Easy String Art Experiments for Kids

Easy String Art Painting with Kids

"The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through." -- Jackson Pollack, American Painter String Art Creating string art is a fun mix of art, creative thinking, and experimentation all rolled into one open-ended package. If you've been following this blog for a while you'll know that when it comes to children's projects, my focus lies on the experience of … [Read more...]

Looking at Art with Kids: Norman Rockwell

How to look at art with kids :: Tinkerlab.com

Have you spent any time looking at art -- in a MUSEUM -- with your child? Even though I'm an arts educator who spent years leading gallery tours and training docents, we don't spend as much time in art museums as I'd like because, you know, my children look at everything as a potential playground. I have an arsenal of gallery games and tricks up my sleeve, but they're no match … [Read more...]

We only think when confronted with a problem

we only think when confronted with a problem :: tinkerlab.com

"We only think when confronted with a problem." -- John Dewey, American philosopher and educator What do you think about this quote by John Dewey?  I spend a lot of my time considering how to set the stage for open-ended discovery as a way to foster a child's confidence and independence. If you caught my last post, Organizing a Self-serve Creativity Zone, you'll see a … [Read more...]

Organize a Self-Serve Creativity Zone

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"The drive to master our environment is a basic human characteristic from the beginning -- from birth." --Jack P. Shonkoff, Harvard University (From Mind in the Making, Ellen Galinsky. New York: Harper Collins, 2010). Do you have self-serve spaces in your home that are dedicated to creativity, art, science, and tinkering? Today I'm sharing our creative zone, the space … [Read more...]

DIY Baby Fabric Bucket Toy

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The following post is from the archives. It originally appeared in April, 2011. If you're looking for ways to mix up your baby play time routine, you might enjoy trying this simple activity with materials you may already have in the closet and recycling can. I often wax poetic about my preschooler's creative pursuits while my little one makes the occasional appearance … [Read more...]

Easy Art: Air Dry Clay

creative kids clay

Material: Air Dry Clay Have you ever noticed that kids don't need a lot of bells and whistles and fancy stuff to get creative, have fun, and feel on top of the world? Yesterday we foraged some cardboard boxes from a neighbor's move because 4-year old Nutmeg has a vision of building a space station. Today I'd like to introduce you to ONE material that helps build creative … [Read more...]

Circular Patterns + Creative Thinking

paper plate mandala

Despite the thousands of ideas you've seen floating around the internet, do you ever feel like you're at a loss for an art activity that your kids will enjoy, while also challenging them to think? Children get excited about solving real problems, and the problem in this project lies in figuring out how to circumnavigate a paper plate with color and patterns. While … [Read more...]

Mining the Garage for Toys

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Did you ever play with a Lite Brite? How about Star Wars Action figures? We dusted off some old favorites and have breathed new life into these throw-backs to my own childhood and beyond. Classic toys have a simplicity to them that can generate creative thinking. And although they may be old to us, when they're new-to-kids they have a freshness to them can can build imagination … [Read more...]

Five Easy Steps for Talking with Children about Art

peter wagner sculpture

Have you taken your kids to see any good art lately? As a an art museum educator I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how adults can help children talk about and make sense of art. But why is this important? Talking about art is good for kids' minds: it helps them think critically, develop strong reasoning skills, pay attention to nuance, and explore new ways of … [Read more...]