Mini Monets and Mommies: July 2016

Monday, July 25, 2016

10 Kids' Ice Art and Science Activities

It’s summer. It’s hot. And, there’s a major heat wave. It’s 90 + degrees outside, and the kids are (understandably) complaining, “Mommmmmmmmy, it’s hot in here!” This is where kids’ ice art and science activities come into play.

Ice art

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Yes, heading to the pool is totally ideal on one of these sweltering days. The mercury is up and cooling off in a big vat of chlorinated water with a few hundred other completely uncomfortable kids is on the agenda. Or, is it? You’d rather not spend an hour packing the pool bag, getting swim diapers on, slathering on the sunscreen, putting on new swim diapers, putting on more sunscreen and driving to the pool (only to find that the closest parking space is a good 15 minute walk – in the extreme heat – away). But, you still want to do something fun.

Okay. So, get out the ice. Actually, it’s technically not as simple as that. You’ll want to do some prep work beforehand. So, when you hear the weather person on the local news trying to freak just about everyone out about the upcoming dome of high heat that will ultimately blanket your part of the country, start making the ice!

These kids’ ice art and science activities all involve colorful and/or glittery cubes. All you need to do is drip a drop or two of food coloring into an ice cubes tray, add water and freeze. In some cases, you’ll also need to add a sprinkle of glitter or another ingredient (it’s all in the activity list). You can make the ice the night before or really anytime ahead of the activity day. As long as you have room in your freezer, you can stash the cubes for future use.

Kids' activities

Just in case you forget to freeze a tray of colorful water (and when would any of us ever forget anything? – said with heavy sarcasm), you can take a short cut. Toss a few regular clear ice cubes (if you didn’t make them ahead, you can buy a bag of ice at the grocery store or convenience store) in a bowl, add a few drops of food coloring and stir. Don’t use a bowl that you absolutely love. Chances are the food coloring will stain it. Make a few batches, with different colors.

But, if you did happen to pre-freeze your cubes, here are a few fun options to keep cool during a heat wave:

Water and oil ice: Explore what freezes and what doesn’t. When the kiddos are done with the science part, use these to make abstract art prints.

Science exploration

Abstract art: Want to do some more abstract painting? This icy experiment gives the kids just that.

Kids' crafts

Frozen glitter cubes: They’re cold, they’re blue and they’re filled with sparkles. Paint with them, watch them melt or add some glue to catch the glitter.

Sparkle cubes

Red, white and blue chalk cubes: This one goes beyond the basic food coloring and water recipe. Add some crushed chalk for a totally different experience.

Chalk paint

Chalk ice: Another sidewalk chalk plus water plus a freezer art and science activity.

Finger paint

Rainbow race: Make a rainbow of colorful cubes, and then race them on a super-hot day.

Rainbow race

Primary color mix: Take the ice outside, add some colorful water and mix the colors.

Frozen art

Glowing ice: Yes, really. It glows in the dark.

Glow Dark

Striped icy science: Create stripes and layers of colors in ice. How? Read on to find out!

Kids' art

Building blocks: Take these melty blocks outside to build a massive chilly tower (or whatever else your child wants).

Ice blocks



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Kids' Art and Science: Frozen Vegetable Oil Prints

What happens to vegetable oil when you put it in the freezer? That’s the starting point for this kids' art and science activity!

Science art

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Okay, so I’ve never frozen oil of any sort before. I’m not sure why I ever would have. I’m not a whiz in the kitchen – and, when would there be a recipe that called for freezing olive oil anyway? What I do happen to do a lot is freeze water. No, I’m not an ice-in-every-drink type of girl. Actually, I rarely put ice in drinks. When my son was 4 we went to a friend’s house on one of those scorching hot summer days (we didn’t have AC at the time). She handed him a glass of lemonade with ice cubes in it. And, he cried. Why? He ran over to me screaming, “Mommy, she gave me lemonade with glass in it.” My son was so not used to ice in drinks, he actually thought it was glass.

Fast-forward a decade and I’m making ice all the time. Only now, it’s more for art purposes than drinking (unless my family wants to drink the rainbow-colored cubes that typically inhabit our freezer. So, this time I decided to pour some veggie oil into the mix. And, here’s where the experimenting begins…

Oh yeah, wait just a moment. Not only is this science-y fun, but it’s also an art exploration. Yep. As your child is making discoveries and experimenting with freezing different liquids, he can also create a print. Let me say now, this printing project part happened totally by accident. But, that’s one of the joys of art (and even some science activities). You don’t have to set out to make ‘something’ -- sometimes even if you do, it turns out completely (and amazingly) different than you and your child thought. What does that mean for you? Let go of the idea that everything has to be ‘right’ or look like it does on Pinterest. Sometimes going off course is better than you could have ever expected -- especially when it comes to kids' art and science activities.

And, here’s what you’ll need:

·        Ice cube tray

·        Vegetable (or olive or canola) oil

·        Food coloring

·        Light-colored or white card stock paper

·        Water

Here’s what to do:

1. Drop one or two drips of food coloring into each compartment of the ice cube tray. Try using the primary colors (red, blue and yellow). Mix them (adding one drop of red and one of blue, and so on) to make more hues.

2. Add water to half of the compartments and oil to the other half. Encourage your child to observe and describe what happens to the food coloring when he adds the oil. He can add another drop to the oil too (it’s pretty cool).

Science art
3. Freeze overnight. Ask your child to predict what will happen to the water side and the oil side.

4. Take the cubes out. I don’t want to give away any big secrets here, but I’m going to anyway. For those of you who aren’t up on what freezes and what doesn’t – the oil side will turn into a creamy semi-solid. Shhh – don’t tell your child. Let him explore and observe for himself. So, you can pop the ice cubes out, but not the oil cubes

5. Compare the two kinds of cubes. Your child can use his sense of sight and sense of touch to find out what the differences are. Put the water ice cubes on a piece of paper. Let them start melting. Ask your child to predict what will happen if you put them in the sun. Go ahead and put them outside or on a sunny window sill. Make sure to out cardboard, a garbage bag or something else under it.
Kids' art

6. Scoop out the oil cubes (they won’t pop out). Put them on another piece of paper. Ask your child to describe the differences between the oil and water cubes (when he puts them on the paper).
Vegetable Oil

7. Play! Your child can smoosh, smooth and push the food coloring-oil cubes around. Ask him what words describe how they feel (such as slimy).

 8. Go back to that other paper (you know, the one with the water ice on it). As the cubes begin to melt, your child can paint the paper with them. Compare the two paintings (the one with the water ice and the other with the oil ice).

Children's science

9. Drip the excess water (and remove any un-melted ice cubes) from the paper. Turn it over and press it onto the front of the oil-food color paper. Press or pat it together. As your child pats the surface, some of the oil and the food coloring will seep through. What’s the result? An abstract-looking print!
Art Activity

Science print

Keep experimenting with the oil, food coloring and ice (to keep the kids' art and science activities going). Your child can mix together colors, blend the different liquids and see what happens when you try to re-freeze the paper!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Literacy and Math: ABCs and 123s eBook!

I’m a huge fan of using art to creatively teach early literacy and math concepts to young children. I spent years figuring out how to successfully incorporate letter and number activities into art explorations (while teaching children ages 2 and up in museum-based art classes). Well, now I’m super-excited to be part of a brand new ebook – ABCs and 123s!
Number activities

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ABCs and 123s includes 40+ hands-on play ideas that will help your child to build letter and math skills! These activities aren’t just the artsy kind (even though, as an art teacher, I might be partial to those). The ideas included are multisensory explorations (for children ages 2-8-years) that encourage creative play, helping your child learn by doing. Whether you’re a parent or an early childhood educator, these activities cover a variety of content areas – including science, sensory play, imaginative learning and (of course) art.

ebook letters

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You can use these activities at home, in the classroom, inside or outdoors. And, don’t worry if you’re not exactly bursting with confidence in your ability to teach your young child about literacy and math concepts (that’s completely normal, and totally understandable). Each activity includes a detailed materials list, step-by-step instructions and full color photos. Meaning, it’s amazingly easy to take what you see in the ebook, and turn it into a real-world activity with your little learner.

So, what will your child/young student learn? The activities include concepts such as:

·        Learning how to recognize and write letters and numbers.

·        Understanding both upper and lower case letters.

·        Drawing shapes/making marks.

·        Alphabetic order.

·        Spelling (your child’s name, sight words and other age-appropriate vocabulary).

·        Building language skills.

·        One-to-one correspondence.

·        Counting, adding and subtracting.

·        Understanding base-ten.
Creativity quote

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Aside from the awesomely imaginative activities, one of my favorite things about this book is that it’s an ebook. No torn pages here! You’ll be sent a link that lets you download a PDF containing the book (and accompanying resources). Save it on your laptop, computer or iPad/tablet and use it straight from the screen or print it out. In some cases (depending on what device you’re using and what apps you have installed), you can download it to your smartphone. But, it’s recommended that you start by downloading it to your computer – and, then share it with your mobile device.
Letter activities

ABCs and 123s is available worldwide. Payments are accepted via PayPal, which takes care of all currency conversions. The regular price is $14.99. If you purchase the book before Friday July 22nd, you’ll receive a special discount price of $11.25. That’s 25% savings – no discount code needed.

Letter activities
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The ABCs and 123s ebook is published and sold by Cathy James at Please direct any customer service queries regarding purchases of the ebook to or refer to the NurtureStore FAQ.

The ABCs and 123s ebook is protected under copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.’