Pop-up Paper Zoo

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I love collaborating with my three-year old, so I was thrilled when she came up with this idea for me to draw animal shapes for her to color in. We don't have coloring books in our house (aside from a mandala coloring book suggested by Jen at Paint Cut Paste), so maybe this fed some deep seated need to color in the lines? When I drew the outline of the first animal I wasn't … [Read more...]

Cookie Sheet Monoprints

drawing patterns on ink for monoprint

When I discovered printmaking after college, I learned how to make everything from intaglio prints to screen prints. I simply adore working in this medium!! Children and printmaking haven't been an easy combination for me -- the inks can be toxic and the materials can take over a space, but I've been taking every opportunity I can to bring printmaking down to my child's level, … [Read more...]

Blending Chalk Pastels

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We started with a box of chalk pastels and construction paper. I happened upon this amazing box for $5 at an art studio sale. They're wonderful, but really, any chalk pastels will do. I'm not  inclined to recommend construction paper because it's not at all archival, but its toothy nature makes it a good substrate for chalk pastels (as long as you're not planning to keep these … [Read more...]

Drawing Under the Table

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I placed a large sheet of paper and a bucket of markers under my daughter's art table, and left it there with the hope that she'd discover it and fall in love with the idea of drawing in this unlikely art-making location. In reality, I had to lure her to the spot, provoke her with all sorts of silly comments such as, "I wonder what's under your table?" and then suggest that she … [Read more...]

Drawing Shadows

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Today was an on-and-off sunny day, but in those brief moments of sunshine we squeezed in a quick little chalk drawing project that's a great way to help children look at things from a new perspective, which is a key ingredient in creative thinking. I talked to N about a plan to draw our shadows earlier in the day, and lamented that it was too cloudy to try it out. When … [Read more...]

Dry Erase on Windows

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Why use paper and crayons when you can draw on windows with markers? My husband invited us to visit him during a class he's teaching on the intersection of design and improvisation (oh how I wish I had time to take this class!).  He brought N a dry erase marker to keep her occupied. Can you find little sister up there? He led her to the large sliding doors, and … [Read more...]

Art Dice

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I've been saving these wooden cubes for the just the right project, and it recently occurred to me that they could be repurposed into Art Dice: a fun tool for creating some randomly generated art. Every flip of a dice becomes an opportunity to explore art vocabulary, drawing skills, color recognition, and shape identification, to name a few. If you have any spare blocks lying … [Read more...]

Valentine’s Day Shrinky Dinks

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Do you remember Shrinky Dinks? I loved loved loved these as a child, but I wasn't sure if my 2.5 year old would be ready for them yet. We happened to find ourselves at a Hanukah party in December where a bunch of craft tables were set up, and my child gravitated to the Shrinky Dink table. Why, I'm not sure, but the mountain of Sharpie markers may have had something to do with … [Read more...]

Tracing Circles

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Some of you have mentioned that you're building up ideas for foul-weather-indoor-play, and I've got something for you that requires very little preparation and can be pulled together with materials that we all have on hand. Materials marker/pen/pencil paper tape cups I taped a sheet of paper to the table and showed N how to trace around a cup. I'm in love with … [Read more...]

Candy Cane Still Life

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At least half of the art activities that happen in our home are improvisations. Today was another rainy day, and after setting up a marble run, sommersaulting off the couch, playing with neighborhood friends, and jumping in puddles, I pulled Candy Can Still Life out of my rabbit hat. It was a short activity, but totally worthwhile and applicable, I think, to a wide variety of … [Read more...]