I’m so excited to be guest posting at Twodaloo, one of my favorite blogs today. Stephanie is amazing. She’s not only a fellow Rockin’ Art Mom, she’s also a totally knowledgeable speech pathologist, mom of twins and a total creative superstar. Please head over to her blog and check out her posts. If you have any questions about speech and language for your little ones, twodaloo is a fantastic resource. We had so much fun with this animal race track made from butcher paper, duct tape and a marker. It’s a super simple invitation to play for little kids and highly effective. Great for traveling too! Pop over to twodaloo to read more about it.
Spring is almost here and even though we live in LA where it’s been 80 degrees for the past month, we’re super excited. I’m also really excited because today launches a great art series called Easy Art Projects for Kids I’m doing with some really special kid art bloggers. Each month we are going to pick a different art material and experiment with it to bring you some amazing ideas to do with your children. This month is art material is watercolors. We made these beautiful spring paper flowers from liquid watercolors, droppers and spray bottles. We glued them together by small, medium and big to create layered flowers that look gorgeous hanging on the wall. Spring is definitely in the air.
First I put some liquid watercolors in a recycled plastic apple container. I use these liquid watercolors but you can find different brands that work great as well. I had precut a bunch of flowers from heavy watercolor paper in different sizes. The kids got to pick from a pile of paper flowers which one they wanted to use. They dropped the liquid watercolors onto the flowers and watched as the colors bubbled and lay on top of the paper. They could use the droppers as pens and scratch across the flower creating a neat writing affect. They could also use their fingers to move the paint around. This technique was quite popular with my one year old.
After moving the paint around the flower and using the droppers for a while, I suggested the flowers might be thirsty. I had several spray bottles on hand to feed the flowers with. The girls loved this part. They sprayed the flowers over and over and watched the colors as they absorbed into the watercolor paper. New colors formed as the colors bled together. There was also a beautiful “firework” affect that took place from the spray of the spray bottles. If you’re kids are a little older, there is so much to notice with this activity. You definitely want to give it a try. It’s a great introduction to watercolors on many levels.
After we thoroughly sprayed our flowers, the girls were quite happy to spray everything else in sight, including a vase of flowers I had set up close to our art table. With older kids I would have taken some more time to notice the shapes and colors of the real flowers and then used that to segue into the paper flowers. These toddlers were too anxious to get started. You can also let older kids draw and cut their own flowers, which they’d really enjoy. This would add a great study in shapes, along with all the fine motor building skills.
The last steps were to hang the flowers up to dry and glue the different sizes together. I loved hanging the flowers. That was my favorite part. Why does everything look so pretty on a clothesline? It gets me every time. Anyway, it was sunny out and the flowers dried really quickly. We had a quick snack and then we were able to glue the flowers by small medium and large on top of each other. Again, with older kids this can be a lesson in itself. With the little ones I just used the vocabulary and guided them with the glueing. We hung our paper flowers up in our art playhouse to big oohs and ahhs. This was a really nice project and great introduction to liquid watercolors, which I am a huge fan of.
BlogMeMom does Texture on Watercolors
Learn Play Imagine does Erupting Watercolor Absorption Art
Artchoo does Drippy, Splashy Watercolor Process Art
Fun At Home with Kids does Exploring Absorption with Watercolors on a Texture Board
Housing a Forest does Pour Painting with Watercolors
BabbleDabbleDo does Watercolors and Oil
Willowday does Watercolor Stickers
Welcome to our art playhouse! I’ve been wanting to share it for a while and finally have the chance. It’s 80 degrees in LA so we’ve been spending a lot of time painting, glueing and spraying in the playhouse lately. I feel so grateful to have this incredible space, built by my husband and our cousin Ted from the ground up. Yup, they’re amazing. Isn’t it beautiful?
It’s definitely an anything goes space. We paint the walls. We paint the doors. We paint everything. I have a few go to art tools in the playhouse that keep everyone very happy and I pretty much keep them out year round. We love nancy bottles from Discount School Supply. They are softer than regular bottles, making them really fun and satisfying to squeeze for little ones.
I am also a huge fan of rollers. We have a ton of them. You can get them at Discount School Supply, Michaels, or if you’re lucky a local thrift store. I try to get as many art supplies at thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets as possible. I picked up some big shells on my last visit to the Long Beach Flea Market and we use them to hold everything. I love them! I also like to keep random little things in the playhouse that engage little kids. These birds I picked up in a clearance rack at Michaels are so perfect. We’ve painted them, taped them, stuck them in clay, you name it. They look really delicate but they are pretty sturdy. Love these little guys. Spray bottles are also a must in an art space. We spray constantly. Sometimes I fill them with water and a little food coloring, other times I put liquid water colors, other times just plain old water. Regardless, my girls love to spray. They could spend thirty minutes just “cleaning” the walls of the play house. Spray bottles are great for fine motor strengthening too, which is great. We keep them hanging on an easel from Ikea. They’re only 14.99 and really nice and clean looking, well, at least it used to be.
Evolving canvases are a staple in our playhouse. Every once in a while Aaron’s Brothers has this crazy sale where oversized canvases are like 7 dollars. It’s crazy. Whenever it happens I buy three or four and it’s so worth it. If you can’t find a sale, you can always pick one up at a thrift store or hang up a sheet or canvas fabric. We paint over them for weeks and it always blows my mind how beautiful they come out.
Our playhouse isn’t reserved for art only. We play drums, sing, dance, cook and clean. It’s a magical space I am so proud of. I’ve always wanted to have my own atelier, and somehow it manifested in my backyard.
About a year ago a friend asked me why I blog. I had never been asked that before. I had never even asked myself that before so it took me a minute to answer her. Among answers like “It’s a great way to share creativity,” “I love documenting my family’s experiences,” and “Who knows what opportunities it may bring into my life,” I remember saying “I like being part of a community.” At the time, I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew somehow, my blog was going to bring community into my life. Today, I am so excited to introduce you to my very special art community. Ten amazing kid’s art bloggers have united to create something really special. We call ourselves the RAMS, Rockin’ Art Moms. (You’re allowed to be really cheesy like that online. It’s written somewhere.) We’ve gotten together because we all firmly believe that art is a critical component of fostering healthy and happy children. Art is Power. Not the kind of power that makes someone the boss, the kind of power that gives kids confidence at their core. The kind of power that says I have value. Here I am. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present, the RAMS. I’ve included a link to some of the posts that made me fall in love with these women in the first place.
Stephanie at Twodaloo.
Ana at BabbleDabbleDo
Jeanette at Artchoo
Bar at Art Bar
Gina at Willowday
Kristen at Art History Mom
Asia at Fun at Home with Kids
Suja at BlogMeMom
Melissa at Green Owl Art
And ME : )
To kick off our RAM launch, we are bringing you a Rockin’ Art Moms Pinterest Board, THE go to source for fantastic art ideas for kids of all ages. You’ll find great sensory activities for the young ones, like this one ingredient slime, to super cool washer necklaces for the older ones. Just click here to follow along. You will not regret it. We’re only getting started too! So please join our community and be a part of the fun. More RAM announcements and projects coming soon!!!
I had the pleasure of going to a super fun horse and pony party today for one of Gigi’s best friends, whose mom happens to be one of my most special friends. I volunteered to bring some horse decor and an art activity. About a year ago I went on a crazy horse buying bender at the Rose Bowl so helping out with a horse party was right up my alley. For the art activity, I was so inspired by Picklebums People Play Dough Mats. I thought they would work great with horses as well, and they did. It was so simple. I just downloaded some drawings of horses, printed them on regular paper and glued them onto gold card stock. My intention was to laminate them but I never made it to Fedex. It didn’t matter at all. The girls were able to color them and add the play dough any which way they liked. It was a simple and tidy activity that worked great for the party. Gigi wants a ballerina party for her third birthday. I’m going to do this again with ballerinas in tutus. Thanks Picklebums!
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We had a fantastic process art play date that was so pretty and pink I thought today was a good day to share it. If you follow my blog, you know I am big proponent of process art for kids, especially young children. Process art is art where the focus is the process, rather than the outcome. It’s experiential in nature and a great opportunity to introduce children to new materials. Process art builds confidence, outside the box thinking, and is truly engaging for young children. For this art play date, I set up a big canvas on a coffee sized table in our playhouse. On a separate bench I put out different art materials for the girls to explore, including stencils, glue, white paper dots, spray bottles, nancy bottles filled with pinks and purples, paint brushes, rollers, pompoms attached to clothespins and some random items I found at a local thrift store.
The girls were so busy. They sprayed, painted, squeezed, and giggled their way through their evolving canvas. The rollers were a highlight, as well as the spray bottles. I had filled the bottles with liquid water colors and had a few different colors to chose from. I purposefully manipulated the colors in an effort to avoid the mud effect. Sometimes, if you put certain colors together, they can mix together to make a dark grey or brown, which isn’t so excited to paint with. We stuck with pinks, purples and a little orange. The colors were pretty gorgeous.
I love using stencils with young children. They love to make a shape and then cover it over again with more paint. The part of me that wants a beautiful “product” wishes they would leave the shapes, but I know once they are a bit older, that will be more interesting to them. So for now, it’s mushing and painting and spraying and then doing it all over again. They had a blast.
If you’re inspired to do something like this, I recommend you keep a bucket of water next to your working station. This can get messy quick and kids love to wash their hands while they work. It’s almost as fun as the painting. I keep a bucket of water and a towel next to most of our art experiences. Kids love it and you don’t have to keep running inside the house, or from one room to another. Besides that, have fun and happy Valentines!
Did you know that this week is Random Acts of Kindness Week? Yup, it is. My favorite saying in sculpey class is “A little goes a long way.” It’s a mantra I have the kids repeat so they don’t try to use too much sculpey in one class period. That stuff is expensive! So, for sculpey class this week, we took all of our left over sculpey, put it through the craft machine (sort of like a pasta maker) and used a heart stamper to make tons and tons of beautiful little marbled hearts. I quickly baked them so the kids could hand them out to their friends and family or secretly hide them in random places for a great surprise. I was so touched over how excited the kid’s became over this idea. They made tons and tons of hearts. One third grader, after making every member of his class a heart, said “I’m so glad we’re doing this.” He got a heart from me for that comment.
This is such a nice project. I’ve been slipping hearts into pockets, onto keyboards, and in purses all day. I love the idea of an unexpected little gift, something small and pretty. Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. What’s something small you can do for someone else to spread the love this week? No sculpey necessary. A little note with kind words would be perfect. Or how about putting quarters in random meters. Or picking a bouquet of flowers (it’s so warm in LA right now!) and handing them out at work or your local super market. It’s amazing how once I started a few random acts of kindness, it felt so good I didn’t want to stop. I’ve got to make some more hearts!