position the wood frame over the contact paper and press down. Turn the whole thing over carefully and run your fingers around the edge, making sure the contact paper is adhered to the frame. If you like, you can staple it in each corner, although I didn’t.

Make a Contact Paper Suncatcher in a Wood Frame

3. Press flower petals to the sticky contact paper in any arrangement desired.

Adding flower petals to a contact paper suncatcher

Daphne added flower petals and leaves from pansies, periwinkle, creeping phlox, dafodils, grape hyacinth, and more. (And Maia joined in after a while.)

Pressing the top layer of contact paper on a suncatcher

4. When the flower petal design is finished, press a second sheet of the contact paper over the flowers.

Make an Easy Spring Flower Suncatcher with Contact Paper

5. Tie a ribbon to both corners of the wood frame and hang in the window. I hung ours in our large picture window with a suction cup hook to hold it in place. You could also hang from a hook above a window.

A Flower Petal Contact Paper Suncatcher Hanging in the Window

I love it! The kids love it!

Flower Fairy Suncatcher with Contact Paper

Maia’s asking if we can get another wooden frame to make another suncatcher. And we might. I think she wants to make a scene with some of her flower fairies

As much as we love flower petal suncatchers and continue to make them, the flowers fade and decay over time. After two weeks or so, they don’t look as fresh. And so we’ll pull the contact paper suncatcher off the wood frame and add a new sheet of sticky contact paper to create a new suncatcher.

Maybe another nature suncatcher or maybe something completely different, such as colored tissue paper or colored film.

Here are some contact paper suncatcher ideas that would work with these wood frames.

6 Contact Paper Suncatchers

  1. Flower petal suncatchers (as here)
  2. Autumn leaves suncatchers
  3. Tissue paper stained glass
  4. Stained glass with colored film (index dividers)
  5. Lace, ribbon, washi tape, string
  6. Suncatcher with mosaic tiles

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How to Make an Easy Flower Suncatcher in a Wood Frame

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DIY Scratch Art the Easy Way http://artfulparent.com/2015/03/diy-scratch-art-the-easy-way.html http://artfulparent.com/2015/03/diy-scratch-art-the-easy-way.html#respond Sun, 29 Mar 2015 16:50:11 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=20618 I’ve always known you could make your own scratch art but for some reason thought it would be too much work and kept buying premade scratch art paper. But we finally did it ourselves and it was so easy! And fun. I wish we had tried this years ago. Here’s how we did it… DIY Scratch...

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DIY Scratch Art with Kids

This post contains affiliate links.I’ve always known you could make your own scratch art but for some reason thought it would be too much work and kept buying premade scratch art paper.

But we finally did it ourselves and it was so easy! And fun.

I wish we had tried this years ago.

Here’s how we did it…

DIY Scratch Art Step By Step

DIY Scratch Art the Easy Way

MATERIALS

Making our own scratch art paper with oil pastels and paint

INSTRUCTIONS

1. First we covered paper with oil pastel drawings until the entire sheet was full of color.

Making our own scratch art paper with oil pastels and paint

2. Then we painted over the oil pastel with a layer of black BioColor paint.

Making and Using Our Own Scratch Art Paper

3. Finally, we scratched our pictures and designs through the surface of the wet paint with toothpicks and Q-tips.

DIY Scratch Art with Kids

We made lots!! The kids were so into this!

DIY Scratch Art Examples

What makes this scratch art process easier than most… We used oil pastels rather than crayons and scratched our design through the wet paint which was both easier and quicker than if we had waited for the paint to dry.

Here are some more tips and notes

  • Paper size :: Smaller sheets of paper will be quicker to fill with color. I cut our paper in half, but you could go even smaller.

DIY Scratch Art Paper

  • Age :: It’s important to fill the entire sheet with color, so this project works better with preschoolers on up who can/will do that. For toddlers, you can make the scratch art paper for them and let them do the final step of scratching designs in the paper.
  • Oil pastels vs crayons :: You can also use crayons, but oil pastels are easier and quicker, especially for younger kids.

DIY Scratch Art with Kids

  • Q-tips and toothpicks :: We started with Q-tips in the wet paint for a wider line. Maia preferred the toothpicks…

DIY Scratch Art

and Daphne liked to use both the Q-tips and toothpicks together.

DIY Scratch Art Tips and Notes

  • Wet vs dry :: We made our scratch art pictures and designs while the paint was still wet and it worked great. We tried letting some dry first and found that the paint flaked off more unevenly (see the lines I did at the left of the face above).

Testing Different Paint Types with DIY Scratch Art

  • Paint type :: The BioColor paint we used needed two layers to coat the oil pastel layer perfectly. We didn’t usually do two layers though and liked it fine with a bit of color peaking through. You can add a couple drops of liquid dish soap to make it coat the oil pastels more evenly although we didn’t at the beginning. We also tried acrylics, which coated better than the BioColor, and tempera paint.

Testing Paint Types and Soap with DIY Scratch Art

In this photo above, we tested tempera paint vs BioColor paint with and without dish soap and did all the scratch art designs after the paint dried. The three at the top were made with tempera paint and Daphne did the scratch art, which as you can see is barely visible. The three at the bottom were made with BioColor paint and Maia did the scratch art.

We didn’t try doing the scratch art through wet tempera paint, though, which I think would work just fine. So if tempera paint is what you have, I’d suggest making your scratch art designs while the paint is still wet.

I recommend giving this DIY scratch art activity a try with your kids!

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The Easy Way to Make Your Own Scratch Art Paper with Kids

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Taking Online Art Classes with My Kids http://artfulparent.com/2015/03/taking-online-art-classes.html http://artfulparent.com/2015/03/taking-online-art-classes.html#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:43:07 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=20499 You all know that I’ve been taking a variety of online art classes with my kids through Craftsy. What I didn’t realize until I looked back through the last half year or so is just how many we have taken. So, I thought I’d do a round up of my Craftsy classes and collect them all...

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Taking Online Art Classes with My Children

You all know that I’ve been taking a variety of online art classes with my kids through Craftsy. What I didn’t realize until I looked back through the last half year or so is just how many we have taken.

So, I thought I’d do a round up of my Craftsy classes and collect them all here in one spot. I asked the folks at Craftsy if they’d offer you a discount on these art classes and they said yes!

So here you go. All the Craftsy art classes we’ve taken and enjoyed in one place and all half off (through 11:59 pm MT on April 3rd).

Oh, and also one of their free online art classes and a few of their free e-guides, too…

Note :: While the round-up and the discount idea were my own, this post is sponsored by Craftsy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Craftsy Online Art Classes and eGuides

Drawing the Human Body eGuide

Drawing the Human Body

“This Drawing the Human Body e-guide is excellent and there’s so much information in it, it’s hard to believe it’s free. I chose it for the subject matter, obviously, but also because Paul Heaston, one of the authors, is one of my favorite Craftsy instructors…”

Read my Post :: Drawing the Human Body for Kids

Get the free eGuide :: Drawing the Human Body :: A Primer

Keeping a Daily Sketchbook

Sketchbooks

“The class is called Sketchbooks :: Drawing the Everyday with Paul Heaston and is one of my favorite Craftsy teachers and classes so far. He shares so much great info about sketching, sketchbooks, and drawing materials!”

Read my Post :: Why I’m Keeping a Daily Sketchbook

Take the Class :: Sketchbooks :: Drawing the Everyday

Digital Photography Online Class

Digital Photography

“I could read about this stuff forever and not really understand how to do it. The way he demonstrates and talks about photography makes it so much more accessible than a book.”

Read my Post :: An Online Digital Photography Class

Take the Class :: Basics of Digital Photography

Creating Flowers in Mixed Media eGuide

Create Mixed Media Flowers

“If you’d like some ideas for creating flower art or just want some fun mixed media techniques that would work well with any subject, download this e-guide. It’s FREE!”

Read my Post :: How to Create Mixed Media Flowers

Get the Free eGuide :: Creating Flowers in Mixed Media :: 5 Botanical Illustration Tutorials

How to Draw Facial Features Online Art Class

Draw Facial Features

“Gary Faigin, the instructor for this facial features drawing class … SO knows his stuff! Just the very first two lessons were game changing for me.”

Read my Post :: How to Draw Facial Features

Take the Class :: Drawing Facial Features

Painting with Acrylics Online Art Class

Paint with Acrylics

“The instructor, Rheni Tauchid … is confident and funny in a laid back way and is obviously very knowledgeable about paints and painting. Just watching her apply the paint in different ways and with different tools has greatly expanded my own knowledge of acrylic painting.”

Read my Post :: Taking Time for Creativity with Online Painting Classes

Take the Class :: Acrylic Painter’s Toolbox

Learn How to Use a DSLR Camera Online Class

Family Photography

“With my camera on automatic, it took okay photos—definitely better than my old Canon Powershot—but the potential for capturing my children and life around me with really good photographs has just skyrocketed. This is why I bought a DSLR in the first place. I’m so glad I know how to use it now!”

Read my Post :: How I Finally Learned How to Use My DSLR

Take the Class :: Family Photography :: Candid Moments & Storytelling

How to Draw Faces eGuide

Draw Faces

“This was just the kind of easy-to-use guide and reminder that both of us needed. Basic information in a usable format means less frustration on her part, being happier with the finished product, and less eraser drama (yes, we have it too).”

Read my Post :: Drawing Faces for Kids

Get the Free eGuide :: Drawing the Human Face

Mixed Media Online Art Classes

Mixed Media Techniques

“The nice thing about Craftsy is that you can pause a video lesson at any time, head to the playground or go prepare lunch, and resume at your own convenience. We’ve had many mini sessions this way. Sometimes we leave the materials and projects set up all day and just come and go here and there throughout the day.”

Read my Post :: Taking Online Art Classes

Take the Class :: Mixed Media Essentials :: Color, Design and Texture

Figure Drawing Online Art Class

Figure Drawing

“For me, it’s been a chance to refresh/relearn drawing techniques and an excuse to actually draw again—something I’ve always enjoyed but was never amazing at. For Maia, it’s been a chance to draw with me, to sit down and do something together, and to learn some concrete drawing skills from a professional—different shading techniques, blocking-in, measuring proportions, etc.”

Read my Post :: Giving (Free) Online Drawing Classes a Try

Take the Free Class :: Figure Drawing :: An Essential Guide

Just a reminder—all of the classes mentioned here are half off through 11:59 pm MT on April 3rd. As with any of the Craftsy online art classes, you can pay for the class now and take it whenever you are ready and at your own pace.

Online Art Classes on Craftsy

Question for you… Have you tried an online art class (with or without your children)? What did you think?

This post is sponsored by Craftsy. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Taking Online Art Classes with My Kids

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Double Doodle Art http://artfulparent.com/2015/03/double-doodle-art.html http://artfulparent.com/2015/03/double-doodle-art.html#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 15:32:06 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=20507 I was first introduced to the concept of double doodle art years ago by Maya Donenfeld of Maya*Made. She wrote about a mesmerizing drawing exercise her daughter learned at school from an art teacher. We gave it a try, loved it, and have been doing it ourselves ever since. (Thank you, Maya! Thank you, art teacher!)...

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Double Doodle Drawing with Kids

I was first introduced to the concept of double doodle art years ago by Maya Donenfeld of Maya*Made. She wrote about a mesmerizing drawing exercise her daughter learned at school from an art teacher.

We gave it a try, loved it, and have been doing it ourselves ever since.

(Thank you, Maya! Thank you, art teacher!)

I’ve included double doodle drawing in both my books (brief mention in the first, longer write-up of the activity in the second), but have never written a blog post about it, and thought it was about time I shared one of our favorite drawing exercises here.

Double Doodle Drawing with the Kids

Double Doodle Art

MATERIALS

  • Paper
  • Tape (optional)
  • 2 markers or pens per person

Double Doodle Drawing with Kids

INSTRUCTIONS

Basically, you’ll draw simultaneously with both hands and markers, creating symmetrical, mirror image drawings.

Here’s what I wrote in The Artful Year (pages 39-40).

Holding a marker in each hand, place the tips side by side at the center of the paper. Begin drawing with both markers at the same time, creating a mirror image. For example, when the left marker is heading left to the edge of the paper, the right marker should be heading right to the other edge of the paper. When one marker is heading toward the center, the other should be as well.

Note :: If you need help keeping the paper in place (for little ones, especially) you can tape the corners of the paper down first.

Double Doodle Drawings

Here is some of the double doodle art we did over the weekend…

Double Doodle Drawing

Maia double doodled entire scenes.

Double Doodle Drawing

Daphne got super into her double doodles and did drawing after drawing, including Easter eggs, a spider web, and some abstract art.

Double Doodle Starfish and Sand Dollar

Harry really got into it, too, drawing detailed starfish, sand dollars, and other designs.

Double Doodle Portraits

I did a few myself, too, including an Easter bunny, portraits, and some abstract double doodles.

I hope you give double doodle art a try, both yourself and with your kids! It’s fun, relaxing, and a great way to exercise the brain as it uses both sides of the brain simultaneously.

More Fun Drawing Exercises

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Double Doodle Drawing to Activate Both Sides of the Brain

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