Painting With Nature – Simple Summer Crafts

art for kids Summer time is about being carefree, not worrying about the schedules that hold us back and the deadlines…. well that is what I wish summer was. Really it’s only sometimes like this but the day we made this it was.  My son was playing with the neighbors and I grabbed this huge piece of card board, some paint and called them to the drive way. We had three kids 2, 5 and 7 years old all completely engaged , here is the super simple how to.

  1. Gather your materials. All you need is something to paint, paint, and a yard to find potential tools. Spread out some paint. We used a huge piece of cardboard but you can do this on a much smaller scale too. kids crafts
  2. Tell the kids to find things to paint with.
  3. Paint! Both big kids went straight to the pine tree and made prints. crafts for kids
  4. My 2 year old sat down in the paint with a rock and explored.
  5. They grabbed hydrangeas summer crafts and snap dragons .paiting with snap dragons
  6. Whipped paint with ferns.
  7. Made cool leaf and flower prints.
  8. Made a huge happy mess.summer arts and crafts

This was such a fantastic open and free art activity and seeing their faces light up as they said ” Oh I have an idea!” before running off to the yard to come back with a snap dragon or maple leaf was exhilarating. My 2 year old was covered in paint. I couldn’t get a picture because she grabs for the camera and I was worried she’d grab the lens. The paint soaked through her pants all the way to her diaper. She was in heaven.  Memories were made with such a simple summer activity!

 

Roll & Paint – Math and Art Together

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Now that my daughter is a very opinionated toddler she makes it very clear that she wants to do what her 5 year old brother is doing. It’s not always easy to find activities that both kids can sit down and do together. This was the perfect after Easter project that uses plastic eggs and they could both sit together and make something. Whether your child is making circle prints like my daughter or rolling, counting and printing they are learning all about math while creating beautiful art!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some plastic Easter eggs ( but any print making tool will do ) paint, paper, a plate for the paint and some dice. math for kids
  2. Start by pouring some fun colors of paint on to the plate.
  3. For the beginner version hand them an egg and start making prints. For toddlers like my daughter I would use a big egg so it’s safe ( of course she grabbed the small one but I watched her carefully and it never went in her mouth) and do one initial print then let them go wild…and wild she did.
  4. For the advanced option roll the dice and see what you get. Whatever that number is is the number of times you make prints in the color of your choice .
  5. Print.
  6. Roll again. Print again… keep going as long as there is room on the paper, or keep going on a new sheet.
  7. Don’t forget about the messy toddler. When they are printing make sure to narrate some of what they are doing . ” Oh that is a lovely red circle!”  ” That pink paint looks fabulous on your hair!” .

This can be done with all sorts of tools like toilet paper rolls, stamps, potatoes and so much more. What is your favorite non conventional tool for painting?

Books About Painting

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!by Karen Beaumont is guaranteed to entertain your child, even my toddler was laughing and anticipating the rhyming text which tickled me to no end! Now I have had some parents in the past not be happy about the use of “ain’t ” and the little boy in the story painting everywhere, I would counter that by saying people do use “ain’t” and kids do paint on things they aren’t supposed to you can use this as an example of what you aren’t supposed to do, and ask your child what they think should happen if they painted all over the house? As far as using “Ain’t” I would play the traditional “It ain’t gonna rain no more” and explain that the author used that song as inspiration for the book.

Hugo and Miles In I’ve Painted Everything by Scott Magoon is going on my must buy list. I have renewed this book for months from my local library. I finally have to return this book and I just don’t want to! The book is all about Hugo a painter who has painter’s block. He goes to Paris with his best friend Miles for inspiration, and among the sites, the masterpieces and thanks to the Eiffel tower he finds it! I love this book and my son just eats it up. He wants to go to Paris to the “Moosay Dor-see” to see Van Gogh and climb the Eiffel tower thanks to Hugo!

Willow by Denise Brennan Nelson is another wonderful book about artistic spirit. Willow doesn’t follow the rules in art class, instead she paints what she sees when she closes her eyes. Her teacher’s rules are unfair, restrictive and she is just plain mean! It’s hard as a teacher to read stories with mean , repressive teachers in them, and this one takes the cake. Willow doesn’t stop painting blue apples and is confident in her individuality and isn’t as bothered by her mean teacher as I am. This story is really worth a look!!

Silhoutte Map

We love maps and we need wall art for the playroom in our new house. So we made some. I would love to say this project is easy but that would be a big fat lie. The painting is easy but the cutting is not.  As you may notice  below our contact paper on our Canadian one wasn’t pressed down perfectly and now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are  islands . Ooops.  It was still a chance to talk about geography , look at maps and cover the poor beaten up kitchen table with paint .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some pre prepared canvases ( we got ours at Walmart), some paint, dishes for the paint, sponges or bath poofs for painting, sharp fine scissors, painters tape, vinyl letters , contact paper, print outs of maps and patience if you are the one cutting.
  2. Start by talking about borders and why countries have them. For really young kids use your yard as an example of borders, for older ones try adding in how each country has it’s own government who governs only within those borders. If you have ever crossed a border with your kids talk about that. Choose which country to turn into art ,and print out an outline .
  3. Cut your contact paper So it’s slightly larger than your map. Tape your map to the paper on the backing side.  I the taped it to my table with painters tape so it was stable when I cut it. I left one side not taped and rotated as I cut.
  4. When it’s all taped I peeled and stuck it to to canvas. Press hard.
  5. Add the vinyl letters. I asked my son “How do you spell USA?” and I got the sassiest teen eye roll as he pointed out the letters on the sheet. Not sure if I am proud or appalled.
  6. Add paint to a dish or dishes if you are using multiple colors.
  7. Start painting.  I have discovered that when painting a resist painting like these with stickers, contact paper and vinyl you want to use sponges, bath poofs or other painting tools that are soft and unable to get under the stencil and lift it like a brush could. I use washable paint for this because I have kids doing it, but to make the finished product last longer you could use less kid friendly paints too.
  8. We made Canada too – although the cutting was harder and I took some unintentional creative license with the borders , especially in the Maritimes. I turned it into a lesson as we compared our finished product with a real map. It ended up being a fun compare activity.
  9. Let dry, peel and reveal! 
  10. These will be fantastic in the new playroom! 

Books About Travel


Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle was reviewed by my son tonight as ” That’s a really nice book mama.” When I asked him what he liked he said ” The rooster was lonely, I only like trips with you and daddy too.” See Rooster has a grand plan to see the world, only he didn’t really plan it at all. Along the way friends join him but when night falls and they are cold and have no place to stay they all head home, and so does Rooster. I love that my son explained why Rooster went home and that he felt the same way not wanting to venture out to see the world alone… yet. Great book for kids learning to add and subtrack as well, as each page adds animals, then after the night falls each subtracts.

Dodsworth in New York by Tim Egan was a random book grab at the library and now we can’t wait to read the other books in the series because we loved it so much. The book is an easy reader chapter book but unlike so many of the leveled readers that I am reading with my son right now this one had depth, great characters and a hilarious sense of humor too. The story is about a guy named Dodsworth who decides to go on an adventure stopping first in New York. Things don’t exactly go as planned when the annoying duck from his favorite diner back home stows away in Dodsworth’s luggage.  Dodsworth sees the sights in New York nonetheless. You will laugh a long with your child ( maybe even a little more). I can’t wait to read the next installment – Dodsworth in Paris!

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman cost me a total of 15 cents at a thrift store. It is worth so much more than that. This book is a gem! Perfect for older preschoolers who are getting a sense of the world beyond their own home and city, this book takes you on a ride around the world! You follow the little girl to Italy, France , Sri Lanka, England, Jamaica and back to Vermont! As soon as I read this my mind was racing with classroom activities ! I will be posting some soon. I LOVE this book, I just wish I had read it when I was still teaching it would have been so much fun to teach geography with!