An Art Activity A Day…

…Keeps the Spirit At Play!

I just found a great list of 31 art activities that Jean from The Artful Parent came up with back in March of 2009 (when Quetzal Sol was born!) which details one art activity, excursion, or cooking exercise a day for the whole month.  The list is incredible!  I can’t wait to work on this list with Quetzal Sol.  But we will take our time and work on it over the next few years I am sure!

31 Activities to Do with Young Children

1. Tissue paper candle holders: tissue paper pieces applied to glass jars with Mod Podge or glue.

2. Make birdseed pinecone treats to hang in the trees, then watch the birds and squirrels they attract.

3. Start a nature journal and try observational drawing outdoors on a warm day (or from the window on a cold day). Also, see Lori’s tips on introducing observational drawing to the young or reluctant child.

4. Pack a field bag with binoculars, magnifying glass, tweezers, bird book, art supplies, etc. and head to the arboretum to explore and observe.

5. Make paper plate masks for dress up and pretend play.

6. Make tissue paper stained glass using wax paper and liquid starch.

7. Cook soft pretzels (thanks Erica!).

8. Try clean mud with soap and toilet paper. Here are Julie’s notes: I use liquid watercolors instead of food coloring! Oh, and the cheaper the t.p. the better for this recipe. If you add a little water, you get an actual moldable substance. The more water you add, the softer and fluffier and squishier it gets.

9. Decorate and fill a Fun Box with Maia (see below).

10. Make yummy baked doughnuts.

11. Try tissue paper staining again with actual bleeding tissue paper. Wow! I just realized much of MaryAnn Kohl’s Preschool Art book is on Google. I wonder what other books are on there?.

12. Try nature stamping with leaves and flowers and a stamp pad. Perhaps do these in the nature journal.

13. Revisit fruit and vegetable printing with paints and a variety of produce such as onions, apples, cabbage, grapefruit.

14. Make pizza faces a la Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots or happy face open sandwiches. Add bell pepper smiles, olive eyes, etc to pizza or bagels with cream cheese. Add raisins and banana to a peanut butter sandwich.

15. Trace Maia’s body and help her fill in her body parts (bones, heart, etc).

16. Make salt dough beads or claydoh beadsLast time we tried a different recipe and they fell apart under Maia’s rough handling, although they were still well worth making.

17. Visit the art museum or the science museum.

18. Germinate grocery store produce: avocados, lemons, oranges, sweet potatoes, potatoes, pineapple, apples, squash, beans, etc.

19. Make wool felted balls or eggs using raw, carded wool and a big bowl of warm soapy water following SouleMama’s instructions in The Creative Family. Here’s an online tutorial for a different felted ball method, and another forfelting with kids.

20. Make handmade paper shapes per Tracy’s tutorial. Add flower seeds to the mix and give as gifts that can be grown in the garden.

21. Make a found object sculpture with popsicle sticks, paper clips, and buttons such as the one shown on Art Projects for Kids. You’ll have to scroll down a little bit to get to it because I wasn’t able to get the permalink to work for some reason.

22. Make Montesorri Mama’s awesome ball tube. Also, set up a simple ramp (perhaps a cookie sheet set on some blocks) and test roll different kinds of objects.

23. Try some marbleized paper with oil and food coloring or liquid watercolors — a project I know Maia would absolutely love.

24. Collage/decorate an unfinished wood frame then use it to frame and hang a piece of Maia’s artwork.

25. Cook popovers, one of Maia’s favorite cooking (and eating) projects.

25. Make sandpaper art by drawing on coarse sandpaper with crayon stubs then melt at low heat in the oven.

26. Make a kite and fly it.

27. Dye white flowers by setting the stems in water mixed with food coloring.

28. Make butter by putting cream in a jar and shaking it. We did this when I was a kid (we had a cow), and I’d like to try it with Maia.

29. Try watercolor pencils. Also, draw with washable markers then take out in the rain or spray with water.

30. Make bean face collages. Use glue to draw a face, then fill in the features with various kinds of beans.

31. Grow a rock sugar crystal.



Art Year Round

MaryAnn Kohl, author of over 20 art books for teachers and children including, “Art with Anything: 52 Weeks of Fun Using Everyday Stuff,” discusses why art is an important part in the lives of children provides several suggestions to parents on how to include art in their child’s life at home.  This post is originally found here by Janine Boldrin.

Why is it important for parents to include art based activities in their child’s life?

In raising a well-rounded child, the arts should be included along with reading, playing actively, eating well, and learning new things. Early exposure to visual art, music, or drama promotes activity in the brain; like exercising a muscle, it will be stronger and more able to handle hard work. Art encourages being inventive and being a critical thinker and adds to development of self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperation, and self-motivation.

What suggestions do you have for parents who are stuck at coloring pages and Playdough?

Art is a creative process, not a pre-planned product. Picture this: A child is given cotton balls, glue, scraps of paper, and a paper plate. These materials become part of a creative experiment for a child as they manipulate and explore the possibilities of a simple collage. There is no planned design or product. There is no right or wrong way for art to turn out; there is only the child’s way. And of course, the adult is important in helping find materials that the child can use.

While many families have crayons, paints, and paper in their home, what would you suggest as far as supplies that parents should consider exploring with their child?

Found materials are always treasures for collage, like buttons, beads, thread, pebbles, cotton balls, and on and on; look around the kitchen and garage and you’ll be surprised what you find! Kids love sticking things into a block of packing Styrofoam, such as bamboo skewers, golf tees, or pipe cleaners. But a reminder: always use quality crayons, markers, scissors and glue for the best art experiences.

What do you recommend to parents who are worried about turning art into another scheduled activity for their child?

Art in the home should be as natural as the activity of sitting and reading a book or playing a board game. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or demanding or messy. Making art an easily accessible quiet activity for children to perform at their leisure and will balance the busy schedules some families keep.

Janine Boldrin is a freelance writer who lives in West Point, N.Y with her family


Marker Holders!!!

Now why didn’t I think of that?!?!?!  This post comes from Jean of The Artful Parent but the marker holder instructions are found in MaryAnn Kohl’s First Art.  Brilliant!!!!



Maia and I made marker holders as valentine’s gifts for our Art Group friends. We found the project in MaryAnn F Kohl’s First Art. I had seen and admired one that a friend had made and wanted to try it myself. The marker holders are great because the tops can’t get lost and it’s easier for toddlers to keep the markers from drying out. They are simple to make. You’re supposed to use an old metal flat-bottomed pan, such as a loaf pan. You’ll mix and pour plaster of paris into the metal pan, then stick the marker tops (not the whole marker) halfway into the plaster and let it harden before putting the markers back in the tops. Unfortunately I didn’t follow directions and used plastic bowls which turn out to act like molds (the plaster form slips out!) and which tilt when trying to put the markers in. I think they still work okay (I hope), but next time I’ll follow the directions!!

l is for longest picture in the world

And l is for LOVE it!  This is such a magical activity to do with your children, the whole family, or a class of preschoolers.  Not only is it a therapeutic exercise to go down memory lane but is just so artful on multiple levels.  You can do this over a week’s or month’s time and even do it seasonally.  I love adorning one’s living, creative, or quiet space with the finished product.

longest picture in the world - 37

“Glass” Sculpture/Collage Hats/Alpha Rocks

This looks like a very fun, very easy “glass” sculpture activity that many children of very young ages can do with some adult help.  I love the use of wire and the fact that the sculpture can be manipulated into different forms.

Cut Paper – Collage Hats

Another fun activity that gets children thinking three-dimensionally.  Collage is always a favorite art activity and creating one that becomes a hat seems delightful.  This activity would work well for children ages 3-6.

Alpha Rocks

This is a very unique idea of encouraging reading, writing, fine motor skills, and creativity all wrapped into one by making alphabet rocks!

Morning Earth

Here are some fantastic examples of Earth art by children.  These would be lovely additions to anyone’s nature table.

Some invigorating science and art connections can be found below:

How We Learn Science Through Making Art

31 Learning Activities: Science Through Art

Growing Imagination

Creative Parenting

We work on teaching our little ones lots of things from letters and numbers, songs and rhymes, table manners, how to ride a bike and on and on. But what about imagination? There’s no doubt that creative thinking is a vital skill in both childhood and adulthood, but can it be taught? Perhaps not in the ordinary sense of teaching. Nevertheless, there are many ways to support and enrich our kids’ natural creative tendencies. This week, The Savvy Source has been prompting their imaginations with all kinds of games, projects and make-believe. Come join the fun!

Tell me a story
Fun and games, diy-style
Creativity in the kitchen
An anywhere art project
Let’s have a show!

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