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I love creating butterfly art this time of year. This Reggio inspired butterfly art project for kids is great for ages 4 and up. In case your unfamiliar with the Reggio approach to learning, here is a good Reggio starting point. We used an old box frame found at a thrift store and paint markers to create beautiful butterfly art for my daughter’s room. My girls are too young for the paint markers but they were able to help with the collage we made for the background. Here’s how we did it.
First, I downloaded a pretty image of a butterfly from butterflyutopia.com. I placed it between the clear plastic of the frame and the cardboard insert. I traced the butterfly with different paint markers. Paint markers are so much fun! I’ve used them for tons of projects, including shrinky dinks, vases and washer necklaces. Though, they are pretty stinky, so it’s best to use them outside where there is lots of ventilation. This project can be done with sharpies as well.
Kids LOVE to trace real objects. I used to do this all the time when I taught kindergarten, using transparency paper. It was such a big hit, especially when we studied penguins. The kids felt so empowered when their drawings looked realistic. It was a real confidence booster, especially for those kids who have a harder time with free hand drawing. I used this technique for self portrait shadow boxes, my all time favorite art project for kids.
Once I completed painting in the butterfly, Gigi helped me collage the cardboard insert with blue, white and black tissue paper shapes. These can be found at most party stores and craft supply stores. You can easily cut your own from large tissue paper as well. These were precut. She glued the shapes to the cardboard using a paintbrush and glue mixed with a little bit of water. Gigi is not three yet, so she was done after a few shapes. I helped fill the whole background. Older kids will have more patience with this step. You could also just cover the cardboard with one big piece of tissue paper or even color it. After drying, simply place the plastic back over the cardboard and your butterfly art is complete. We love ours. Gigi is super proud of it and claims she made the butterfly too. Someday she will. These kids grow up so fast. Have fun!
Earth Day is around the corner and in general we’re talking a lot about conserving and repurposing things. I love when Gigi opens a gift and then points to the box or bag and says “We can make art out of this, mama.” Proud moments. This invitation to paint is a great use of recyclables and really fun process art for young children.
Did you know Ikea is a great resource for art supplies? They are constantly coming out with new supplies, like these squeeze paint bottles I couldn’t resist. The colors are so pretty and the paint squeezes out really easily. The only bummer is we went through the paint pretty quickly. I’d love them twice the size. My favorite art tool from Ikea is their easel for 14.99! You can’t beat the price and they are perfect for indoor and outdoor painting.
I set out five or six different recycled materials on a tray, including an egg carton, a styrofoam ring, a small tube, half of a cut up water bottle and a strawberry container. I tried to pick things that were easy and interesting for little hands to grab. I put out paint in Ikea flat bowls that come in pretty colors and are really durable and easy to clean. At 1.99 for a package of 6, they are pretty fantastic. We use the silverware and bowls too!
The station was all ready to go when the girls woke from their naps. Their faces are priceless when they walk out into the backyard and see something beautiful to play with. Usually Gigi yells out “Oh my goodness!” and I totally melt. They immediately got to painting, trying each object in the paint. D was quick to just smoosh her hands right into the paint bowls and make hand prints. My girls are definitely not afraid to get messy! I keep a bucket on hand filled with water for hand washing.
This was a great, messy process that my girls really enjoyed. Eventually they added big paint brush strokes to their art and then sprayed it down with some water from a nearby bucket. If you like this idea, please check out some other process art ideas here and here. We are HUGE process art fans for young children. Enjoy!
It’s always the most simple ideas that are the best. This was so easy and yet so effective. I picked up some 3D shapes at Michaels recently (yes, I have a problem #cantstopbuyingartsuppliespleasehelp) with my 40% off coupon and have been waiting for inspiration to strike. We had a play date this weekend and Gigi pointed to these while we were looking through our art supplies, so I covered our art table in butcher paper, poured out some paint and let the kids go to town. It was really fun naming the shapes, squirting the paint out and stamping away. Painting with shapes is great because the shapes fit perfectly in their little hands. My 1 year old could get involved too which was great. If you ever see some shapes at a yard sale or you have some old ones laying around, pick them up and try this! It’s really fun.
Check out more awesome ideas for kids on the Rockin’ Art Moms Pinterest Board!
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
I was looking through some old photos today and came across this fantastic process art painting activity I did with Gigi last summer. Since I’ve been on a major process art kick I thought I’d share it. I’m all about process art for toddlers for many reasons. 1. It’s developmentally appropriate. 2. It makes kids very happy. 3. Exposing young children to different sensory engaging art materials at a young age helps with language, critical thinking skills, building confidence, decision making and a million other things you can read about here. So that’s why I do all this stuff. But mostly reason number two.
We are so blessed to have a playhouse to do all these activities in. This, I know. If you don’t have an art space, you can cover a table with butcher paper and put a plastic table clothe or tarp on the floor to prevent too much of a mess. Tempera paint washes off easily though, so, hopefully you’ll give this painting idea a try. I taped three pieces of heavy construction paper to the table. Two were white and one was black. I gave Gigi a small cup of white paint and a small cup of black paint. Then I stepped aside.
She was practically dancing as she moved from one piece to the other making marks, swirls and squiggles, first in black paint and then in white. I really think having three pieces made for a great invitation to play. She could sit or stand by each one, move around the table and do her thing.
After she had painted each paper I introduced white circles that someone gave me at work. I am very lucky to be the recipient of everyone else’s “trash” amongst my colleagues. These circles are amazing and I have tons of them. Another easy option would be cut up white and black paper, cut up tissue paper, scraps from the shredder or cotton balls. Just keep it black and white. The circles were a great extension from the painting and kept Gigi engaged for a longer period of time. I always look for ways to extend art activities, either in the moment or for a part two or three…or four.
By the end, everything pretty much looked like the pic above. I was able to grab one piece before it got totally toddlerized that looked so cool with the black and white paint and white dots all over it. I have it hanging in the playhouse. Gigi was just two when we did this. I am so excited to try this again now that she’s approaching three!
My husband never ceases to amaze me. Just when I think I’ve got him down, he busts out some spontaneous idea that makes me fall in love with him all over again. This time, we were all sitting on the couch relaxing, planning out the day, when Ev says “I’m going to do an art project with the girls.” Next thing I know he’s set up an entire art station for marble milk printing. I mean, is this guy for real? How did this even happen? Apparently he watched some show that did a little milk printing tutorial and he was inspired. I’ve done this a few times with my kindergarten class years ago, but if you want to read an amazing tutorial on how to make marble milk paper go see my friend Ana, over at Babble Dabble Do. She’s amazing. Anyway, we did a basic version with materials we had around the house and it was a HUGE hit with the girls.
First Ev set up some shallow white trays and helped Gigi pour in some milk. Then she squirted some drops of food coloring in the trays. Kids freaking LOVE food coloring. At least mine do. They just want to squeeze all those little bottles all day long. We’ve gone through about a million. And whoever says food coloring does not come off is wrong. If this was true my entire family would have permanently green hands. Anyway, then comes the super super fun part. Ev gave the girls liquid soap in a pump and helped them pump it onto the food coloring drops. That’s when the coolest chemical reaction ever happens. Moving rainbow magic! Seriously, I never get tired of watching the reaction. You have to try it to see for yourself but take a look below to get the idea.
After the girls had a few tries with the soap we placed some white card stock in the tray to absorb the color. The food coloring left a beautiful color rainbow on each piece of paper, which we decided to turn into a Valentine’s Day book. After the paper dries, fold it in half, gather up some pieces and tie a piece of string or ribbon around the paper to make a book. I cut out some hearts from tissue paper and let Gigi glue them onto each page. I love extending art projects over a few days. I think it’s a great lesson for kids to see that important work takes time and art is special and takes effort, sometimes a lot of effort. Besides, Gigi loves anything involving glue.
Ev totally earned his crafting stripes with this one. D’s not in the pics, but she was there the whole time trying to keep up with her sister. Ev was doing his best to move from G to D, trying to help them while preventing everything from spilling all over the place. After he finished, he turned to me and said “I don’t know how you do this. It’s nearly impossible.” I’m pretty sure he was sweating while he said it too, which made a crafting mama secretly smile ; )