Chalk for sports

We really enjoy doing chalk outside.  We don't really have a driveway that can be drawn upon so we have found our wall in the back yard to be perfect for chalk drawing.  The other day I had an idea for how to use the wall, chalk, and a little art to help my daughter in her soccer practice.  

After telling my daughter the idea she got to work.  First she drew a goal with a goalie girl in the middle.  

Then she went to work practicing.  We did several drills for about 30 min. using this goal.  Doing what we call tick tocks, then shooting at the goal.  Doing what we call tippy toes then again shooting at the goal.  The best part is the ball comes back to you for easy set up to do again.  Better than a goal you can buy in the store.  She improved lots in that 30 min. and it was fun.  Art can be used in everything!!  Now to think of other fun things like this to do with the wall.  Nerf shooting practice maybe?  


Acrylic Painting with Children

The other day I pulled out some crayola brand acrylic paint and nice acrylic paper for some simple art time.  I have done acrylic paint in the past with my other children and not had as much fun as we did this last time.  Usually I dump a little paint onto a paper plate, use some printer paper, and let them try.  This time I used a painting pallet, acrylic paint for kids, and nicer paper. 

A painting pallet can be purchased at any art store.  There are many different types and sizes.  I have lots of them, but the one I used with my daughter was probably the smallest type and about a dollar in price.  It is a nice way to keep your colors, mix colors, and keep everything neat and tidy.  

Acrylic paint dries really fast and is permanent.  It is a harder medium to paint with than watercolor because once the color is put down it is set.  You cannot lift the color with water.  Most the time young kids like my daughter don't feel the need to have to lift their paint, but it is permanent on clothing as well.  Using a crayola washable acrylic is a bit different.  It actually did lift a little.  It says it is washable and I found it came off of the table we were panting on.  It also did not dry as fast as regular acrylic paint so we didn't have to re-wet the paint on the pallet.  However it did dry rather rapidly once she was finished with her paintings and we laid them out to dry.  

Acrylic paper can be bought at art or craft stores.  It can range in price from very expensive to relatively cheep.  I purchased a book of 400 series paper.  The thicker paper is much better for holding paint.  I remember with my other children having the paint and water make the paper wet and since it was copy paper it would soon have holes in the paper.  Paint just works better on the better paper.  I find even with little artists it is nice to use something better than copy or construction paper.  

This was definitely a fun activity for my three year old.  She enjoyed using the paint and painted for about an hour.  I sat down and painted with her on my own paper.  I find when I do this my children focus as long on their painting as I do on mine.  I filled my entire paper with color and so did she.  I am almost certain that if I had not sat and painted an entire picture that she would have stopped sooner.  She filled her paper and gave lots of attention to her "mountain with green people on top" painting.  

What are your tips for painting with acrylics with children?  Have you tried it?  If not I challenge you to let your child enjoy this medium this week.  


Life size drawings

Long butcher paper is a great supply to have when you have young children at home.  Kids love drawing big.    This activity teaches them an awareness of themselves.  It also kept my three year old occupied at 15-20 minute increments on about 5 separate occasions.  


Learning Letters with Salt

My three year old has been in a phase of noticing letters all around her.  This is one of my favorite stages of childhood.  It is fun to know that they are paying attention.  That they realize now that the things around them have meaning.  

There are lots and lots of ways to help a toddler learn his or her letters and there is so much to learn.  They must learn the alphabet song, understand lower case and upper case writing, the letter name and the letter sound, and then that letters come together to make words.  What a huge thing to be learning. 

This new phase in her life is certainly fun because she can learn these things using the arts.  This week we took a can of salt and mixed in her favorite color of food coloring to make it more fun. (One hint, it wasn't easy mixing in the color.  I had to really stir and grind the color into the salt and stir and grind, but it eventually comes together.)  I spread the colored salt onto a cookie sheet.  This was then used for writing her letters. 

I took a fun ABC book and went through it page by page with her.  I would read the page, write the letter, talk about the letter sound and then have her try writing the letter next to mine.  After we wrote the letters you just give the tray a few shakes back and forth and it is ready for the next letter.

 We only did upper case this time.  Some letters were difficult for her so I would have her just trace over my letter.  It is important when learning letters for it to not be difficult or frustrating for your child.  I always fear if it is frustrating they will learn that writing and reading are not fun activities.  If frustration sets in stop and just let them play with the salt.  That was lots of fun too.



Are you tired of the winter weather?  We sure are.  I call these kind of grey winter ugly days, GAK days.  A GAK day is a day where you just need something to mix and mold and play with to get your mind off the fact that we are only halfway through winter.  

To make Gak you need:

8 oz bottle of elmers glue
1/3 teas of borax (found in the laundry section of your grocery)  

Mix 8 oz elmers glue with 8 oz water.  Then in a separate bowl mix 1/3 teas borax into a half a cup of water (add food coloring to this if you want).  When that is all mixed poor the borax concoction with the elmers glue concoction and keep mixing.  You have to get your hands into it at this point and mix and mix.  If it is too slimy keep mixing and mixing and eventually it gets better.  

Then just give the concoction to your child and let them go to town.  You can give them tools to look at and see what they do.  You can also provide some markers (that will get ruined sometimes by writing on the gak.)  Just sit back and see what they do.  If you show them how to play with it you take away the fun.  

Remember the last time we did Gak?  She was so little.  It was the best way to learn to use those scissors however!  Made me miss the art blog so I may be back.


Happy Birthday Dr.Seuss

Dr. Dr. Seuss,

Thank you so much for the work you did while you lived on this earth.  You have greatly enriched my life and your books are a staple in my home.  My kids were home sick one day this week and I have been down with sickness and back pain as well.  I was laying in bed when I heard my eight year old say to my six year old.  "Let's read this book -- it is a good one."  I then heard her start reading him The Lorax.  I quickly got up and grabbed my camera because it was one of those moments in time as a mother that I didn't want to forget.  I almost wanted to cry thinking about how I love your books and now my children do too.  After reading The Lorax we grabbed our favorite Wacky Wednesday and they enjoyed looking and reading the wackiness.

I rotate all my children's books so that we don't read the same ones each month, but your books are never in the rotation.  They have their own place where we will use them as often as possible.  I enjoy the deeper meaning in almost all of your stories and my children learn so much from the rhyming and rhythm.  Your philosophy is beautiful and will continue on forever because you were who you were.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the work that you did.  All I can say is you have a special place in our home and always will.

Thank you Dr. Seuss,



Best of Spin Art

Spin Art is super fun.  It is amazing to watch.  It actually is hard to tell what is going on while it is spinning.

It looks like it is making circles, but in the end it isn't just circles.  Taking fast shots with my camera, with flash on was especially fun because it caused our eyes to actually see the work as it spun (try it!-- super cool.)
This is the same picture as above only taken with a faster speed. 

Don't have a Spinner ?  Still want to do some spin art?  That doesn't have to be a problem.  
Check out these different ways to do spin art with things you most likely have in your home:

from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

from Putti Prapancha

Lazy Susan Spin Art
from Time For Play

from Teach Preschool

from Let Kids Create

Want to make it more artful?  Want to do something with the loads of spin art paper you now have after trying all those ideas.  
Check out these different ways to display, use, or put a spin on the spin art:

from Hands on As we Grow

from Putti Prapancha guest posting on Red Ted Art

from The Artful Child

from The Chocolate Muffin Tree

From Tot School

From Artful Parent

Make ornaments
From No Time For Flashcards