The Artful Parent http://artfulparent.com Kids Art & Family Creativity Tue, 02 Sep 2014 00:52:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 14 Great DIY Fall Garlands http://artfulparent.com/2014/09/easy-fall-garlands-make-with-kids.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/09/easy-fall-garlands-make-with-kids.html#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 16:10:24 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=16541 You know how much we love our seasonal arts and crafts around here, right? Despite a few years there at the beginning when I thought that children’s art needed to be pure and sacred and completely untainted by holiday crafts and decorations, I’ve long since dived wholeheartedly into the fun of seasonal and fall crafting.... 

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Easy Fall Garlands to Make with KidsYou know how much we love our seasonal arts and crafts around here, right?

Despite a few years there at the beginning when I thought that children’s art needed to be pure and sacred and completely untainted by holiday crafts and decorations, I’ve long since dived wholeheartedly into the fun of seasonal and fall crafting.

And autumn leaf arts and crafts? My goodness. I love, love, love my Autumn leaf crafting!

I’ve started pressing a few of the first fall leaves and looking through a few of my autumn craft posts over the last few days, getting in the mood for fall.

As I’ve done so, I’ve noticed quite a few fall garlands in the mix and decided to pull them together into a round up post of leaf garlands, Halloween buntings, and Thanksgiving banners. Some of these are from The Artful Parent, some from other blogs.

I hope you find some inspiration here as you and your family start your own fall crafting and decorating.

Easy Fall Garlands To Make

Fall Leaf Garlands :: 7 Ideas

A Fall Leaf Garland for Thanksgiving

How to Make a Beautiful Fall Leaf Garland

An Autumn Leaf Garland with Wax Paper

DIY Autumn Leaf Bunting :: Earthy and Ethereal

Glitter Leaves Would Make an Awesome Fall Leaf Garland

Glitter Leaves would make a beautiful fall garland, don’t you think?

A Felted Fall Leaf Garland

A Felt Leaf garland with upcycled wool sweaters (we’ve done this both by embroidering the leaf veins and also by sewing felted wool strips on for the veins)

Felt Leaf Garland from A Beautiful Mess

Or make a (simpler) felt leaf garland (on A Beautiful Mess)

Stained Glass Autumn Leaves Would Make a Colorful Fall Garland

It would be easy to make a colorful garland of Melted Crayon Leaves (or a stained glass bunting with Autumn colors)

Nature Suncatcher Garland with Fall Leaves and Flowers

Make a Garland of Autumn Leaf Suncatchers (like this nature garland but with Autumn colors)

4 More Fall Garlands to Make

A Happy Fall Garland from Rae Ann Kelly

Make a Happy Fall garland with felt balls and old book pages (by Rae Ann Kelly)

Make a Tiny Autumn Cake Bunting

Make a tiny Autumn Cake Bunting (or perhaps one for the dolls) with paint chips

DIY Apple Print Garland from Multiples and More

Make an apple print garland (on Multiples & More)

A Pottery Barn Inspired Thanksgiving Bunting from The Shabby Nest

Try a Pottery-Barn inspired Thanksgiving banner (on The Shabby Nest)

3 Halloween Garlands and Buntings

A DIY Felt Bat Garland

A Felt Bat Garland :: DIY Halloween Decorations

A Quick and Easy Halloween Bunting

Halloween Bunting :: How to Make One Quick and Cheap!

DIY Bat and Ghost Garlands from the Evite Blog

Make simple bat and ghost garlands (on the Evite blog)

Which is your favorite? Which of the fall garlands shown here would you make with your kids? 

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Drawing Faces for Kids (plus a FREE printable guide) http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/drawing-faces-for-kids-plus-free-printable-guide.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/drawing-faces-for-kids-plus-free-printable-guide.html#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:41:54 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=16350 We’ve been drawing a lot of faces around here. Self portraits in the traditional style as well as body tracing self portraits and collage self portraits. Drawing faces remains one of our family’s favorite ways to express our creativity. And not just our family. The human face is one of the subjects that many children draw repeatedly over the... 

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Drawing Faces with Kids - plus a free printable guide to drawing the human face

We’ve been drawing a lot of faces around here. Self portraits in the traditional style as well as body tracing self portraits and collage self portraits. Drawing faces remains one of our family’s favorite ways to express our creativity. And not just our family. The human face is one of the subjects that many children draw repeatedly over the years, beginning with the most basic circle and eyes around 3.

Drawing faces for kids

The Human Face in Childrens Art

As you can see in the above collection of photos, my kids have made faces in everything from the sandbox to clay, playdough, paper, and more.

Daphne, at 4 almost 5, still includes herself in almost everything she draws.

Drawing Faces for Kids - Maia's portraits

And Maia at 9 (today!) has been taking her portrait and self-portrait drawing more and more seriously—working on details and accuracy. And, unfortunately, getting frustrated when what she draws doesn’t match what she sees in the mirror or in front of her.

Maia Drawing Her Face

So when I downloaded and printed out a handy guide from Craftsy that clearly showed how to draw the human face step-by-step with information about placement and proportions, she was thrilled!

Drawing the Human Face Craftsy Printable Guide

And so was I. 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).

How to Draw Faces Craftsy Guide

Plus it’s helped me to get over my hesitation to try portrait drawing!

Jean's first portrait drawings in a long, long time

It’s been so long since I’ve done much drawing and I clearly need some more practice, but it feels good to have made the plunge and given it a try again.

Learning to Draw a Portrait

Besides this drawing guide, which I’m sure we’ll be referring to quite a bit in the future, I think I may need to sign myself up for one of their portrait drawing classes! This is something I’d love to work on.

Craftsy is offering this portrait drawing guide for FREE to Artful Parent readers. It’s a 25-page guide, valued at $4.99, that you can download and print.

Click here to download your free copy of Drawing the Human Face.

It is written for adults, but, I think, easily used by older kids and teens who would like to learn to draw faces more accurately. Maia found the guide helpful, mostly just referring to the images and listening to me read and talk about the text.

Daphne Drawing a Portrait

Daphne was inspired to join us in drawing faces at the table. She drew more detail on hers than usual, but didn’t attempt (or even seem to notice) the proportions we were trying carefully to reproduce.

How about your family? Do your kids like to draw faces? Would they (or you?!) appreciate a simple guide that shows where to place the eyes, ears, nose more accurately?

If so, print one out to keep with your drawing supplies. (You may be asked to register with Craftsy which you can do with your name and email address or through facebook.)

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

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The Best Kids Science Experiments to Try at Home http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/best-kids-science-experiments-at-home.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/best-kids-science-experiments-at-home.html#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 10:00:17 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=16305 I started writing this yesterday with the idea of sharing the best kids science experiments to do at home. For you, of course. But also partly as a reminder for myself since Maia has a birthday coming up and has requested a Mad Scientist party with lots of fun science experiments. Basically these are our favorites... 

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The Best Kids Science Experiments to Try at HomeI started writing this yesterday with the idea of sharing the best kids science experiments to do at home. For you, of course. But also partly as a reminder for myself since Maia has a birthday coming up and has requested a Mad Scientist party with lots of fun science experiments. Basically these are our favorites out of all the science experiments we’ve tried so far. The ones we absolutely loved and the ones we’ve repeated (and repeated and repeated).

Most of these are pretty dang simple. The few that are a tad more involved or require materials you need to track down are included because they are well worth it.

At the end of this post, I’ll share a few more that were suggested by readers on Facebook yesterday.

The Best Kids Science Experiments to Try at Home

Here are more than 14 awesome science experiments for children!

Explosions, Eruptions & Immediate Reactions

The Awesome Rainbow Milk Science Experiment

1. The awesome rainbow milk science experiment 

Love, love, love this one!

Baking Soda Volcanoes

2. Baking soda volcanoes (with a little extra oomph)

I can’t tell you how many volcanoes we’ve set off around here. Lots for sure. Mostly simple baking soda and vinegar eruptions in a jar, but there have also been papier mache volcanoes, playdough volcanoes complete with ecosystems as in the link above, and sandbox volcanoes.

3. Elephant toothpaste

We made this rainbow elephant toothpaste a few months ago using the basic elephant toothpaste tutorial on Fun at Home with Kids. So awesome!

4. The mentos geyser

So fun! We just bought one of the Steve Spangler geyser tube kits from our local toy store and followed the (super simple) instructions to set off the 25 foot geyser. You can also buy the kits from Amazon or directly from the Steve Spangler Science website.

Fizzing Colors Science Experiment

5. Fizzing colors

This is such a simple experiment and activity but mesmerizing for kids.

Ice, Bubbles, & Water

6. Tensile bubbles

We used this great tutorial for tensile bubbles on Babble Dabble Do to make the special bubble wands and geometric bubbles you see in my Instagram video above.

7. Dry ice bubbles

Maia and her friends LOVE it when we pick up some dry ice at the grocery store for some dry ice bubble experimenting. You can read how to make the dry ice bubbles on the Steve Spangler Science site.

Or, make extra awesome dry ice bubbles with a special contraption as Not Just Cute did. (We haven’t yet, but it’s on our to try list.)

Melting Ice Science Experiment with Salt

8. The melting ice science experiment 

Watch as salt melts tunnels through the ice! The food coloring or liquid watercolors help you see the tunnels better and make the whole experiment as much of an art activity as a science experiment.

Make Fake Snow with Kids

9. Making fake snow

This one is always so fun! I’m including it with the science experiments, even though my kids just think of this as super fun fake snow, because the insta-snow powder is really a water-absorbing polymer. Which means water beads should probably be on this list, too.

Painted Daisies Science Experiment

10. Painted daisies 

Watch what happens when you put white flowers in colored water. And double the fun when you make bi-colored flowers!

 

More fun science experiments to try at home

Bend and Shape Candy Canes

11. Bend and shape candy canes

Who knew?

The M&M Science Experiment

12. The M & M experiment

Watch the “M” float off an M&M…

Oobleck and Goop

13. Oobleck or goop

This is the very first art/science activity I did with Maia and a toddler friend of hers and it has been repeated many times in our house. No explosions or anything, and only two ingredients if you don’t include the food coloring, but still completely captivating.

Breaking Open Rocks and Geodes

14. Breaking open rocks

I have a whole post about learning with and about rocks, but my kids mostly just like to crack open regular ol’ rocks with a hammer and see what’s inside. And sometimes geodes if they’re lucky. (Note: I have them wear safety goggles when they are breaking open rocks.)

 

Even more ideas for kids science experiments!

So… Yesterday, I asked this question on facebook ::

What are your kids’ favorite science experiments? Maia has requested a mad scientist type birthday party and I’m trying to figure out what science experiments to include… We’ve done quite a few fun ones but would like to have at least a couple new ones up my sleeve!

And thanks to all the great answers, here are even more ideas for this list! Not tested by me and my young test subjects as of yet, but these are (more than) a few that caught my eye and that could end up on our upcoming science birthday party line-up.

ooblec on a speaker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zoTKXXNQIU&feature=youtu.be – Yasmin

Hard boiled egg being sucked into a jar, exploding bicarbonate and vinegar sandwich bags. – Desiree

My middle son has just come home from Science week at school with a paper flower which opens in water. You cut out a basic flower shape with four petals. Stick a picture of a bee or beetle in the middle and fold each petal in to the middle. Gently place on top of a bowl of water and it opens up by itself. – Bernadette

making soap clouds and making your own soap from them. tutorial: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2012/04/kitchen-craft-soap-clouds-and-homemade-kiddie-tub-soaps/ – Christina

Make and race hover crafts from take away boxes and balloons – Jane

Making rubber balls with borax and Elmer’s glue – Sunny

a tube, yeast, sugar and warm water, a deflated balloon over the top shake the yeast “farts” which causes the balloon to inflate. I did this at a sleep over with boys 7 to 9 they loved it. you can use an empty water bottle, 1 packet of active yeast, 1/4 cup warm water 1 tsp sugar, large balloon, ruler to measure. measure in 5 min increments. The water wakes the sleeping yeast up. they wake up hungry, you feed them the sugar and their waste/farts are gas that fill the balloon. As they eat the more gas they produce thus filling the balloon. It doesn’t blow all the way up, but it is cool. – Jackie

We saw one on Play School (Aussie TV show) last week and it was pretty cool. Have a flat small-medium sized white dish. Fill it with water and put four M+Ms in it (red, yellow, blue, green) spread out on the edges. Watch the magic happen as the colour moves out of the M+Ms and towards the centre. None of the colours mix so you get four quarters of bright colour. – Amanda

Alka seltzer.lava lamps….pour oil in a tall clear vase. Add water…equal amounts…. now add drops of food coloring…wait til they pop!…so cool. Now drop in an alka seltzer tablet..sooo fun! You can keep adding them. Wait til it dissolves b4 adding the next – Hilary

Making ice cream with a cup of half and half, a teaspoon of vanilla, two tablespoons of sugar in a quart bag. Then in a gallon bag about six cups of ice and half cup of salt, anything but table salt should work. Put the quart bag (sealed) in the gallon bag then seal and shake rattle and roll for about five minutes. Then pull out the quart sized bag with your ice cream and add your favorite toppings. – Heydi

How about your family? What are your children’s favorite science experiments? Any ideas for one that would be just perfect for a group of 9 year olds at a birthday party?

This post contains affiliate links.

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My Favorite Stubby Pencil Studio Kids Art Supplies http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/favorite-stubby-pencil-studio-kids-art-supplies.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/favorite-stubby-pencil-studio-kids-art-supplies.html#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 20:47:25 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=16271 As you know, I buy our art supplies from a variety of places, both locally and online. One place I return to again and again is Stubby Pencil Studio, for the quality of the art supplies offered and because of the eco-friendly focus. I’ve also worked with Kate, Stubby Pencil’s owner, as a blog sponsor... 

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Our Favorite Kids Art Supplies from Stubby Pencil Studio

As you know, I buy our art supplies from a variety of places, both locally and online. One place I return to again and again is Stubby Pencil Studio, for the quality of the art supplies offered and because of the eco-friendly focus. I’ve also worked with Kate, Stubby Pencil’s owner, as a blog sponsor for years in the past and I consider her a friend (although we haven’t met in person yet!).

I’ve been wanting to write a post of my favorites from Stubby Pencil for a while now, and as I just received my most recent order of art and school supplies in the mail, I decided now would be a good time!

Some things I buy from Stubby Pencil Studio, year after year

Our Favorite Stubby Pencil Studio Kids Art Supplies

Trying new art supplies from Stubby Pencil

I also really enjoy trying new art materials (I may, possibly have just a tiny bit of an art supply fetish) and like that Kate regularly adds new supplies to her online shop.

  • Paint sticks :: We really enjoy the convenience and vibrancy of these paint sticks. Plus no-mess! (I wrote a blog post about the paint sticks here.)
  • Watercolor pencils :: Kate sent me a set of her new jumbo watercolor pencils to try recently (for free, lucky me) and they are the best we’ve used yet. The color is so bright and they are truly water soluble. Look how well the pencil lines blurred into watercolor paint with the addition of water in my Instagram pic above!
  • Pencils :: I feel like each time I place an order with Stubby Pencil, I try out a different kind of graphite pencil. Both of my kids love their monkey pencils!
  • Acrylic paints :: I bought some of her little acrylic paints this past spring to put in the girls’ Easter baskets and really like them, especially the metallic acrylic paints. The pots are small, but the paints go a long way since they are thinner (craft paint style).
  • Scented markers :: I sent Maia to 4th grade earlier this week with these fun scented markers among her school supplies. No report yet on how well they work, but Maia was super excited about them!

Special reader discount

If you see some art supplies you’d like to buy from Stubby Pencil Studio, Kate has given me a special online discount code for you to use ::

APSAVE20 for 20% off your total order

Also, earlier this week, I asked Kate from Stubby Pencil if she’d be willing to offer a selection of my favorite kids’ art supplies as a giveaway on The Artful Parent. She said yes!

Stubby Pencil Studio Kids Art Supply GiveawayThe Stubby Pencil Studio Kids Art Supply Giveaway Package

This giveaway package includes the following hand-picked selection of children’s art supplies. These are some of our favorites from Stubby Pencil Studio and is truly an awesome giveaway, whether for someone just dipping their toes into kids’ art, for a family struggling to find room in the budget for art supplies, or even for someone who is a self-described art supply junkie (not naming names!).

Total value = $150 +

To enter for a chance to win this art supply package, see the giveaway details below…

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.

To enter the giveaway for the kids art supply package by Stubby Pencil Studio, leave a comment to this post by Thursday, August 28th at 11:59pm EST then head back up to the rafflecopter widget and tell it that you’re entering the giveaway. Winner will be chosen by random number generator and announced here on Friday, August 29th (I will also e-mail the winner). Giveaway open to US readers.

Good luck!

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On the While She Naps Podcast http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/naps-podcast.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/naps-podcast.html#respond Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:15:17 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=16258 As I mentioned briefly in my blog post about our Folly Beach trip, I participated in my first podcast during our vacation. There was some drama about how it would work when the internet went out island-wide, but luckily it was back up just in time! The podcast is While She Naps with Abby Glassenberg and... 

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While She Naps Podcast Episode 28 on Kids Arts and CraftsAs I mentioned briefly in my blog post about our Folly Beach trip, I participated in my first podcast during our vacation. There was some drama about how it would work when the internet went out island-wide, but luckily it was back up just in time!

The podcast is While She Naps with Abby Glassenberg and the episode is number 28.

I listened to the podcast today (I had to listen to it before sharing it with you to make sure I didn’t make too big of a fool of myself!) and while I wish I could erase all the “umms” I suppose I will share the link with you. :)

Lucky me, I was paired with Amie Plumley, author of Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids will Love to Make! I had heard great things about her book on sewing with kids and was excited to hear more from the author herself… (And I’ve since bought her book!)

Abby talks with both of us about:

  • children’s arts and crafts
  • favorite materials and tools
  • encouraging creativity
  • getting over perfectionism
  • and more!

Click here to listen to While She Naps episode 28. 

While She Naps Podcast Episode 28

And let me know what you think about the podcast! I’d love to hear your thoughts or any questions that came up for you…

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A Flower Suncatcher Craft for Kids http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/perfect-flower-suncatcher-craft-for-kids.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/perfect-flower-suncatcher-craft-for-kids.html#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 16:39:32 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=15618 One of our favorite suncatchers to create is the flower suncatcher with contact paper and flower petals and leaves. And this is coming from someone who has a well-documented obsession with suncatchers and stained glass art projects! Recently, we made our favorite flower suncatchers again, using paper plates as the frames (it just works so... 

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One of our favorite suncatchers to create is the flower suncatcher with contact paper and flower petals and leaves. And this is coming from someone who has a well-documented obsession with suncatchers and stained glass art projects!

Recently, we made our favorite flower suncatchers again, using paper plates as the frames (it just works so well!) and strung them into a garland to hang across the window.

Beautiful!

Butterfly flower suncatcher craftBut the best part was what we did differently this time. We used the flowers and leaves to create faces, birds, butterflies, and more.

After Maia made a flower fairy on one of the Easter egg suncatchers this past spring, it was only natural that we’d want to revisit the idea.

We all thoroughly enjoyed using the colors, patterns, and shapes of the flower petals and leaves to make fun images to hang in the window. And I’m thinking we’ll have to try our hand at these again soon with Autumn leaves and flowers.

I wrote up a whole tutorial for you on how to make this flower suncatcher craft and garland (with lots of photos!) over on Let’s Lasso the Moon, my friend Zina’s site.

Click here to check it out.

Enjoy!

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Painting Activities for Preschoolers :: 11 Favorites http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/painting-activities-for-preschoolers-favorites.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/painting-activities-for-preschoolers-favorites.html#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:25:36 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=16148 Looking for painting activities for your preschoolers? Here are 11 of our all-time favorites that are process-oriented and developmentally appropriate yet super fun. Everything from spin painting and puffy paint to watercolor resist and shaving cream marbling. And, bonus! The results are usually pretty cool, too. First, a quick note about paints. We use and love... 

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Great list of the best painting activities for preschoolers!Looking for painting activities for your preschoolers?

Here are 11 of our all-time favorites that are process-oriented and developmentally appropriate yet super fun. Everything from spin painting and puffy paint to watercolor resist and shaving cream marbling.

And, bonus! The results are usually pretty cool, too.

First, a quick note about paints.

We use and love a variety of paints, but our favorites for the preschool age are:

Painting Activities for Preschoolers :: 11 Favorites

Spin Painting with Kids

1. Spin painting

Spin painting is such a fun painting activity for preschoolers as well as older children! We use a salad spinner for our spin art, but I’ve seen this done with a special purchased spin art kit as well.

Marble Rolling and Painting with Kids

2. Marble rolling

I don’t know about your kids, but mine love marbles. And painting with paint covered marbles is a favorite that we return to again and again. We’ve even used this technique to make spider webs at Halloween!

Shaving cream marbling with kids

3. Shaving cream marbling

If you haven’t tried shaving cream marbling yet, you must! So fun and so beautiful.

Body Tracing Art Activity with Kids

4. Body tracing and painting

Body tracing art is a lovely way for preschoolers to create self portraits, work on self-image, and to work large.

Splatter Painting with Kids

5. Splatter painting

Who doesn’t love splatter and drip painting? This one is a messier, action-oriented art activity best suited to outdoors.

Car Wheel Painting

6. Wheel and roller painting

Who says you need paint brushes to paint? Try rolling your paint onto paper with a mini paint roller (sold for painting trim) or rolling the wheels of a toy car through a puddle of paint.

Watercolor Techniques for Kids with salt and alcohol

7. Watercolors + salt and alcohol

Kids love to see how watercolors react with different materials! This post has a lot of fun watercolor techniques to try with children.

Watercolor Resist Painting for Kids

8. Watercolor resist painting

A childhood classic, watercolor resist can be done a number of different ways. These artworks are fun to make and beautiful enough to give as gifts.

Squeeze Painting with Puffy Paint

9. Squeeze painting with puffy paint

Puffy paint is easy to make with materials you already have and preschoolers just love squeezing out the paint to make designs.

Salty Watercolors with Kids

10. Salty Watercolors

This is one of these art activities that never grow old. Watch the magic of paint traveling along salt-covered glue lines.

Shaving Cream Painting on the Mirror

11. Shaving cream painting

I couldn’t write a post about favorite art activities for preschoolers without including shaving cream painting! We’ve done this on mirrors, the window, and on poster board.

11 Favorite Painting Activities for Preschoolers

How about you? What are your preschooler’s  favorite painting activities?

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10+ Light Table Activities for Kids (Free and Low-Cost) http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/light-table-activities-for-kids-free-low-cost.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/light-table-activities-for-kids-free-low-cost.html#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 21:19:50 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=15832 We have continued to use our DIY light table regularly over the past several months and believe it’s about the best thing I’ve done this year. Really. I wish I had put one of these together years ago! I highly recommend you set up a simple light table for your kids! If you’ve read my light... 

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10+ Free and Inexpensive Light Table Activities for KidsWe have continued to use our DIY light table regularly over the past several months and believe it’s about the best thing I’ve done this year. Really. I wish I had put one of these together years ago!

I highly recommend you set up a simple light table for your kids!

If you’ve read my light table posts, you’ll know that our very serviceable light table is simply a clear plastic storage box (ours is from Target) with a string of white Christmas lights inside. The cord is skinny enough to slip out under the lid. And when we’re ready to take a break from exploring light and color on the light table, the box goes back into use for storage and the lights go back with the holiday decorations.

We still use the magnetic shapes all the time on and off the light table as well as some of the other toys and tools I wrote about in my light table post. Actually mostly just the magnetic shapes.

In addition, we have tried painting on the light table, playing with the cardboard dollhouse on the light table, checking out water balloons on the light table, and, of course, using water beads on the light table.

Light table play is both magical and educational.

While that first light table post was all about products we bought specifically for the light table, this post is all about light table activities that cost little or nothing. Many of them use materials you already have around the house!

10+ low-cost light table activities for kids

These ideas include art, play, science, and more!

Art on the Light Table

Light Table Activities for Kids - Drawing on the Light Table

1. Drawing on the light table

Like many of the activities listed here, you can draw anywhere. But seeing the light shine through the drawing as you work makes it extra interesting. And we all know how changing up locations and methods can inspire renewed creativity, right? In the photo above, I simply taped a piece of easel paper to the light table (you could use any relatively thin paper) and placed the box of markers beside it.

Light Table Activities for Kids - Drawing on the Light Table

We’ve also done this with colored film and Sharpie markers as I shared in one of my posts about our kids’ art display wall.

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2. Contact paper collages on the light table

You know what contact paper is, right? It’s that transparent sticky plastic that they sell with the shelf liners at the grocery store or drug store. Perfect for simple children’s suncatcher art activities! We made heart suncatchers with contact paper and  translucent mosaic tiles around Valentine’s Day, but you could do any contact paper suncatchers on the light table. Try:

Watercolor Techniques for Kids - on the light table

3. Painting on the light table

If you use a thinner paper (such as the easel paper pictured here) and watercolors, you can see the light shining through the paint as you work. So pretty! Read more in my post about watercolor techniques for kids.

Science Ideas on the Light Table

Light Table Activities for Kids - Nature Observation

4. Nature on the light table

Gather leaves, flowers, and other nature items to observe on the light table. You can really see the structure of the leaves better when held to the light like this. You can also extend this activity by doing leaf rubbings on the light table… Or try feathers, translucent sea shells, crystals, butterfly or moth wings (if found already dead, of course), etc.

Rainbow Milk Science Experiment

5. Rainbow milk science experiment on the light table

This is one of our favorite simple science experiments and the effect is even more magical on the light table! (Click this link to see a couple of brief videos of the swirling, exploding colors.)

6. Melting ice experiment on the light table

As with the milk experiment, this melting ice science experiment is at least twice as wonderful with the light shining through as you work.

Light Table Activities for Kids - Melting Ice Experiment

We used clear glass baking dishes and plates to let the light through while containing the melting ice and watercolors. (Those egg-shaped ice balls were made by freezing water balloons, by the way.)

Light Table Activities for Kids - Fizzing Colors

7. Fizzing Colors Science Experiment

This is such a simple activity, yet always a hit with the kids! Mix vinegar with food coloring or liquid watercolors, then use a dropper to transfer to the baking soda. We put our baking soda in a transparent dish this time—a plastic egg serving tray from the dollar store—to enjoy the experiment on the light table.

Play Ideas on the Light Table

Water Beads on the DIY Light Table

8. Water bead sensory play 

As you know, we LOVE water beads! They are super cheap, super fun, and they are at their very best on the light table.

Water Balloon Babies on the Light Table

9. Water balloons and water balloon babies on the light table

Just ’cause.

10. Magnetic tiles on the light table

Okay, this one isn’t so low cost. But if you already have magnetic tiles, then you will definitely want to try them on the light table. My kids use them for construction, pretend play, design, and more. And as with all things translucent, they are extra fun with the light shining through them.

More Learning Activities for the Light Table

Light Table Activities for Kids - Shaving Cream Writing and Play

11. Shaving cream writing on the light table

Squirt a thin layer of shaving cream into a transparent dish, spread it flat, then use your fingers, a chopstick, or a paintbrush to write or draw in the shaving cream. This works a lot like drawing in shaving cream on the window. You could also write in sand on the light table or in salt.

Light Table Activities for Kids - Cutting practice with straws

12. Cutting practice on the light table

If you have a little one who needs to practice cutting with scissors, try cutting colorful straws on the light table. My kids made straw “soup” by adding the straws to a bowl of water. Other cutting practice ideas: yarn, playdough snakes, strips of paper.

Light Table Activities for Kids - Straws on the Light Table

13. Building with colored straws on the light table

A package of colored drinking straws is inexpensive but makes a great light table accessory. My 4 year old poked many straws into a ball of playdough when we first set up the light table and my older daughter built straw structures with playdough as the connectors. Grape Sculptures - try on the light tableIf you like the idea of building on the light table, you could also try some of these toothpick construction ideas (I think the grapes or the gumdrops would be especially pretty on the light table).

 

More cheap ways to use the light table (from around the web)

Everyday light table play (with lots of interesting and low-cost ideas!) on Teach Preschool

▪ Explore nature on the light table with homemade light catchers on Still Parenting

▪ And, oh my goodness, make a DIY black light table on Growing a Jeweled Rose!

Happy playing and creating!

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10 Ways to Have a More Creative Beach Trip :: Ocean Crafts for Kids http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/10-ways-creative-beach-trip-ocean-crafts-for-kids.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/10-ways-creative-beach-trip-ocean-crafts-for-kids.html#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 11:58:00 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=16053 We went to Folly Beach for the water and sand and sun, of course, but while there, we found ways to make it a creative week for the family as well with some ocean-inspired arts and crafts here and there. Some I had planned to do—I brought plaster of Paris for sandcasting, crayons for melted crayon... 

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10 Ocean Crafts for KidsWe went to Folly Beach for the water and sand and sun, of course, but while there, we found ways to make it a creative week for the family as well with some ocean-inspired arts and crafts here and there.

Some I had planned to do—I brought plaster of Paris for sandcasting, crayons for melted crayon sea shells, and watercolors for painting.

And some were unplanned but wonderful—a shell mandala on the beach, a 2-D sandcastle complete with ramparts and moat, love notes in the sand, the shapes some of our sand cast mementos took.

Here are 10 ways to have a more creative beach trip…

If you have a beach trip coming up, maybe you could make this one a little more creative than usual with some of these fun ideas.

If you’ve done your beach trip for the year,  pin this post to save for next time.

Some of these ideas can even be done at home—no beach necessary!

10 Ocean Crafts for Kids

Ocean Crafts - Shell Collecting and Sorting 3

1. Shell Collecting, Sorting, & Arranging

Chances are you and your kids already collect seashells when at the beach. This is one of those simple activities that we all seem to be drawn to.

While some might hold out for the perfect (whole) shells or the more rare specimens, my two children and their 5-year-old friend Emily were just as excited about the common shells and the many shell fragments they came across. The kids washed them off, sorted the shells by type, arranged them in an orderly way, traded them, and commented on the colors and patterns.

(As I mentioned in my post about our Folly Beach trip earlier this week, that shell collecting bag you see pictured is one I bought from Pure Play Kids last year. We also collected shells in our buckets. And a reader suggested making your own shell collecting bag by adding a rim and handle with duct tape to a mesh produce bag.)

Ocean Crafts for Kids - Melted Crayon Shells

2. Melted Crayon Shells

The idea for the melted crayon sea shells came from Asia at Fun at Home with Kids (who kindly referenced my melted crayon rock post as her inspiration). I’m so glad I came across her post because this was awesome! Fun to do and the results are just beautiful.

I have to admit I was initially skeptical about how well the melted crayon idea would work on shells as I didn’t think they would hold their heat well. But they did and it worked great.

Plus it’s a fun way to transform the more ordinary or weather beaten shells (and even shell fragments) into something special. The melted crayon worked especially well on the duller surfaces of the weathered shells.

Some of those shells in the center of the bottom photo are done with oil pastels on unheated shells, by the way. A good option if you don’t want to work with hot shells.

Ocean Crafts for Kids - Watercolor Resist Fish

3. Watercolor Resist Paintings of Fish and Ocean Scenes

We love our watercolor resist art activities! I brought a travel pack of oil pastels and some watercolor paints and paper so that we could do some painting if we felt like it while at the beach. A couple times during our week, I simply set the materials out on the table during our breaks from the beach and the kids would wander over in between pretend play or reading books.

First they drew pictures with oil pastel—fish and starfish scenes this time around—and then painted over their drawings with the watercolors for a lovely resist effect.

Ocean Crafts - Drawing and Writing in the Sand

4. Drawing and Writing in the Sand

What is more natural than wanting to make marks in the sand? Daphne and Emily drew sun rays around crab holes with their fingers; Maia and I wrote messages and love notes in the sand with feathers and reeds found on the beach.

Ocean Crafts for Kids - Sandcastles and Moats

5. Building Sandcastles and Moats in the Sand

Of course! Who doesn’t build a sandcastle at the beach? Or dig into the sand to create pathways and pools for the water… The beach is one giant sandbox and water play table combined, enticing us to shape and mold it into structures that will last just until the tide comes in.

Ocean Crafts - Land Art Sand Castle 2

6. 2-Dimensional Sandcastles (Drawing with Rocks and Shells)

We also made a large 2-dimensional sand castle by arranging rocks (actually dead coral pieces, I think) into walls, crenellation, doors, windows, and flags. And added decoration with seashells.

This was mostly a project by the grownups, while the kids were busy shaping 3-D rooms for themselves in the sand nearby, although they came to play in the moat when it was finished.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen this photo of Daphne, as queen of the castle.

7. Make a Shell Mandala

On another day, we made a shell mandala on the beach, with concentric circles of different colored seashells we found around us. This was a group effort, made in bits and pieces in between jumping the waves and stomping on the stomp rocket.

Here’s a good post about shell mandalas on Nurture Store if you’re interested in the idea and want more direction. Cathy talks about how they provide a good lesson in math and art and gives examples of different mandalas kids can make.

We really enjoy the mandala format and have done a lot with it over the years including flower petal suncatchers, a mandala drawing game, and autumn leaf mandalas. We haven’t delved into the symbolism too much (yet, anyway) but I find it fascinating that the mandala form is found so much in nature (think radiating flower petals, shells, spider webs, cells).

Ocean Crafts for Kids - Childrens Photography

8. Hand the Camera to Your Kids (Children’s Photography)

At one point, out on the Folly Beach Pier, Maia asked to take pictures with my camera. The resulting photos were interesting—a different perspective from my own and a great addition to the rest of the beach vacation photographs.

Ocean Crafts - Childrens Photography Series

Daphne, of course, also wanted a turn with the camera and I think her photos of her friend Emily and family are wonderful candid shots. Much more interesting that the straightlaced family portrait I had taken moments before.

I’ll have to remember to hand the camera to the kids more often!

(Or have them bring cameras of their own. Maia often uses our old Canon Powershot, although we forgot to bring it on this trip—oops. And Daphne has a Kidizoom camera that I bought her for Christmas last year not realizing that it was more video game than camera.)

Ocean Crafts - Beach Inspired Drawings

9. Ocean and Beach-Inspired Drawing

I brought the Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals with us to the beach and left it open to the sea animals a couple of times (alongside paper and pastels) and there was some drawing of turtles and such by the younger two.

But most of the beach trip-inspired drawing has happened since we left the beach. Maia, especially, has been drawing up a storm with images of everything from Loggerhead sea turtles, pelicans, starfish, and dolphins to sunny scenes of beach umbrellas on the sand.

Ocean Crafts - Sandcasting on the Beach

10. Sand Casting on the Beach

We love sand casting and have done it a few times before on the beach as well as in the sandbox. It’s a fun process and the finished sand cast makes a great beach memento.

I brought plaster of Paris with us knowing we’d like to try it again on this trip. To make it a bit easier this time, I pre-measured 4 cups of the dry plaster into each of 6 or 7 gallon-sized ziploc bags. This is definitely the way to go! It makes the process much smoother.

The plaster of Paris is mixed 2 parts dry plaster to 1 part water. So while on the beach, each person would simply take a bag of the pre-measured plaster, add an estimated 2 cups of sea water, close up the bag, and knead it with their hands to mix.

Here’s my original post about sand casting on the beach with the step-by-step instructions. Basically you dig a hole, add shells and other items face-down to the bottom and sides, pour in the wet plaster, then wait 30 minutes or so while it hardens before digging it out of the sand. We also like to add shells to the top of wet plaster for extra decoration and because the wet plaster just begs for more interaction.

This time, we got adventurous and tried various specific shapes, including hearts, spirals, a mandala, and hands. I love them!!

Ocean Crafts - Butterfly Hatching

11. Hatch and Release Butterflies

Number 11 is a bonus one and a bit of a cheat. Hatching butterflies doesn’t really have anything to do with the beach except that we brought our butterfly house and newly formed chrysalises along with us this year—by necessity, not by plan. (Our caterpillars were sent to us late this year because of the heat wave in California and arrived just before we left for the beach.)

We loved watching the butterflies hatch while at the beach and released them just before driving home to the mountains. It was a sweet way to say goodbye to the beach for the year.

How about you? What are your favorite ocean crafts for kids? Any other ideas to add creativity to a family beach vacations?

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Our Week on Folly Beach :: Activities and Photos http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/our-week-on-folly-beach-activities-photos.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/08/our-week-on-folly-beach-activities-photos.html#comments Sun, 03 Aug 2014 18:34:30 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=16018 As many of you know, our family spent this past week on Folly Beach. (We’ve been going to Folly almost every year since Maia was two. And usually share a beach house with friends for double the fun.) It’s been such a wonderful vacation! A week of soaking up the warm sun, breathing in the salty sea air,... 

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Dolphin Watching on Folly Beach

As many of you know, our family spent this past week on Folly Beach.

(We’ve been going to Folly almost every year since Maia was two. And usually share a beach house with friends for double the fun.)

It’s been such a wonderful vacation!

A week of soaking up the warm sun, breathing in the salty sea air, splashing in the waves, exploring the island, and lots of ocean-inspired creativity.

Today, I thought I’d share a few of the Folly Beach activities we’ve been enjoying and more than a few photos.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have gotten a sneak peek, but I just downloaded the photos from my camera and have more to share with you.

Folly Beach near the pier

First of all, where is Folly Beach, you might ask? 

Folly Beach is on a barrier island just 15 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina. (It’s a short drive if you want to go into Charleston for dinner, the aquarium, or sightseeing.)

Our Favorite Folly Beach Activities

Sunrise over the Folly Beach Pier

Watching the Sun Rise and Set

Looking back, my favorite parts were my morning walks on the beach to see the sunrise—sometimes with Maia, sometimes with the whole family, sometimes with our friends. The light was so beautiful! And it was a lovely, peaceful time to be on the beach.

Loggerhead Turtle Nesting Areas on Folly Beach

We also took a nice sunset beach walk (to check on the loggerhead turtle nesting sites) and wished we had done more evening beach walks.

(Note: If you have kids, bring along glow sticks or necklaces to hand out once it gets dark. They love them and it makes it much easier to keep track of the kiddos running around in the dark.)

Folly Beach Trip 2014 Playing on the Beach

Playing on the Beach (of course!)

We spent many lovely hours out on the beach every day, playing in the water and the sand…

Folly Beach Trip 2014 Body Boards

…”surfing” with body boards…

Folly Beach Trip 2014 Collecting Sea Shells

…collecting sea shells, sorting them, trading them, and making things with them…

(That shell collecting bag is one that I bought from Pure Play Kids last year, btw. Works great! If you want a cheap, DIY version, a reader shared that you can make one out of a mesh onion bag with a duct tape rim and handle.)

Folly Beach Trip 2014 Stomp Rockets

…playing with the stomp rocket (it’s perfect as a beach toy!), watching for dolphins, making moats and sandcastles, doing yet another round of sandcasting with plaster of Paris, walking, and wave jumping.

 

Folly Beach Trip 2014 Lighthouse

Visiting the Morris Island Lighthouse

We drove (and then walked) to the point to see the lighthouse one morning.

Folly Beach Trip 2014 Tree Graveyard

It was a magical walk and beach area with a sun bleached graveyard of trees on the beach, dark storm clouds above, and the lighthouse a beacon out on the water. We were hit by heavy rain and winds on our walk back (that quickly turned into a mad dash) but it still remains one of my favorite memories and images of the beach.

Folly Beach Trip 2014 The Lighthouse

I especially enjoyed the contrast of the natural beach with the bright graffiti art on a couple of the remaining building foundations.

Crabs and Wildlife on Folly Beach

Observing and Learning about Ocean and Beach Life

Daphne found a crab shell (or rather, a whole dried up crab), Maia later found a large Horseshoe crab shell, and we often saw lots of little (living) crabs near our beach house.

We observed pelicans and other shore birds, watched for dolphins (we usually see some in the morning along Folly Beach, but didn’t on this trip), and wanted very much to see newly-hatched Loggerhead turtles.

Folly Beach Trip 2014 Out on the Pier

The Folly Beach Pier

The Folly Beach Pier is a great place for a family stroll, people watching, fishing, and getting out over the water.

Folly Beach Trip 2014 Family Photo

We also used it for an impromptu photo shoot and our two families took turns capturing family pics. Even the kids got in on the action, although I think I’ll save those photos for a different post.

Charleston Water Taxi with Kids

Day Trip to Charleston

On our last day, we spent an afternoon in Charleston, first at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry (the kids had lots of fun but I didn’t think it compared all that favorably to other children’s museums we’ve been to) and then taking the water taxi as a boat tour of the harbor, with a jump-off at Market Street for pizza, ice cream, and people watching.

The best part?

Watching a pod of dolphins swim and jump close by as the boat left Market Street! I would highly recommend the water taxi to anyone visiting Charleston (with or without children).

Barefoot on Folly Beach

More of what we did during our week at Folly Beach

We swapped date nights with our friends during the week and got in a lovely fish dinner at the Crab Shack followed by another walk out on the Folly Beach Pier afterward.

I stayed back at the beach house one morning to participate in my first podcastWhile She Naps by Abby Glassenberg. The episode will air on August 18th and also includes Amie Plumley of Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids will Love to Make. So mark your calendar to tune in if you want to hear about creativity with kids, my all-time fave art material, and great tips on sewing with kids.

When not in the water or exploring the island, we read books, cooked, watched our butterflies hatch, played some of our favorite games (Color Go Fish and Catan, Jr.) and learned a couple of new ones our friends brought—Suspend (awesome! just ordered a set for ourselves), and Gobblet Gobblers, which the kids loved but I didn’t get a chance to try.

And, of course, we tried our hand at a variety of ocean arts and crafts activities (which I’ll share with you in my next post!).

How about you? Have you been to Folly Beach? What are your favorite family beach activities (on Folly or any beach)?

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