The Artful Parent’s 6 Year Blog Anniversary

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Daphne Drawing at the EaselI started The Artful Parent on this day, six years ago, with a simple introductory post in which I said:

In this blog I plan to write about the Toddler Art Group, about my daughter’s art experiences, and, above all, about my attempts to parent in a way that encourages creativity, art, curiousity, and learning.

While the Toddler Art Group is no more, the rest still holds true.

I took a small step into the unknown, starting a blog and writing that first post, and then just continued taking steps, some easy, some hard, some backward, but most forward.

I know that I’ve said this before, but when I started this site, I had no idea what it would become, how much it would come to mean to me and my life, how many people would read what I share here, how many heartfelt thank yous I would receive over the years, how many, “Wow, that’s such a cool idea and my kids’ loved it!” I’d hear.

I had no idea I’d still be writing about children’s art 6 years later and having more and more ideas rather than fewer. More enthusiasm for the subject, rather than less.

A few highlights & successes from this past year:

I had no idea what a blog even was when I first decided to begin one. I just knew I wanted to write about children’s art and creativity, to share my enthusiasm for the activities we were doing at home and with the toddler art group, and I wanted to create a space that was real.

As much inspiration as I have received from magazines over the years, I have often felt that the material was less-than-realistic. The arts or crafts presented as kids’ art was sometimes obviously not, the kids in the photos were overly clean (with one cute dab of paint on the nose for effect), and the activities ranged from the overly simplistic to the “who on earth would actually do that?”

It's a Rainbow with a Magic Door and Sunflowers - Daphne's DrawingThe Artful Parent is a place where we can be real about kids’ art and parenting. It’s true that I try not to feature my neverending laundry pile in every blog post, and that I try to focus on the positive here more than the problems, so the version of reality that you see here might be a bit edited, but still, it’s real.

The only ulterior motive I have is that I want you to make art and creativity a bigger priority with the kids in your life. 

I love that I can be myself and share what I love and you still come! I truly find this incredible. I feel so lucky, so blessed, to be doing what I love to do from the comfort of my home and with my family as my partners.

Thank you for reading The Artful Parent and helping to make it what it is today! 

I wish I could meet each of you, give you a great big hug, and say thank you in person. (And then sit down together with your kids and do a superfun art activity.)

Instead, I’m going to resort to the traditional blog fallback and offer some giveaways. That and a virtual hug (can you feel it?).

The 11+ Giveaways

I have an amazing line up of giveaways for you, most from my sponsors and most involving art supplies or other creative family living items. Really awesome stuff! You’re welcome to enter any or all of them!

#1 :: Win Art Supplies from Discount School Supply

#2 :: Win 2 Eco Art Kits from Artterro

#3 :: Win a Table-Top Paper Holder & More from Imagine Childhood

#4 :: Mama May i Color Sorting Fun for Little Kids

#5 :: Win Art Supplies from Stubby Pencil Studio

#6 :: A Keepsake Plaque from Memories in Clay

#7 :: Win Children’s Art Books by MaryAnn F. Kohl

#8 :: 3 Art Activity Kits from The Art Pantry

#9 :: Win the Artful Parent Books & A Custom-Made Child’s Art Smock

#10 :: Win Painting Supplies from Craft Project Ideas

#11 :: Win Art Supplies from Grasshopper Store

#12 :: Win A Bundle of Fun Family Books from Roost Books

#13 :: Win a Bundle of eBooks & eCourses for Busy Parents

P.S. While I’ve always done giveaways the old school way here (just leave a comment), I’ve decided to give the Rafflecoptor widget a try this time to make it easier on myself. You still just leave a comment or answer (check the rafflecopter for the question), though!

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103 Comments

  • Reply
    Leia
    January 21, 2014 at 7:36 am

    I love reading your blog!! You have really helped me infuse art and creativity into my children’s daily lives! Thank you!!!

  • Reply
    [email protected] montessori works
    January 21, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Happy blog anniversary! We love your book and use it constantly in our house and at my school.

  • Reply
    Amy Calvert
    January 21, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Thank you so much for the amazing information and inspiration! My kids are 22, 11, 9, and 2…time spent being creative is NEVER wasted!

  • Reply
    Celeste
    January 21, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Just recently found this blog from a friend rec. and I LOVE it. Sorry I missed the past 11 years but here is to 11 more!

  • Reply
    Anna
    January 21, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Brilliant! Thank you

  • Reply
    Jennifer Skiff
    January 21, 2014 at 7:53 am

    I really enjoy your passion for children and art. Thank you for inspiring me

  • Reply
    melinda
    January 21, 2014 at 7:54 am

    one of my favourite blog! I love your inspiration, sweet heart… and love that you give trough your blog!
    Happy blog anniversary!

  • Reply
    chris sparks
    January 21, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Congratulations!

  • Reply
    Heather Allen
    January 21, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Congrats on your anniversary! This has been a wonderful blog, that I find myself turning to many times a week. :)

  • Reply
    Amber Herbster
    January 21, 2014 at 8:08 am

    I love all of your great ideas to keep my little ones creativity blossoming!

  • Reply
    Amanda C
    January 21, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Congrats! One of my favorite blogs from the beginning. My girls have definitely benefited from my reading your blog! Thanks for all the time and work you put into it. I also appreciate your realness and willingness to express some of your own life difficulties. I know without this blog my girls would not have had as many chances to utilize their natural creativeness due to my own “art fear”. It has been fun for all of us!

  • Reply
    Diana Cote
    January 21, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Congratulations and thank you for starting this blog, it has helped me and my daughter do a lot of things to do when we were out of ideas. :)

  • Reply
    Laura
    January 21, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Thanks for 6 great years, Jean! We love what you do!

  • Reply
    Hana Kovac
    January 21, 2014 at 8:15 am

    6 years already? Wow, the time goes so fast! All the best for the 7th year!

  • Reply
    Diana Cote
    January 21, 2014 at 8:17 am

    find* sorry I just woke up. >.<

  • Reply
    Wendy
    January 21, 2014 at 8:18 am

    I enjoy sharing your ideas with my daughters and their children.

  • Reply
    Paige Cunningham
    January 21, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I got your book as a gift and lot it. Thank you for sharing your ideas with all of us in helping to bring creativity to more children.

  • Reply
    apple n amos
    January 21, 2014 at 8:27 am

    I love reading and working with you Jean! Here’s to another great 6 years!

  • Reply
    corinne
    January 21, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I have been reading and getting inspired by your blog for a couple of years now! Thank you for sharing your creative ideas and sparking the artist in me and my family…. Happy Anniversary!

  • Reply
    Libby
    January 21, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I have recently discovered your blog and I am so excited! You have already been so inspiring! Congratulations on your success!

  • Reply
    peggi b
    January 21, 2014 at 8:32 am

    thank you from my grandkids and me for all the great ideas and ideas on making them affordable !!!

  • Reply
    Aimee H
    January 21, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Congrats!

  • Reply
    Eileen
    January 21, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Happy Anniversary!

  • Reply
    Lyudmyla Tarelkine
    January 21, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Congratulatutions! You inspire so many people, and make so many kids happy. Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Heather
    January 21, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Fun activities and my two year loves your ideas!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    January 21, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I just found your blog a couple of months ago and I love it ! I never understood the difference between crafts & art until I read your blog and your book. I’m sure my daughter will be the better for it. Our art times are totally different now and a whole lot more fun! Thanks for sharing what you do!

  • Reply
    Tatiana
    January 21, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Congrats! I have been following your blog since back 5 years ago or do when I was living in Brazil (my home country).
    Moved to Canada and now raising my boys (9&5yrs old) in a different culture. It is all about creativity wherever you are!
    Cheers!

  • Reply
    Julie D
    January 21, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Happy Anniversary to one of my favorite blogs!!

  • Reply
    Shaivite
    January 21, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Congratulations on your anniversary and thank you! I always find creative inspiration here.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Ilardi
    January 21, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Wow! What wonderful idea! Thanks for supplying this resource.

  • Reply
    Leslie Harvey
    January 21, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Happy Happy Anniversary! Congrats! I have LOVED LOVED LOVED your site and your books over the past 4 years! Looking forward to following along for many years to come!

  • Reply
    shannon { A Slice of Home}
    January 21, 2014 at 9:27 am

    You know I think I’ve been a reader for 6 years. I know I started reading your blog not to long after you started! Congrats!!!! Loved your blog back then, Love your blog now!!!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    January 21, 2014 at 9:38 am

    This is a big day, congratulations!

  • Reply
    Luisa
    January 21, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Thank you for all your ideas!!!

  • Reply
    Nancy
    January 21, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Congratulations on your anniversary. I love seeing blogs grow and mature over the years and yours certainly has. Thank you for sharing your inspirations and your life, both the good and the difficult. It is that aspect that keeps it real and keeps me coming back. I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the future.

  • Reply
    Patti Wilson
    January 21, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I would love more crafts to encourage creativity with my nephews and many other children including (when he is older) my soon to come little boy!

  • Reply
    Nikki Mayer
    January 21, 2014 at 9:57 am

    You inspire me to inspire. My two year old and I share a studio space. Many of our projects come from you!

  • Reply
    susan
    January 21, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Congratulations! I enjoy all your ideas;)

  • Reply
    Barb
    January 21, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Happy anniversary, and thanks for all of the great ideas!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Vowell
    January 21, 2014 at 10:37 am

    While I haven’t been a reader for 6 years, it has probably been about 4 or more years that I’ve been enjoying your blog. Your success has been earned from your sharing of yourself and your talents. Thank you, earnestly, for making being a SAHM so much fun! Much love and increased future successes!

  • Reply
    Jane
    January 21, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I’ve really enjoyed all of the fun ideas on your blog! Thanks for the creative inspiration!

  • Reply
    Carmen
    January 21, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I just find out about you but boy am I glad. Congratulations on such a wonderful milestone!

  • Reply
    Tommie Sue Schindler
    January 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Thanks for the great ideas. I’m using them with our granddaughters, 2 1/2 and 4 1/2. Great inspiration!

  • Reply
    Melissa Ferguson
    January 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Even if I don’t win, I love seeing the product ideas! I already pinned that great paper roll cutter :-)

  • Reply
    Sloane
    January 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Happy Blog Anniversary to you! :)

  • Reply
    Dena
    January 21, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    A big thank you for helping me share creativity and art with Naomi…..and in the end making me more artful as well!

  • Reply
    Cindy Leonard
    January 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Happy Anniversary! I love your blog!

  • Reply
    adriana Ochoa
    January 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks so much for everything you have shared with us!!!!!!

  • Reply
    Emma
    January 21, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Great idea and fab post as always :)

  • Reply
    Christy
    January 21, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Congratulation. Thank you very much.

  • Reply
    Danielle
    January 21, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Thank you for doing what you do – you are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement for me!

  • Reply
    Nadine
    January 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Love Looove LOVE all the fun ideas you have to share. Thank you for your generosity!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    January 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Q1 answer: tape!!

  • Reply
    Jen Corbin
    January 21, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Q2: we have not tried an artterro art kit yet!

  • Reply
    Jen Corbin
    January 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Q3: We wish for a God centered, positive play inspired, movement oriented life!

  • Reply
    Allison S.
    January 21, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Have loved your blog for years! Congrats, Jean! Time sure has flown, hasn’t it?!

  • Reply
    Emily
    January 21, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Congrats on 6 years! I have one of your ebooks, and the recent print book and they have been a wonderful resource so far, a counter balance to all the screen time in today’s culture.

  • Reply
    Jenn M.
    January 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I love your ideas–thank you for sharing them with us!
    Congrats!

  • Reply
    Naomi Piehl
    January 21, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Thank you for all your wonderful ideas, and sharing the importance of art and creativity with your followers. Art is an area, in which I am always reminding myself, “Don’t squash her creativity.”

  • Reply
    Amandette
    January 21, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Art is a daily part of our lives. Thanks for the wonderful ideas. :)

  • Reply
    Robin Guerra
    January 21, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Love children..love art. Thank you for all the wonderfulness you bring to it!

  • Reply
    Lyn
    January 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    You have saved this not so artsy mama and her children from art boredom.

  • Reply
    ginny
    January 21, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    I love looking through good books to generate activity ideas to compliment the Kids Yoga class I teach on weekends! The Artful Parent and other books in the giveaway look fabulous!

  • Reply
    Cindy
    January 21, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Happy Anniversary! You are my go-to when thinking of ideas for my kiddos. Your work has provided so much inspiration over the years. Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

  • Reply
    Christa
    January 21, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Happy Anniversary! Thanks so much! Haven’t tried the Artterro Eco Kits yet, but would love an opportunity. My kids favorite art supplies are watercolor paints and modeling clay.

  • Reply
    Elaine
    January 22, 2014 at 12:04 am

    Just love your creative & simple ideas. I’m no artist, but even I can encourage the artist in my grandchild with your wonderful tips.

  • Reply
    Liana
    January 22, 2014 at 2:25 am

    Happy anniversary. Your site and book are inspiration to me.

  • Reply
    Ashlea Walter
    January 22, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Congratulations, Jean!!! How thrilling! For you, for other parents like me, for children… Create on!

  • Reply
    Jenea
    January 22, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Happy blogiverssry! I have a 5 and a 3 year old and we have enjoyed so any of your project together. Thanks so much for all the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Chiska
    January 22, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Congratulations! Thanks so much for reminding and inspiring me to do such fun projects with my kids.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    January 22, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Thank you, everyone!! xoxo! Jean

  • Reply
    Kristin
    January 22, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    You achieved your goal with me. Pretty much all the art I have done with my daughter over the years has been inspired by you, and my understanding of process-based art comes entirely from you. I don’t have any of your natural artistic talent, so our projects often are not nearly as lovely as the things you post here. But we still have fun trying.

  • Reply
    jenni
    January 22, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    I just found this blog. Looking forward to reading thru it.

  • Reply
    Alejandra
    January 22, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Love your blog. you have gotten us through many a raining afternoon or a sick day or a just want to be creative day. Thank you!!!

  • Reply
    Sasha
    January 23, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Your blog is the best! We discovered it last year and we just love it! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Gaby
    January 24, 2014 at 10:12 am

    I love your blog! it is very inspiring, congrats!

  • Reply
    Becky A.
    January 24, 2014 at 10:13 am

    One filled with love, acceptance, affection, creativity, happiness, play and learning.

  • Reply
    Kirsten
    January 24, 2014 at 10:14 am

    i think I’ve been following you since *almost* the beginning. Can’t even believe it’s been that long! Happy Anniversary, and thank you for your gentle & encouraging approach. It’s allowed me to get in touch with MY inner artist as I work with my kiddos, and for that I’m doubly grateful!

  • Reply
    Tonnie Swartout
    January 24, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Such an enjoyable blog

  • Reply
    Dyan
    January 24, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I love your blog!

  • Reply
    lisa howell
    January 24, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Your blog is great! I love it, you have great ideas ! I will continue to follow you. I just opened my home daycare inaugust . Any ideas for preschool crafts or other centers ideas. Thanks lisa howell

  • Reply
    Corey
    January 24, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Congratulations in your successes . Wonderful indeed :)

  • Reply
    Lisa
    January 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Congratulations! On the blog, the book, and everything else. So excited for you, and your work here has helped ME get in touch with my art, something I’d pushed away years ago, and is turning out to be a very important piece of who I am and want to be in the world. So thank you.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    January 24, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Happy Anniversary
    I’m so glad to have found your blog. You are an inspirtion to the art souls.

  • Reply
    Lizz Puckett
    January 24, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Congrats on 6 years!! My kids and I love all of your creative and inspiring ideas!!

  • Reply
    Barb
    January 24, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Great giveaways! My fingers are crossed!

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 24, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    The five-year-old loves pipe cleaners and the three-year-old got a box of tape for Christmas and couldn’t be happier.

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 24, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    We haven’t tried Arterro kits yet, though I keep running into them.

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 24, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I want my kids to enjoy lots of time outside, be creative and not afraid to get messy, read a lot . . .

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 24, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Blocks get a lot of creative use, stuffed animals and little figures are used in lots of stories, oh, and boxes, don’t forget about boxes

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 24, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Lately both my kids can’t get enough watercolors.

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 24, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I don’t know MaryAnn Kohl’s books—will have to check them out

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 24, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    I loved doing clay in art class. We had lots of random “junk” that I loved to rummage through to create things.

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 24, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    A friend just introduced me to your blog recently

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 24, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    We paint outside when it’s nice out. If we get out the easel, it goes in the dining room because there’s the most space, but since last August we have a play room with an old school table that makes a great art space.

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 24, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    Haven’t tried watercolor crayons. Our new thing is pastels, which my daughter loves.

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 24, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    I’m more likely to go on line if I’m looking for something in the moment. This looks like a great collection of books. I’ve seen some of them and want to look more closely at others.

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Sometimes I think getting a break is the help I need most

  • Reply
    Irene
    January 27, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Dear Jean,
    Congratulations on 6th anniversary and happy to get these giveaways!!
    Your blog contains all every single amazing information and examples to share.
    I really want to take the opportunity for #8 and #12 if I am lucky.
    Thank you Jean.

  • Reply
    Chrystal
    January 27, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Love your book – a great inspiration and source of ideas!

  • Reply
    Melissa millis
    January 28, 2014 at 6:54 am

    I’m new here, but love what I see. Excited to try some new things with my kiddos and share ideas with parents I work with!

  • Reply
    blima
    January 30, 2014 at 5:11 am

    you inspireme to do art for myself and my kids

  • Reply
    Vicky
    March 15, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Congratulations on your 6th Year Blog Anniversary! I’ve been blogging for a number of years and it’s incredibly rewarding! Love the resources you’ve shared and given away, this has given me ideas for resources that I can use when teaching. Thank you :)

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