Messy Monster Paintings

monster painting art project for kidsThese fly swatter paintings were incredibly fun to do and so so messy. We’ve painted with fly swatters before but I never remember them make such far reaching splatters. My daughter was in a light blue dress and white sweater and as I was setting up she came by to have a look and managed to get paint on herself so I just let her continue. Every bit of paint came out of her clothes ( and hair) with a little elbow grease. What I loved about this monster art project was how much experimentation was involved. My son was absolutely engaged in trying to make the biggest splatter . Needless to say this is an outside art project.

Gather your materials. You will need some paint, fly swatters, paper, scissors, glue, googly eyes and lots of patience. You will also want a wet rag and kids eager to wipe up their splatters. fly swatter monsters

You ready? It’s going to be messy!fly swatter monsters get ready

Squirt some paint ( we did 2 colors at once in an attempt at color mixing too) on your paper. monster swat paintings

Swat!

monster messy paintingsRepeat over and over. My intention was to make a cool shape but my son had other plans and it’s his art so he covered almost the whole sheet of paper. monster swat paint

My daughter was a little more dainty about it, but not much more. If there is too much paint grab another piece of paper and make a print. It won’t alter the original greatly but will take off a lot of the excess. monster prints

After they are happy with the paint add glue and as many googly eyes as you want. I should have grabbed the extra large ones but I imagined them making little monsters not huge poster size ones. messy monsters glueing eyes on

Let dry – my son’s took several hours. monster craft for kids cutting practice

Cut out into the shape of your choice. This was all about getting both of my kids cutting. Scissor practice is important for both preschoolers like my daughter and school age kids who are working on handwriting. My son did all his cutting ( don’t you think his monster looks like it’s wearing jeans? ) fly swatter monsters and my daughter did some then asked me for help and directed me in how she wanted her’s cut. fly swatter painting monsters

Books About Monsters

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monster mess

Monster Mess! by Margery Cuyler is a silly rhyming book about a monster who isn’t interested in scaring you, but rather cleaning up your messes. Readers follow along as the monster creeps through the house finding messes and tidying up. I personally loved it when the monster stepped on blocks, who reading this with kids hasn’t stepped on toys like Lego and screamed in pain?! I know I do, a lot so that part resonated with me . The illustrations by S.D. Schindler are done at funky angles and perspectives and adds a lot to the text. It’s not scary at all and a great monster choice for more fearful kids.

monsterpicturebooks

If You’re A Monster And You Know It by Rebecca and Ed Emberley is such a great monster book for families with kids of various ages. This book is a fun rearrangement of the classic children’s song  “If You Are Happy And You Know It” with appropriately monsterish sounds and actions. The illustrations with are all cut paper collages steal the show and you will find yourself reading/ singing along with the book only to go back for a second detailed look at each page. The monsters aren’t super scary but they aren’t fluffy and cute which makes them a perfect match for kids that like monsters but aren’t up to really be scared .

the monster princess

The Monster Princess by D.J. McHale is a story about a monster Lala who so wished she could be a princess only to discover in the end that being herself is even better.  As I was reading this book I was really hoping that the three real princesses that befriend Lala would have more depth and not be the stereotypical mean girls that they are . Even after the mean princesses humiliate Lala she does the right thing and saves them when they are in danger. This book had a very predictable feel to it but I am 35 and have lived through mean girls on film many times and been on both sides of it in real life . To a young child this story is fresh and filled with good messages about doing what is right even when we are angry and hurt, discovering that what we dream about being may not be all it’s cracked up to be as well as my favorite message that there are ” All kinds of special.”

 

What’s the messiest project you have ever done with your kids?

Flower Petal Placemats

fresh picked flower petal placemats craftMy daughter loves flowers , especially picking the petals off so I channeled that into a fun summer craft. These easy to make placemats aren’t only cute they are functional too. We’ve been using ours all week. The other thing I really love about this activity is that it gets kids outside exploring their garden. Another way to explore the garden is to go on a scavenger hunt or try our sticky window for flowers.  Here is how we did it.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a full sheet of construction paper or card stock , scissors, clear contact paper, and a bucket to collect flowers. You will also obviously need some flowers to pick.flower petal placemat summer craft for kids
  2. Start by folding your paper in half horizontally. flower petal placemats
  3. Cut the middle out so you have a frame. flower petal place mats for kids
  4. Send your little one off to pick flowers. Our back garden is very small so she can’t wander too far. I was able to get the contact paper cut and the back peeled off without her offering any help. flower petal placemat craft
  5. Place or frame on the contact paper. The sticky side should be up. flower placemat for kids
  6. Time to pull the flowers apart. My daughter loved this. She does it all the time and it’s great for her fine motor development. flower peatl place mat craft for kids
  7. Add the single petals to the contact paper. Make sure they are inside the frame. My daughter only wanted pink petals so I made a mat with some of the other petals she picked. flower place mat for kids
  8. After all the petals are added Add a second layer of contact paper and carefully sandwich the petals between them.flower place mat for kids Press. My daughter decided to sit on hers to press it. flower place mat
  9. Trim the edges and you are ready to go! flower craft

Books About Flowers

A-Gardeners-Alphabet

A Gardener’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian is a fresh and so richly illustrated alphabet book you will likely have the same thoughts I did while reading it with my son ” I need to frame these pages!” they are that awesome. What I think the main benefit of this book is , is that the words chosen for each letter are not the same old ones you see over and over in alphabet books. The words used are things like Japanese Garden for J, Lawn Ornaments for L and my favorite was Underground for U with a cool illustrations of worms, root vegetables and roots !

tiny seed

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle is a story about a tiny seed who unlike the other seeds from his flower makes it against all odds to continue the cycle of life. I really enjoy this book and love how it shows all the obstacles along the way for a simple little seed. My son liked this book but didn’t make it all the way through, which I expected since it is a long book for a 2 year old.

chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is a lovely book about having confidence, loosing confidence and regaining it in the end. Chrysanthemum is a little mouse who loves her name until she goes to school and is picked on for it being out of the ordinary. Who can’t relate to this? I know I can . Thankfully my son  has yet to experience this all too common, but still so heartbreaking experience . I love that I have a book like this to share with him and open up about it before it happens. Ultimately Chrysanthemum learns to love her name again and regains the confidence she once had. Another fantastic book from a consistently wonderful author.

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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!

 

Water Balloon Color Mixing- Outside Art Project

If you combine water balloons with art you’ll get this super fun summer activity!  Right after my son turned 4 all of a sudden his finger took the shape of a gun, his pretend play switched from firefighters to police, bad guys and super heroes and my sanity got a little more fragile. I am a born pacifist so it’s taken me some time to acclimatize to bombs, blasters and such. One way that we have addressed it in our house is you guessed it, art and play.  A project like this that channels the aggression and need for destruction was the answer for us. It was also fun!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some water balloons, a container, a canvas, water color crayons ( or washable markers), and a kid ready to blast a few things.
  2. Start by coloring the canvas with water color crayons – washable markers will work too, just use darker more vibrant colors.
  3. Fill up some balloons.
  4. Go outside.
  5. Throw!  My son was adamant that he could throw it at it and had fun even though none of the first round of balloons hit it, although some were really close.
  6. Dropping them worked way better!
  7. Check out how the canvas has changed! 
  8. A few days later we tried adding washable marker.
  9. Blasted it with water “shooters”- liquid syringes since we were all out of water balloons, after I told him we could go blast some, luckily this was available and just as “cool”.
  10. Worked great.
  11. Let dry – pull out again and again, I think we are going to do this many more times for the rest of the summer. The layers of color will be so cool.

* As with every craft please make sure you only do crafts that you and your child can do safely. Broken balloons can be very dangerous for kids who are still putting things in their mouths. Please ensure all pieces are picked up and disposed of so we can all keep playing and creating. *

Best of 2010

#6

Driveway Graffiti

This post from contributing writer Kim got such an enthusiastic response. I love to think of all the driveways that got facelifts because of this fun and messy activity.  I loved the combination of art and physical activity a perfect outdoor project!  If you haven’t already you will want to bookmark it for a nice day.

Which was your favorite post Kim wrote this year?