Spring Sink Mat Prints

Printing making with Kids - Sink Mat Experiment

Printmaking with kids can be accessible and easy. This simple printmaking activity can be set up for children as young as three, maybe even two if you’re feeling brave!

Supplies:

this list contains affiliate links

Printmaking with Kids: Easy Sink Mat Printing

I spend a lot of time at the hardware store. And last week I spotted this flower mat — the Blumz Sink Mat! — I love that exclamation point! — It’s an exciting sink mat! — and it looked like something that could be fun to print with!

In honor of Spring’s inevitable arrival (yes, it WILL get warmer) and St. Patty’s Day (I married a “Doorley”, after all), we used green and yellow paint.

I also found a bag of ten foam brushes at the dollar store, so the luck of the Irish was clearly with me. I covered the work space with paper and then my daughter painted the mat with our fresh Spring palette.

And then we added a sheet of paper, pressed it down with the palms of our hands, and pulled our first print.

Ooooooooh!! She loved it, and I thought it came out gorgeous!

We pulled three prints, which frankly was more than I had bargained for, and then the real fun began! If you followed our Jello experiment, you’ll recognize a common thread here…

And maybe you picked up on the addition of an apron. I love that focused expression.

There’s a leprechaun in my house!

More printmaking art projects for kids

16 Easy Printmaking Projects for Kids

Abstract Recycled Prints

Styrofoam Prints (from a veggie or meat packing tray)

Cookie Sheet Monoprints

Bubble Prints

30 Valentine Activities for Kids

This mother-lode of Valentine activities for kids (toddlers, preschoolers, and any other hands-on kids) covers everything from cards to treats. With 30 Valentine activities for kids here, this should keep us all busy until St. Patrick’s Day!

30 Valentine Activities for Kids

If you’re so inclined to roll up your sleeves and make something for Valentine’s Day, here are thirty Valentine activities for kids to get you started…

Valentine Cards

Valentine envelope made from heart

How to draw cut out a heart for preschool children, TinkerLab

Make a Valentine Card and Envelope from one heart (above), TinkerLab

Deconstructed Valentines: perfect for toddlers!,  Tinkerlab

Self-serve Valentines Station, Tinkerlab

Cards from the Heart: Cut heart shapes from your child’s artwork, The Golden Gleam

Stained Glass Valentines: Peephole cards and tissue paper, Creative Family Fun

Heart Art on Canvas

Valentine Hearts on a Canvas, Red Ted Art

5 ways to make Valentines Cards, Mama Pea Pod

Set up a Valentine Writing Center, Growing Book by Book

Valentine Sewing Cards for Preschool Children, TinkerLab

Easy Valentine Bookmarks: An awesome no-candy Valentine gift idea, TinkerLab

Valentine Gifts

30 simple, cool, and fun Valentine Activities for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Heart Blotto T-shirt, The Chocolate Muffin Tree (photo above)

How to Make a Heart Doily T-shirt, The Artful Parent

Make a Jar of Hearts for Dad, The Outlaw Mom

DIY Valentine Heart Puzzle, Allyou

Valentine Heart Gift Bag, Nurturestore

Child-sewn Felt Hearts, MamaSmiles

Heart-shaped Birdseed Cakes, Little Wonders’ Days

Heart Mobile, Rainy Day Mum

Homemade Heart Soaps, Sunhats and Wellie Boots

Magazine Tree of Hearts, Putti’s World

Valentine Crafts and Decorations

30 simple, cool, and fun Valentine Activities for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Valentine’s Day Garland, Kiwi Crate

Heart Snowflakes, Let Kids Create

Child-made String of Hearts Garland, Hands on as we Grow

Owl-shaped Valentine Craft, This Simple Home

Valentine Activities for Kids

30 simple, cool, and fun Valentine Activities for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Valentine Play Dough Station, Tinkerlab

Valentine Sensory Bin, The Iowa Farmer’s Wife

Lacing Valentine Card, The Outlaw Mom

Valentine’s Art Journal, Mommy Labs

Heart-shaped Pizza: toddler-style, Growing a Jeweled Rose

Valentine’s Day Sensory Box with pink rice, Pink and Green Mama

Simple Word-matching Game, The Homeschool Den

Valentine Treats

30 simple, cool, and fun Valentine Activities for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Valentine Snack with Toast, cream cheese, and sprinkles. Looks just like a cookie!, Tinkerlab

Sweetheart S’mores with heart marshmallows, graham crackers, peanut butter, and strawberries. A Mom with a Lesson Plan

Stained-glass Cookies: So pretty!, The Outlaw Mom

Delicious Mini Heart Pies, TinkerLab

30 simple, cool, and fun Valentine Activities for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Frozen Chalk Paint – an Art Provocation

If you’re fighting against hot weather and could use a creative activity that will get you outdoors, frozen ice chalk is a wonderful way to explore the intersection of art and science with little ones…on a hot day.

How to make frozen chalk paint with corn starch

How to Make Frozen Chalk Paint

Making up a batch of frozen chalk paint is easy, and you can make it with ingredients that you probably already have at home, which is the best in my opinion. I was inspired by this recipe at Reading Confetti.

This post contains affiliate links. 

How to make frozen chalk with corn starch | TinkerLab

Supplies: Frozen Chalk Paint

Corn Starch, also known as Corn Flour in the U.K.

Liquid watercolors. I like this brand. The colors are bright and they’re non toxic. India Tree makes a set of natural food coloring that is lovely if you’re looking for something all-natural.

Ice Cube Tray/s. I found this set of 3 trays (stars, flowers, and mixed shapes) that are similar to mine, and a good deal for all three.

Water

Mixing Bowl

Spoon

frozen chalk with corn starch

Instructions: Make Frozen Ice Chalk

  1. Mix 1 part corn starch with 1 part water.
  2. Add food coloring or liquid watercolors until you reach the desired color.
  3. To make multiple colors, mix in smaller bowls or simple add the food coloring directly to the ice cube tray.
  4. Pour into the mold.
  5. Freeze.
  6. Pop out and play.

A quick note about frozen chalk: Food coloring and liquid watercolors, mixed with corn starch, can temporarily stain sidewalks. Ours left a beautiful rainbow on the sidewalk for couple weeks. It looked lovely and we didn’t mind, but it’s something to keep in mind if you have a precious surface that you want to preserve.

Play with Ice Chalk Paint - A Sensory Experience for Preschool

Play Ideas for Frozen Chalk

  1. Place them on a sidewalk and watch them melt
  2. Draw with the chalk
  3. Place different colors near each other and make guesses about what color the melting chalk will turn into as the paint mixes (see photo below)
  4. Offer a stick to push the frozen chalk around with

Frozen chalk paint sensory experience for preschool

More Homemade Art Supplies that you can Make

Salt and Flour Paint – Just as it sounds, you will only need salt, flour, and food coloring

Easy Egg Tempera Paint – This gorgeous paint dries with a slight shimmer.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Paint – This may be the most delicious paint recipe ever.

More Art Provocations

If you are looking for more art provocations like this, the Creative Table Project is filled with tons of ideas that you can implement right away.

 

NAEYC Registration Discount Code

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The NAEYC Annual Conference & Expo is the largest early childhood education conference in the world, where tens of thousands of educators choose from hundreds of presentations and exhibits. This year’s conference will be held November 18-21 in Orlando, FL.

About the NAEYC

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research.

NAEYC Registration Discount Code

Good news for friends of TinkerLab: I have a REGISTRATION DISCOUNT CODE for the 2015 Conference to share with you today.

NAEYC Registration Discount Code

There are extra discounts if you’re a student, NAEYC member, if you register as a group, or if you register early.

On top of that, you can get an additional 15% discount when you use the code Doorley15 at checkout.

Early bird registrations ends on September 25, 2015

NAEYC for Families

NAEYC is not just for educators! They also has resources for families on child development, music, families today, and help with selecting childcare and preschools.

16 Easy Printmaking Projects for Kids

Printmaking is one of my very favorite processes to explore with children. Seeing how a texture or pattern repeats itself is full of magic, and a delightful process to witness and experience with kids.

16 Easy Printmaking Projects for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Here are 16 super easy, and very fun printmaking projects that are sure to inspire children (of all ages) to experiment with printing.

16 Easy Printmaking Projects for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Dip nuts and bolts into paint and repeat these cool shapes all over paper: Picklebums

Another household tool to dip into paint is the potato masher: Play Based Learning

Blow a paint + soap mixture with a straw, and you have some gorgeous bubble printing: TinkerLab

Roll ink or paint over a piece of styrofoam from a meat or veggie tray: TinkerLab

16 Easy Printmaking Projects for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Press okra into a stamp pad for beautiful flower prints: The Imagination Tree

Draw onto a paint-covered muffin tin with ear swabs for this fun printmaking exploration: The Artful Parent

Make a stamp wheel with a tape roll and foam stamps: Inner Child Fun

Cover a rolling pin with bubble wrap for this squishy experiment: Handmade Kids Art

16 Easy Printmaking Projects for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Another take on bubble wrap printing: tape it to the end of a tube: Creative Connections for Kids

Make these amazing patterns with recycled container printing: Picklebums

Use a rubber sink mat with a pattern to make these cheerful printed cards: TinkerLab

So easy! Dip toys or blocks into paint for block printing: Kids Activities Blog Sink Mat Prints

16 Easy Printmaking Projects for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Make these cool shapes with bubble wands. Laughing Kids Learn

Corks make for easy to hold handles for these foam sticker-topped stampers: Happy Hooligans

Got Lego? There are so many shapes and sizes to play with: Filth Wizardry

Cut up rubber bands to make plates that can be printed: Kristen’s Blog Life

 

Join the TinkerLab Community

Get more ideas for raising young inventors and filling your life with creativity by signing up for the weekly TinkerLab newsletter. It’s free and we often send exclusive content and opportunities that are only available to our subscribers.

TinkerLab Newsletter

In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!)  – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA

Join our community and you’ll learn:

  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
  • How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
  • Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids

16 Easy Printmaking Projects for Kids | TinkerLab.com

Fall Craft Ideas: Leaf Drawing

This fall craft idea is also a simple creative invitation that doesn’t require a lot of fancy tools and won’t come with a big mess. If you’re new to the idea of creative invitations, this article has all the details you’ll need to get started.

Fall Craft Ideas | Leaf Drawing  | TinkerLab

Supplies for Fall Leaf Drawing

  • Leaves
  • Colored pencils or your favorite mark-making tool
  • Paper

Fall Craft Ideas | Leaf Drawing  | TinkerLab

My 4-year old and I took a bike ride and she chose this selection of leaves. We arranged them on the table and she added a crystal. Because, you know, it looks better that way.

We marveled at all the colors in the leaves and then I invited her to draw them. We used Lyra Ferby colored pencils (affiliate link) for the task. I love these crayon/pencils for little kids because they’re a bit fatter than standard colored pencils (with a 6.25 mm lead core), and they come with a triangle grip that makes them easy to hold.

My daughter still insists on holding her pencil with her pinky and seems quite comfortable with this grip. And I’m still working on helping her shift to a better grip! If this is something that your child struggles with, this post has some great tips in the comments.

Fall Craft Ideas | Leaf Drawing | TinkerLab

The Fall Leaf Drawing Set-up

Set up a large sheet of drawing paper, scatter a few leaves around, and place freshly sharpened colored pencils on the table.

Invite your child to look closely at the leaves and notice the variety of colors and shapes, and then discuss what you see.

Some questions to ask:

  • What colors do you notice?
  • Do any of the colors surprise you?
  • How many points does this leaf have? Let’s count them together.
  • Which of these leaves could have come from the same tree?
  • Do you have a favorite leaf in this collection? What makes it your favorite?

Fall Craft Ideas | Leaf Drawing  | TinkerLab

Experiments in Drawing Fall Leaves

I sat across the table from my daughter and we drew leaves together. I always encourage my kids to experiment, and one way to do that is by modeling. As I colored my leaves in I layered one color on top of another. I noted that the red blended into green on one of the leaves, and tried to replicate that in my sketch.

My 4-year old payed attention to that and then pushed it one step further as she colored one of her leaves blue and purple, and gave another blue veins…because she liked the way it looked. Rock on! If you child goes for the unexpected, encourage him or her to go for it. The goal is to use the leaves as a starting point, and then layer that with interpretation and imagination.

More Leaf Projects

Make adorable Leaf Critters by painting directly on leaves with acrylic paint.

Preserve your Fall leaves in glycerin

Make coffee filter suncatchers in leaf shapes

Is this your first time here?

Join the Tinkerlab network and be the first to know about simple art + science projects for kids, creativity tips, and simple ideas that will make your life more creative. Sign up for our newsletter.

TinkerLab Newsletter

In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!)  – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA

Join our community and you’ll learn:

  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
  • How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
  • Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids

Fall Craft Ideas: Paint Coffee Filter Suncatchers

If you’re interested in ways to bring the Fall season to life, today I’m sharing fall craft idea that encourages children to be inventive and think independently.

A Fall Art Invitation: Coffee Filter Leaf Sun Catchers

Present the Supplies as an Art Invitation

If you follow TinkerLab, you know that I appreciate projects that encourage children to think for themselves and come up with their own unique spin on the materials. Like so many of our projects, I present the supplies to my children as an art invitation. Once the supplies are in front of my kids, they are free to use the materials in any way the please.

So, what will we need?

The supplies for this project are so easy!

A Fall Art Invitation: Coffee Filter Leaf Sun Catchers

Here’s the set-up…

A Fall Art Invitation: Coffee Filter Leaf Sun Catchers

Pre-cut coffee filters into leaf shapes. As you can see in the first image in this post, there were a few requests for hearts too. Related to that, this is by no means an exclusive-to-Autumn activity. Cut out hearts, moons, trees, flowers, or even shamrocks. Have fun with this!

Place the cut-out shapes on a tray. We used an art tray, but a cookie sheet with a rim will work equally well. You’ll want the tray because this project can get drippy, and all that liquid will be nicely contained in this walled-off area. I found our art trays at Michaels and spotted something similar over on Amazon (affiliate link).

For two children, you can have them share a bowl of water as I did, or give them each their own water (they would appreciate that, I’m sure!).

A Fall Art Invitation: Coffee Filter Leaf Sun Catchers

At ages three and six, my kids had very different approaches to this task.

As you can see from the dot-covered table, my three-year old had a GREAT time exploring dot-making on the table. My older daughter experimented with drawing veins and rainbow effects, and her little sister soon got on board with similar tasks.

It’s always interesting to see how artists influence each other, and I’m 100% okay with copying as it’s a way of learning.

A Fall Art Invitation: Coffee Filter Leaf Sun Catchers

Kids also like to experiment with different paintbrushes (flat, round, fan, skinny, and fat) to achieve a variety of textures and lines. If you have a collection of paintbrushes, this is a great project to bring them out for.

Drying the Coffee Filters

If your child gets into this project, you will have A LOT of painted coffee filters to contend with. As such, you’ll need to set up a space to dry these gorgeous leaves.

Roll out a large sheet of paper or lay down newspaper, and then place the painted cut-outs on the paper until dry. Because the paper is so thin, they tend to dry incredibly fast!

A Fall Art Invitation: Coffee Filter Leaf Sun Catchers

Once dry, hang the shapes in a window with a bit of transparent tape. Admire the colors as the sun shines through them.

More Fall Craft Ideas

Make a shimmering Fall Lantern

This easy Sticky Autumn Collage is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers

Preserve your leaves in glycerin with Glycerin Leaves

This is our favorite play dough recipe, with a fall scent: DIY Pumpkin Pie Playdough

Make Leaf Sun Prints as a way to preserve leaf shapes on fabric.

And for a whole slew of Autumn ideas, check out the fun Fall Bucket List

Is this your first time here?

Join the Tinkerlab network and be the first to know about simple art + science projects for kids, creativity tips, and simple ideas that will make your life more creative. Sign up for our newsletter.

TinkerLab Newsletter

In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!)  – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA

Join our community and you’ll learn:

  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
  • How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
  • Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids

Easy Stop Motion Animation for Beginners

While my girls have been in a little bit of camp this summer, it’s mainly been Camp Mom for our family: local adventures, crafts, and lots and lots of unstructured play. We’re lucky to have some great neighbors with kids, and our girls have been lost in imaginative play that expands beyond the reach of anything I could possibly fabricate for them.

However, we’ve had a few mornings filled with creative projects and this stop motion animation project is a winner. 

If you’re looking for a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) project, this is for YOU!

Stop Motion Animation, explained

For the uninitiated, stop motion animation is a film making technique that makes inanimate objects appear to move on their own. Think Gumby or Wallace and Gromit.

To make it work, you place an object in front of a camera and snap a photo. You then move the object a tiny bit and snap another photo. Repeat this process twenty to ten thousand times, play back the sequence in rapid progression, and the object appears to move fluidly across the screen.

This Stop Motion Animation project is so easy to set up, and a great way to encourage STEAM concepts with children.

While my older daughter, age six, really flew with this project, her little sister who’s just two months shy of four also got in on the stop motion animation action. I’ll share their finished projects in just a moment. But first, let me show you just how simple this set up can be. Take this as a starting point and feel free to add your own flourishes.

Supplies for Stop Motion Animation

This list contains affiliate links for your convenience

Easy Set-up for Stop Motion Animation with Kids | TinkerLab.com

Method

  1. Set up a backdrop. This could be a wall or pice of foam core.
  2. Gather toys to include in your animation.
  3. Set up your touch pad or smart phone on a stand or tripod, across from the foam core.
  4. Start the Stop Motion Animation App and make your movie!

The Stop Motion Animation Set Up

As you can see, there’s nothing too fancy about the set up. While you could certainly add some elaborate lighting, we set this up by a window to keep it simple. I added the trash can behind the piece of foam core to keep it from falling over during filming. I know, super glamorous, right? Any heavy object should do the trick.

Collect characters and objects for Stop Motion Animation Project | TinkerLab.com

The kids had fun sorting through what we call the Character Basket for their just-right objects. My six-year old was up first, and my little one took it as an opportunity to play with cars and mini sheep while she waited her turn.

Easy Set-up for Stop Motion Animation with Kids | TinkerLab.com

Using the stop motion app was really easy and intuitive. I did a demo run to show the kids how it worked, and then my six-year old took over and worked on her video for a solid half hour. When she was done, her little sister took over. I was surprised at how easy it was for her too.

Easy Stop Motion Ideas

My kids jumped in on this with tons of enthusiasm. Here are a few easy stop motion ideas that you can show to your children.

From three-year old R…

From six-year old N…

Benefits of Stop Motion Animation

  • Offers children ownership and autonomy in the film making process
  • Teaches children how stop motion animation works
  • Debunks the mechanics of how movie-making happens
  • The creative constraint of the medium encourages problem solving
  • It’s a simple, hands-on technology that young children can achieve
  • Encourages children to project and plan out where a story is heading
  • Fosters iteration and experimentation through trying and testing
  • Supports storytelling

So, are you ready to give it a try?

This Stop Motion Animation project is so easy to set up, and a great way to encourage STEAM concepts with kids | TinkerLab.com

More Stop Motion Resources

How to make a Stop Motion Animation, YouTube. This is a great little video, and it sounds like it was made by KIDS! Yay.

You can’t really beat the classic stop motion animation of Gumby! Gumby on the Moon, YouTube. This would be an inspiring thing to show a child as an intro to stop motion animation.

Best Stop Motion Videos from Short of the Week. Lots of good inspiration here.

How to make things fly in Stop Motion Animation, using PhotoShop: YouTube. This is for the super-advanced students, and worth checking out if you’re curious about how these things work.