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.

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.

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.


An Invitation to Create

To the grown-up:

When setting up an invitation it is important that all the materials needed to create are easily available, accessible and asthetically pleasing.
The setup should invite your child into the activity.

You can arrange the items on a large plate or if you have a tray with dividers that also works (think ice cube trays or acrylic make-up trays).

You Will Need:

  • Card stock paper shapes – separated into categories
  • Additional coloured card stock or construction paper
  • Felts or crayons
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Heavy art paper to glue creations onto

Arrange the materials in an organized and tidy manner. Use the beautiful image by Gabriela Sa below as inspiration for your child.

Lafarufas - Gabriela Sá
Lafarufas by Gabriela Sa