Join The Family Canvas Challenge!

Two years ago, I was inspired by an Art Pantry reader, Emily, and her family advent tradition of working on one canvas for each day of the Advent calendar. I loved the idea of layering different materials each day on a collaborative canvas and turning it into a fun game that we could do together as a family.

We adapted this idea and worked on our canvas about twice a week for a month. Each time we worked on it, I would bring out a new material, hide it in a bag, and set it out on the canvas for my girls to discover. They loved the anticipation of not knowing what the next material would be!

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Family Art Events On The Road

When we began planning this 3-month Airstream tour around the US, I knew right away that I wanted to host pop-up family art events along the way. I wanted to connect with families across the country and share creative activities that might inspire them to bring more art and creativity and into their lives. But how was I going to pull that off?

The best thing about being a blogger is the friendships that I have made with other art teachers and creative mamas around the world. So once we had our trip route down, I of course went straight to my community of art teacher friends along the route and asked them to collaborate on a family art event in their town.

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Got STEAM?

You probably know by now that I’m all about art, design, and child-led learning, but there’s one hot topic where I feel sadly inadequate when it comes to working with kids. That topic is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math). Thankfully, the new STE(A)M initiatives have added the A for Art so I’m not at a total loss! I have been learning more about how to engage my kids in STEAM activities and am excited to share a new resource that is helping me do this.

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Drawing Games With Jeanette Nyberg

If you haven’t already fallen in love with Jeanette Nyberg and her hilarious blog, Craftwhack, go check it out and I promise you will not be disappointed. Not only does Jeanette’s humor shine through in everything she does, but she is incredibly creative and has an awesome eye for design. After years of drooling over her blog, you can imagine how excited I was when I heard she was coming out with an art book for kids! I received a copy of Jeanette’s book for review and am excited to share it with you today.

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Layered Canvas Family Project

This layered canvas turned out to be one of my favorite art projects I have done with my kids. It started off as a holiday Advent activity and turned into something we will be doing all year long. The basic idea is to work on one canvas over many days, adding a new material every time. Because it started off as an Advent activity, each material was a surprise, hidden inside of a bag for that specific day. This quickly became a fun game where they would try to guess what the next material would be. If a material didn’t fit inside the bag (like on day 1), I would set it up like an Invitation To Create and surprise the girls that way. Although we tried to do this every day during early December, I quickly realized that it was going to have to be every other day- and sometimes we’d go a few days without working on it. This made it a much more enjoyable experience and helped me realize we could continue on indefinitely! Here is what our process looked like…

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Holiday Family Art Prompt And Advent Activity

One of The Art Pantry readers, Emily Holzknecht, recently shared with me her family advent art tradition. I absolutely love this Advent activity! Emily creates a bag of art materials for each day of the Advent calendar. On Dec 1, each person in the family gets a canvas and they open the first bag of art materials. They use the same canvas each day and open a new bag of materials to add to their work.

This project is sort of like an invitation to create, advent calendar, & art game all in one. I love the idea of building on the same canvas with surprise materials each day.

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Make-A-Wish Collaborative Art

Last Saturday The Art Pantry team was invited to create a playful family experience for the Walk For Wishes event held at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, Ca. This was a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area foundation to raise money in order to fulfill the wishes of kids with life-threatening medical conditions. If you haven’t heard of them, check out the Batkid wish they granted almost two years ago. Incredible.

I’m happy to say that the event raised enough money to grant 13 wishes!

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Wildflower Seed Bombs

It’s almost springtime, my favorite time of year. The sun is lingering around a little longer these days and delicate flower blossoms are popping up along the branches of our bare trees. As we begin to plan for our spring garden projects, I’m also thinking of ways to bring our art activities outdoors. One artful garden project that we love to do is make seed bombs. Seed bombs are small masses of clay, mixed with soil and seeds that will grow in any plot of land with a little water and sun. They are often used as a guerrilla gardening tactic to bring beauty to barren, abandoned city lots. Just toss them on top, no digging necessary!

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Invitations to Create 30 Day Challenge!

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For the month of October, We’ll be embarking on a super fun, “invitations to create” challenge. This simply means setting up a few art materials in an interesting way and inviting your child to create. It’s easier than you’d think!

The challenge is to do this daily for 30 days to see how it improves your child’s relationship to art materials and to the creative process (and it will!)

The hard part is coming up with variations of art supplies to help your child think out of the box and engage with the materials in new ways. That’s where we come in! During the challenge, we’ll send out weekly ideas, along with extra tips and useful information. We also encourage you to share photos and support each other on our Facebook page.