Egg | Creative Challenge for Kids

TinkerLab's Creative Challenge for Kids | The EGG Challenge

Welcome to our 10th Creative Challenge for Kids! Tenth! The key supply for this challenge is the egg: children are invited to make, build, experiment with, and tinker with eggs. While adults are welcome to facilitate and play along, the process and results are up to the child.

TinkerLab's Creative Challenge for Kids | The EGG Challenge

Welcome to everyone who is joining our Creative Challenge this month. We’re so glad that you’re here! If you’re wondering what this is all about, this is where you can read all the details about this Creative Challenge, including how to play along and enter your project.

What is the Creative Challenge for Kids Project?

These bi-monthly challenges invite kids to create, make, and invent whatever they can imagine using a common material as inspiration. While Creative Challenge projects should be child-driven, adults are welcome to join the fun as helpful side-kicks.

The objective of these challenges is to encourage children to explore a material’s potential, build creative confidence, act like inventors, and envision new purposes for common objects…. skills that are at the heart of innovation.

Who is this for?

This challenge is open to anyone who wants to play! While we invite bloggers and anyone with access to a photo-sharing site to share a link to their entry, you don’t have to be a blogger to join us. If you want to run this challenge in your home or school, the entries shared at the bottom of this post might serve as inspiration to you.

Grab a Button

TinkerLab Creative ChallengeIf you’d like to add a Creative Challenge button to your post or sidebar, simply drag this image to your desktop and place it anywhere on your site. If you want to connect it back to our site, you could link it to this page: http://tinkerlab.com/egg-creative-challenge-kids/ This 200 x 200 pixel button should show up as you see it here.

Share your Challenge Entry

Once you’ve read all the rules and details, you can enter a link to your project here. This challenge will run from April 1 – April 30, 2014. Of course, you can still run this experiment after this window closes, but we won’t be able to accept further entries after April 30. After you link up your post, we’d like to encourage you to be a supportive participant by popping around to a few of the other posts to leave some comments.

Process Trumps Product

Keep in mind that these posts might not show super-glossy Pinterest-worthy projects because they celebrate the process of working through personal ideas more than the end result. These projects are sure to be packed with meaning and intent, in some instances more than perfection. I wish I could personally congratulate each participating child for devising their own plan and executing on it. Bravo!

Next Creative Challenge

We’ll see you in June for Creative Challenge #11: String

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TinkerSketch Instagram Sketchbook Challenge

TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge on Instagram

It turns out that April will be a month of creative challenges here on TinkerLab! First up, we have the Creative Challenge for Kids, and secondly I’m excited to introduce our first Instagram challenge for all of us sketchbook fans: the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge. TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge on Instagram

We first introduced the TinkerSketch Project a couple years ago, and without too much fanfare I’m happy to say that over 700 images have been tagged with #tinkersketch on Instagram. What’s a TinkerSketch? Click over here for more on that.

What’s the goal of the Sketchbook Challenge?

If you’re like me, you probably lead a busy life. You might have had some time to nurture your creative soul at some point in your not-too-distant past, but with kids/work/chores/responsibilities/name your excuse, you don’t have a lot of time for the creative YOU. The goal of this challenge is to make time (even if it’s just a tiny bit) to celebrate your creative self through hands-on making. If you join this sketchbook challenge, you’ll:

  • Improve your skills
  • Try and explore new ways of art-making
  • Land on new ideas that wouldn’t have emerged otherwise
  • Have fun
  • Model creative thinking for your child (if you’re a parent or teacher)
  • Celebrate the imperfection of your ideas
  • Think creatively
  • Give yourself the gift of time

How long will it take?

If you accept this challenge, you will set aside just five minutes each day aside for making, creating, and experimenting with your ideas. If you have extra time, you could always dive in for longer, but your minimum commitment is five minutes each day.

Great, but 5 minutes is still a lot!

There are so many ways to do this. For example, you could:

  • Wake up a little earlier than usual, brew a pot of something warm, and curl up with your sketchbook for a few minutes before the rest of your home wakes up
  • Carry a sketchbook in your bag and pull it out when you’re waiting in line
  • Designate “creative time” where you and your child draw in sketchbooks side-by-side

But my stuff is sure to suck.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

It might, or it might not. The point here isn’t to create a masterpiece but to unleash your creative energy. Your creations don’t have to be works of amazing art, and in fact they probably shouldn’t be all that spectacular, especially if you’re pushing yourself to try something new, experiment, and be bold. Be confident with whatever you create, knowing that you’re on a journey to feed your creativity.

What Sketchbook and Tools do you Recommend?

Our best advice is to visit an art store and test out sketchbooks to see which one feels right to you. That said, here are a few tips:

  • Size: Find a size that fits your situation. If you think you’ll take your sketchbook on the road, find something small enough to travel in your bag
  • Paper: Choose paper that is heavy weight and designed to withstand water and wet media. Look for the weight of paper in terms of how many pounds it is: the higher the number, the heavier the weight. Something over 70 lbs. should do the trick
  • Spiral or book-bound: Do you think you’d enjoy a spiral-bound book or traditional binding more? We recommend spiral binding because the pages lie flat easily. Some people like traditional binding more because they can design/paint/draw a double-page spread without having a gap between the pages.
  • Strathmore: One of my very favorite sketchbooks is the Visual Art Journal for Mixed Media by Strathmore. The pages weight is 90 lb. and you can get this book in a number of sizes. My personal favorite for on-the-go is 5.5″ x 8″. If you like to work big, they have one that’s 9″ x 12″.
  • Stillman & Birn: A friend just gave me a Stillman & Birn Zeta series and I love it. The paper is 180 lb.
  • Pens: Get yourself a few pens that you love to use, and be sure to have at least one waterproof, archival pen in the mix so that you can paint over your pen lines without worrying about your drawing bleeding with water. Micron Pens are a designer favorite, and they come in tons of sizes and colors. This all-black set includes a few different pen sizes and this brush-tip set includes six different colors. Sharpies are another wonderful choice with so many options to choose from.

Will there be any support?

For each day of the challenge we’ll share our own daily entry on Instagram and Facebook, along with a few extra ideas in case you need a little bit of inspiration. We encourage everyone who joins the challenge to leave supportive comments on other participants’ images. Since it can be hard to put ourselves out there, it’s always nice to receive a friendly pat on the back when pushed outside our comfort zone.

I’m in! How do I do this?

  1. Print out or bookmark the list you see at the top of this page. Each day has a new prompt that will inspire you to make something.
  2. Interpret the Prompt: You can interpret the daily prompts however you want. “Drips” to one person may mean flicking watercolors off a toothbrush and to another person it might mean covering a page in marker and then leaving the page outside on a drizzly morning. You can take them literally or not — this is completely up to you. If you’re really at a loss, leave a comment below and we’ll help you noodle through it.
  3. Make stuff: You could put all your ideas into a sketchbook (it is called a sketchbook challenge, after all), loose leaf paper, post-it notes, or something else.
  4. Share it! This challenge can be a totally private affair and you never have to let a soul know that you’re working on it, or you could share your creations with others. I’m a private person, but I find that sharing things like this actually motivates me to work harder. If you’re up for it, we invite you to share your daily sketches on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. Basically, wherever you like to drop your social media mat. Simply tag your image or post with #tinkersketch, and you could also ping us at @tinkerlab to let other people know about the challenge
  5. Tell others. If you could use some back-up, share the Sketchbook Challenge calendar image from this post on Instagram or with a friend, and encourage others to join you on this fun, creative journey.
  6. Support others. Take a moment to cruise around and look at other images that are tagged with #tinkersketch, and leave a supportive comment to build community and basically make someone else feel great about the effort they’re putting into their creative journey.

Anything else?

If you have any questions about the prompts or other parts of this challenge, drop me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them. Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thank you for supporting TinkerLab with your purchases.

Join the Egg Creative Challenge for Kids

TinkerLab Creative Challenge - Eggs - April 2014

Join over 50 Creative Bloggers in the the TinkerLab Creative Challenge, April 1-30, 2014. Full details in the post.

TinkerLab is proud to host a bi-monthly Creative Challenge for kids that invites children to create, make, and invent using a common material as inspiration.

The objective of these challenges is to encourage children to explore a material’s potential, build creative confidence, act like inventors, and envision new purposes for common objects…. skills that are at the heart of innovation.

While Creative Challenge projects should be child-driven, adults are welcome to join the fun as helpful side-kicks. 

Our next Creative Challenge is coming up soon: April 1 – April 30, 2014.

Join over 50 Creative Bloggers in the the TinkerLab Creative Challenge, April 1-30, 2014. Full details in the post.

Will you join the next Creative Challenge?

If you’d like to join this next challenge, plan to come back on the posted date (the next challenge will run from April 1-30, 2014) with a link to your blog post or documentation of your kid/s in action.

  • Bloggers: If you’re a blogger, write a blog post to go live between April 1 and April 30, 2014, and then head over here to add a link on TinkerLab.
  • Non-bloggers: If you don’t have a blog, take a photo of your project and tag it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (my favorite) with #creativekidschallenge and we’ll find you!

Should I join? Is this for me?

You might be wondering if this is worth your time. Well, here are some of the reasons to join in…

  1. Your child will most likely enjoy the process of designing his or her own project, and self-directed projects encourage confidence and critical thinking skills.
  2. You’ll enjoy sharing with all the other Creative Challenge participants. It’s really fun to see how people interpret the same materials in different ways.
  3. We will start a new Pinterest board for this challenge and all eligible entries will be shared there. We reserve the right to share images that align with our brand.
  4. If you’re a blogger, you’ll probably enjoy a boost in traffic.

Could we use real eggs?

We’ll leave this up to you. You could use real eggs, plastic eggs, wooden eggs, or make drawings of eggs. You could play a game, make a painting, cook a meal, or run a science experiment. Since this project is child-driven, we’d hate to limit the imagination. Think of the egg as a helpful starting point.

Okay, I’m in! What do I need to do?TinkerLab Creative Challenge

  1. Gather your materials
  2. Talk to your child about his or her plan
  3. The project should be child-led, although adults are quite welcome to join in
  4. Run the project
  5. Document it
  6. Share it between April 1 and April 30, 2014. We’ll post a Linky on our site.
  7. Grab a button and share it in your post!

Got it! Can you give us some ideas to help us get started?

Sure! You could:

  • Paint with the egg
  • Build a structure from multiple eggs
  • Draw on the egg with a permanent marker
  • Fill the egg with a mini diorama
  • Make prints with the circle edge of a half-egg
  • Take photographs of eggs
  • Make your own egg tempera paint and then do something with that

Join our Facebook Group

Exciting news…50 talented bloggers have already signed up to join this challenge! If you’d like to join our Facebook group, request to join here.

60 Egg Activities for Kids

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60 Egg Activities for Kids: Egg Decorating, Crafts, Science Activities, and more | Tinkerlab.com

If you’re on the hunt for fun and engaging egg activities for kids, this ginormous list should keep you busy for a few weeks. And it’s just in time for Easter and Easter Egg Hunts.

Egg Activities for Kids

Because the list is so large, I’ve broken it down into these categories: Egg Decorating, Plastic Eggs, Games, Painting and Sculpture, Crafts, and Science.

I hope you’ll enjoy getting inspired from and pinning these ideas as much as I enjoyed assembling this eggy line-up. If you have more ideas to share, please add them to a comment so that others can enjoy them too.

60 Egg Activities for Kids | Crafts, Science Activities, Sculpture, and more | Tinkerlab.com

Egg Decorating Activities for Kids

Henry’s First Egg Decorating: Vibrant Egg Dye, Crayon Resist, Marbled Eggs, Drip Dot Eggs (see photo above), Hands on as we Grow

Naturally Decorated Marbled Eggs, The Chocolate Muffin Tree

Blown out Easter Eggs, The Artful Parent

Three Easy Tricks for Blown Out Eggs, Tinkerlab

Easter Eggsperiments, Paint Cut Paste

Bleeding Tissue Easter Eggs, The Chocolate Muffin Tree

Austrian Egg Blowing, Red Ted Art

Vegetable Dyed Easter Eggs, Tinkerlab

Hot Easter Eggs Decorated with Crayons, The Chocolate Muffin Tree

Posting Letters to your Children inside Eggs (see photo above), Mommy Labs

Crayon Wax Resist Rainbow Eggs, A Little Learning for Two

Collage Eggs, The Artful Parent

Painted Eggs with Egg Crate Stands, A Mom with a Lesson Plan

I Love you Stinky Face Eggs decorated with googly eyes and pom-poms (inspired by this book), Toddler Approved

Hot Crayon Shaving Easter Eggs, Mama Smiles

26 Decorated Egg Ideas, Hands on as we Grow

Easy Spotty Eggs (egg decorating with Toddlers), Red Ted Art

60 Egg Activities for Kids | Crafts, Science Activities, Sculpture, and more | Tinkerlab.com

Plastic Egg Activities for Kids

Fancy Shaker Eggs (see photo above), Mama Smiles

ABC Egg Hunt, Toddler Approved

Crack Open the Egg and Paint, Teach Preschool

Easter Eggs: Not Just for Hunting, Creative Connections for Kids

Plastic Egg Ice Sculptures, Creativity my Passion

12 Ways to Learn, Using Plastic Easter Eggs, JDaniel4’s Mom

Make a Plastic Egg Pig Nose, Creativity My Passion

Glow in the Dark Eggs, Twins at Play

60 Egg Activities for Kids | Crafts, Science Activities, Sculpture, and more | Tinkerlab.com

Egg Games

Ice Eggs (See photo above), A Little Learning for Two

Easter Egg Number Hunt, A Mom with a Lesson Plan

Baby Play: Easter Egg Pick Up, Ready Set Read

Balancing Easter Eggs, A Mom with a Lesson Plan

Egg and Spoon Race, Creativity My Passion

Mexican Cascarones (Eggs filled with Confetti), Dirt and Boogers

Easter Egg Spelling Practice (see above), A Mom with a Lesson Plan

Egg Emotion Cards, Toddler Approved

Name Egg Hunt, Toddler Approved

60 Egg Activities for Kids | Crafts, Science Activities, Sculpture, and more | Tinkerlab.com

Egg Crafts

Eggshell Candles (See photo above), Paint Cut Paste

Decoupage Eggs, Pink and Green Mama

Easter Egg Sun Catchers, The Artful Parent

Spring in an Egg, Small and Friendly

How to make (egg-shaped) soap…for beginners, Red Ted Art

Felt Eggs, Sunny Side Up, Pink and Green Mama

Easter Garland with Foam Eggs, East Coast Mommy

Easter Grass Spring Garden, The Outlaw Mom

Egg Molds for Kids, Foodie Parent

Make a Sheep from a Plastic Egg, De tour et de rien

Giant Chocolate Egg, Mummy Mummy Mum

Easter Egg Cupcakes with Yolk Centers, Cupcake Project

60 Egg Activities for Kids | Crafts, Science Activities, Sculpture, and more | Tinkerlab.com

Egg Painting & Sculpture Activities

Egg Shell Sculpture (See photo above), Messy Kids

Make your own Egg Tempera Paint, Tinkerlab

Spray Painted Egg Bunting, Sun Hats and Wellie Boots

Tape Resist Eggs, Putti Prapancha

Rolling Eggs, Experimenting Mom

Easter Egg Made with Melted Beads, Sun Hats and Wellie Boots

Easter Shadow Box with Storytelling, Mommy Labs

Play Dough Easter Eggs, Putti Prapancha

60 Egg Activities for Kids | Crafts, Science Activities, Sculpture, and more | Tinkerlab.com

Egg Science Activities

The Transparent and Bouncy Egg Experiment (See photo above), The Chocolate Muffin Tree

Learning About Eggs, A Little Learning for Two

How Strong is an Eggshell?, Science Sparks

An Experiment with Egg and Soda, The Chocolate Muffin Tree

Egg Geodes, Tinkerlab

Walking on Raw Eggs, Tinkerlab

The Floating Egg-periment, Experimenting Mom

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Thanks for visiting TinkerLab — for more ideas like these, be sure to sign up for our non-spammy, totally creative, free weekly newsletter. 

Recycled Art Sculpture | Mystery Box Challenge

Recycled Art Sculpture | Tinkerlab.com

Do you have a box of recyclables with a plan to turn them into art or something amazing? Today we’re sharing one of our favorite recycled art projects using found objects, inspired by this project at the Boston Children’s Museum. and the Random Challenge Boxes from Matt Jervis at Make it Creativity.

Recycled Art with Upcycled Materials

Recycled Art Sculpture | Tinkerlab.com

I recently led a fun maker station for the California Museum Association’s (CAM) annual conference that we called the Mystery Box Challenge. While we often share child-led projects here on TinkerLab, the participants in this challenge were all all museum professionals. To see how my children interpreted the same prompt, click here. This project was inspired by the Art Studio at the Boston Children’s Museum.

Mystery Box Challenge

For the Mystery Box Challenge, I prepared a bunch of boxes by filling them with all sorts of interesting found objects and trinkets: pieces of wood, surplus plastic, cupcake holders, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, etc. Each participant received their own box with a prompt to make a critter from any or all of the supplies in the box.

Recycled Art Sculptures with Found Objects | Mystery Box Challenge | TinkerLab.com

I found the boxes at the craft store, and most of the supplies came from RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching, a non-profit that sells low cost surplus materials for education), and a local party store. We were also lucky to receive a generous donation of low heat glue guns and glue sticks from Blick Art Materials.  Thanks Blick!!

My colleague and art buddy Danielle and I set everything up, and then we waited for people to show up.

TinkerLab Mystery Box Challenge | TinkerLab.com

The table got busy and it was amazing to see the high level of focus from our incredible makers as they cut, glued, assembled, and invented their characters.

TinkerLab Mystery Box Challenge | TinkerLab.com

TinkerLab Mystery Box Challenge | TinkerLab.com

Once their critters were done, we invited everyone to have us take a photo of their inventive designs. Those who were on Instagram tagged their images with #tinkercritter. One of the best things about an open-ended prompt like this is to see how differently each person interprets the invitation and materials.

We were blown away by the creativity and ingenuity in the room!

Recycled Art Sculptures with Found Objects | Mystery Box Challenge | TinkerLab.com

Recycled Art Sculpture | Tinkerlab.com

Margie, Director of Education and Public Programs, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

Mary, Graduate Student, University of Washington

Tyrena, Camp Coordinator, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Recycled Art Sculpture | Tinkerlab.com

Jamie, Mutual of America

Elizabeth, Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Carl, Director of Education, Curiodyssey

Recycled Art Sculpture | Tinkerlab.com

Maria, Museum Studies Student, San Francisco State

Elise, Long Beach Museum of Art

Dawn, Curator, Heidrick Agricultural History Center

Recycled Art Sculpture | Tinkerlab.com

Conny, Graduate Student, San Francisco State

Kristine, Community Education Director, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Mandi, Exhibit Envoy

Invite us to your School or Event

Thanks to everyone who played with us in Napa at the CAM Conference. It was so nice to meet each of you. If you’d like to have us come out and lead this or another maker project at your school or event, shoot me an email at rachelle at tinkerlab.com

 

Found Object Art | Junk Critters

Found Object Art - Make a Junk Critter | Tinkerlab.com

I’m a huge fan of breathing new life into long-lost materials, and I’ve been making found object art pieces like these since I was a kid.

Last weekend my friend, Danielle, and were in Napa to lead a fun, fast-paced Maker Session at the California Association of Museums annual conference.

For our workshop we brought these cool hands-on maker kits that my kids oohed and ahhhed over before I headed off to play in wine country.

Maker Kits - Tinkerlab.com

The kits carried similar materials, but the nature of collecting found objects meant that each maker box was unique. I’ll share images from the workshop with a close-up on how adults interpreted these materials shortly, but I thought you might be interested in seeing what kids made of these.

My kids were my prototype testers, after all.

Found Object Art - Make a Junk Critter | Tinkerlab.com

Collect your junk supplies

Before the boxes were even filled, we experimented with some basic materials like ribbon, wood scraps, fabric swatches, paper baking cups, markers, and plastic party beads.

You’ll need:

  1. Junk
  2. Something to cut the junk (scissors)
  3. Something to attach the junk (glue gun – Amazon link to our favorite one)

Found Object Art - Make a Junk Critter | Tinkerlab.com

Invest in a low-heat glue gun

There are always people who gasp when they see kids handling hot glue guns (maybe that was you…no worries) and I’m here to tell you that kids are capable of using glue guns.

Here are a few glue gun tips for kids:

  • Use a low-heat glue gun like the Cool Shot (Amazon link). I’ve been using this model for years, and it’s fabulous. If you spend more than a few seconds touching the tip you could theoretically burn yourself, but I have yet to see this happen.
  • Explain the glue gun rules to your child ahead of time: don’t touch the tip, try not to touch the hot glue with your bare hands

Found Object Art - Make a Junk Critter | Tinkerlab.com

Add some eyes

My 3-year old worked on this one. She added goggly eyes to make it come alive, but of course you could draw eyes on or cut eyes from paper. Googly eyes are an awesome invention, and truly animate anything they’re stuck to. We have a pair on our stapler, and “he” looks like a little alligator.

Found Object Art - Make a Junk Critter | Tinkerlab.com

We foraged the recycling bin for more objects and had some fun with building blocks and pom-poms: all stuck on with the miraculous glue gun.

Found Object Art - Make a Junk Critter | Tinkerlab.com

Share your found object art critters

When you’re all done creating, put your critters on display, play with them, take photos of them, carry them on a walk and take photos of them in different places. The options are endless. More sharing ideas:

Share on Facebook

And if you’re really brave, snap a photo and share it with me on my Facebook page!

Instagram

When I was at the conference we asked participants to take a photo of their critter and tag it with #tinkercritter. Here’s on example. I love it! Go check out their critters and upload your own to Instagram. Don’t forget to tag it with #tinkercritter!

More Found Object Art

This cool Pinterest board from Mary Briden

Louise Nevelson painted on assemblages made from wood scraps in the 1950’s.

Joseph Cornell made these gorgeous diorama boxes that were filled with all sorts of curious ephemera.

30 Inspiring and Useful Art Education Blogs

Best Art Education Blogs

Are you a teacher or homeschooler in search of the best art education blogs?

Long before I was a parent, I was an art teacher. I taught elementary and middle school art, and then moved into the field of museum education which is where I was right before TinkerLab began. While many of you are parents like me, I know that a fair number of our readers are also homeschoolers and/or educators. Because I love this stuff, and I know that many of you do too, I compiled this growing list of the best art education blogs. 30 of the best, inspiring and useful art education blogs | TinkerLab.com

Like all lists, this one is only as comprehensive as my research and doesn’t take brand new blogs into account. Also, this list does not include parenting blogs like TinkerLab. Everything included here caters almost exclusively to educators or families of the children in these educator’s care.

If you have a favorite art education blog that’s not included here, will you let me know in a comment? You’ll see that the list is light on middle school and high school blogs. Please send me your favorites! You’ll also want to pin this page because I’m sure to add more links as I find them. Well, that, and this list of 20 blogs will be handy when you need a bit of art education inspiration.

The Best General Art Education Blogs

School Arts Room Written by the editor of SchoolArts Magazine, this well-organized site offers timely art news; entertaining or thought-provoking artists, ideas, stories, and issues; professional opportunities for you; and project and lesson ideas and exhibition possibilities for your students.

Teaching for Artistic Behavior Also known as TAB, teaching for artistic behavior is a nationally recognized choice-based art education approach to teaching art. Choice-based art education regards students as artists and offers them real choices for responding to their own ideas and interests through the making of art.  This site shows you how.

Transition to Choice Based Art Education Clyde Gaw, author of the Indiana Art Education Advocacy Action Blog, also writes this reflective blog on the relevance of student-directed art education.

Art Teachers Hate Glitter This is not your typical art teacher blog. This is a humor site.

The Art of Education  Ridiculously Relevant Professional Development for Art Teachers

Preschool Art Education Blogs

Teach Preschool While not solely art-focuessed, this blog by Deborah Stewart holds art at the root of many of its lessons and provocations. One of my favorite sites, hands-down.

Casa Maria’s Creative Learning Zone Maria Wynne’s fanciful site is full of inspiration. As she says it, “Open your eyes to all sorts of possibilities…Discover creative ways to reuse recycled and natural materials. “Her pre-school curriculum and environment is deeply inspired by The Reggio Approach to Early Childhood Education

Elementary Art Education Blogs

Art for Small Hands Julie Voigt has taught art for over twenty-five years in Montessori schools. Each lesson plan is self-contained with all the information needed to complete the project: the target age; the key concepts to be learned; the materials needed; helpful notes to avoid pitfalls; and some anticipated conversations you may have with your young artists as they are working.

Elmwood Art This choice-based arts education blog (a.k.a. TAB, Teaching for Artistic Behavior) from Hopkinton, MA is delightful and smart!

Art with Mr. E Ted Daniel Edinger is an elementary art teacher in Nashville. He was named the 2011-2012 Tennessee State Elementary Art Teacher of the Year.

Deep Space Sparkle Founded by Patty Palmer of Goleta, CA, this beautifully designed site is a wealth of well-organized information.

Thomas Elementary Art Take a peek at the projects that students in Dublin, OH are working on.

Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists A peek into the busy art room of Hope Knight, art teacher and the K-5 artists at Dolvin Elementary School, Johns Creek, Georgia, USA

Organized Chaos Creating and teaching art requires a sense of humor and an understanding of organized chaos – as there is no way to create something original without spreading out supplies and getting a little messy.

Art Teacher Adventures Katie Morris is a K-6 Art Teacher in two public schools and is currently exploring choice-based art education.

Polka Dot Spot Written by an art teacher in Green Bay, WI.

Middle School Art Education Blogs

Artful Artsy Amy Amy teaches art in a Title I middle school in Georgia. She’s written some great articles on classroom management. I get LOST in this site. It’s so well-written and heartfelt. You’ll love Amy and wish she taught your child.

Studio Learning A blog by Nan Hathaway of Vermont, it chronicles choice-based projects such as sewing, painting, and felting. If you’re interested in choice-based art education, this site will inspire you.

High School Art Education Blogs

Panthers K-12  Well-organized lessons that includes a syllabus, curriculum map, lesson plans, Power Points, and rubrics.

Julia Stubbs Julia is an art and design teacher at William de Ferrers School in Essex, UK. She shares beautifully photographed images of her student work. 20 inspiring art education blogs | TinkerLab.com

More Inspiring Art Education Blogs

Since this post was originally written, readers have submitted their favorite, inspiring art education sites in the comments.

Ten more inspiring Art Education Blogs

Art Education Outside the Lines  Reflections on Art Education in the home environment

The Art of Apex High School  Choice Based Education in the Art Room

Wahoo for Art Art Projects from a K-5 Art Educator

Collingswood Middle and High School Visual Art Department Art endeavors from students in Collingswood, NJ

Teach Kids Art A personal blog from Cheryl Trowbridge that’s packed with art lessons for kids of all ages

Art is Basic Lots of art lesson ideas from a Marcia Beckett, a mom and elementary art teacher

Art Teacher Directory Art is Basic (above) also has a comprehensive art teacher directory that you have to check out for a ton of art ed blogs

Say Things with Color Elementary art teacher Alia Tahvildaran’s shares hands-on and digital projects, activities, and materials tested and recommended.

Mini Matisse  Loads of great lesson ideas and tips on how to organize an art room

Deep Space Sparkle  Art lessons from an elementary art educator

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  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
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An Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

The Creative Table Project | an Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

Today we’re sharing another quick activity for hands-on making that encourages independent thinking without a lot of fuss. If you’re new to the Creative Table Project, read this post for more information on how it works.

We’ll use today’s materials of tape and paper for this simple invitation to create. 

The Creative Table Project  | an Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

Before you begin

  1. Clear the table of anything that won’t be used in the invitation.
  2. Artfully arrange the materials to provoke ideas.

The Creative Table Project  | an Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

Creative Table with Tape and Paper

Ages 2 and up

Supplies

  1. Colorful tape
  2. Piece/s of paper
  3. Object to attach pre-cut tape to
  4. Scissors (optional)
  5. Crayons or markers (optional)

Creative Invitation: Pre-cut tape and attach it to a block, other sturdy object, or the edge of your table. Invite your child to attach the tape to the paper. Encourage experimentation. Have more sheets of paper and tape ready for experiments.

Work side-by-side: Set up a station for yourself and experiment with the materials. Your child will notice how you use the materials, which could serve as creative inspiration.

Questions to ask: 

  • What would happen if I piled pieces of tape on top of each other?
  • I wonder what it would look like if I attach the pieces of tape together end-to-end?
  • Can you tell me about how you made this?

Variations: 

  • Have extra rolls of tape available for additional color and pattern combinations. See this post for inspiration.
  • Add office stickers or other favorite stickers to the table for additional textures.
  • Add a small bowl of pre-cut paper and invite your child to attach them to the larger paper with the tape. See this post for inspiration.
  • Offer older children a pair of scissors with the invitation to cut their own tape.
  • Offer a container or markers or crayons and invite your child to add marks to the paper.

The Creative Table Project  | an Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

More Creative Table Inspiration

If you’re on Instagram, search the hashtag #creativetable and you’ll find over 3000 ideas that will get your creative juices flowing. If you’d like to share your own creative invitations, we invite you to add #creativetable to your pictures too.

Creative Table Highlights via Instagram

Creative Table: Tape and Paper Bags

Creative Table: Paint and Looping Lines

Creative Table: Doilies and Scissors

Creative Table: Leaves and Glue

Creative Table: Stickers and Frames

Creative Table: Glue and Sand

Creative Table | An Art Invitation with Glue + Sand

An easy Art Invitation with Glue and Sand that encourages creativity and independent thinking | TinkerLab

Let’s talk kids and creativity! Are you interested in raising a creative learner who can think outside the box?  Could you use some quick and easy ideas for hands-on making that also encourage creativity and independent thinking?

An easy Art Invitation with Glue and Sand that encourages creativity and independent thinking | TinkerLab

As a parents or educators, most of us care about raising children who can think for themselves. Will it benefit our kids if they can only master following directions? Probably not.

Pablo Picasso is often quoted for saying, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

Isn’t that true? Children are naturally creative and it’s our job to nurture their novel ways of thinking by encouraging them to harness this powerful energy to think for themselves.

Almost two years ago, we started a series of posts on TinkerLab that introduce children to a limited number of inspiring materials as an invitation to create. We call this series Creative Table.

What is an Invitation to Create?

An invitation to create is a carefully designed prompt or provocation to make something. One person sets up an inviting selection of materials, and another person makes something from the materials. There’s no right or wrong way about it. While we may have an idea about how the other person will use the materials, it’s ultimately up to them to determine the outcome.

You can think of this as a sort of game with just a few rules. Adults can step in to offer suggestions or ideas, but the child should mostly be encouraged to find her own way.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Clear the table of anything that won’t be used in the invitation.
  2. Artfully arrange the materials to provoke ideas.
  3. Limit the choice of materials to just a few items.
  4. Provide clues about how to use the materials, but keep the project open-ended so that original ideas can flourish.

Here is an easy art invitation to get you started. Stay tuned for more in the days to come!

Creative Table with Glue and Sand

Ages 2 and up

An easy Art Invitation with Glue and Sand that encourages creativity and independent thinking | From the Creative Table Series  |  TinkerLab

Supplies

  1. Bowl of sand, dirt, or glitter
  2. Glue Bottle
  3. Paper
  4. Small spoon

Creative Invitation: Set up a bowl of sand and a glue bottle next to a piece of paper. Invite your child to squeeze the glue onto the paper, and then pour sand onto the glue. Pour the sand back into the bowl when you’re done coating the glue. Encourage experimentation. Have more sheets of paper ready for experiments.

Questions to ask: What happens when we pour sand on top of the glue? What shapes can you draw with the glue? What other material could we sprinkle on the glue?

Variations: Younger children may have trouble squeezing the glue bottle. If that’s the case with your child, offer a small bowl of glue and a paintbrush as an alternative to the glue bottle. Baby food containers are perfect for this job. See this post for visual inspiration.

An easy Art Invitation with Glue and Sand that encourages creativity and independent thinking |  From the Creative Table Series | TinkerLabAn easy Art Invitation with Glue and Sand that encourages creativity and independent thinking | From the Creative Table Series |  TinkerLab

More Creative Table Ideas

If you’re on Instagram, search the hashtag #creativetable and you’ll find over 3000 ideas that will get your creative juices flowing. If you’d like to share your own creative invitations, we invite you to add #creativetable to your pictures too.

Creative Table Highlights via Instagram

Creative Table: Tape and Paper Bags

Creative Table: Paint and Looping Lines

Creative Table: Doilies and Scissors

Creative Table: Leaves and Glue

Creative Table: Stickers and Frames

Face Painting Station from Mama Papa Bubba

Contact Paper, Tissue, and Sequins from Mama Papa Bubba

Sewing Station from Mama Papa Bubba

 

Engineering for Kids | Fort Building Kit

Fort Magic Kit Review

This post is sponsored by Fort Magic. Read all the way to the end for a special offer!

Do you have a child who likes to build forts? Have you heard of Fort Magic, the fort building kit for kids? 

We were first introduced to this super-fun engineering kit for kids over a year ago, and our fort-building is still going strong. You can read our original review of Fort Magic here. Since we first built that submarine, our kit caught the eye of our neighborhood friends and by some miracle it made it back to our house!

Engineering for Kid: Super Fun Fort Building Kit

So what is Fort Magic?

Fort Magic is an innovative fort building and construction toy that enables children to build 3D, kid-created, “life-size” worlds for inventive play!

The kit includes 382 poles and connectors that can be assembled to build forts of all kinds. To keep the pieces tidy when they’re not being used, they come in a handy mesh bag that has extra room and an easy-to-close velcro top. If your child enjoys Legos, there’s a good chance that this fort building kit would appeal to them.

The kit also comes with a small instruction manual that shows you how to easily assemble things like a boat or tent. 5-year old Nutmeg enjoyed the process of following the instructions to figure out how the pieces could connect. I love that she could do this on her own.

How we played with Fort Magic

To tell the truth, we actually started with a small argument. Rainbow wanted to build a Princess castle and Nutmeg wanted to build a tall rectangular structure. What to do?

We compromised and built a short rectangular structure with some arches.

And they were both genuinely thrilled.

Engineering for Kid: Super Fun Fort Building Kit

Every now and then the girls would stop and look carefully at the instructions for guidance.

Fort Magic Kit Review

Fort Magic Instructions

And while we started with the instructions, my kids quickly figured out how to manipulate the pieces in their own way. 3-year old Rainbow took it upon herself to decorate the edges with curved pipes. She was very serious about this business. And 5-year old Nutmeg devised a plan to add arches to the top.

Fort Magic Kit Review

Before you knew it, the whole thing went up. My kids put most of the bottom together on their own, with Nutmeg guiding her sister along. She turned out to be a very strong leader, and I relished the collaboration and teamwork that went on between the two of them.

I was responsible for the top level, and covering it all with sheets.

The kit doesn’t come with fabric, so you’ll want to have a few extras set aside for your fort building. We only had two spare sheets, but the kids didn’t seem to mind one bit.

After it was covered, Nutmeg added some more pieces to the front of the fort to make an entryway.

Fort Magic Kit Review

Once it was all set up, it proved to be the perfect place to snuggle in and watch a movie.

Fort Magic Kit Review

What you should know about Fort Magic

  • The kit comes with instructions to make things like a submarine, castle, tent, boat, and car.
  • The pieces come in an easy-to-close, durable bag.
  • Children can assemble forts themselves, but may need some adult help with tall forts and securing sheets to the fort with fabric clips (clips are included).
  • Sheets are not included, so be sure to have a selection of sheets handy. But stay posted because Fort Magic lets us know that fabric covers are coming soon! The kit does include a ton of clips for securing your fabric to the pipes.
  • The forts will take over your room, but it’s worth it for the problem-solving, teamwork, and hours of fun involved.

Fort Magic imagination toy

What people say about Fort Magic

We really love this toy, if you’re still wondering if it’s for you, take a look at all these reviews to get your questions answered.

Where can you buy this Fort Building Kit?

Fort Magic can be purchased right here.

Giveaway!!

We’re excited to share that we will be giving away one Fort Magic Kit, valued at $199 to one of our lucky newsletter subscribers in our next newsletter. If you’re not already a subscriber, click over here and sign up today.