You probably know this by now, but I am a huge fan of the incredible art teacher and blogger, Meri Cherry. I remember discovering her work a couple of years ago when she wrote a post about wood working with toddlers. I immediately felt a kinship and was so excited to find another Reggio inspired art blogger. We eventually got to meet in person over a plate of tacos and we both couldn’t stop blabbering on about Reggio and kids art. We have been friends ever since! Meri has a way of sharing her experience as a teacher that is unlike any other teacher and blogger I know. Her beautiful photos and down-to-earth voice bring you into her world and make you feel like you are being let in on a secret. So it’s no wonder she recently published an e-book called Art Secrets Every Teacher Should Know, A Reggio Inspired Approach.Read More›
A reader recently asked about my recommendations for books on setting up creative learning spaces. She specifically wanted to know about books inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. It got me thinking that I should put together a list of my all-time favorite resources- not only for setting up learning spaces, but also for expanding creative learning opportunities at home.Read More›
When I started blogging about kids and art in late 2009, I discovered my first blogger hero, Jean Van’t Hul at the Artful Parent. She was (and still is!) my go-to resource for creative project ideas and living artfully with kids. Her toddler art group was also the inspiration behind my first toddler art classes. Over the years, Jean has only become more inspiring, always delivering countless fresh ideas for engaging children in the arts.Read More›
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!Read More›
This holiday season, I wanted to come up with a gift for teachers, party hosts, friends, etc. that I could make in multiples without breaking the bank. Inspired by Karen Kimmel’s Crafting Community, I decided that mason jar succulent terrariums would be perfect!
As I began creating my first jar, Karuna (my 4 yr old), asked if she could make one too. Of course, why didn’t I think of that! These little layered terrariums are super easy for kids to make on their own. They always come out beautiful, which make them the perfect kids’ crafting gift for family, friends, and especially teachers.
Small succulent (garden store)
Mason jar (pack of 12 from General store, hardware store or Bed Bath & Beyond)
Decorative rocks (from garden store and/or pet store. The blue rocks are for fish tanks!)
Moss (from garden store)
Colored sand (from craft store)
Dirt (from yard or garden store)
1)Layer the rocks, moss, sand and dirt into the jar any way you want!
2)Put some dirt at the top and make a little hole to pop in the succulent roots.
3)Scatter decorative items on top if you want and drizzle a bit of water over the top.
For a gift tag, wrap some twine around the top and tie on a tag. Easy Peasy!
We have come to the end of the school year and are excited to showcase the children’s work and the various explorations that they have encountered in art class throughout the year. The last time I attempted an art show was two years ago when the studio was in my back yard. Boy, have these classes come a long way! Not only have the projects evolved, but we now have two awesome teachers, Jhaya and Kory, who have brought their passion and skills to the table. And of course we are now located at the amazing GROW Art & Garden Education Center, the perfect backdrop for this colorful exhibition.
Below are some pics from the show.It will be up for one more week if you’re in the area and want to check it out!
Wacky object paintings, tape resist, treasure hunt collage, spin and golf ball painting:
Sand prints, collaborative watercolor/ink, collaborative plaster relief sculptures:
Collaborative pour painting:
These are two of the 5 printmaking boards… we sure do make a lot of prints!
Watercolor paintings, handmade paper:
Self portrait drawing and clay sculpture:
Skateboard shelves with foam sculptures on top:
Foam sculptures, toddler clay work:
Collaborative plaster relief sculptures:
After checking out the show, everyone hung out in the garden and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We had food, a few creative activities and a gorgeous space to run and play.
Thanks for a wonderful year and hope to see you this summer!
The first week of the session, the children worked on some basic elements of hand building, learning about pinch pots (and elbow pots!), coil making, and how to attach two pieces of clay together.
In one class, the children decided they wanted to make birds nests out of their pinch pots and add “nature” to the nests. One child suggested they collect “nature” from the garden outside. So off they went to find some more materials for their projects. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, we are always open to emergent curriculum and letting the children lead the project in a new direction. This way, the project takes on more meaning for the children and allows for a deeper learning experience.
Sometimes birds nests need a little glitter to make them sparkle!
The next class followed the lead of the previous class, when they saw the birds nests and natural materials drying on the shelf. They expanded on this by creating tall sculptures out of sticks and clay.
For the second week of art class, we focused on liquid watercolors. We began with an oil pastel/watercolor resist technique where the combination of an oil pastel drawing and watercolor painting creates a resist effect. The oil pastel resists the watercolor and shows through the painting!
The 2s classes practiced making marks and drawing shapes. Then painted over their drawing with liquid watercolors.
Of course glitter was involved and some children chose items from the shelf to incorporate into their paintings.
We also practiced more fine motor skills by using droppers to suck up the paint and drop it onto coffee filters. This type of paper soaks up the watercolor to make an interesting tie-die effect.
Finally, the 2s classes, had a super sensory exploration with white foam paint (which feels like shaving cream, but is non-toxic), watercolors, and fun tools!
For the drawing portion of the 3s/4s classes, we focused on self-portraits. Each child was given a hand mirror to study their faces before using oil pastels to try to draw themselves.
After a fun attempt at self-portraits, the kids began to explore the watercolors with droppers, toy cars, and glitter.
It’s spring time and beautiful flowers are in bloom! Because flowers have so much color to offer us, I decided to try out a flower dying technique with the older classes. I gave each child a piece of muslin fabric and a mallet. They chose some flower petals and leaves, placed them on their fabric, folded the fabric over, and pounded away.
As they pounded, the dye began to show through the muslin. When they decided they were finished, they opened it up and peeled off the petals to find their fabric filled with color.
After our fabric dying, we moved on to bigger and messier things… balloon painting! We started off painting with small air-filled balloons (for safety it was important that if any balloons popped, they were thrown away immediately). The kids dipped the balloons in paint and dabbed them on the paper, which created circular swirls of color.
Soon I brought out balloons filled with water for the kids to try out. The water added weight and movement to the balloons and were really fun to squish around!
Things began to get messy and the kids moved around the studio painting at the easels and trying out their balloons in different places.
Some of the water balloons popped and the kids decided that they wanted more water to use in their work.
I recently got some new basters and was excited to have the kids test them out!
So much fun!