Mini Monets and Mommies: 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Glitter Handprint Art for Kids

Handprint art seems like it’s part of childhood. Right? You made those sweet little paintings when you were young, and now your tot totes home handprint butterflies, hearts, hugs and bugs from pre-k almost every day.

Hand Print

If you’re looking for a printing art activity that doesn’t involve paint (and is super sparkly), this glitter art activity is a twist on the traditional project. Yes, it’s messy. But, don’t the kiddos always enjoy making an ooey, gooey, glittery project anyway?

You can change up the basics of this activity, fitting it into different ‘themed’ needs. For example, it’s New Year’s Eve, so use gold glitter, cut out the handprint, pierce it with a straw or wooden dowel and make your own ‘ball drop’. For other holidays, try themed glitter colors (such as red and pink for Valentine’s day, orange and black for Halloween, green and red for Christmas or red, white and blue for July 4th). Along with the sparkles, your child can try pairing a themed paper color (such as black paper with orange glitter for Halloween).

And on to the art-making …

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Clear-drying school glue

·        Card stock paper (or another thick paper – the glue will soak through thin printer types of papers)

·        A paintbrush

·        Glitter

Here’s What to Do:

1. Squeeze a nice-sized dollop of glue into the palm of your child’s hand. Use enough to coat the entire (palm side) of her hand.
Glue art

2. Spread the glue out with the paintbrush.
paintbrush glue

3. Press your child’s hand down on to the paper, leaving the glue print behind.
Kids' crafts

Handprint art

4. Sprinkle the sparkles over the glue.
Sparkle art

5. Shake off the excess.
Kids' art

6. Decorate the handprint in any way your child wants. She can add another handprint, use paint or markers to make a glittering animal or add words to it. She can also arrange a few handprints to make a shape or create a larger picture such as a two handprint butterfly.
Glue crafts

Encourage your child to paint the glue on different parts of her hand or move her hand into different positions in order to print. For example, three fists stacked vertically can make a snowman or two fists next to each other can become wheels on a glittering truck. Your child can also repeat the art activity using finger prints instead of entire handprints. She can create glitter finger print people, make a finger print rainbow or design sparkling lady bugs.

Are you looking for more glitter art? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
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Monday, December 28, 2015

10 Awesome Indoor Art Activities for Crafty Kids

“Mommy, I’m bored!!!!” How many of us have heard this over and over again? The weather’s too wintery to play outside, it’s school break or you just haven’t planned anything ‘special’ for the day (you can’t be the on-it-mom 24-7 after all). What’s the solution? A few kids’ artsy adventures to the rescue!
Children's art

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Ok, so you aren’t exactly the crafty kind. Maybe you don’t have an extra few hours in your day to plan out Pinterest-worthy art projects or you just aren’t exactly sure what to do? If you’re looking for a solution to your child’s boredom woes, these art activities don’t require a PhD in arts education to set up, are super-fun for the kids and even include a lesson or two.

1. Slime. Yeah, so it’s not technically ‘art’. But, it’s ooey, gooey and your child can add an artistic element to it. We’ve added glitter and even craft feathers to this glue-based recipe.
Slime recipe

2. Bubble Painting. You could probably do without yet another sink-load of dirty dishes. That said, you’ve stocked your kitchen closet with something that looks like a soap buffet. Take some of that soap, add a pinch of paint and get ready for a bubbly good time!

Science art
3. Craft Sand and Tape. Like glitter, craft sand is messy to the billionth degree. We know this, but we still use it. Why? It’s colorful and a super sensory experience for the kiddos. Typically your child would use glue to hold the sandy stuff in place. This, of course, adds to the mess. Using double-sided tape gives you the same look, but does cut down on the mess factor. I’m not saying this activity is neat and tidy. But, it’s a bit easier to control.

Tape art
3. Frozen Glitter Paint. It’s icy outside. And now it’s icy inside too! Capture the sparkles in a cube, combine science and art and try this frozen indoor activity.

Glitter art
4. Chalk Paint. Make it yourself!

Kids' paint
5. Star Wars Art. You know you’ve got a ratty, old paintbrush hanging out in the bottom junk drawer. Add some kitchen foil, spill out a pool of paint and make some lightsaber art.

Lightsaber painting
6. Blue Raspberry Playdough. It smells good enough to eat. Well, technically you could – but, it won’t taste very good.
Scented playdough

7. Clay Finger Paint. Less mess, and possibly even more fun. I started doing this one when I had to teach a group of 10 3 and 4-year-olds art. Did I mention that we were making art in an art gallery, in a museum? So, we couldn’t get the Monet’s and Van Gogh’s messy. That meant no paints. Swap in the clay and you’ll see just how much it mimics finger paints.

Finger paint
8. Finger Paint Fun. Let’s say your little artist doesn’t want to stop at the clay paint. Now what? Add in these extra-special mixers and get to the art-making.
Art activity

9. Fizzing Paint. Turn a palette into a volcano. There’s really not much more to say – it’s amazing!
kids' paint

10. Felt Board. Make your own felt board. Storyboard favorite books, puzzle together pattern and reuse this project for activity after activity.

Kids' craft

Are you looking for more awesome art ideas? Check out my Pinterest board for activities galore!
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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Craft Felt Christmas Card Art Activity

Christmas cards that you buy at the store? Sure. There’s no shame in that. We’re not all craft and there’s never enough time. But, if you’re already looking for a kids’ art activity and you have a smidge of time on your hands (at least enough to help the kiddos get artsy) – then why not try this handmade holiday greeting card?

Tree art

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It's a felt board and a holiday greeting all in one! Not only do you get a kid-created card out of this activity, but your child gets to play in an artsy way, build fine motor skills, learn about colors and even practice some math (geometry, patterns and part to whole relationship). You can go one of two ways with this Christmas card: 1. Use glue. Choosing this option lets your child make a permanent greeting (and keeps the felt pieces in place). 2. Don’t use glue. Why wouldn’t your child use glue? He can make a ‘pieces pouch’ inside of or on the back of the card, including parts of the scene or design that he’s planned out. Friends and other family members (who are children) can then puzzle together the felt pieces and create their own Christmas d├ęcor.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        8x10-inch sheets of craft felt (in different colors)

·        Scissors

·        Clear-drying school glue

·        Cardboard (reuse the front of an old box)

·        Fabric markers

Here’s What to Do:

1. Cut the cardboard into a rectangle. Choose the size based on how large you want the card to be (it needs to be smaller than the craft felt sheets).
Reused art

2. Sandwich the cardboard between two craft felt sheets.

3. Fold the felt and cardboard in half, making a card.

4. Glue the felt to the board. Let your child paint it on with a thin brush. While the glue is still wet you may need to slide the felt around to make room for the fold.

Glue art

5. Cut any excess felt from around the edges.
Holiday project

6. Create felt pieces that make up a Christmas scene. For example, your child could cut a green triangle to make a tree, a brown square for the tree stump and colorful circles as ornaments.
Christmas art

7. Puzzle together the pieces on the front of the card.
DIY card

8. Optional: Glue the pieces to the felt on the front.

9. Or, your child can cut another sheet of felt in half. Glue the bottom and sides to a middle page or the back of the card, making a pocket.

10. Stash the pieces for the front in the pocket.

11. Use the markers to write a message in the center of the card.

Are you looking for more kids’ Christmas activities? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Kids' Goal Setting Art Activity: Christmas Tree Ornament Craft

Do you need a class Christmas or holiday activity for your students? This goal-setting holiday tree is super-simple to create, lets kids get crafty and helps them to take ownership of themselves while looking towards the future.

Kids' art

I teach a children’s martial arts class, and setting goals is par for the course. Whether it’s something immediate or something more long term (such as passing a belt test), creating a goal is a step that every child needs to know. It helps the child to focus and, when the child meets the goal, gives him a true sense of pride in accomplishment.
But, simply saying, “Let’s set a goal!” doesn’t always work for every child. Some kids, especially younger ones (in kindergarten and younger), may have difficulty understanding the concept. With the holidays coming up I decided to take the goal-setting concept and make it a bit more concrete. I asked each child to make a paper Christmas ornament for the ‘Goal Tree’. You can easily adapt this project for any kind of class (preschool, elementary school or an extracurricular or arts class). This activity also works for sports teams or for parents at home.

What’s a ‘Goal Tree’? Easy – it’s a Christmas tree that is entirely decorated with the children’s goals. I started with paper ornaments. Simple circles with “My goal is…” on one side. You can download and print them here:

Setting goals template

Print the ornaments to whatever size you need. I used different colors of paper that corresponded to my students' belt colors, but you can go with traditional Christmas red and green, a wintery snow white or any other hue that you'd like. After talking about what a goal is, the kids wrote their picks under, “My goal is…” They drew a picture of the goal on the other side. Next, we threaded yarn through a hold punched at the top and hung the artwork on the tree (we got a mini Charlie Brown-looking tree).

Ornament Craft

Children's Ornaments

The plan is for the children to take home their ornaments before the holiday break. They can also use them for New Year’s, turning their ornament goals into next year’s objectives.

Setting goals
Even though our goals seemed to focus on karate (I told the children that they could pick any goal), your students’ can revolve around anything that you chose. Some ideas include goals for at home (such as be a better brother or listen to mom and dad more), school (e.g., get better grades, pass every spelling test or pay attention to the teacher) or other areas (be a better friend or help others more often). Encourage the children to get creative with their goals. Keep in mind, social and behavioral goals are equally as important as the academic ones.
Kids' craft
 If you want to keep the 'Christmas' theme out, you can simply call this a goal tree or holiday tree. You can swap in a large potted plant or your own sculptural tree for a pine.

Are you looking to add some creativity to your classroom? Want a few art activities for the kids to try out? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas galore!
Follow Mini Monets and Mommies's board Creative Kids Crafts on Pinterest.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

7 Ways to Make Finger Painting More Fun!

Finger paint is ... There are lots of ways to finish this sentence. Most kids would say fun or cool, some moms may echo this sentiment, and others would say messy, a pain in the butt or the thing that stained my precious white carpet blue. Whether you love, hate or have a love-hate relationship with finger paint, you can up the creativity factor by adding a little something extra in.

Art Ideas

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Try one (or all) of these options that add texture to the painting process or change the quality of how the medium feels:

1. Play sand: Don't take that dirty, mud-crusted sand out of your little one's backyard sandbox to use for his art adventures. Buy new play, or craft, sand instead. Add in enough sand to make the paint feel rough.
Colorful art
2. Baby or vegetable oil: A few teaspoons of oil will make the already slimy paint even more slick. This is ideal for little hands that want to slide and glide across the paper.
3. Kosher salt or course sugar: The mega-sized crystals will roll and spin under your child's fingers as he mixes and mashes them into the paint.
Salt art

4. Cotton balls: If you have the desire to make a messy project even messier, this one's a must. Hand the cotton balls over to your child, letting him have the honors of pulling them apart. Mix the cotton strands in with the paint. As he finger paints, they'll create a heavy texture and tornado-like design.
5. Glitter: Who doesn't love glitter? Most likely your vacuum cleaner doesn't. Let your child mix sparkling golds, greens, bronzes, silvers and rainbow assortments of hues into his finger paint before he starts his masterpiece or give him the go-ahead to our it directly onto a piece of paint-covered paper to play with. Did I mention that this is uber-messy? But it's pretty!
Sparkle Craft

6. Crushed leaves and grass clipping: Get back to nature. Go outside and collect fallen leaves or grass clippings in a paper bag. Roll the bag down, crunch up your green materials and spill them into the finger paints. The end result is a naturally bumpy, lumpy painting experience.

Nature art

Kids Plants

7. Flour: No, not flowers (which you can add to the previous suggestion). Spoon in some flour and you'll have instantly thicker finger paints that have a gluey consistency.
While I enjoy finger paint about as much as a toddler does, I am not a fan of the mess. To make the most of the activity -- minus the worry about paint spilling everywhere -- I have three words for you: Prep, prep, prep. Throw down some newspaper on your kitchen table (although heavy, watery paint will seep through) or go with something more substantial such as an old shower curtain liner or painter's tarp.

Kids' Art
There's virtually no way to mess-proof your kid. I suggest dressing him in clothes that you don't really care about. Even though the red finger paint says that it's washable, if you happen to let it sit for a few days it's not as likely to come out. One time, during a preschool art class that I was teaching, I had a 4-year-old ask me if he could have rubber gloves so that his fingers wouldn't get messy while painting. Here's my answer: NO! This project is all about exploring the paint and getting messy in the process. If your child freaks out over the mess, try something that is more on the tame side such as the "clay paint" I describe in the previous post.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas Melting Ice Art and Science Kids' Activity

It’s almost Christmas! And that means – red and green food colored ice? Ok, in this case it does. Combining art, science, math and engineering (STEAM without the technology) gets kids thinking, doing, making and imagining. It also helps to build fine motor skills, creativity and much, much more.

Ice art

I’m a fan of using colorful ice for kids’ art and science activities. We’ve done primary color paintings this way, made Frozen-themed glitter paint and most recently made a melting Hanukkah menorah. So, now it’s time for a red and green Christmas ice art and science exploration.

Let’s start with a prediction. Before you even make the ice, ask your child to predict what he thinks will happen when you pop the colorful water into the freezer. As you go through the activity, ask a few open-ended questions such as, “What’s happening to the water?”, “What do you think will happen to the ice as it sits in the sun?” or, “What do you think will happen to paper under the ice?” Go through the activity and take a cue from your child. If these questions aren’t working for you, come up with your own based on what he’s doing and seeing.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Red and green food coloring

·        Water

·        Ice cube trays

·        Card stock paper (the thickness works well with the melting ice)

Here’s What to Do:

1. Add a drop of either red or green food coloring into the ice cube tray compartments. Make as many red and as many green cubes as you and your child want. You can also try making a few in different shapes or sizes (use different shapes of trays).

2. Pour water over the food coloring and stir.

3. Put the trays into the freezer until the water turns into ice.
Kids' activity

4. Take the trays out of the freezer and pop the cubes out.

5. Set a few cubes onto the paper (use white or add red and greed Christmas colors of paper). Put the paper and cubes in a sunny spot and observe to see how quickly the ice melts. Make sure to put something such as cardboard or a plastic bag under the paper to catch any liquid.
Christmas activity

6. Move the cubes around to make melted water colors.
Christmas Paint

Or you can get your little engineer building…

1. Build a Christmas tree shape with the ice cubes.
Holiday paint

2. Press a piece of white paper on top. Ask your child is he can feel the cold through the paper. You can also swap in a piece of craft foam or felt to make comparisons.

3. Peel the paper off to reveal a print.
Ice print

4. Gently pull up the remaining cubes to reveal another print OR push them around to make imaginative abstract art.

Are you looking for more kids’ Christmas activities? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
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Monday, December 7, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Books for Kids

Holiday gift buying for kids doesn’t always have to include pretty little plastic dolls and crazy-massive playsets that require hours of assembly and a wheelbarrow filled with batteries. Something as seemingly simple as a book can give your little one hours of enjoyment.

Holiday gifts

Does your child love art? Are you looking for a way to introduce the art-viewing experiences to your toddler, preschooler or young child? Keep in mind, the illustrations in these books are art too! I was so excited to receive the book Dress Up in the mail from Home Grown Books (while I did receive the book for free, all opinions are my own). After paging through this awesomely artsy board book I couldn’t help but add it to my list of gifting favorites. If you’re not sure which books to put under the tree (or stuff in a stocking) this holiday season, check out what ‘Dress Up’ is all about and some of these other top picks!

Holiday Guide

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Dress Up, by Kyla Ryman, artwork by Cecile Dyer
Board Book

Originally published as part of The Play Set from Home Grown Books, Dress Up is a creatively cute easy read with imaginatively artistic pictures (courtesy of Brooklyn-based artist Cecile Dyer). Cats play ‘dress up’ with accessories, accompanied by a word on each page for the item. Simple enough for babies and toddlers to take on, with illustrations that will still interest preschoolers.

This is one that I’ve read something like a million (ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration) times while teaching children’s art classes. Not only is it an intro to some famous artists (in animal form), but it also teaches about getting along with others and accepting different opinions.

You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman, illustrations by Robin Preiss Glasser

Take a trip through NYC, and some famous artworks, in this wordless book.

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert

The found object collages make easy work for your child when she wants to identify the natural items in this winter-themed book.

Brown Bear,Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

Animals and colors make this pick perfect for kids who are just learning the basics.

Dream Snow by Eric Carle

A Christmas book for Christmas time! Carle’s collage-like style interest’s the child’s eye, adding vivid visuals.

Babar’s Museum of Art by Laurent De Brunhoff
Museum art

Who doesn’t absolutely love Babar? The adorable elephant book features some of the most famous works of art – all elephant style. I love this one for young children. It gently introduces them to the world of art, through the eyes of a favorite character.

Art Dog by Thatcher Hurd
Kids' book

An art heist at the Dogopolis Museum of Art is the focus of this oh-so-cute story. With imaginative illustrations, this read tells a tale that will interest kids in preschool through the early grade school years.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Maurice Sendak

Chances are that this was one of your childhood favorites too. It’s a classic for a reason! The detailed illustrations jump off the page, making it an amazing entry into the idea of ‘viewing’ art.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

I remember my mom reading this to me as a child. And, I certainly remember the hundreds of times that I read it to my own child. The bold pictures turn a winter’s snow into a can’t-miss children’s book.

So, now that you have a few choices—what’s next? Take some time to look at the pictures with your child. Point to them, ask your child what she sees and encourage her to tell you what she thinks is going on. This can help her to figure out the story, even if she isn’t able to read the words quite yet. Why do this? It helps to build her budding early literacy skills and lets her see that art is all around us!
Gift Guide

Are you looking for some creative crafts to go with your book reading adventures? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas.


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