Artsy Corgi Fun and Easy Paper Marbling

You and your children will enjoy this fun and easy technique for marbling paper. Instead of expensive materials that could be bad for you, this method uses shaving cream and food coloring. Not only is it inexpensive and nontoxic, it smells great and makes terrific designs! Molly the Artsy Corgi has put her paw of approval on it!

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Clean-up tips
  • Variations and adaptations
  • Ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Don’t miss a link at the end to my post on Sally Matheny’s blog, Tell the Next Generation. It’s called Children’s Activities: Using Picture Book Layers
  • And as always, a cute photo of Molly the Artsy Corgi

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

  • Old baking sheet
  • Computer paper, cardstock, construction paper, etc.
  • Foam shaving cream, gel doesn’t work
  • Food coloring
  • Knife or spatula
  • Stiff cardboard or plastic square
  • A thin stick, such as the end of a paintbrush handle
  • Paper towels

Directions:

  1. Spread a thick layer of shaving cream over the baking sheet, kind of like frosting a cake!
  2. Drop food colors in drops all over top of shaving cream
  3. Use stick or end of paintbrush handle to swirl colors on top of shaving cream
  4. Lay paper on top of design and gently pat all around it so the paper touches the shaving cream. Do not push it into the shaving cream.
  5. Peel paper off and lay flat on paper towels
  6. Use the cardboard or plastic square to scrape off and discard the shaving cream
  7. Sometimes the food color smears a little, but it just adds to the design!
  8. Repeat with other paper until the shaving cream design gets too dry
  9. To make a new design, scrape up the used shaving cream from the baking sheet and discard
  10.  Then spread a new layer of shaving cream and repeat the previous steps for new designs

Helpful Hints:

  • After patting the paper, leave for a few seconds more to absorb the colors
  • Also wait for a few seconds after removing the paper before scraping off the shaving cream

Clean up Hints:

  • Cover your work surface with a plastic table cloth
  • Have lots of paper towels for the scraped-off shaving cream. This shaving cream will have food coloring in it.
  • Have a lined wastepaper basket very close for all the paper towels filled with globs of shaving cream and food coloring

Variations and adaptations:

  • This activity is fun for all ages, and even the discarded shaving cream is pretty, with swirled-in food colors
  • Try different color choices.
  • Try different types and colors of papers
  • Try using a fork or comb to swirl the colors
  • Use the designed papers for cards or covers for reports, etc!
  • If you have larger baking sheets, make larger papers to use for book covers or wrapping paper

4 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. This activity encourages experimentation with colors, designs, and tools.
  2. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.
  3. Making choices in creating art, enhances problem-solving skills.
  4. Discussing the process of making art and their choices builds vocabulary and social skills.

I hope you’ll check out my article “Children’s Activities: Picture Book Layers,” on Sally Matheny’s fantastic blog, Tell the Next Generation to find lots of ways to enjoy picture books with your children! :

Molly hopes you enjoy marbling paper with this fun and easy technique, and will come back for our next Artsy Corgi fun and easy art activity.

Molly posed for me on some rocks near our house , and we enjoyed these warm-colored wildflowers nearby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and a list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Splat Goes the Paint in this Fun and Easy Art Activity

Grab a wooden spoon and splat some paint! It’s messy, but so much fun, and summer’s perfect to put on some old clothes and head outside to make a colorful art masterpiece . . .  or 2 . . . or 3!

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Clean-up tips
  • Variations and adaptations to extend the activity, make it more challenging, or simplify it for younger children.
  • Ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

Let’s get started.

Supplies:

  • Large paper, any color
  • Tempera paints in various colors
  • Wooden spoon

Directions:

  1. Lay large paper on a firm, flat surface
  2. Squeeze puddles of various colors of paint around the paper
  3. Splat down on the puddles with the flat side of the wooden spoon
  4. No need to clean the spoon between colors, just keep splatting the puddles, allowing colors to mix. I did wipe the spoon off between different sheets of paper.
  5. Repeat the process with other sheets of paper and colors if you wish

Helpful Hints:

  • If it’s at all breezy, you’ll want to weigh the table cloth and papers down. This is what happened before I did that.
  • The best splash effects happen if you splat up and down and don’t mush the spoon around

Clean up Hints:

  • Tempera paint is washable, but if it’s your patio or deck, you may want to put a large plastic table cloth under the splatting area. Paint does fly around and may not completely rinse off wood or concrete
  • Keep paper towels handy for cleanup as you paint
  • A wastebasket or plastic dish tub is great for keeping trash picked up and ready to throw away
  • The paint is thick and dries slowly, so find a safe place for your creations to dry

Variations and Adaptations:

  • If you put a sheet of paper over the paper with the puddles before splatting, It’s less messy, but doesn’t make the splash design as well. I kept splatting and the design improved.
  • If you put two or three different colors close together, you’ll get colorful mixtures.
  • Do papers with just cool or warm colors plus white
  • Do papers with just the primary colors—red, yellow, and blue
  • Wear your bathing suit for this activity, then run through the sprinkler to cool and wash off
  • Cut papers into smaller pieces for cards, posters, or keep large pieces to use to cover your books in the fall.

4 Ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills.
  2. Art gives children opportunities to explore their interests and talents.
  3. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes.
  4. Creating colorful art reminds us of the beauty God has given us in the world

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and a list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly hopes you enjoy splatting paint. She had to stay in during the splatting, but here she is inspecting my painting.

Molly and I hope to see you right back here soon for another Fun and Easy Art Activity. Sign up for our blog, and never miss our art activities!

 

 

Devotion Based on 2 Artworks by Mary Cassatt

In Mary Cassatt’s painting, A Young Mother Sewing, a little girl is leaning on her mother’s lap. Do you think her mother is working on a dress for her? We can imagine though, that she’d really like her mother to stop and come play.

Have you ever had to wait for an adult to finish something before helping you or playing a game? It’s hard to be patient at those times.

A second artwork by Mary Cassatt, called The Fitting, reminds me of a time like that for me.

The Fitting by Mary Cassatt, The Brooklyn Museum, public domain

When I was young one of the hardest times for me to be patient was when my mother hemmed my dresses. She began by measuring up from the floor with a wooden yardstick. I had to stand straight, with no drooping to the right or left as she placed pins at the right place. As she went round and round, checking, re-pinning, and checking again, Soon I’d start feeling wiggly, because I wanted to go play.

Have you ever had to be fitted for or shopped for clothes for a special event and thought the adults took too long? Did you feel wiggly and want to play?

Now I’m grown up, I know my mother was being careful because she loved me and wanted me to look my best. And when I look at The Fitting, I’m reminded of these verses from Psalm 139

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. (Psalm 139:1-5 NIV)

We are God’s children, and He uses the Bible as His yardstick to show us how to become more like Him, our loving heavenly Father.

Can you think of a time when the Bible helped you see a change you needed to make in how you treated friends or family?

Pinning is only part of the hemming process. In A Young Mother Sewing we see that hemming is done by hand and takes time and skill. It’s important not to get the stitches so tight they cause the cloth to pucker or so loose they fall out.

A Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt,1900, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, public domain

In the painting, I can imagine the mother laying her hand on her daughter’s head, encouraging her to be patient so the dress will turn out beautiful.

God has laid His hand upon us and encourages us to learn from Him. He knows us and doesn’t push us so hard that we get frustrated, but He also loves us enough to keep helping us make our lives more beautiful to glorify Him in the world.

Think of one lesson from your Bible that you can put into practice this week. Do you need to use kinder words? Do you need to be less impatient and wiggly when you have to wait for Mom or Dad to come play?

Let’s pray: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for knowing and loving me. You are always with me. Please help me become more like Jesus. In His name, amen.

Before You Go

Go here to learn about the painting, A Young Mother Sewing and how to enjoy it with your children. Go here if you’d like directions for a children’s art project based on Mary Cassatt’s paintings.

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

And be sure to visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly and I hope you enjoyed this devotion based on art by Mary Cassatt. If you’ve signed up for my newsletter, you’ll soon receive our May newsletter with more fun things to do.

in this photo Molly is learning to sit inside a hula hoop and wait patiently for me to say she can get up.

 

 

 

 

Let’s Look at Mary Cassatt’s Painting of A Young Mother Sewing

Although Mother’s Day is over, Molly and I hope you’ll join us this month as we look at one of Mary Cassatt’s beautiful and timeless paintings of mothers and children engaged in everyday activities.

In this post you’ll:

  • Find helpful vocabulary
  • Learn a little about Mary Cassatt and her paintings of mothers and children
  • Discover activities to help you and your children explore and enjoy her paintings
  • See a cute photo of Molly, the Artsy Corgi

Helpful Vocabulary

These words, shown in bold green the first time, will help you and your children talk more easily about different parts of the painting.

  • Impressionists: a group of mostly French artists, who in the late 1800s, began painting outside so they could catch the way colors changed in different lights. They worked quickly with dabs and dashes, (creating an impression of their subject) so their paintings looked strange and unfinished to viewers. The Impressionists held their own annual exhibits in Paris. The style also spread to other countries.
  • Genre art:  art showing everyday events and people
  • Composition: the way an artist arranges all the parts to create a painting
  • The Renaissance: the rebirth or revival of classical (Greek and Roman) influences in art and literature, refers especially to the 14th -16th centuries in Italy when such greats as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael worked.

The Artist

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) who grew up in Philadelphia, always wanted to become an artist. Despite her father’s objections, she entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts when she was 15. But women had separate classes from men, which frustrated Mary, and there were few museums in which to study great art. So, like many American artists, Mary traveled to Europe to study.

Even in Paris, Mary couldn’t attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, (France’s most prestigious art school), but she could study privately with Ecole masters and copy masterpieces at the Louvre. Many artists studied in this way.

Mary joined the French Impressionists just 5 years after their first exhibition in 1874. The only American and one of only three women, Mary continued exhibiting with the Impressionists until 1886

The men in the Impressionist group could go to cafes and travel around Paris and the surrounding countryside to find subjects to paint. Mary Cassatt and the other women couldn’t go to these places unless accompanied by a man. So they painted the domestic life of women and children, using their family members as models. Mary Cassatt is loved today for her beautiful paintings, pastels, and prints of mothers and children. In her Genre art we see the love between mothers and children in ordinary daily moments.

Though Cassatt lived the rest of her life in France, she never forgot the need for art in American museums. She helped Americans buy artworks to eventually go into these. Her own works are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Art Institute of Chicago, and many other big and small museums.

The Painting

A Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt,1900, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, public domain

Let’s look at a painting called A Young Mother Sewing. Cassatt has captured a quiet moment in time—the mother is intent on her sewing, while the child is staring at the viewer.

Though it is a genre painting, Cassatt has used a Composition in which the mother and child form a triangular shape, drawing our eyes up to the mother’s face. That triangle, together with the background horizontal and vertical lines, makes a stable, balanced composition.

This kind of composition was very common with portraits of the Madonna and Child in The Renaissance. So, though the woman is just an ordinary mom doing some sewing, Cassatt has given her great dignity and importance.  To compare, here’s a Madonna and Child painting by Leonardo da Vinci.

The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist by Leonardo da Vinci,1499-1508, National Gallery, London, public domain

While using classical composition, Cassatt also employs impressionistic techniques:

  • She fills the painting with light. Where the sun hits, we see yellow highlights, and instead of black for shadows on the child’s dress, we see light blues and greens.
  • She dissolves the outlines of faces, hands, and fabrics, which is characteristic of much Impressionist art. If we look closely at the vase on the table, we see the pattern is barely indicated, and the flowers are just orange blobs.
  • Instead of a detailed landscape behind the woman, which we would see in a Renaissance portrait, we see just patches of paint to indicate lawn and trees receding into a shadowy blue distance. Compare that to the detailed background in the Mona Lisa, also by da Vinci.

    Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, 1503-1516, Louvre, Paris, public domain

    Activities to Help You and Your Children further Explore A Young Mother Sewing

Before doing any other activities, ask your children to tell what’s going on in the painting and what tells them that. Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and ideas. According to your children’s ages, work in a little of the new vocabulary, but keep it short and simple.

  1. Ask what colors and patterns they see. Mention how the striped pattern on the mother’s dress helps show their close relationship.
  2. Ask children in what ways this painting resembles a modern photograph.
  3. What do they think the little girl is thinking as she looks at the viewer?
  4. Is she asking her mother a question or maybe asking her mother to come and play?
  5. Ask children if they’ve ever come to you or another adult to ask a question or to come and play? What happened? How should we behave at such times?
  6. What do they think will happen next?
  7. Other things you can do is to have children find all the blues, all the greens, and so on.

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Cute picture of Molly. In one of our everyday moments we’re reading a special book by Nancy Sanders about animal babies and their mommies. Here’s a link to my post interviewing Nancy about her adorable board book, Bedtime with Mommy.

Molly and I hope you enjoy learning about this special painting of a mother and child and will join us next week for a devotion based on another of Mary Cassatt’s artworks, The Fitting.

Children’s Art Activity for Mother’s Day

This month Molly and I are changing things up a bit, so you can make a cute card for Mother’s Day. In the next posts we’ll look at some beautiful paintings about mothers by Mary Cassatt, and next a devotion based on those paintings.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Vocabulary
  • Step-by-step directions
  • 2 Helpful hints
  • Variations and/or adaptations for different ages
  • An art element and design principle to learn about
  • 3 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • Cute Molly Photo

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

  • card stock or construction paper
  • paint and brushes, markers, crayons, or colored pencils
  • scissors, pencils, yarn or string, and glue
  • teabags

Vocabulary:

stencil: a paper or other material with shapes or designs cut out so paint, etc. may be applied through the cutout shape onto an underlying surface

 

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Fold paper in half and draw a cup-shape, making sure one side is against the fold
  2. While still folded, cut cup out
  3. Cut oval shape out of white or contrasting color and glue in place for cup opening
  4. Draw and color designs on front of cup. I made stencils for the tulips
  5. Have an adult use an X-Acto knife to make a small cut on the inner rim of the cup
  6. Thread yarn or string through the cut and attach a heart or other shape (like a teabag string and tag hanging out of a cup)
  7. On the inside left of the card glue a piece of paper over the end of the yarn. Decorate and write your Mother’s Day message on this paper
  8. On the other side of the opened card, use a glue gun, tape, or staples to attach a teabag

2 Helpful Hints:

  • When you’re making stencils, it’s helpful to fold the paper so the design is the same on both sides
  • When using the X-Acto knife, open up the card and work on a cutting board

Variations and/or adaptations for different ages:

  • Use a real teabag string and tag instead of yarn
  • Make a pocket for the teabag
  • This card can be used for many occasions, such as birthdays. Just change designs and inner message.

Children may need help drawing and cutting out the cup and finishing it with a teabag and teabag tag, but there’s much they can do:

  •    Choose the color of the card, decorate it, and choose the flavor of tea to include
  •    Write the message
  •    Pray for the person
  •    Stick stamp and return address on envelope and put in letter box

An art element and design principle to learn about

  • Color—children will choose colors to make a pleasing design
  • Shape—learning to notice and work with shapes is an important skill that helps children in many ways, such as letter recognition and math skills.

3 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. Using crayons and scissors, and other art tools helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills.
  3. Making art for someone else encourages children to think of and care for others

Clean up Hints:

  • Put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Wax paper under paper as you spread glue, keeps things from sticking in the wrong places
  • Have paper towels handy
  • Keep a wastebasket handy
  • After washing and rinsing brushes, reshape bristles if needed, and lay them flat on paper towels to dry. Store with bristles up in a jar.

Cute Molly Photo

Molly loves when daffodils and tulips begin to pop up in the spring!

Molly hopes you enjoy making this Mother’s Day card! In our next post we’ll show you two of Mary Cassatt’s beautiful paintings of mothers and children and give you ways to enjoy these with your children.

 

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Sign up now and don’t miss May’s newsletter, which will have lots of books and activities to help you and your kiddos enjoy God’s wonderful creation!

You may also visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

 

 

 

Easter Painting Activity for Children

Here’s an Easter art project for children that uses fun and easy water color techniques to make a colorful cross picture for cards or framing.

The cross design reminds us that on Good Friday, Christ died for us so our sins can be forgiven, and we can become part of God’s family.

So let’s get started!

Supplies:

  • Watercolor paints, brushes, and small containers to hold mixed paint
  • Watercolor paper is best for the special effects
  • Heavy white paper still allows a nice design (I’ll show you how)
  • Coarse salt
  • Wax paper torn into small shapes
  • Plastic wrap
  • Other techniques to try: paint spattering, drops of lemon juice or rubbing alcohol, grains of rice, leaves

Directions if using watercolor paper

Note: once your paper is wet,  you have to have everything ready and work pretty quickly

  1. Work in a place where you can leave your painting to dry before moving it. Put a plastic table cloth under your work.
  2. Before wetting the paper, use masking tape to form a cross on your paper (keep it a little rough looking). The masking tape allows you to paint right over it. When the paint dries, and you remove the tape, you’ll have a white cross, with beautiful paint patterns all around it.
  3. Choose and mix 3 or 4 colors for the background in the small containers  (I thought mine were dark enough, but would probably make them darker next time. Watercolors dry lighter than you expect)
  4. With a large brush wet your watercolor paper all over with clean water  (don’t make it sopping wet, just a light layer or sheen)
  5. Brush the colors around your paper; drop some in with a brush or right from a container
  6. Let the colors move around and swirl together for a couple moments  (too long makes colors muddy and you need wet paint for the next steps)
  7. Sprinkle salt or rice around your paper
  8. Place a few pieces of wax paper or leaves around, overlapping them
  9. Scrunch up pieces of plastic wrap and place on areas of paint

Leave everything to dry (it may take several hours if you had lots of paint puddles). Once dry you can try spattering paint.

   Directions if using heavy white paper

  1. Form a cross on your paper with masking tape as before
  2. Decide what design you want for a background
  3. Choose and mix 3 or 4 colors as before
  4. Do Not wet your paper, but you’ll still need to work pretty quickly
  5. With your brush paint your design., allowing colors to mix and blend
  6. The salt, wax paper, etc don’t work well or even much at all on this paper, but spattering works just fine. 

Leave everything to dry an hour or more depending on how wet your paint was. Once dry you can try spattering paint. Old toothbrushes work well for spattering.

Once either project is dry remove the tape, and any papers, leaves, etc,. Brush off the rice and/or salt and enjoy your creation!!

Now mount your creation on colored paper for all to admire or on cardstock to send Easter blessings to family and friends,

AND remember, Jesus didn’t remain on the cross or in the grave, but rose from the dead on Easter morning!

Hallelujah!!

Before You Go

Molly the Artsy Corgi and I hope you enjoyed this project. We’ll be back soon with more great art, devotions, and art activities! Sign up so you don’t miss any of the fun. And you can have even more art fun if you sign up to receive our monthly newsletter.

Interview with Laura Sassi about Her New Children’s Book Bunny Finds Easter

Molly the Artsy Corgi and I would like to welcome back children’s author, Laura Sassi. Bunny, the main character in Laura’s new board book, Bunny Finds Easter, has also come along to help answer some questions and show you a cute craft.

Laura, let’s let Molly and Bunny talk a little and show the craft, and then you and I can finish up the interview.

Molly:  I love your Easter hat, Bunny. Did you pick out the ribbon and flowers?

Bunny: Yes, and I wanted the ribbon to go under my chin so it would stay on. My favorite part, though, is that there are two holes for my ears.

Molly:  Oh, wow, my ears aren’t as long as yours, but I need a hat like that, too! Tell me, Bunny, do bunnies really like carrots?

Bunny: Of course! They are crunchy and colorful and full of vitamins!

Molly:  I like the crunchy part best! I’ve never been on an Easter egg hunt, Bunny, but I think I’d be really good because of my super powerful nose. Would you please tell our readers what you do on an egg hunt.

Bunny: It’s just like it sounds. An Easter egg hunt is when you go on a hunt and look for eggs! Sometimes the eggs are real eggs- but colored. Other times the eggs have surprises inside them like chocolate and jelly beans!

Molly: That sounds fun and yummy. I want to have an egg hunt this Easter! What other things do you do on Easter?

Bunny: At our house, we bake Easter treats like hot cross buns and we decorate Easter eggs. We also get dressed up and hop to church!  Can you spot the church?  (HINT: It’s on the cover of the book.)

Molly:  I did see the church. It’s very pretty. I really like Ella’s illustrations. They make me want to jump into your story and go to church with you! Everything sounds like so much fun, but when did you find out that Easter is really all about Jesus and His resurrection?

Bunny: I learned about Jesus and His resurrection at church.  And do you know when I first heard the good news of Easter? It was when we were singing! Singing hymns is a great way to learn about Jesus and His gift of forgiveness and new life.

Molly:  Singing is a wonderful way to learn about Jesus. Let’s show children another super cute way to learn about Jesus and His resurrection!

Bunny: That’s sound like a hopping fun idea!

Supplies and Directions for Bunny Craft

Supplies:

  • small flower pot
  • pink acrylic paint
  • cardstock or art foam in pinks and flowery colors
  • Wiggly eyes
  • Pink pompom
  • Glue gun, markers

Here are the directions:

  1. Paint the flower pot pink
  2. Draw and cut out ears, flowers, and a bow
  3. Tuck ears into flower pot , add flowers to the rim, and glue in place
  4. Draw mouth with marker
  5. Glue eyes and pompom nose in place (get help from parents or grandparents to use a glue gun)
  6. Fill with plastic Easter eggs. Some of these could contain jelly beans but others may contain paper slips with written items to teach about Jesus and Easter or the items from Resurrection eggs.

Molly: Do you think it looks a little like you, Bunny?

Bunny: Yes, in PINK!

Kathy: while Molly and Bunny munch on a few jelly beans, can you tell us where you got the idea for Bunny Finds Easter, Laura?

Laura: As a young child I was confused about what we were celebrating at Easter. I loved coloring Easter eggs and hunting for jelly beans, but it wasn’t until I was a tween that I made the connection that Easter is when we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection. Inspired by that memory, I decided to write a board book for preschoolers and toddlers that would celebrate those fun Easter traditions and, at the same time, serve as an introduction to the real gift of Easter – Jesus! I decided that an engaging way to do this was through the eyes of a sweet bouncy protagonist named Bunny who wakes up Easter morning determined find out what Easter is all about.

Kathy:  What a wonderful way to help little ones learn about Easter! Molly and I love to snuggle to read cute board books and look at the pictures together. Do you have some suggestions for how parents and grandparents can use Bunny Finds Easter to tell children about Jesus and His resurrection?

Laura:  Yes. First of all just enjoy the story with your little ones. Sniff along with Bunny as she sniffs those hot cross buns and hunt for the fun things she encounters along the way – like Easter lilies and baby animals and colorful eggs and Easter candies.

  • As you are reading, after thoroughly investigating each spread, ask your child, “Are these (insert items) what Easter is all about?  The answer is no, but maybe they are a clue as to what Easter is all about.
  • When you reach that final spread, celebrate together that JESUS is what Easter is all about.  Maybe even say his name together and rejoice that He is Risen!
  • Afterwards, you can review the message of the story by re-examining the items found in the story to see how each reminds us of Easter and God’s love.  Examples: Chocolate bunnies and jelly beans are sweet – like God.  The cross on the hot-cross bun is like the Cross at Easter.  The Easter bonnet – is joyful – just the way we feel on Easter as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection…and so forth.

Kathy:  Molly and I love those ideas! Where can our readers find Bunny Finds Easter?

Laura: The book is available at bookstores everywhere. If your local indie doesn’t yet have it, you can request it. I would also LOVE it if you recommended it for purchase at your church or preschool library, as well as your town library.  That way it can serve as an engaging introduction to Easter to even more children.

Thank you, Laura and Bunny for visiting our blog today to tell us all about your newest book, Bunny Finds Easter!

Have a joyful Easter Everyone!

Interview with Josie Siler and Howie about Her New Picture Book Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw

Molly and I want to welcome Josie Siler and Howie to our blog today. Josie has written an adorable picture book about Palm Sunday and a little donkey named Howie who’s sad because he thinks his hee-haw is broken.

I asked Josie some questions so you can get to know her and how Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw came into being. Then Molly took over to ask Howie some questions. So read on to learn all about this special pair and get a glimpse of some of the book’s illustrations.

Kathy: Please tell us a little about yourself and how you began writing.

Josie: I grew up in small-town Wisconsin. I’ve traveled the world, but life with chronic illness has brought me back to my childhood home where I’m loving the small-town life. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but never saw it as something I would make a career out of until chronic illness hit. I had a dream of serving the Lord overseas and that’s when I started writing. What began as a newsletter to my prayer team turned into a blog. The blog turned into a way to keep people updated when chronic illness hit and kept me from going overseas as planned. I discovered I loved writing and it snowballed from there. Now I write all kinds of things and God has used my words to spread the message of His love further than my two feet could have ever taken me!

Kathy: Isn’t it amazing how God leads us on paths we could never have imagined, but turn out to be just right for us and bring glory to Him? What was your favorite thing to do as a child?

Josie: This won’t come as a surprise, but I loved to read. I had many all-night reading binges as a tween and teen and have loved books for as long as I can remember. I also loved to climb trees and travel anywhere I could get anyone to take me!

Kathy: books and travel—two of my favorites, too! What were some of your favorite childhood books?

Josie: So many! My favorite picture book was The Muffin Muncher by Stephen Cosgrove. I just loved that muffin munching dragon! I also loved the Orphan Train Trilogy by Jane Peart and the Adventures of the Northland Series by Wisconsin author Lois Walfrid Johnson.

Kathy: I can see you were already interested in travel adventures! What is something not too many people know about you?

Josie: I haven’t shared this with very many people, but I’ve always had a secret dream of being the voice of a cartoon character! I also have my motorcycle license and I’m a huge fan of big trucks.

Kathy: Maybe someday, you’ll get to be the voice of a cartoon character who rides motorcycles! What do you like to do for fun?

Josie: Besides reading? I love to travel and explore new places. I love to shop small towns and photograph beautiful things. I enjoy a good movie and one day I would really like to ride in a hot air balloon.

Kathy: that would sure be an adventure! What was the inspiration for Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw?

Josie: One night when I couldn’t sleep God dropped this idea of a donkey with a broken hee-haw into my head. I wrote the first half of the book on the notes app on my cellphone that night and the next night when I couldn’t sleep again. I don’t think any book will ever come to me as easily as this one did. I feel like it was truly a gift from the Lord as He gave me the idea out of nowhere and words to write. Thank you, God- and insomnia!

Kathy: Wow, that’s amazing! I love how you’ve woven Howie’s story of realizing he’s not broken with the events of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem! What suggestions do you have for parents or grandparents to help children enjoy Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw and understand how unique and special God has made each one of them?

Josie: Kids (and adults) are constantly being told who they should be and that they’re not good enough. Parents can use Howie’s story to help kids see themself as God sees them. It’s so important to understand who we are in Jesus Christ. I encourage adults to speak Biblical truth to the little ones in their life. This will help them develop God-confidence instead of self-confidence! When we know who we are in Christ and that God doesn’t make mistakes, we’ll all be able to walk in the freedom of who God made us to be, broken hee-haws and all.

Kathy: Amen!

Molly the Artsy Corgi thinks Howie is the cutest donkey she’s ever seen, and she has some questions for him:

Molly: Howie, are donkeys related to horses?

Howie: Hi Molly! Donkeys and horses are in the same family, but we are a different species. So yes, we’re related but we have a lot of differences.

Molly: We corgis are good herders, so I bet I could herd donkeys really well! How will I find them? Are they all gray like you, Howie?

Howie: Oh no, us donkeys are a colorful bunch. Gray is the most common color, but my friends are also brown, black, white, or even multicolored.

Molly: I never knew that! I’ll have to keep my eyes open for those other colors. What’s your favorite food, Howie?

Howie: I really love fresh carrots for a special treat!

Molly: I love it when Kathy chops carrots and drops some for me. I think we’d get along really well, Howie! Thanks for these websites where we can find out more about donkeys. It has pictures of donkeys of different colors!

https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/what-we-do/knowledge-and-advice/about-donkeys

https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/sites/uk/files/2020-02/safe-treats-and-tempters.pdf

Molly: Howie, children may wonder how you got your name. Can you tell us?

Howie: I love this question! Do you want to know a secret? When Josie first wrote her book, I was a girl donkey named Hallie. Josie had lots of people read her book and help her make it the best it could be and one of those smart people reminded Josie that a colt is a male donkey. I’m so happy that mistake was caught because then I got to be Howie! When Josie picked my name, she wanted to keep it short and start with an H so she looked up lots of names. Josie and I both think the meaning of names is important and I’m really glad she picked a good one for me. Howie means “heart brave.” I really needed a brave heart to do what Jesus asked me to do!

Molly: How wonderful that your name means “heart brave.” But sometimes you look a little lonely and sad in the pictures. How did Jesus help you feel special and brave enough to help Him?

Howie: I love Jesus! Before I met Him, I felt like I was broken and that I wasn’t good for anything. But then Jesus picked me out of all the other donkeys and said that He needed ME! I felt so special because Jesus saw me. He told me that I wasn’t broken and that my Hee-Haw, Hee-Ha-La-La-Lay-Lu-Ya is special and that I was made to praise Him. I finally understood that I was made on purpose and that I have a great purpose in life. You’re special too, Molly. Never forget how important you are to Jesus. He loves you so much!

Molly: You’re right, Howie. Jesus is so wonderful! Sometimes when we’ve done something we shouldn’t or have trouble feeling special, it’s so good to remember He loves us! Your Hee-Haw was just right to sing Hallelujah to Jesus!

Let’s head back now to to my interview with Josie to find out where readers can get their very own copy of Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw!

Kathy: Josie, children will love to snuggle up to hear and look at the pictures in Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw. Can you tell us where we can find this wonderful picture book?

Josie: Of course! You can find my book lots of places. Your local bookstore might have it. If not, you can find it online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Christianbook, Walmart, and if it’s sold out some places, you can always get it right from my publisher, End Game Press. I have a list of places with links on Howie’s page on my website. Come visit us at

https://josiesiler.com/howies-broken-hee-haw/

Molly and I want to thank Josie and Howie for visiting with us today. We enjoyed getting to know you and hearing all about Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw!

Thanks so much for having us. We both had so much fun with you and Molly!

 

 

 

Children’s Art Project Based on John Audubon’s Birds of America

Recently my 3rd grade art class studied owls for an art project. They learned that big owl eyes see really well at night, that owl feathers help them fly silently, and that extra-long owl necks help them rotate their heads as much as 270 degrees. We saw that an owl’s head is much rounder than many birds.

They learned these things because we looked carefully to first draw and then make an owl collage. The more they looked and learned, the more they saw God’s wonderful design and diversity! You and your children will love making owl collages, too.

Here’s what you’ll find in this post:

  • Supply list
  • Vocabulary
  • Directions
  • Helpful hints
  • 4 Variations and/or adaptations for different ages
  • 3 Art elements and design principles children will learn
  • 4 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • An update about the Cliff Swallows of San Juan Capistrano
  • Cute Molly Photo

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

  • Construction paper in blacks, tans, browns, yellows, and whites
  • Black, white, and brown tempera paint (no brown paint? Just mix blue, yellow, and red as I did to make brown. More blue makes a darker brown)
  • Brushes, forks
  • Yellow or white colored pencil
  • Crayons
  • White glue
  • Pencils, scissors

Vocabulary:

Texture, how an object feels to the touch, such as its roughness, smoothness, fuzziness, etc.  In painting we often try to give an impression of texture with thick paint or with different kinds of marks.

Directions:

Feathers

  1. On a light-colored paper, blend whites and blacks to cover the paper. Try to get a variety of dark and light grays. For texture, don’t blend these too much on the paper. You may also dip a brush or fork in the pure black or white and add a variety of marks for more texture.
  2. Do the same with brown and white paint on another paper.
  3. Allow these to dry

Tree

  1. For the tree trunk, cut a piece of brown paper that will stretch from top to bottom of the black paper and add texture to it with crayons. When done coloring, roll the paper as if making a tube and gently crush it together all along its length.
  2. Open up the tube and glue to the side of the black paper as the tree trunk.
  3. For a branch, color and cut a thin strip of brown paper. See below for when to add the branch.

Owl

  1. On a black paper, use the yellow colored pencil to sketch an owl sitting on the branch of a tree. Notice the owl’s head is quite round, while a fat leaf shape can be used for the body.
  2. Draw and cut out eyes, beak, and talons.
  3. Tear the brown and gray papers into feathers. They’ll look more natural if torn.
  4. Starting at the bottom of the owl and working up, glue the feathers to cover the owls’ body and head, overlapping these and only gluing the top portion of each feather so they look 3-D.
  5. When you get to where you want a branch, glue it down and glue more feathers and the talons on top of it.
  6. After you have the head feathered, (I didn’t add those feathers, but put the disks where they’d do over the head feathers), you may want to cut circles from one of the painted papers and fringe these around the edges. These facial disks of feathers surround the eyes of many owls and help reflect light to the eyes. Glue the eyes in the center of the facial disks and glue these to the head along with the beak.

Moon

  1. Cut out a moon from a paper towel and glue in place. Use quite a bit of glue and as it dries, it’ll begin to show the black paper through it, looking quite moon-like. (credit for this idea goes to a third grader!)

Display these owl collages where everyone can enjoy the uniqueness of each creation!

Helpful Hints:

This project needs white glue, and many children have a hard time not getting great globs of it everywhere. To prevent this, I squeeze a puddle of glue onto a plastic or aluminum pie plate, and children use their fingers or a Q-tip to spread the glue where needed. It also helps them be able to just dip one end of each feather in the glue.

4 Variations and/or adaptations for different ages:

  1. I did this project with a large group of 3rd graders, with demonstrations for each step, and they did really well. Younger children will need you to break it down into small steps, but in small groups may still do this project successfully. (remember that you want them to enjoy the process, not come up with an adult style artwork). Let the personality of each owl shine through!
  2. This project can be done without paint. Have children use crayons to add texture to gray and tan papers and use these for the feathers.
  3. Make a larger tree trunk and cut a hole in it for the owl to be in.
  4. Older children can research owls and use colors that make their owl look more like a particular kind.

3 Art elements and design principles children will learn

  1. This project helps children see and draw shapes.
  2. It helps children learn to mix lighter and darker colors and blend these on paper.
  3. It also teaches them a few ways we make textures in paintings.

4 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. Using crayons, paint brushes, and other art tools helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. Looking at an object or creature before and during drawing helps children develop better observation skills.
  3. Discussing their art as they work builds vocabulary and social skills.
  4. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.

Clean up Hints:

  • Be sure to put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Have paper towels handy
  • Wax paper under papers as you add glue keeps things from sticking in the wrong places.
  • Keep a wastebasket handy for trash
  • After washing and rinsing brushes, reshape bristles if needed, and lay them flat on paper towels to dry. Store with bristles up in a jar.

Update on the Swallows of San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano, CA, author photo

With the help of Dr. Brown, the mission began playing recorded swallow songs about the time the swallows return each March. They constructed a wall just for the swallows to build their nests on, along with a nearby pool so the birds could make mud pellets for their nests.

These efforts have helped bring back a few nesting pairs in the last few years, but the bigger problem is the loss of habitat around the mission. The growth in people population and in tree planting has cut way down on the open fields swallows need to find food, so the project is an ongoing challenge.

Cute Molly Photo

Along with many of us, Molly celebrated St. Patrick’s Day this week. She hopes you like her green bandana! She thought the green frog added a nice touch, too.

She wants you to know that next week our newsletter will have lots of fun ideas, projects, freebees, book reviews, and links to continue learning, It includes a review of the wonderful book about owls that fascinated my 3rd graders. It’s full of facts and photos!

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit.

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly and I hope to see you back here soon for a new Kathy the Picture Lady art series.

 

 

 

Devotion based on John J. Audubon’s Paintings from Birds of America

John J. Audubon studied and became an expert to paint birds for his book, Birds of America. We can study them, too, but often we’re in a hurry and don’t notice the birds flying around our own yards gobbling up insects.

In my previous post I said the encounter with those cliff swallows building nests on a West Texas hotel began my fascination with them. I started researching, and learned it was also cliff swallows that returned every year to the old mission of San Juan Capistrano in California.

Mission San Juan Capistrano, CA, author photo

Only they weren’t returning anymore, so the mission consulted a cliff swallow expert for help. For many years Dr. Charles R. Brown of the University of Tulsa has been studying cliff swallows along the Platte River in Nebraska, where thousands return each year to build or rebuild nests.

One spring I traveled to Nebraska and spent a day studying cliff swallow colonies with Dr. Brown and his assistant. The swallows still build nests on the cliffs that in places overlook the river (part of the Oregon Trail included crossing the Platte River, and some pioneers mentioned the swallows and their nests in diaries and letters).

But today many swallows take advantage of man made structures, so we had to tramp across fields to enter huge culverts while trains rumbled overhead and put on tall wading boots to get to nests under bridges.

I had learned a lot from my research, but it was exciting and fun to see them up close with someone who’s been studying them for years. When we walked under a bridge hundreds of swallows rushed out the other side, but soon they returned, swooping by us, and slipped back into their nests. They’d immediately turn around and poke their heads back out, the white spot on their foreheads shining in the dim light and letting everyone know they’re home.

I got to poke a long handled dental mirror into nests, while shining a flashlight just so, to see the eggs inside (not as easy as it sounds!). And we spent several hours baking in the sun while quietly observing the behavior of the swallows as they came and went from their nests.

Here’s some of what I learned that day about how God feeds just one of His many types of birds!

  • Cliff swallows winter in South America, so they fly thousands of miles to return each spring to the western prairies of the United States and Canada for breeding.
  • This kind of swallow lives in colonies that range in size from a few dozen nests to thousands honeycombing a cliff or under a bridge.
  • Cliff swallows like to return to the same places each year, but will periodically abandon some sites when these become too infested with parasites.
  • They eat insects, scooping them from the sky as they fly.
  • Cliff swallows need open fields and farmland where warm updrafts stir up insects for them to catch.
  • Snakes sometimes invade nest sites to feast on eggs and baby birds.
  • Cliff swallows will sometimes sneak into others’ nests to steal nesting material or even lay eggs.

One of the most fascinating ways God feeds cliff swallows is that the colony serves as a way for swallows to find those updrafts of insects. Dr. Brown has discovered that when a swallow returns with a mouthful of insects for its babies, other swallows will follow it when it leaves again so they can join the feast. The colony works a little like a computer clearing house for information.

And one thing Dr. Brown said that day has stayed with me. He believes that though many people go long distances to study various creatures, many of us can find and study amazing creatures close to home, even in our own back yards!

Birds are everywhere, and this time of year they are returning to build nests and raise families. Just today I saw a house finch gathering nesting materials in my back yard.

Take time to see the work of the first and best Artist! How many different types of birds share your backyard? Notice the patterns on their wings. Has God made their beak for seeds or worms?

“Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.” Psalm 111:2

If you can, get outside with your children. Take along a field guide and learn more about the birds in your neighborhood.

When we look carefully to “study” how God has designed each bird, we see that He gave each bird just the right beak, feet, body, tail, and wings to be able to gather its food in the environment He designed it for.

All birds have beaks and wings, but… God gave hummingbirds wings that beat super fast so they can hover and stick their long beaks deep into flowers to sip nectar. And He gave cliff swallows just the right beak and streamlined shape to be able to gather mud pellets for a nest and swoop through the sky to grab tasty insects.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” Matt. 6:26

Jesus used God’s care of the birds to teach us that our heavenly Father knows our needs and provides for us just as He does the birds.

Jesus didn’t mean we shouldn’t pray about our needs. He tells us to do just that in the Lord’s Prayer, (Matthew 6:9-13). But He also wants us to realize we don’t have to keep worrying; we can pray and leave our worries about our daily needs with our heavenly Father. Jesus wants us to soar on to scoop up more important things—heavenly treasures from our Bibles that teach us how to love God and our neighbors.

Prayer: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for providing for our daily needs. When we look at the birds of the air, help us learn from them to trust You with every part of our lives! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up above for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly and I hope you enjoyed learning more about how God feeds the cliff swallows, and you’ll get out and enjoy learning about the birds in your own backyard! Come back next week for a fun art project about birds and to learn if swallows have returned to San Juan Capistrano.