Celebrate New Years – Kid Art Retrospective

retrospective

My kids have been busy playing with their new toys, my son has been  building Legos and my daughter has been pushing babies around the house with her new buggy. I wanted to do something special to celebrate the amazing year we had so while they were playing I ran upstairs, found the bin of art and made an art gallery of their 2011 creations.  It was a fun way to spend snack time and look back at our favorite pieces from 2011.

 

  1. Gather your materials. You will need your children’s art , painters tape ( so you don’t muck up the walls) , some snacks ( all gallery openings have snacks! ) , as well as something to use as a sign, and to write a blurb about the artists.
  2. I sorted through my kids’ art that made it to the keep bin in my son’s closet. I have a canvas bin in the corner of this closet that we run art into that passes the keep test. I also put in almost everything my daughter makes. She’ll get her own bin soon.
  3. I put the art up at their and slightly above their eye level. I was careful to have things my daughter made at a level she could touch… and as you will see that was a huge hit with her to be able to touch the pieces she made, and is clearly proud of.
  4. Make a sign for the door.
  5. Don’t forget a blurb about the artists.
  6. I put out art related books in the reading nook too.
  7. Add some snacks.
  8. Invite your guests of honor. I wish I’d done this when my parents were still in town because my kids loved seeing their art and showing it off to their dad, they would have loved showing it off to their grandparents too.
  9. I loved that she gravitated towards her own art.
  10. My son showed off the pieces he loved making – marshmallow art is his favorite. No clue why.
  11. After her brother had his treats , and gave a quick gallery talk about when he made this or that he went back to legos, but my daughter stayed looking forever. I see many more museum trips in our future, although she has already been to one of my favorite museums with me.
  12. Then we read a few books and quietly had another cookie. Here are some great fine art books to check out .  

Happy New Year !

Bubble Wrap Christmas Trees

This was supposed to be a craft just for my daughter, but when my son and his friend saw what we were doing they jumped in too.  I was not planning on 3 kids doing it all at once so it was a little chaotic but the playroom and all the kids survived… remember to use washable paint .  The kids have all used bubble wrap to print on things before so switching it so they painted the bubble wrap was new and a big hit.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some bubble wrap, paint, painter’s tape, paint brushes , heavy paper ( paper grocery bags are perfect), a pencil and scissors.
  2. Start by taping the bubble wrap to the work surface with the painter’s tape.
  3. Next paint the bubble wrap with green. For my toddler I gave her a big brush for the green to encourage coverage. She was encouraged …
  4. Next add the lights colors. Let kids decide which colors they want, this helps with color recognition too.
  5. Ok this is when the boys busted in pretending to be Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader ( I know impossible right… not for two imaginative 5 year olds! ) and grabbed some brushes.
  6. Keep painting the wrap.
  7. Draw some trees on the paper and cut out.
  8. Press the paper into the wrap and peel back carefully.
  9. For my toddler I left the paper big so she could do as much as possible herself , the small tree would have probably gotten ripped. Leaving it big let her do it herself feeling the wrap under the paper and “bang banging” her hand to make the print.
  10. Let dry and cut out the tree shape for the toddler. 
  11. Hang up and show off the fun ( and wee bit of chaos…) remember washable paints!

Gingerbread People Playdough Play

This activity is perfect for busy days that you want to do a fun holiday themed activity but you don’t have much time. I used Play-Doh instead of making my own but here is a great gingerbread playdough recipe if you want to make your own. Also if you have kids sensitive to gluten try our awesome gluten free playdough recipe ( it’s my favorite).  It’s important for me to find ways of making one activity appropriate for both my kids and their vastly different developmental stages and I think we managed with this gingerbread people play.

  1. Gather your materials. I used play-dough ( hard to beat under a buck for a pack when you are short on time!), colored popscicle sticks from our sponsor craftprojectideas.com , and cookie cutters for my toddler. We added some buttons, pieces of yard and bakers twine , scissors, beads and googly eyes for my preschooler.
  2. For toddlers just have fun feeling, squishing, and introducing the cookie cutters. We talked about body parts and the color brown.
  3. She attacked it with popscicle sticks and we talked about red and green.
  4. And of course she just explored.
  5. With my son I had it prepped for him to play while I read to my daughter nearby. I had an example because he likes having a guide and doesn’t seem to feel the need to follow, he is still creative. If your child is one that feels the need ot replicate the guide exactly I would simply give them oral instructions. Every kid is so different always adjust for your child.
  6. He liked cutting them out more than decorating so we squished some of the already cut ones back together and cut a bunch.
  7. Decorated a few with eyes.
  8. He was rather proud of these baker twine candy canes too.
  9. Projects like these are great because you can re do it if it was a hit or use the items for other play if it wasn’t.

Cork Painted Wreath

I love it when I can do one craft with both my kids. With a 5 year old son and a 18 month old daughter it’s not as often as I wish. This super easy but completely festive Christmas craft fit the bill, they both happily painted and now my kitchen is merry and bright with one on the pantry and the other on the closet door.  Holiday crafts are my kids’ favorite and unlike many of our other creations these are kept, stored and brought out year after year.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate per child, corks ( do you know how long it took us to save up these corks? Since 2006 I have been almost always pregnant or nursing. It took a long time… ), paint, a plate or two for the paint, some ribbon , scissors and hot glue.
  2. Start by cutting the middle out of the plate. If we were painting with brushes or something that offered more coverage I’d do the cutting after the paint dried but with corks you want to make sure they hit the wreath and not all in the middle of the plate.
  3. Add paint to a plate.  I put a different cork in each color to encourage my kids to try each color. Also the corks I used for my daughter who is presently trying to put all things not bolted down into her mouth , are the solid plastic? ones.  I did a bite test and they were solid. Still PLEASE watch vigilantly and make sure your children are ready and able to do the craft safely, you can always opt for finger painting .
  4. Paint!
  5. She was more interested in the feeling of the paint than banging the corks on her wreath. This is normal for toddlers, they are exploring and it doesn’t mean the craft failed.
  6. My son quite liked the marks the corks left and had a ball. 
  7. After they were dried I made bows and hot glued them on, then put them on my doors with painter’s tape.

Easy Peasy Wreath Cookies

Check out these cheater cookies we made when we needed something fast for a holiday pot luck, they were tasty and super easy for my son to help me make.

DIY Light Table

how to make a light table

While my son is at school I tend to use that time for errands and it’s really not fair to my toddler so today when I saw the extra string of Christmas lights I decided we’d have some fun exploring colors. This DIY light table should not be used for long periods of time, only with a parent right there at the box and please don’t let your kids touch the light strands as they have lead, and remember to wash your hands after touching them too. We only played for about 10 minutes and that was enough time for the lights to get warm so I wouldn’t play longer than that .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a clear plastic container with lid, some wax paper, a strand of white christmas lights, scissors and tape. For the colors we used take and toss cup lids. No need to buy expensive color forms if you have something you can use at home already.
  2. Start by putting the lights on the lid, I taped them down in 2 places just so they were staionary in the box.
  3. Cut some wax paper and line the bottom so the light diffuses well.
  4. Close the lid with the cord sticking out – mine closed no problem but you could cut a notch out if you can’t close the lid with the cord out. comfortably ( you don’t want to run the risk of the cord being cut, my lid was very loose and didn’t press into the cord).
  5. Plug in and play.
  6. She LOVED it.
  7. Explore.
  8. We piled them on , identified them – I had no idea she knew so many colors, we had a blast.

Please only try activities that you feel are safe for your family, I share what we have made and done with the request that you will only make and do what your child is ready for and you can do safely.

Book About Colors For Babies

I Love Colors by Margaret Miller is one of my daughter’s favorite books. When we went to the library she started pulling the parenting books off the shelf because there are pictures of babies on the covers. The librarian was quick to notice and started finding us books with babies and this was one of the winners. We have now renewed this book twice and read it many many times a day. The book is super simple and each page shows a baby with a colored item like glasses, a hair bow etc… the photos are big and of real babies which if your toddler is like mine, makes a big difference.