Stick People

Often when a new friend joins us in the forest I will make them a doll to carry around with them. Some of you might have received a doll made out of grass or sticks. Today you will learn how to make your very own.

First you need to find the all important Y stick. And a second slightly shorter stick for the arms.

You’ll also need the supplies from your kit 🙂

My rudimentary photo instructions are below:

Cardboard Nature Weaving

We are going to learn to weave on a loom together!

When I was a little girl in about grade 3 I went to a summer camp where a woman with very long hair and beautiful earrings taught us how to weave with beads on a loom. I had never seen a loom of any kind before and I watched with keen interest as she carefully threaded the beads onto her needle and through the threads. As she wove row upon row of beads, a picture began to appear before our eyes and I was hooked. Weaving would forever be something that enchanted me.

There is something comforting about the simple repetition involved in weaving a thread through a loom. Back and forth, back and forth, over and under, over and under. Each new thread tucked against the others begins to make a pattern. Even if I miss a thread here or there and mess up a little it still comes out looking lovely.

You will need:

  • Your cardboard loom
  • several long thin pieces of nature
  • a bit of coloured yarn
  • scissors
  • a stick a little longer than your loom
  • some string to tie your stick to your weaving

To the grownup:

If you are needing more details instructions there is a beautiful (slow to load) post by the marvelous Jean at the Artful Parent. And for really great instructions about how to get your weaving off the loom and onto a stick you can hang on your wall head on over to Babyccino for how to get your project off the loom and add a stick so you can hang it on the wall.

If you look closely at my “finished product” you’ll see I didn’t actually tie the stick to my weaving I just stuck it through the loops. I also used masking tape to “hang” it. Still looks pretty. I might finish it one day….maybe….

Animal Portrait Dress Up

If you haven’t already heard of ArtBar’s amazing process art blog you need to go check out her Instagram page.

This project is inspired by one of her story posts I saw a few weeks back and the idea just stuck with me. So thank you Bar for sharing your creative genius with the world.

You will need:

To the grown up:

Lay all the materials in a prepared area for your child to work in.
Read the prompt on the back of the photo to your child.
Let them create.

You might want to sit near by so you can listen to the hilarious narrative that is likely to go along with this activity.

Egg Carton Flowers

This idea came from a gift I was given by a student several years ago.
She gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers on sticks she had painted herself. Her mom said she did almost the whole thing on her own completely of her own inspiration!

My daughter and I often talk about how adults are so incredibly un-creative it causes massive problems in the world. She’s not wrong :/

You will need:

  • Straight sticks (these are the stems)
  • Egg cartons (cut up into just the cups)
  • Water colour paint
  • Paint brush


  • Beads
  • White glue
  • Card stock

To the grown up:

Lay the egg cartons, paint and optional supplies out in a prepped area for your little one to create and explore freely.

Once the egg cartons are painted, poke a hole in the middle of the bottom of a cup and poke the stick through the end. It will wobble a little and that’s ok. Flowers are delicate 🙂

Many of the images I saw on the internet used pipe cleaners for stems but I really like the sticks better.

Backyard Party Decorations

An Invitation to Create

We’re going to make some decorations for our backyard tea party!

You can make decorations to hang from trees or maybe in your yard it would be better to make a garland.

For a garland you will need:

  • Long piece of thick string
  • strips of fabric
  • ribbons (optional)

Attach the strips of fabric and ribbons to your long piece of string by tying square knots or a simple knot and pull tight.

You will be able to slide the ribbon and fabric around so it all points the same way or to space them out.

Balloon Painting

This is a collection of a few ideas I’ve seen around the net. Hanging balloons to paint is in and of itself a unique, simple and super fun idea! The second piece of string securing the balloons to the ground came from Meredith at Homegrown Friends and the bird cage came from Piika Street melded together to be one giant process art project. Get out your drop cloth this one has the potential to be messy!

You will need:

  • a balloon
  • a piece of yarn dipped in white glue
  • two long pieces of yarn about as tall as you
  • tape
  • paint & paint brushes
drawing on balloons

Grown-up Setup 1:

  1. First you are going to blow up the balloon & tie it.
  2. Tape the end of the balloon to the table as best your can.
  3. Place a selection of markers on the table.
  4. Let your child draw on the balloon as desired.

Many children will easily spend 10 or more minutes experimenting with holds and drawing on the balloon. A sharpie yields the most satisfying results but that is to your discretion. I tend to have a more of an eye on my child when a sharpie is in their hand than I might otherwise, almost like a knife.

Sharpies are dangerous. But satisfying and wonderful to draw with.

Grown-up Setup 2:

  1. Get a small dish, jar or cup and fill it halfway with slightly watered down glue. Like 1:3.
    Or less. We used flour glue and it worked. Stickier the easier.
  2. Take one of the longest piece of string or yarn and tie the end of it to the balloon.
  3. Place the balloon and the cup on the table where your child will be working.

For your child to do:

  1. Dip the rest of the string into a shallow dish of glue.
  2. Wrap the string around the balloon until you get to the end of the string.
  3. Each pass should go from top to bottom securing each using the end.
    This bit was tricky. I had hoped my little 6 could do it but he doesn’t really like messy fingers. Stickier glue would make this better.

Tuck the end of the string along side another piece and place somewhere to dry.

Grown-up Setup 3:

When the balloon is dry.

  1. Choose 2 or 3 colours of paint and brushes and set out on a covered clear area in which to work.
  2. Tape the balloon to the table.
  3. Let your child paint the balloon.

Instead of brushes you could easily use sponges instead.
They are a little easier to manage along side the challenge of the moving balloon.

Grown-up Setup 4:
Painted Balloons from Capturing Parenthood

When the balloon is dry from the previous activity.

  1. Choose 2 or 3 different colours of paint and brushes and set out on a covered clear area in which to work.
  2. Take the second piece of string and tack it or tape it to your ceiling above the work area.
  3. Tie the other end to the end of the balloon.
  4. Let your child paint the balloon to their hearts content using brushes or sponges. Preferably not their fingers, that’s cheating!
  5. Let dry.

Depending on your area you can tie the balloon to the back of a chair or a hanging light fixture or a post. You want the balloon to swing freely without hitting your walls or any uncovered areas.

Because the balloon is going to swing freely.

Maybe do this in your garage. Or in the driveway.

Novel play prompt:
Balloon Lanterns from Prepare2Play

When everything is dry, pop the balloon.

Depending on how thick your child’s paint project is the balloon might not peel away as nicely as it would have before we added all the paint.

But would be a perfect fine motor exercise to keep those little fingers busy wouldn’t it!

Now you have a bird cage – if you add a little paper cutout bird. Or a hanging decoration for your backyard tea party.

Or maybe your child wants to make some bird food for their pet bird.

Patchwork Houses

This adorable little idea comes to us from the amazing Bar from Art Bar Blog and if you don’t know about her and you have a creative child I suggest you get on over to her blog immediately and spend some serious note taking time.

Most of what you will need is in your kit this week but if you need supplies head on over to her blog and have a look at what you need to recreate this setup.

You will need:

  • Felt pen
  • White glue – in your preferred form
  • Supply kit

Set up all the materials in an inviting way and let your child create!

The houses will turn out super unique and possibility is just endless. These could be added to your child’s small world play or placed on display on a bookshelf.

Signs of Spring

Spring is about to burst into blossom and bloom downtown here where I live. The city streets are full of buds and blossoms are beginning to emerge. Warmth is in the air and jackets are scattered in the yard. Seems the perfect time of year to begin collecting colourful treasures to play and create with.

This weeks scavenger hunt comes to you from my amazingly talented daughter and you can download it here you can also follow her art account on Instagram here. She takes commissions and makes beautiful art.

You will need:

  • Scavenger hunt list
  • Container for collecting
  • A thick heavy book (later, when you’re done)

There are two extensions this week for your scavenger hunt items a spring nature collage (below) and making spring soup for a back yard tea party.

Have your child choose which items they’d like to put in the book and which they’d like to leave outside to play with. It helps to press the items you are going to use for this in a big book before you begin to make your collage.

Once you’re done collecting grab a sheet of contact paper and start creating.

Spring Nature Collage

Another classic that will yield marvelously different results if repeated in the fall and spring.

You will need:

  • Contact paper
  • Pressed nature items
  • Additional materials for their collage
  • Backing – tissue paper, contact paper, construction paper

Tape one of your pieces of contact paper to the table where you are working.

When you are ready carefully peel the contact paper backing and have your child test the stickiness with their finger.

Begin creating.

Things might rip or tear if you try to lift them off the contact paper so if your little one is a stickler for layout you might want to hold off on peeling the backing.

When they are all done gently lay your second piece of contact paper over the first and trim the edges.

Hole punch the top and add a string for a beautiful wall or window hanging.

This can turn into a beautiful gift for grandma for Mother’s Day.

Tips and Tricks for Art at Home

Yes Space

If you are going to set your child loose with glue and paint and other messy things you are probably going to want to prepare for the inevitable mess that will ensue. I call this creating a “Yes space” because it helps me get into a more open frame of mind that invites the spills, drips, drops and messes that come with the creative process.

In our house there is a clear plastic vinyl table cloth on our dining room table at all times!
This is because my teenage daughter is a painter and is known to get paint on everything.

We also have an abundance of drop cloths which are actually her old canvas paintings from when she was a child. These go under chairs where they are sitting or under fresh canvases if they are working on the floor.

Having a damp face cloth handy helps keep clothes clean because your little one will have somewhere to wipe their fingers that isn’t on their pants or shirt! This one takes a little bit of training and reminders at first and requires you to make it an important part of your set up.

While we don’t often use them in our house an apron or a smock can also help save clothes from paint messes. We opt for a paint t-shirt instead….

If my little is going to be doing art I generally insist on a t-shirt so that sleeves don’t get in the way. I’ve very often seen a dragging sleeve ruin a child’s hard work much to their disappointment. So roll up those sleeves, take off the sweater or ditch them all together and swap it for a t-shirt.

White Glue

I always water down glue when offering it to preschoolers and kindergarteners. About 1 part water to 3 parts glue keeps the glue sticky enough to work quickly but fluid enough that children can spread it with a little more ease than pure white glue.

Using a big fluffy paint brush for glue projects is just plain fun and is another opportunity for your child to learn how to properly use a paint brush.

White glue is water soluble so if your brush gets wrecked and dries out don’t panic! Just leave it in a cup of water for a few hours and then wash as normal.

Glue Sponge

This is an idea that made the rounds a few years back and was wildly popular, for good reason.
It’s super simple. Take a clean sponge and put it in a small container that seals well. Fill the bottom of the container with about 0.5cm of glue. Dampen the sponge and put it in the container. Pour more glue on top of the sponge. Close the lid and let sit overnight. Done.

No more glue messes.

If your sponge gets a little dry just spray with water. Add more glue as needed and keep it on the damp side.

Check out this super helpful video from Kindergarten Smorgasboard for more tips.

Aluminum Foil Collage

Painting on tinfoil is a little bit novel so hopefully this project will engage some of our more reluctant arts and crafts friends. It’s also a lovely sensory experience so be sure to let the toddlers join in.
The tinfoil will rip and tear if it is rubbed aggressively with anything sharp or hard so be sure to use a big fat brush or a sponge for the glue. Personally a glue sponge is my favorite way to apply glue or using watered down white glue with a brush also works. Feel free to add a drop of paint to your glue for a bit of extra fun.

tinfoil canvas glue tissue paper paintbrush

You will need:

  • Cardboard wrapped with aluminum foil
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper
  • Small cup or tray of glue (or glue sponge)
  • Paintbrush (if using a cup of glue)
  • Sequins or glitter

Optional things to add more depth to your collage

  • Hole punch (to hole punch card stock)
  • Card stock
  • Felt
  • Fabric

Set up the materials in an inviting and attractive way. If your child is new to art maybe add the first few pieces of tissue paper in front of them and then offer them the opportunity to continue.

Let them freely explore and create a beautiful shiny masterpiece!

Extend it!

  1. Have your child wrap and tape their own tinfoil canvas.
  2. Let your child cut their own paper pieces.
  3. Encourage them to add layers and overlap the pieces or even smush up the pieces and make it 3D!