Symmetrical Butterfly Prints

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When my 1 year old naps, my three and a half year old non-napper and I like to pull out some of our favorite messy materials that don't normally surface when baby hot-hands is awake. The other day N wanted to paint, and we ended up making butterfly rorschach paintings. BTW, every time I have to spell that word -- rorschach -- it stumps me! Anyone else? We called these butterfly … [Read more...]

New Life for a Melissa & Doug Box

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My 3 year old, N, received a Melissa & Doug Deluxe Stringing Bead set from her grandparents that came in a lovely, wooden, shallow, lidless box. Lidless, with tiny beads inside. And this is marketed to little kids. Whaaaat? Dear Melissa & Doug: Can you please, pretty please make lids for the boxes that house your fabulous toys? Thanks! Here's how the problem … [Read more...]

Candle Wax Watercolor Resist

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Ever since my 13-month old turned one she's been fascinated with candles, so every week or so we bust out a birthday candle and sing five or six rounds of Happy Birthday to her. One of these candles was lying around and N, my three-year old, decided to draw with it. I immediately saw the opportunity to turn this into a wax-resist watercolor lesson -- you know, where you paint … [Read more...]

Fabric Stamping and Painting

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Despite our vast apron collection, one of my daughter's favorite dresses was splattered with blue paint stains. I tried to casually brush it off (no pun intended), but she was keenly aware of those stains and wouldn't wear it. So we came up with a plan to cover the little blue dots with fabric paint, and it worked! I lined the dress with a piece of foam core (cardboard would … [Read more...]

Painting on Wood Panel

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There's something about how the layers of paint sit on top of the wood that I find so appealing. I had to pick up two wood panels for a baby shower gift and my three year old asked if she could paint on some too. She chose three small panels, one as a housewarming gift for her uncle and the other two for herself. She also asked if she could have some new acrylic paint, … [Read more...]

Spiral Watercolor Streamer

knotted string on back of spiral

I love it when we make things that make our house feel like a party, which might explain why buntings drip off the wall of my kids' room, paper crowns peek out of our cabinets, we have four pink balloons in the bathroom, and we celebrate birthdays months before they actually happen just so we can blow out candles. My baby turns one next week, and we've been singing her Happy … [Read more...]

Painting on Ice Cream

painting ice cream

If you live in the U.S., there's a good chance that you're in the middle of a terrible heat wave. While I can't make it cooler (sorry about that), I'd like to offer up this cool lesson in color mixing...and it all happens right on top of a chilly scoop of ice cream, sure to help you forget the heat for at least 5 minutes. Tools Vanilla Ice Cream Food Coloring. Because I … [Read more...]

Mini Paintings

mini watercolor paintings

Do you recognize these materials? I'm big on repurposing found objects into art, so when I found a plastic slide sheet from my pre-digital days I couldn't bear to throw it out before giving it the ol' arts and crafts makeover. If you're not familiar with these, they're essentially sheet protectors for slides. I showed the sheet to N with the suggestion that we fill it with … [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...]

Painted Paper Mural

choosing paint for the paper mural

It's summer, so just about everything we're doing over here has taken us outside. And I also have a 10-month old who's far happier outside than in, so I'm busy dreaming up all sorts of things that will keep my 3-year old entertained in the great outdoors. This project could also be easily set up inside -- just add a drop cloth to protect your floors! This would be a fun … [Read more...]