Make Your Own Travel Size Chalkboard

Turn dollar store clipboards into travel size chalkboards. This idea comes straight from my son’s kindergarten classroom. They do handwriting on little chalkboards and his teacher even pointed out that traditional chalkboards provide resistance that smoother surfaces like dry erase don’t. New writers often need that resistance to be successful in shaping the letters.  I made these during the week and when I put them out for my son this weekend I wasn’t even inside let alone ready with the camera before he was busy writing.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some chalkboard paint ( ours is from ages ago when we made our wall chalk board) , dollar store clip boards, a paint brush,painter’s tape
    and chalk for when it’s done.
  2. Start by taping off your board surface with painter’s tape.
  3. Paint. Let dry and add a 2nd coat.
  4. Peel off the tape. Voila – these cost me $1 each for the board, I already had the paint  and tape and 47cents for the chalk.  Pretty good deal.
  5. Write and write and write!  He loves them and if you have been following the saga of my son hating to write you will know that him loving  writing is a big deal. We just used a dusting cloth for an eraser, worked beautifully!

What I love about these is that they are small and light enough to take in a car or a plane but big enough for small hands to write on. They will definitely be in the bag for our next long plane ride but will be used all the time at home too.

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Kids Craft :Fine Art Remake

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa
Teaching children art appreciation doesn’t take a magical formula, it takes exposure. My son loves paintings and part of it comes from looking at my big coffee table books,part children’s books, part Little Einsteins ( yes I do allow some tv and we love that show!) and part is understanding that he can make art as well. When ever he sees a wave he announces it’s Kanagawa! I wanted to do a project with chalk and this seems like a great fit. Also there is no reason this can’t simply be a fun project for an ocean or water theme.

  1. Before starting show your child the painting if they haven’t seen it, or as a reminder if they have. I find image searches on Google to be the easiest.
  2. Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper, one black or dark blue and one light brown. Some chalk , glue and scissors.
  3. Start by drawing a wave on your black paper. If your child can do this they should!
  4. Fill your wave in with white chalk. This makes the wave look foamy and like it’s crashing.
  5. Have your child rub the chalk with their hands to smudge it. This lasted a long time, he loved exploring how he could “fuzzy” the lines of chalk.
  6. Cut out.
  7. Add glue to the brown paper. To minimize glue all over the place and at least at our house lately a major meltdown, I put small a few small marks to guide my son’s gluing. This is just a trick to keep him happy- but thought I’d share it , in case your independent minded gluer needs a hand as well.
  8. Glue the wave on and you are done! I tried to get him to do some drawing on the brown paper but he wanted nothing to do with it. I think what he made was perfect for him and showed it off with much pride. Don’t hesitate to add more detail though.

Books!



” Action Jackson” by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan is a great book not only about Jackson Pollock but also about how an artist goes through the artistic process, their influences and what their life is like. This book is perfect for older children but my son loved looking at pictures and Jackson Pollock’s dog! I would suggested this for anyone with budding artists!


“Museum ABC” by the Metropolitan Museum Of Art is a book that was first loved at our house because of the “C is for Cat” page , an early interest of my sons. I loved it because for each letter there are 4 usually very cropped pieces of paintings, showing only that part that fits the subject of each letter. In my nerdy love of identifying paintings I play a game with myself trying to figure out which are which as my son is identifying the letter, and finding the subject matter in each. The book is so beautiful, it’s hard to do it justice in a simple review. A wonderful concept and a great intro to art books for even the tiniest patrons.


“Seen Art?” by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith is one of those books that makes me squeal with delight. The story is funny, and clever and the art included is diverse and some is probably new to most readers. The story is about a little guy who is looking for his friend Art and people keep misunderstanding him and directing him to the MOMA where he is shown art as well as the debate of “But is it art?” plays on as he passes well recognized masterpieces and provocative modern art alike . I was turning the pages too fast for my son I was so excited to see what was next while he wanted to look at the art. I loved the page where he comes to a Monet , you see the little guy from behind and he is very small and despite not seeing his face you can imagine his face frozen with wonder. the book is fantastic and I love the levels of meaning and the sheer amount of art packed into this book. Well Done!