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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Reggio Inspired Art Secrets

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.

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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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The Quickest Way To Set Up An Invitation To Create

Have you tried setting out “invitations to create” for your kids? Sometimes referred to as art prompts or provocations, invitations to create can help kids get excited about working with art materials in new ways. They are simply an invitation to engage with the materials laid out in front of them. You can learn more about invitations to create here.

I have found that an invitation, in and of itself, can be a quick and easy activity when a child needs a little prompting. But it can also spark inspiration and become a gateway to exploring other materials for a drawn-out creative session. Either way, invitations are all about the creative process, which is why they are one of my favorite ways to engage young children in the arts.

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The New Playroom – E-Guide Launch!

Today is an exciting day! I am finally launching my first e-guide, The New Playroom, a step-by-step guide on how to set up a home art space for kids (actually, I am launching my first two e-guides at once! I have also created a bonus guide, Invitations to Create, but I’ll leave that for another post).

For the past 13 years I have been on a mission to help kids gain creative confidence by exposing them to artistic materials and process-oriented art at a young age. I believe that being creative and understanding how to use tools and materials to make things is an essential part of learning.

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I am a strong believer in the Reggio Emilia saying, “the environment is the third teacher” (the first two teachers being adults and peers). When we create spaces in our homes that are stocked with interesting tools and materials- that are organized and inviting- we are giving our kids the message that they are creative and capable little beings. We are inviting them to explore the world around them through these materials so that they will gain confidence in their natural creative abilities and take these skills with them as they grow older.

Through my work I help clients design art spaces in their homes and schools. But this is not enough. I want to reach more families than is possible with a one-on-one service, so I created this guide for you to tackle it on your own. The New Playroom offers all of the insights that I have learned over a decade of working with kids in creative settings. I take you through my design process when working with clients and give you every tip and trick in my tool belt. And if you ever have a question or need a little encouragement, I’m here for you.

Thanks for joining me in this launch day celebration!

Click here to learn more about the guide or to make a purchase. And don’t forget about the bonus guide, which includes 30 days of easy art prompts!

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.