Category Archives: Kid’s art

inside

As we are in Florida, our winter attire is, uh, slim, at best. (It's difficult to find coats that are actually for cold weather). Add in a couple of sick kids and a sickness-adverse mama – it just means that we need to be properly attired to venture outside. So, on those days when we've been waiting until it reaches the 60-degree mark, we've found a lot of love for our indoor work.

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At Ronan's request, we've been painting. Actually, he's been painting. I've been running interference for a very active 10-month-old.  His current painting medium is acrylic paint and printed out pictures of fish, alligators, crocodiles and snakes. (It might have something to do with the fact that he gets to "interrupt" Daddy's work to request more print outs).

I've been finding a little more time in the evenings to snuggle on the couch…and knit. (Listening to a guitar-practicing husband isn't too bad either).

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That jumble of yarns is a sweater I am making using the intarsia method. That's right. I said sweater. As in a sweater for Ronan – which may or may not get finished in time for him to wear this cool season. (It's part of a class and I am not so good at finishing my homework on time). But, I'm having a blast and learning more about knitting than I thought possible.

Lots of indoor fun to be had, indeed.

watercolor painting

Last year, when I began reading about the Waldorf philosophy of education, I was intrigued by the emphasis on art and handiwork. During my Montessori training (and subsequent teaching) there seemed to be a lot of lip service paid to art. It was something to be admired, but it was not at the forefront of a Montessori classroom. Many of the activities were craft projects – created to express art – but separate from real life.

So, I was drawn to the idea of creating and crafting with children- while they assisted or not. During the past year, I worked on craft projects while Ronan "helped" or worked on his own project – or went on playing by himself. He saw me crafting on a regular basis. And, while my regular crafting has slowed down to a trickle, I've been more aware of making sure he has some art-based projects to call his own. (With a little help, of course…)

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As I am new to wet watercolor painting, I enjoyed that this book described some "typical" types of paintings (by age) and emphasized the process and feel of the art. I especially liked that Ronan was included in all aspects of this set-up: he wet his paper with the sponge and helped to mix the paints. It's always more fun for me when I get to paint my own picture while simultaneously watching the deep concentration that the paintbrush brings out in my son.

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lines

As our morning walks have become more prevalent, we've begun to linger outside for just a little bit longer.

A little bit longer to enjoy the fresh air…

A little bit longer to watch the everyday morning activities as they happen,

A little bit longer to enjoy the trees – something all three of us appreciate.

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And, on these walks, we often see that "summer" is nearing to an end as the babies are starting to get bigger each time we see them – and the air is staying cooler for just a little bit longer – every morning. We've started our indoor seedlings in preparation for the Florida growing season and my baby has started to roll over every time we place him on his belly.

School is back in session and the parks are quieter, but we are still learning all the time. I've been enjoying this book and we've started with the elements: lines.

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We're working on generalities, so lines have been found in art, on the ground, in nature. Not surprisingly, this also ties in nicely with a Montessori activity: walking the line. Typically, this is a group activity, but it's a nice way to focus an active three-year-old and work on some gross motor skills. And, well, it's lots of fun too.

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inside art

What does one do when the weather alternates between extreme heat and torrential downpour – and – you've already been to the library that morning…

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lots of inside art. Ronan's art, Mom's art, a crying Calum kind of art (those are my uneven squiggles, in case you are interested). I "worked" on lines – straight, crossed -  while Ronan discovered that a sponge can cover way more area than a simple paintbrush. And, I was fortunate enough that we didn't get anything near the laundry basket that was also sharing our space. Nice.

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Art Appreciation: Three-year-old style

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(I made a color copy of The Yellow House from the book, Vincent’s Colors)

These books have been displayed on the top of the “work” shelf for the past month or so. I briefly introduced them and we read them once or twice before Ronan lost interest. But, I left them out on the shelf, mostly due to a lack of knowing what else to do with them.

Last week, we were in Michael’s searching for some craft supplies and we walked past the pre-printed pictures. Ronan stopped me and shouted, “Hey, it’s like the book.” After some discussion, I realized he was pointing to a print of Starry Night.

Hmm. So, you just need to expose them to the art…and they will notice.

Update 3/2015: I just discovered that the web site, artsy.net, has a complete biographical page on Vincent van Gogh, which includes many of his other paintings.  And, as a librarian, I can tell you that I applied evaluation criteria to their web site and it checks out!

Have a great weekend!

Milk Paint for kids

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We've been experimenting with paint around here lately.

A lot.

It's as if I've been reading lots of art books for preschoolers…

such as, First Art by Maryanne Kohl.

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She has a great recipe for milk paint. We've been experimenting with different types all week. This batch was made with Wilton's icing colors set. I happened to be at Michael's and this was the only type of food coloring they had. At first, it didn't seem to blend very well, perhaps, due to the small amount of oil in the dye kit?

But, a week later, after being stored in the refrigerator, the paint was nice and thick and the colors blended nicely. The consistency was quite thin when I first mixed it, but after sitting for a week, it's quite thick.

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Well, since I didn't want to limit my options, I picked up some food coloring at the grocery store – McCormick's. You know, the traditional stuff that has discolored small children's teeth at birthday parties since they invented red dye #5. This stuff blended quite nicely and although it is still quite thin, I've put it in the refrigerator to give it the same test.

So, on to her recipe:

Homemade Milk Paint
This makes enough for 3 half-filled small baby food jars (those are Earthbound's tiniest jars). Her original recipe calls for double the amount, but for a few paint sessions, you could get six colors out this recipe.

1/4 cup powdered milk
1 tsp cornstarch
small jar for mixing
whisk
1/4 warm water
food coloring

Mix powdered milk and cornstarch together in a jar. Add warm water and which until completely dissolved. (This may take a few minutes, but is worth the effort).

Pour the milk into individual baby food jars and then add food coloring.

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Some things that I've learned:

1. a jar works better than a bowl to combine the water and milk. Unless it is a very deep bowl.

2. use a whisk. A child-sized whisk works exceptionally well. (I think ours is from an IKEA set).

3. to make red paint, you need to use A LOT of food coloring. (a bit scary when you think of the dyes in Tylenol).

4. this will stain clothing. (Especially when you start to write your blog posting thinking your husband is keeping an eye on the 3-year-old and your husband still thinks you are watching him. And, then you realize that your 3-year-old is experimenting with pouring the paint onto the paper and it spills onto his pants because, of course, we had him take off his shirt).

5. cut-up egg cartons (ours are cardboard) work very well to mix paint or pour out small bits so the colors are not mixed. And, they offer a great lesson in color-mixing and experimentation too.