The Artful Parent http://artfulparent.com Kids Art & Family Creativity Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:02:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 A Sticker Resist Art Project for Kids :: Houses and Cities http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/sticker-resist-art-project-for-kids.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/sticker-resist-art-project-for-kids.html#respond Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:33:47 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=18221 Since doing the glue resist winter art project last week, we’ve been trying a couple of other winter art ideas, including another version of the sticker resist starry night sky. With this one, we used the star stickers as before, but also used some other stationery store stickers to create houses, sky scrapers, and cars....

Read More »

The post A Sticker Resist Art Project for Kids :: Houses and Cities appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
Sticker Resist Art Project for Kids

Since doing the glue resist winter art project last week, we’ve been trying a couple of other winter art ideas, including another version of the sticker resist starry night sky.

With this one, we used the star stickers as before, but also used some other stationery store stickers to create houses, sky scrapers, and cars. All with the starry night sky background.

Here’s how we did it ::

A Sticker Resist Art Project for Kids

This post contains affiliate links.MATERIALS

  • Watercolor paper (or white posterboard/cardstock)
  • Stationery store stickers, such as labels of different sizes, foil stars, and circles
  • Scissors
  • Washi tape (optional)
  • Something to draw with (optional)
  • Watercolor paints (we used liquid watercolors but you could also use watercolor cakes in a tin)
  • Salt (optional)

Sticker Resist Art Project for Kids - with stationery store stickers

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Use the stationery store stickers to create a house (or skyscraper, cityscape, car, robot, trees, boat, rocket ship, etc). You can assemble a variety of labels and other stickers as desired and even cut some of them into the shape you would like. (We cut out a couple of crescent moons. And some triangles for house roofs.) Add star stickers for a night sky effect.

Tip :: To make the stickers easier to remove later, press each against your pants first before pressing it to your paper.

Sticker Resist Art Project for Kids - Houses and Windows

For an optional step, you can draw details on your sticker collage artwork as Daphne did.

Painting over the sticker resist art

2. Paint over and around your sticker house with watercolor paint for the night sky. Sprinkle salt on the wet watercolors if desired for a starry look.

Painting over the sticker resist art

If, like Daphne, you (or your child) would prefer to paint the sticker houses rather than the surrounding paper/sky, that’s okay too!

Sticker Resist Art Project - Houses, Skyscrapers, Cars

3. Let dry. Brush off the excess salt then lift off the stickers and washi tape, revealing the sticker scene.

Sticker Resist Art Project for Kids - Peeling off the stickers

Daphne removed her windows.

If desired, you can trace the buildings and add detail at this point with a pen or pencil.

Sticker Resist Art Project for Kids - Houses, Skyscrapers, Trees, Cars

How about you? Do you have some stationery store stickers you could use for a sticker resist art project for kids?

And if your kids like stickers (I don’t know too many that don’t), here are some more sticker ideas…

12+ Sticker Art Projects for Kids

12 More Sticker Art Projects for Kids

  1. Sticker-inspired drawing
  2. Starry night sky paintings
  3. A sticker art collage with geometric stickers
  4. Make your own contact paper stickers
  5. More DIY stickers
  6. Hole challenge art with stickers
  7. Keeping toddlers busy with a sticker art activity
  8. Sticker-inspired art with geometric stickers
  9. Roller printing with foam stickers
  10. Repositionable wall stickers
  11. Painting stickers from the stationery store
  12. Decorate bodies and dolls with stickers

Pin It ::

Sticker Resist Art Project for Kids - Houses, cities, trees, cars

The post A Sticker Resist Art Project for Kids :: Houses and Cities appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/sticker-resist-art-project-for-kids.html/feed 0
A Quicker and Easier Way to Make a Photo Book http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/quicker-easier-way-make-photo-book.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/quicker-easier-way-make-photo-book.html#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:49:29 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=18273 I’ve been creating photo books for years. First of trips my husband and I took before we married and then of our family afterward. Admittedly, the time and effort I’ve been able to put into photo books has dropped (dramatically) over the years as I’ve gotten busier with family responsibilities and my work. There are...

Read More »

The post A Quicker and Easier Way to Make a Photo Book appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
Make a Photo Book - quicker and easier!

This post contains affiliate links.I’ve been creating photo books for years.

First of trips my husband and I took before we married and then of our family afterward.

Admittedly, the time and effort I’ve been able to put into photo books has dropped (dramatically) over the years as I’ve gotten busier with family responsibilities and my work. There are way more photo books of child #1 than child #2. I still mean to rectify that and now I may have found the perfect solution.

A quicker and easier way to make a photo book.

Tell me more, you say?

I was recently approached by Montage to try out their simplified photo book making process and write about it.

To Make a photo book with Montage, simply upload photos then click the button

A screenshot of my Montage photo book process

Their deal—You simply upload your photos and their system will shuffle them into an attractive layout with the photos roughly organized chronologically.

That’s it.

You could click the checkout button straight away if you wanted to.

Or you have the option of tweaking a bit.

Somehow their system knows which photos work better in which formats or sizes. It gives preference to the portraits or group photos for the full-page spreads and the larger photo locations. And it picks good contenders for the front cover.

Shuffle Cover

Here’s a screenshot of the initial front cover the Montage system came up with for my book. See the “shuffle cover” button? Click that and it’ll put in new photos and a new layout. Pretty neat. Hover your mouse over an individual photo and you have the option of deleting it from the cover (or page).

Montage Photo Book

I liked the photos Montage picked for my book cover but decided to go with something a bit simpler this time.

By the way, this book was created with photos from our Thanksgiving with my sister- and brother-in-law and their kids. I wanted a memento for each family, and especially for the cousins to look at and remember each other and the good times they had together.

Your Montage Book - Screenshot of bookmaking process

You can go with the layout as is and check out and you’d be in good hands. I think the Montage program did a pretty good job with mine (above).

Even so, you can do as I did and tweak the layout a bit by moving photos around or changing the numbers or sizes of photos on a page.

You can change the theme, adding white space or different backgrounds.

And you can even add text if you like.

The whole process was pretty quick, even with a bit of tweaking.

Montage Photo Book

The slowest part for me was choosing the photos to use for the book.

And uploading the photos. But since I was giving it crazy big images (5,000-7,000 megabyte ), I’m not surprised.

The books are reasonably priced (they start at $39) and include up to 70 pages and 180 photos. (No additional fees for each additional page over 20, the way I’ve been used to with other photo books!)

All in all, just what a busy mom could ask for. A quicker and easier way to make a photo book.

I was so excited when the photo book arrived!

Montage Photo Book in Package

The book was so nicely packaged and presented. (I’m a sucker for good presentation.)

And the book is very high quality with thick pages and a lovely leather cover.

Montage Photo Book Pages

I meant to bring the photo book on our trip to Raleigh this past weekend so I could share the photos with our family.

Montage Photo Book Pages

But since I forgot, I’ve decided that I’ll just have to order a second copy to send them as a gift.

Oh, and one for each of the grandmas.

Montage Photo Book

If you’d like to make a photo book with Montage yourself, you can click here to get started or to check out their site.

Pin It ::

A quicker and easier way to make a photo book

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

The post A Quicker and Easier Way to Make a Photo Book appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/quicker-easier-way-make-photo-book.html/feed 4
Musical Gifts for Kids http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/musical-gifts-kids.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/musical-gifts-kids.html#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:27:29 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=18229 This post is written by Kari Richmond, a music teacher, friend, and mother. Have you thought about giving your child a musical gift this holiday season?  As a musician, mother of two, and Music Together teacher, I’m happy to offer some thoughts to help you choose a musical gift that your little one can truly enjoy....

Read More »

The post Musical Gifts for Kids appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
Choosing Musical Gifts for Kids

This post is written by Kari Richmond, a music teacher, friend, and mother.

Have you thought about giving your child a musical gift this holiday season? 

As a musician, mother of two, and Music Together teacher, I’m happy to offer some thoughts to help you choose a musical gift that your little one can truly enjoy.

Parents in my classes often ask about appropriate instruments for their small children, along with questions about when to start formal music instruction, etc. 

Musical Instrument Recommendations for ChildrenI’ll never forget the moment after one of my classes when a mom asked me where she could possibly find a child-sized sousaphone for her 3-year-old son.  A quick search on the internet turned up nothing on child-sized sousaphones, unfortunately.

This question really made me think about instruments for little ones.  The sorts of instruments that I see in  children’s stores are often poor quality (most instrument “sets”), or seem a bit too complicated (accordions), too fragile (steel drums), or flat-out poorly made (most children’s “xylophones”).

And back to thinking about my budding Sousaphone-player… most children under the age of 6 are not ready to receive serious instruction on a wind instrument (particularly a very large one).  String and percussion instruments can sometimes be a bit more accessible for small children, but you probably don’t want to put a good quality violin or snare drum in the path of a toddler or preschooler.  Cheap instruments are usually lacking in tone quality and durability, and the frustration of broken or bad-sounding instruments can quickly “turn off” a child to musical play.

I share the Music Together philosophy (and Jean’s philosophy with visual art!) that children learn so much more efficiently and joyfully through open-ended play and self-guided exploration than they learn from sit-still formal instruction.  Just as young children benefit from open access to good-quality art supplies and mess-making space, they also benefit greatly from free access to good quality, durable musical instruments that they can explore and make nice sounds on without formal instruction.

So what are some good options?

Musical Gifts for Kids

Disclaimer: This is by no means a definitive guide!  It started out as an e-mail response to a specific parent and turned into an epic article attempting to encompass most of my family’s experiences with musical instrumentes.  I don’t have any sponsorships or relationships with any of the companies or websites mentioned below.

Recorder

Wind instruments ::

Real brass instruments (trumpets, trombones, tubas, etc) and woodwind instruments (flutes, oboes, saxophones, etc) would be problematic for the typical kiddo under age 7 or 8. I wouldn’t hand one of those to my 9-year-old without close supervision.  These instruments require reasonably mature lungs and diaphragm, plus finger coordination to play them AND reasonably mature behavior to take proper care of them.

Fortunately, there are some lower cost wind instruments that can make nice tones fairly easily (once your child gets over the initial excitement of being able to make Very Loud High Noises) and will also teach your child to control her breathing, facial muscles, and fingers simply through her exploration and discovery of the instrument.

Professional quality recorders can run up into the $100s of dollars and be made of exotic wood, but you don’t need that.  You can find quite decent instruments for less than $10 online.  Start with a simple plastic or resin soprano recorder, which will sound like a flute.  I’m told a recorder with German fingering is easier for children to learn than one with Baroque fingering.  You can find two- and three-piece instruments, but for a young child (ages 2-6), the simplest one-piece instrument is sufficient… and you won’t have to worry about losing pieces.

Yamaha YRS-23 Soprano Recorder with German Fingering  Harmonica and Kazoo

Tudor Candy Apple Soprano Recorders

Other fun options for small children (ages 1-6) are harmonicas and kazoos.  Great stocking stuffers: relatively cheap, but fun to explore.  You can often find these easily at your local toy store, but do spend more than $5 on a harmonica if you want one that will last longer than a week.  I prefer real metal to plastic for durability and the nice heft in one’s hands.

Saxaflute

And what about one of these fun contraptions? A saxoflute! You build your own wind instrument in any number of configurations—what a great way for small engineers to get their building fix AND be able to make noise afterward!

Keyboard

Piano and keyboard ::

Some of my piano teacher friends might give me the stink-eye if they read this, but I think for young children, cheap little keyboards from yard sales and/or box stores can be fun and valuable from a musical play and exploration.

Both of my children have gotten hours of fun and invaluable self-teaching by playing with the different “drumbeats,” tonal voices, and other features of their $30 Casio keyboard.  They’ve taught themselves how to play familiar songs in various keys and even started exploring harmony, all on their own. My 9-year-old still enjoys it, though he now spends more time playing our actual piano.

Of course, if your child wants to pursue formal piano study, you will eventually need to invest in a real piano or good quality keyboard with weighted keys.  Many children are physically mature enough in their hands and fingers to begin piano study around age 6, but if your little one is still getting a kick out of exploring on his own and he sings all the time, there’s no rush. Before your child begins formal lessons, you want to be sure he is emotionally mature enough to sit still for a 30 minute lesson and practice at home.

Ukelele

String instruments ::

Big guitars are hard for little kids to play!  They’re a little hard for ME to play with my petite hands.   If you don’t mind letting your toddler explore the $15 guitar you picked up at a yard sale, then that’s a great option.

If you want to start out with a good quality instrument that your 5-year-old actually has a chance of learning to play, you can look into getting a soprano ukelele. A 2-year-old could play with the ukelele; a 4- or 5-year-old might start to be able to be able to actually play the ukelele. Ukes make a sweet mellow sound, and they’re easier than guitars for several reasons.  They only have 4 strings, verses the 6 strings of a guitar, and on a soprano ukelele, the strings and frets are place closer together – easier for small hands to manage.  The synthetic strings are much easier on fingertips than the hard steel strings of a guitar.  And the instrument is just smaller and lighter.

You can probably easily find a cheap $20 uke at your nearest big box store, but with a uke, you generally get what you pay for.  If it’s for your 2-year-old, who is going to stand on it and sling it around, then $20 is probably the most you want to pay.  If you want an instrument with decent tone and durability that will stay in tune (after the initial 2-3 day period of strings stretching out), you’ll need to pay at least $65.

Here’s a neat article with general recommendations for beginners.

Reportedly good ukuleles ::

kala ka-s ukulele

Makala series ukulele

Drums and Percussion Instruments

Drums ::

I’m a drummer myself, so these are my favorites!  First let me say, you don’t have to have actual drums to enjoy some percussive music-making!  I have a big plastic box full of pans, ice cube trays, measuring cups, and long-handled plastic spoons that I periodically hand out in my Music Together classes for a big “kitchen instrument” jam.

If you want to go for the real thing, hand drums are marvelous for small children to learn coordination and to explore sound, tone, and rhythm.  I don’t like to give drumsticks to kids younger than 6. You just don’t need sticks to play a drum!  The tactile experience of actually touching the instrument you’re playing is neurologically very important.  There’s also just the safety issue; drumsticks and eyeballs do not get along!  Infants and toddlers in my classes enjoy small drums that sit on the floor so they can play with both hands.

I’ve found that Remo Kids drums and Rhythm Club drums with synthetic heads are durable, make consistently decent sounds, and feel nice on the hands.  I don’t like drums with shiny plastic heads – the tone quality is poor, and those heads dent easily.  Drums with real skin heads can be tricky, as the tension and tone quality can change drastically with humidity and barometric changes.

Good Quality Drums for Kids

These Remo Rhythm Club drums would be appropriate for babies who can sit upright to elementary school-aged kids ::

Remo Rhythm Club Floor Tom  10X5 Inches

Remo Rhythm Club Bongos  

Hand Held Drums for Kids

For good quality hand-held drums (for ages 3 and up), I like the Remo Rainforest drums, 8 inches or bigger.

If you want a drum the entire family can play together, check out gathering drums!

Djembe Drums

For kids 4 and older, sturdy djembes are really fun.  Little ones can sit in a chair and prop the drum between your legs, hang it from a cord around your shoulders, or even (within reason) lay it down on the floor and sit on it like riding a horse.

I’ve used the Medium size Schalloch djembe and the Remo rainforest djembe in my Big Kids classes (5-7 yr olds), and I always have the kids sit on the drums.  These have held up very well!

CajonOr a fascinating, lower cost option for little ones, the “bongo cajon,” which reportedly features a really wide array of sounds and can just sit on the floor in easy reach of your small one, as long as she can sit up.

Musical Experiences ::

Many families I know are striving to cut down on the amount of STUFF in their homes, so if buying an actual product is not your thing this year, consider giving your child the gift of musical experiences together!  Present her with tickets to the next local symphony concert—a wonderful opportunity to dress up and do a “grown-up” evening on the town.  Or, for lower cost alternatives, check out your local high school and university music departments.  Most schools offer very low-cost or free concerts that are open to the public throughout each semester.

About Kari Richmond

Kari Richmond, Musician and Music TeacherKari has been playing and teaching music since she can remember and founded Asheville Area Music Together in 2006. Kari is a dynamic and engaging teacher who creates a warm, fun classroom environment. In addition to her Music Together classes for the little folks, she teaches private piano and percussion lessons to students of all ages. Married to fellow percussionist Matthew Richmond, she is mom to 9-year-old Isaac and 4-year-old Cora.

Note :: You can read my interview with Kari on raising musical children here.

Pin this article ::

Musical Gifts for Kids - A Music Teachers Guide

The post Musical Gifts for Kids appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/musical-gifts-kids.html/feed 6
Winter Art for Kids :: Glue Resist Snowman Paintings http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/winter-art-for-kids-glue-resist-snowman-paintings.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/winter-art-for-kids-glue-resist-snowman-paintings.html#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 16:10:15 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=18164 We made glue resist paintings a couple of months ago—spiderwebs for Halloween—and loved the process and the product. So now that winter is here, I thought we could give the glue resist art idea another try, this time with snow as the theme. Here’s how we did it… Winter Art for Kids :: Glue Resist...

Read More »

The post Winter Art for Kids :: Glue Resist Snowman Paintings appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
Winter Art for Kids - Glue Resist Paintings

We made glue resist paintings a couple of months ago—spiderwebs for Halloween—and loved the process and the product.

So now that winter is here, I thought we could give the glue resist art idea another try, this time with snow as the theme.

Here’s how we did it…

Winter Art for Kids :: Glue Resist Snowman Paintings

Materials for Winter Art Project

This post contains affiliate links.MATERIALS

Making a Glue Resist Snowman - with Beaded Decoration

INSTRUCTIONS

1. “Draw” your snow picture by squeezing the glue out in your desired design or picture. We made snowmen, snowflakes, snow-covered Christmas trees, and more.

Note :: Toddlers and young preschoolers will likely find it easier to squeeze the mini glue bottles.

Making a Glue Resist Snowman Painting with Bead Decoration

If your child doesn’t want to squeeze at all, you can provide a pot of glue and a paint brush and let them paint the glue on (as Daphne did).

Bead Decoration on Snowman Art

2. Press the beads, sequins, and googly eyes into the glue to decorate the snowman, Christmas tree, snowflake, or abstract design (optional).

3. Let the glue dry completely. Ours dried overnight but it might be more or less time for you depending on how enthusiastically or thickly the glue was applied.

Glue Resist Snowman

4. Paint around and over the glue picture with watercolor paints. I found it easier to paint the paper with water first (in sections) then apply the watercolor paint.

Salt on Watercolor Paint for Snow Crystal Effect

If you like a more snow-like effect—in a night sky for example—then sprinkle salt over the still-wet watercolor paint.

Winter Art for Kids - Glue Resist Paintings

5. Let the paint dry, then brush off any salt.

Framed Winter Art

6. Admire and display! We hung ours in a special kind of frame that was sent to us to try out a few months ago and that we have been loving and using since.

The frame is made by Articulate Gallery, a UK company, and they’ve started selling in the US recently.

The frame we have is a double, although they also sell singles and triples. It’s high quality painted wood, very sturdy, and open at the front (so some 3-dimensionality is okay in the kids’ artwork displayed) and also open at one side to make it super easy to change out the artworks in the frame.

Did I say I love it? I like it so much, in fact, both for functionality and looks that I’m considering putting together a whole gallery wall of these!

Winter Art for Kids :: 12 More Ideas11+ Ideas for Winter Art for Kids

What are your favorite ways to make Christmas art or winter art with kids?

Pin It ::

Winter Art for Kids - Glue Resist Snowman

The post Winter Art for Kids :: Glue Resist Snowman Paintings appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/winter-art-for-kids-glue-resist-snowman-paintings.html/feed 4
The Toys and Tools We Want Our Kids to Have (+ A Giveaway!) http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/quality-toys-for-creative-childhood.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/quality-toys-for-creative-childhood.html#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 13:36:45 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=18127 Some of our favorite toys and tools come from Imagine Childhood. I think it’s the combination of real and quality that makes us love them so much. They are the kinds of quality toys and non-toys we really want our children to have. Heck, they are the kinds of things we wish we had had as...

Read More »

The post The Toys and Tools We Want Our Kids to Have (+ A Giveaway!) appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
The best quality toys and tools for a creative childhood

This post contains affiliate links.Some of our favorite toys and tools come from Imagine Childhood.

I think it’s the combination of real and quality that makes us love them so much. They are the kinds of quality toys and non-toys we really want our children to have. Heck, they are the kinds of things we wish we had had as kids.

Everything I have bought from Imagine Childhood over the last year or so has become a truly valued part of our household. Appreciated for function, quality, and looks. I’m not exaggerating. This is the best.

Quality Toys from Imagine Childhood - drawing table, bake set, night lights, stuffed animals

The drawing desk is something that sees use daily.

The little woodland twilight animal lights are magical and live close to each child at night.

The tea set is used regularly for tea parties with friends, both real and inanimate.

Mini Muffin Tin

The baking dishes are used whenever we make muffins, banana bread, cakes, and pies.

The tabletop paper cutter is sturdy and easy to use.

The best stuffed animals ever

Even the stuffed animals (“just toys”) are of the few that never go out of circulation.

Stowaway Bunny

They even come with us on camping trips!

I can’t recommend Imagine Childhood enough. I even feel a little evangelical about them. And I’m so happy and relieved that there’s a shop out there like this one to counter all the cheap plastic stuff out there.

Quality Toys from Imagine Childhood - Globe, caming ware, felt crown, and bird bingo

If you can keep a secret, here’s what I bought as Christmas gifts for my family this year ::

If you’d like to buy some of the lovely high quality toys and tools from Imagine Childhood for your kids, visit their shop here. Or, if you want to check out their selection in a lovely magazine-like format, see their new LookBook.

They are a small family run business, have been Artful Parent sponsors off and on in the past, and this is a sponsored post (as always, all opinions expressed are my own).

Here’s what they say about themselves ::

Imagine Childhood is a family owned and operated company specializing in earth-friendly goods, craft and activity tutorials and educational supplies that support and nurture the magic of childhood. Our carefully curated collection focuses on products that inspire children to create, imagine, and explore. With an emphasis on quality materials, our toys and tools are made for real kids and real adventures.

Imagine Childhood Book and Gift Certificate Giveaway

By the way, Imagine Childhood is also offering a giveaway of a $100 gift certificate and a copy of the book, Imagine Childhood: Exploring the World Through Nature, Imagination, and Play by Sarah Olmsted to one lucky reader. See below for details and to enter.

Imagine Childhood Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Readers who leave a comment to this post by Monday, December 15th at 11:59pm EST will be entered to win the $100 gift certificate to the Imagine Childhood store and a copy of Sarah Olmsted’s book, Imagine Childhood. Winner will be chosen randomly by rafflecopter and announced here on Tuesday the 16th (I will also e-mail the winner). Giveaway open to readers everywhere who are over age 18.

Good luck!

Pin It :: 

Awesome quality toys and tools for kids

The post The Toys and Tools We Want Our Kids to Have (+ A Giveaway!) appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/quality-toys-for-creative-childhood.html/feed 404
An Online Digital Photography Class http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/online-digital-photography-class.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/online-digital-photography-class.html#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:52:44 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=18046 You all know how excited I was when I finally figured out how to use my DSLR camera and take it off auto. Well, after I took the photography class that made that happen, I was so pumped about learning photography that I bought another Craftsy class on digital photography. This one is called Basics of...

Read More »

The post An Online Digital Photography Class appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
Learn the Basics of Digital Photography with an online clas

You all know how excited I was when I finally figured out how to use my DSLR camera and take it off auto. Well, after I took the photography class that made that happen, I was so pumped about learning photography that I bought another Craftsy class on digital photography.

This one is called Basics of Digital Photography.

And while all the other Craftsy classes I’ve been taking have been free for me (lucky, I know), this isn’t one that Craftsy had asked for a review or anything. Just me being super excited and wanting to learn more.

However, when I said I’d like to review another of their photography classes, they asked me to do this one. Perfect! 

Taking an Online Digital Photography Class

Okay, so the lowdown on this online digital photography class ::

The teacher, Rick Allred, is an instructor with the Santa Fe Photographic Workshop and is both casual and engaging. He walks us through the parts and settings of a digital camera and then specific photographic techniques. You get the sense he’s there with you, taking you step-by-step through concepts and techniques in oh-so-picturesque Santa Fe—one of the places I would love to live.

He is very methodical (in a good way) in walking you through the various photography lessons—such as showing the same subject with a few different settings (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc) so you can see the results of each and learn that you have control over how your photo looks and the effect you are going for. He basically teaches that there’s not one right or wrong way to take photographs, but demonstrates the differences you can create with different settings.

The lesson on action shots where he had a subject jump up in the air, twirl, and run across the scene was particularly fun. He showed the different settings you could use if you wanted her blurry for effect or if you wanted to capture her completely crisp in mid air.

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.

Maia Drawing a Still Life

That said, I still have a lot to learn. I’d like to say I’ve completely mastered digital photography, but the fact is that it doesn’t come naturally yet. I’m still juggling the info in the my head and still taking photos that could use improvement.

But I’m glad to be learning!! And I’m not afraid to fiddle with the camera settings anymore to better capture the shot!

Here are some of the photos I took over Thanksgiving of my daughters and their adorable cousins, Sophia and Zoe.

Portrait of Maia

Kids Drawing

Zoe Drawing

Portrait of Sophia

Portrait of Zoe

Portrait of Zoe

In case you’re wondering, here are the lessons that are included in this online class ::

The Lessons in Basics of Digital Photography

Lesson 1 :: Get to Know Your Camera

Lesson 2 :: Light & Exposure

Lesson 3 :: Shutter Speed

Lesson 4 :: Aperture

Lesson 5 :: ISO

Lesson 6 :: Shooting Modes

Lesson 7 :: Lenses

Lesson 8 :: Composition & Creativity

Lesson 9 :: Putting it all Together

Whether you have a DSLR camera that you’d like to learn how to use better, or you are planning to get one soon (as a gift perhaps), I recommend this class. It’s been very helpful to me.

Basics of Digital Photography Online Class

Basics of Digital Photography

The class is normally priced at $59.99 but Craftsy is offering Artful Parent readers a special half-off deal so you can sign up for the class today at $29.99! The half-off deal is good through Wednesday, December 10th at 11:59 pm MST.

And like all of the Craftsy classes, you can buy it now and then you have lifetime access to it. So you can take the class anytime, as slowly or as quickly as you like, at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. And you can re-watch/retake sections of the class if you like anytime.

You can even give this class as a gift. Pretty cool. Just click the green button on the right hand side of the photography class page that says, “Buy as a Gift.”

How about you? Would you consider taking an online digital photography class?

Pin it ::

Taking an Online Digital Photography Class

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

The post An Online Digital Photography Class appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/online-digital-photography-class.html/feed 10
The Surprising Gift that all the Kids Loved http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/open-ended-toys-for-kids.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/open-ended-toys-for-kids.html#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 11:00:53 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=17987 Do you know how sometimes you’re sure that a toy will be a hit but sadly it barely gets used before it’s broken or ignored? But then sometimes there’s a toy that you might not expect to be a favorite but that the kids absolutely love and gravitate toward and use in all different kinds of ways?...

Read More »

The post The Surprising Gift that all the Kids Loved appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
The Gift that All the Kids Loved - In Praise of Open Ended Toys

Do you know how sometimes you’re sure that a toy will be a hit but sadly it barely gets used before it’s broken or ignored?

But then sometimes there’s a toy that you might not expect to be a favorite but that the kids absolutely love and gravitate toward and use in all different kinds of ways? And that other children who come over want to play with it, too?

Do you have that experience with kids’ toys?

Mama May I Flower Toy

We had that experience with a flower toy that I bought from Mama May I last spring. We gave it to my niece Zoe for her first birthday, knowing how little kids like to put things in and out of holes and also thinking it looked kind of pretty. But not giving it a whole lot of thought beyond that.

Mama May I Flower Toy - An Open Ended Toy

It’s been such a hit!

Mama May I Flower Toy

Not only with the one year old, but also with her big sister, and both of their friends.

The four cousins all played with it during our birthday visit.

Mama May I Flower Toy

My sister-in-law, Jenny, says that the flower toy is the one gift that has gotten consistent use over the last half year.

Zoe, her 4-year-old sister Sophia, and their friends all play with it over and over and in all different kinds of ways.

Flowers and awesome wooden toys for kids by Mama May I

Jenny thanked me. And thanked me again. She says she would never have bought something like that herself (partly because she’s not a fake flower kind of person) and would never have guessed that the kids would like it.

Frankly, I had forgotten about the flower toy altogether until Jenny raved about it and asked me where I had bought it.

So I searched my photo archives to see if I had some usable photos of the kids using the flower gift.

I hadn’t brought my camera on that trip, so all the photos are from my phone, but they were decent enough so I thought I ought to do a public service announcement sort of post. From one parent to another. Especially since we all have gift giving on our minds right now.

My Little Nurture Box

Here’s the flower toy if you want to learn more about it or buy one. It’s called My Little Nurture Box on the Mama May I site.

Mama May I sells handmade wooden toys for kids as well as a few non-wooden things. Their focus is on learning toys and they sell a lot of open ended toys as well that are great for creative play.

Open Ended Toys for Kids that we love

Some of our favorite open ended toys from Mama May I have been ::

Mama May I is a small family-owned business run by Jessica Perkins. She has been a sponsor on The Artful Parent in the past, although this is not a sponsored post.

I’ve written several posts about her products over the last couple of years if you want to check them out…

Open Ended Toys for Kids by Mama May I

What are your children’s favorite open ended toys?

UPDATE :: When I told Jessica that I was posting about her flower toy, she offered to add a discount for Artful Parent readers.

Use Code ARTFULHOLIDAY to qualify for 15% off your purchase of $30 or more AND be entered to win $100 Gift Card! Giveaway ends Monday Dec 8th when winner will be announced. The coupon code will work until the end of the year.

The post The Surprising Gift that all the Kids Loved appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
http://artfulparent.com/2014/12/open-ended-toys-for-kids.html/feed 3
11 Simple Kids Activities for Mixed Ages http://artfulparent.com/2014/11/simple-kids-activities.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/11/simple-kids-activities.html#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:06:53 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=17932 Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! I hope you are having a lovely day filled with whatever you like to do on Thanksgiving. We are baking pies and other yummy foods in preparation for our Thanksgiving meal, watching snow fall outside, and looking forward to seeing family who are driving in today. Maia and Daphne are super...

Read More »

The post 11 Simple Kids Activities for Mixed Ages appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
11 Simple Kids Activities for a Range of Ages

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

This post contains affiliate links.I hope you are having a lovely day filled with whatever you like to do on Thanksgiving.

We are baking pies and other yummy foods in preparation for our Thanksgiving meal, watching snow fall outside, and looking forward to seeing family who are driving in today. Maia and Daphne are super excited to see their cousins!

Since many of us have a range of ages in our houses over the holiday, as we are, I thought I’d put together some simple kids activities that work for a mix of ages.

11 Simple Kids Activities for Mixed AgesAnd since I can’t leave well enough alone, I’m giving you a nice short list of ideas and then I expand on many of the ideas. Stick with the short list if you just want a something quick; head on to the longer list if you want a few more ideas for simple kids activities…

11 Simple Kids Activities for Mixed Ages (the quick list)

1. Playdough play and modeling

2. Toothpick construction

3. Open-ended drawing activities

4. Drawing games

5. Sensory exploration and play

6. Build a fort!

7. Smaller scale building

8. Get started on holiday crafts

9. Play some favorite games

10. Watch a family movie

11. Light table play

11 Simple Kids Activities for Mixed Ages (the longer list)

A couple of playdough turkeys!

A photo posted by Jean Van’t Hul (@jeanvanthul) on


1. Playdough play and modeling

Simple Kids Activities - Toothpick Construction

2. Toothpick construction (lots of different ideas here! including edible ones…)

Simple Kids Activities - Double Doodle

3. Open-ended drawing activities

Simple Kids Activities - Drawing Games

4. Drawing games

Simple Kids Activities - Sensory Activities

5. Sensory exploration and play

Simple Kids Activities - Build a Fort

6. Build a fort!

Simple Kids Activities - Construction

7. Smaller scale construction

Simple Kids Activities - Christmas Crafts

8. Get started on holiday ornaments or decorations

Simple Kids Activities - Play Games

9. Play some favorite games

Simple Kids Activities - Family Movies

10. Family movie night 

Simple Kids Activities - Light Table

11. Light table play 

  • Remember you can make a super simple light table with a transparent plastic storage box and a string of white lights!

How about you? What are your favorite simple kids activities for mixed ages?

The post 11 Simple Kids Activities for Mixed Ages appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
http://artfulparent.com/2014/11/simple-kids-activities.html/feed 3
Make Handmade Wrapping Paper with Foam Stickers http://artfulparent.com/2014/11/handmade-wrapping-paper-ideas.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/11/handmade-wrapping-paper-ideas.html#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:57:58 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=17843 Have you tried making handmade wrapping paper with your kids? We’ve done it quite a bit, with different techniques each time, and it’s always satisfying! Plus I love that we get to be creative in the gift wrap too, whether the gift inside the package is handmade or store bought. This past weekend, we got...

Read More »

The post Make Handmade Wrapping Paper with Foam Stickers appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
Easy Handmade Wrapping Paper

Have you tried making handmade wrapping paper with your kids?

We’ve done it quite a bit, with different techniques each time, and it’s always satisfying!

Plus I love that we get to be creative in the gift wrap too, whether the gift inside the package is handmade or store bought.

Gift with Handmade Wrapping Paper

This past weekend, we got a head start on our Christmas wrapping paper, partly because we needed a fun art activity and partly because I’ve been wanting to try a rolling pin stamp idea I had seen on Thrive 360 Living.

The idea is to affix foam stickers to a rolling pin and then to print wrapping paper by rolling the sticker-covered rolling pin over the paper.

It worked better than I could have imagined! And was so fun!

Here’s how to do it, plus tips and tricks, and a new way to do it that doesn’t involve your favorite rolling pin.

This post is part of a round-robin series by the Rockin’ Art Moms. At the end of the post you’ll find 7 more handmade wrapping paper ideas from other members!

Make Handmade Wrapping Paper with Foam Stickers

Printing Materials

This post contains affiliate links.MATERIALS

  • Foam stickers (such as star stickers, flower stickers, or an assortment of shapes)
  • Rolling pin*
  • Wax paper
  • Tape (masking or scotch)
  • Butcher paper, easel paper, or other large paper
  • Water soluble block printing ink (you can use paint, but it doesn’t work quite as well)
  • Acrylic box frame (or an old baking dish)
  • Mini trim paint roller (found in the paint section of the hardware store)
  • Pens or markers

INSTRUCTIONS

Foam Stickers on a Rolling Pin to Make Handmade Wrapping Paper

1.Create your printing roller designs.

Method A.) Wrap wax paper around the rolling pin and secure with tape. Press foam stickers to the wax paper in any pattern desired.

Method B.) Press foam stickers to a cardboard tube in any pattern desired.

Note :: We used some foam stickers that CraftProjectIdeas.com had sent us but you can also buy similar stickers at craft stores or online.

2. Tape down a sheet of butcher paper or other large sheet of paper to your table or floor.

Handmade Wrapping Paper with Foam Stickers on Cardboard Tube

3. Squeeze a dollop of printing ink onto the acrylic box frame. Use the paint roller to roll the ink around, creating an even and smooth layer of ink.

We used regular printing ink, but would love to give this project a try with this metallic printing ink… (Just ordered some!)

**Note :: You can use paint instead, such as acrylic paint or BioColors, if that’s what you have. We’ve done it both ways. The ink works better as it’s stickier but the paint works okay, too.

Using the Rolling Pin to Make Wrapping Paper

4. Roll the sticker-covered rolling pin over the inked surface a few times to coat the stickers with ink.

Handmade Wrapping Paper with Foam Stickers

5. Roll the inked rolling pin over the butcher paper to print your designs and patterns and make your awesome handmade wrapping paper! Re-ink as necessary and continue printing with the roller until your paper is covered with prints as desired. Let dry.

Tip :: Wash your box frame and trim roller ASAP to get the ink off.

Gifts with Handmade Wrapping Paper

6. Wrap your gifts with your new gift wrap!

Doodles over prints

Or 7. (Optional but fun) Doodle on the printed wrapping paper with pens or markers.

Maias Snowflake Doodles

We used Sharpie markers but any are fine.

Handmade Wrapping Paper with Doodles Over Prints

Use the printed designs as drawing prompts, as the beginnings of something else, or just doodle and draw to your heart’s content.

Family Doodling

We turned it into a family doodling session!

Making Handmade Wrapping Paper

Alternately, you can wrap your gift with the wrapping paper first and then doodle on the wrapped gift before giving it or putting it under the tree. Our friend Joe, above, drew roads between all the printed stars on his package, which I thought was pretty darn cool.

Want some more awesome homemade gift wrapping ideas? Check out those by the other Rockin’ Art Moms below…

DIY Gift Wrapping Rockin' Art Mom Style

DIY Gift Wrapping Rockin’ Art Mom Style

And if you’re not already, make sure to  follow the Rockin’ Art Moms on Pinterest ::

The Rockin' Art Moms Boards on Pinterest

Rockin’ Art for Kids

Rockin’ Holiday

Rockin’ DIY

The post Make Handmade Wrapping Paper with Foam Stickers appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
http://artfulparent.com/2014/11/handmade-wrapping-paper-ideas.html/feed 14
Kids Art Kits :: 6 DIY Gifts to Inspire Creativity http://artfulparent.com/2014/11/kids-art-kits-to-make.html http://artfulparent.com/2014/11/kids-art-kits-to-make.html#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:57:52 +0000 http://artfulparent.com/?p=17681 Want to encourage your children’s creativity? Give the gift of art. Bundle a few related art supplies together with an inspiring book or two and give to a young artist in your life. I’ve put together some ideas for themed kids art kits here to get you started. Or create your own based on the...

Read More »

The post Kids Art Kits :: 6 DIY Gifts to Inspire Creativity appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
How to put together seriously awesome kids art kits as gifts

Want to encourage your children’s creativity?

Give the gift of art.

Bundle a few related art supplies together with an inspiring book or two and give to a young artist in your life. I’ve put together some ideas for themed kids art kits here to get you started. Or create your own based on the recipients particular interests and talents…

6 Kids Art Kits to Make

This post contains affiliate links.The following are general ideas to get you started. You don’t need to include all of these items! Pick and choose the ones that you think would best suit the child and your budget.

Also, please note that links to online versions of the following are provided for your convenience. Both so you can click through and see a picture of the item, the price, and (in some cases) reviews and to give you a convenient online location to buy if you prefer to do your shopping online. However, please know that you can find much of these (or similar items) at your local art supply stores, toy stores, and book stores.

You can always include a copy of The Artful Parent for lots of art activity ideas! Or refer to the kids arts and crafts directory for ideas of what to do with the art kits…

Drawing Kit for Kids

How to Make a Kids Art Kit - DrawingFor the kid who loves to draw, sketch, and doodle

Ideas for What to Include (from Stubby Pencil Studio, Amazon, and Imagine Childhood)

Painting Kit for Kids

For the kid who loves to paint

Note :: If making painting kits for multiple kids, you can divide the paints into small mason jars.

Ideas for What to Include (from Discount School Supply and Amazon)

Printmaking Kids Art Kit

For the kid who loves to print

Ideas for What to Include (from Amazon)

  • Water-soluble printing ink
  • Or paints
  • A bundle of Q-tips or cotton buds
  • A mini trim roller (found in the paint section of the hardware store)
  • A hard rubber brayer
  • Art paper
  • An acrylic box frame
  • Rubber stamp-making kit
  • Styrofoam sheets
  • Foam stickers (to use on a rolling pin or piece of cardboard)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Art mat or dollar store plastic tablecloth
  • Ed Emberley’s Complete Funprint Drawing Book
  • Ink pad

A Sculpture Art Kit for Kids

For the kid who loves to build

Ideas for What to Include  (from Discount School Supply and Amazon)

  • Toothpicks or bamboo skewers
  • A bag of marshmallows or gumdrops
  • Wood craft sticks
  • A box of wood bits (buy or make or beg off of a woodworker friend)
  • Wood glue
  • Small hammer and nails
  • Styrofoam pieces
  • Aluminum foil
  • Twisteez wire
  • Duct tape
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Beads and/or buttons
  • Cardboard tubes (save up your paper towel rolls and wrapping paper rolls)
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Glue gun
  • Look! Look! Look! at Sculpture by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace and illustrated by Linda K. Friedlaender
  • Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts

Two Different Kids Art Kits for Collage Lovers

A Paper Collage Art Kit

For the kid who likes to cut and paste paper

Ideas for What to Include  (from Artterro and Amazon)

A “Bits and Pieces” Collage Kit for Kids

For the kid who likes to glue and arrange small art materials

Ideas for What to Include  (from Discount School Supply and Amazon)

What do you think? Would you make and give kids art kits to the children in your life?

Pin it for later ::

6 DIY Kids Art Kits to make as gifts 6 DIY Kids Art Kits to make as gifts

The post Kids Art Kits :: 6 DIY Gifts to Inspire Creativity appeared first on The Artful Parent.

]]>
http://artfulparent.com/2014/11/kids-art-kits-to-make.html/feed 6