Devotion based on Winslow Homer’s The Country School

No colorful posters cover the walls of Winslow Homer’s painting, The Country School.  No bright backpacks lean against the benches. Two of the boys are barefoot, and most of the children probably walked to and from school.

There are many ways this school room is different from yours. But in the big ways that matter, these children are no different from you.

Their books may have few pictures, but they’re interested in what they’re reading. They may play crack the whip at recess instead of four square, but as soon as the bell rings, they’ll rush out the door to run and jump and yell.

Sometimes they may have had trouble sleeping and be tired, just like you. They have best friends who share their interests, and little brothers and sisters who try their patience. One of them may have gotten in trouble that morning for not doing his or her chores.

And they’re just like you in another super important way. They’re in school to learn and prepare for their futures.

  • What are some things these children may have wanted to do when they grew up?
  • What do you dream about becoming when you grow up?

God has given you a unique combination of skills and interests to use for good in His world. He may call you to be a teacher to help people learn or a health care worker to help people heal. Perhaps He’ll use your interest in the ocean to do research about coral reefs, or an interest in insects to restore habitats for bumblebees.

Most important of all, these children also had someone who read the Bible to them, so they knew that, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1, NIV).

They also learned from the scriptures that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7, NIV).

Even if you’re not in a situation where the Bible is read, you can read it yourself or go to church and Sunday school, to hear and learn more about the Lord, who “will guide you always” (Isaiah 58:11 NIV).

Whatever gifts and talents God has given you, school is a great place to discover your interests and develop skills for doing good now and in the future for God and His world and all those who live in it.

Even Jesus, God’s very own Son, went to school to learn, just like you. When Jesus was twelve, He and His family went to Jerusalem for the Passover, as they were accustomed to do. While there, Jesus went to the Temple where He sat with the teachers, listening and asking questions (Luke 2:41-52). That was like going to school. And like other Hebrew boys, Jesus would also have learned in a synagogue school in his village of Nazareth.

We know Jesus worked hard and learned all He could about God, His Word, and His world, because Jesus used that knowledge about birds, rocks, and trees, and all kinds of things from God’s creation to later teach people important lessons about God’s love and care for us.

At the end of Luke’s account of Jesus as a child we learn that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” Luke 2:52, NIV).

Prayer: Thank You, Lord for giving me skills and interests. Help me work with all my heart to learn how to use Your gifts for Your glory in the world.

Some things you can do this week to work with all your heart :

  • learn this verse:  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men ” (Colossians 3:23 NIV)
  • Think of 2 things that will help you become a better listener
  • Reorganize your assignment book so you can keep better track of and finish your homework on time
  • Help another student or a younger brother or sister in a subject you know and enjoy

Molly also has lessons to learn. She has learned to sit and lie down and even to stay on her mat in the kitchen when we make dinner (unless there’s cheese involved). She also loves recess when she can chase her ball.

I pray that whether you are in school in person, or online, or homeschooling, you get off to a wonderful new school year where you’ll learn about lots of exciting things and enjoy friendships and good snacks. (Molly made me put in the bit about snacks!!)

If you’d like to enjoy making  an art project related to The Country School, be sure to join Molly and me for next week’s art project! You can subscribe above and never miss the fun!

And Before You Go, here are some other ways you can enjoy great art from a Christian perspective, as well as get related devotions and art activities.

  • 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. Just click the sign-up  button above on the right. You’ll receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family. Even if your family isn’t into museums, the quarterly issues have lots of fun stuff for kiddos!
  • Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, and coloring pages. There’s also an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Winslow Homer, Versatile Illustrator, Wartime Artist-Correspondent, and Seascape Painter

Long before he became known for his seascapes, Winslow Homer was a magazine illustrator. He also spent the 4 long years of the Civil War as a wartime artist and correspondent.

After the war, like most Americans, Homer wanted to put the tragedies of war behind him, get back to normal life, and look ahead to the future. What better way than to show children involved in everyday activities such as school?

In 1871 Winslow Homer painted The Country School, showing a moment in the day of a teacher and her students at a rural one-room school.

Before we look at the painting, let me explain that I usually do 4-part series about an artist and his or her work–one series per month. Starting this month you’ll receive one weekly post. Most will follow this format:

  • Post 1: a short bio of an artist and 1 or 2 fun ways to enjoy the artwork with your children
  • Post 2: a kid-friendly devotion related to the painting
  • Post 3: an art activity related to the painting
  • Post 4: an interview with a children’s author or reviews of books for children and other activities. These may or may not be related to the artwork.

For those who have been reading my blog for a while, the content hasn’t really changed. It’s just spread out over 4 weekly posts. (December and the summer months are usually exceptions to this format).

So here in Post 1 you’ll find:

  • A short bio of Winslow Homer
  • Activities to help you and your children enjoy and understand The Country School  (You don’t have to do them all. Pick the ones that fit you and your children)

The Artist, Winslow Homer

Homer was born in Massachusetts in 1836, and grew up in a rural area near Boston. He preferred outdoor activities to school but did have an interest in art. He first learned art skills from his mother, who was an accomplished watercolor artist. After high school Homer apprenticed to a printer, then began free-lance illustrating for magazines. He specialized in scenes of everyday life and people.

When the Civil War began Harper’s Weekly sent Homer to the front as an artist- correspondent. Homer’s sketches of battles and camp life helped people at home understand the life of a soldier. After the war, Homer turned some of his sketches into oil paintings which won awards and took him to Paris for a year.

Back home Homer continued painting ordinary people at the seashore,

Long Branch, New Jersey by Winslow Homer, 1869,Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, public domain

in the mountains, and on farms, as well as school scenes and the life of former slaves. He decided to return to Europe and spent 2 years living and painting in a small fishing village in England.

When Homer returned to America, he moved to the coast of Maine, where he lived and painted for the rest of his life. His studio still sits above rocky cliffs on a point that juts out into the Atlantic.

That’s the point as seen from across a tidal river. This is the gentler side of the point. The rocky cliffs are on the other side.

In Maine Homer painted his famous scenes of sea rescues and storm-tossed waves.

Sunlight on the Coast by Winslow Homer, 1890, Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, public domain

During Maine’s cold winters, Homer often traveled south, painting marine watercolors that glow with light and color.

Homer took a few art lessons, but was mostly self-taught. He closely observed his subjects, whether people or landscapes. One time he walked backwards all the way home from a store so he could study a sunset. For his marine paintings, Homer carefully studied how the waves rolled in and broke on the rocks below his studio. He once said he didn’t like painting the ocean when it was too calm, likening it to a duck pond.

The Painting, The Country School

The Country School by Winslow Homer, 1871, St. Louis Museum of Art, public domain

In art a genre scene captures a moment in the life of ordinary people. The people in these scenes don’t pose, but go about their activities as if the artist isn’t there. A genre painting might show a young woman gathering eggs, or a farmer reaping grain.

Gathering Eggs by Winslow Homer, 1874, National Gallery of Art, Wash. D.C., public domain

The Reaper by Winslow Homer, 1878, public domain

 

Homer’s genre scenes of everyday life and people are warm and realistic. And although his career spanned the era of Impressionism, and he, too, filled his scenes with light, Homer didn’t dissolve the edges of people or objects, as the Impressionists did.

 

 

 

 

Activities to help you and your children enjoy and understand The Country School

Here’s a link to the St. Louis Art Museum where The Country School painting lives. Here you can enlarge the painting and move around it with your mouse.

Before doing any other activities, ask 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 adding new vocabulary. Here are a few things to help the discussion.

In The Country School, it’s as if we’re standing in the school’s doorway, looking in at a moment in the day of a teacher and her students. So, let’s do that. At first glance we see light streaming in the windows of a one-room school house onto the desks of girls on one side and boys on the other, with a teacher in the center.

Take your time. The blackboard naturally draws our eyes. Because it frames the teacher, we notice this calm and serious young woman right away. Even though her dress is also black, her white apron and bright face make her stand out against the black. She’s what is called the focal point or most important part of the painting.

The teacher’s gaze takes us to the boys, who are reading aloud. Did the little girl’s red sweater catch your eye? Homer used red on purpose so your eyes don’t get “stuck” with the boys. He wants you to look around and notice other details. Artists often use bright colors in this way, so let’s go on a scavenger hunt to find and talk about some of those details.

How many of these things can you find?

  • A straw hat; whose is it?
  • A girl in a red sweater
  • The boy with a hole in the knee of his pants
  • All the girls with striped socks
  • 2 metal cans or pails on a desk, do you think these might be lunch pails?
  • slates; these look a little like modern tablets, but are like small blackboards
  • the slate on a bench with its attached writing tool hanging off the bench
  • A bunch of flowers in a glass vase
  • Another big bunch of flowers; who probably picked these?
  • The flower that’s fallen on the floor
  • sunshine making patterns on a curtain; what’s creating the pattern?
  • 2 ink bottles; imagine having to write without a computer or ballpoint pens!
  • A Bible; even public school teachers could read from the Bible in class at that time!
  • A bell; what’s it used for?
  • All the high black boots
  • 2 barefoot boys
  • A little boy who’s crying
  • 2 girls sharing a book

This is also a great painting to spark discussion and stories. Here are some questions to get everyone talking:

  • Why do you think the girls and boys are on opposite sides of the classroom?
  • Everyone is reading together. Follow the teacher’s gaze to see who is reading aloud.
  • Do the children look interested and attentive?
  • Why do you think the little boy is crying?  This could be a good story-starter.
  • Describe the clothing and hairstyles of the girls and boys. Do these children look wealthy?

Digging Deeper

Here are more ideas for discussion and/or written assignments:

The Country School by Winslow Homer, 1871, St. Louis Museum of Art, public domain

  • What are some ways this classroom is like and unlike today’s?  Do you see any posters on the walls? What are the desks and chairs like? This would be a good way to spark interest in researching schools of the 1800s and writing a list or short essay comparing and contrasting schools then and now.
  • Children could also research clothing styles and foods of the time.
  • What are some of the sounds you would hear in this classroom?  (don’t forget the bell!!) Is it mostly quiet or loud?
  • Write an acrostic poem using the letters from Country School to describe the sights and sound and smells of this classroom. Then write one about your present-day classroom.
  • Choose one of these boys and imagine the chores he may have to do when he gets home from school. Then tell what he likes to do for fun.
  • Choose one of the girls and write about her days as if she’s writing in her diary.

Winslow Homer has used careful observation to show us many things about The Country School and its teacher and students. Molly and I hope you’ll enjoy looking carefully to find all the details about the life of school children in the late 1800s.

Here’s Molly, the artsy corgi, enjoying the painting! Maybe in that second photo she can smell the lunches !!

If you write a poem or have any comments about The Country School, be sure to share them in the comment section.

We hope you’ll come back next week for a short devotion based on the painting.

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. Just click the sign-up  button above on the right. You’ll receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family. Even if your family isn’t into museums, the quarterly issues have lots of fun stuff for kiddos!

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

 

 

Not Your Usual Vacation Photos

Molly loves to travel and she has her own suitcase! But before you head off on your vacation:

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. Just click the sign-up  button above on the right. You’ll receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family. Even if your family isn’t into museums, the quarterly issues have lots of fun stuff for kiddos!

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

Favorite Paintings about Summertime

I hope you’ll enjoy some of my favorite paintings of summertime! The ocean, the beach, colorful sunsets, and flowers. Horses and fields, forests, and mountains!

West Point by Winslow Homer, public domain

Partners by Charles Russell, public domain

Children on a Beach by Mary Cassatt, public domain

The Catskills, Asher Durand, public domain

Monet Painting in his Garden at Argenteuil by Pierre Auguste Renoir, public domain

Clouds over Olana, Frederick Edwin Church, public domain

Grainstacks-Late Summer, Giverny by Claude Monet

The Hay Wain by John Constable, public domain

Gathering Eggs by Winslow Homer, public domain

Horse Fair by Rosa Bonheur, public domain

The Oxbow, Thomas Cole, public domain

Yosemite Valley, Albert Bierstadt, public domain

A Girl with a Watering Can, by Auguste Renoir, public domain

 

View of Naarden by Jacob van Ruisdael, public domain

Molly and I suggest you get out to enjoy a summertime picnic, but 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. Just click the sign-up  button above on the right. You’ll receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family. Even if your family isn’t into museums, the quarterly issues have lots of fun stuff for kiddos!

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

Butterfly Creations, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

Butterflies are colorful creations, that we like to draw or paint in our own pictures. But it’s hard to make their wings exactly the same on each side of their body. In this project you’ll have fun making a butterfly that’s colorful and also exactly the same on each side!

In this post you’ll find:

  • A supply list
  • Directions to make the butterflies
  • Clean up hints
  • Variations and extensions
  • How this activity helps children develop mentally, physically, and socially
  • A related and kid-friendly devotion

Supplies

  • Sturdy paper
  • Paint in different colors
  • Markers or crayons

Directions

  1. Fold the paper in half and then reopen it.
  2. On one side of the paper only, squeeze out drops of paint where an upper wing and a lower wing would be. You may use more than one color, but don’t mix them yet.
  3. Refold your paper to cover the drops of paint.
  4. Use your fingers on top of the paper to move the paint around, swirling colors together and creating an upper and lower wing. You may need to help children move the paint outward to make wings.
  5. Open up your paper to see your colorful butterfly with identical wings on each side.
  6. Notice that this process creates veins like on a real butterfly’s wings.
  7. When dry, use crayons or markers to draw the butterfly’s body.

Variations and Extensions

  • Make smaller butterflies and use them as cards for friends and family
  • Make smaller butterflies all over large sheets of paper and use as book covers or wrapping paper
  • Cut out some smaller butterflies and use as gift tags

How this activity helps children develop mentally, physically, and socially

  • Mixing colors is fun and relaxing and teaches children to be better observers
  • Choosing colors aids problem solving skills
  • Making cards or other things to send to friends and family fosters kindness and thoughtfulness for others

Clean up hints

Use a large sheet of wax paper under your painting, because the paint often squishes out as you move it around.

Devotion

Bible Verse:  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).

Butterfly caterpillars aren’t very pretty. They crawl along plants chomping leaves, and they can’t see well at all. But when it’s time, they form a chrysalis, and God creates a beautiful new creature. He gives them new eyes to see all around, new straw-like mouths to sip nectar from flowers, and beautiful wings to soar through the sky!

Sometimes we do things we shouldn’t. We may say unkind things to friends or disobey our parents. The Bible call those things sins, and they aren’t very pretty. But God loves us so much He gave us His Son Jesus, who died so we can be forgiven for our sins. When we believe that Jesus died for us, and that God loves and watches over us, we don’t get new eyes or wings, we get something much better. God gives us a new heart that loves and wants to please Him.

If you would like to become God’s child, you just have to ask Jesus to come into your heart and forgive your sins. When you do that, you receive a new heart to follow Jesus. Like a butterfly you become a new creation, and God helps you soar to be all He has planned for you.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Your Son to die for our sins, so we can become part of Your family. How wonderful that You make us a new creation to love You and live with You forever. 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 for my newsletter. Just click the sign-up  button above on the right. You’ll receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family. Even if your family isn’t into museums, the quarterly issues have lots of fun stuff for kiddos!

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

Molly and I hope you enjoy making colorful butterflies! Our August posts will be favorite summer paintings and funny vacation photos.

 

Fight Summer Boredom with Fun Art Activities from Nature for Children

Have you heard the dreaded words, “I’m bored!” yet this summer?  These two links will take you to more of my summer activities to fight summer boredom!

Guest Post

I guest posted on a great parenting blog this week called In the Quiver. Click here to read Turn Treasures from God’s Creation into Art Masterpieces for art projects made from all those things like rocks and shells and sticks, that children love to collect.

My Newsletter

And If you haven’t yet signed up for my newsletter, I hope you will, because not only will you receive a fun guide to visiting museums with children (and living through it!!)  but each newsletter has loads of free fun ideas to enjoy art, history, and nature with your children. And I’ll make sure you get the most recent newsletter about making a nature pyramid for weaving. Don’t wait, sign up here.

Molly says, “Come visit us next week for another fun and easy art activity for creative kids,

A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids: Design a Roller Coaster

Roller coasters are designed for thrills, and now you can design and make your very own 3-D roller coaster in this Fun and Easy art activity. You can even put you and your friends or family in the very first car! In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Clean-up tips
  • Variations and Adaptations to Include and Challenge Various Ages
  • 2 Ways this Activity Aids Mental, Physical, and Social Development
  • A Kid-friendly Devotion

Let’s get started!

Supply List

  • Cardboard for a base
  • Paper in all colors (use colorful papers left from other projects)
  • White glue (glue sticks may not hold)
  • Scissors
  • Markers or crayons

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Glue a plain colored paper on top of the cardboard base
  2. Cut other papers into strips of various colors and sizes (these can have straight, wavy, or even spiky edges)
  3. On plain strips you may wish to make designs with markers or crayons
  4. Put glue on ends of strips and start arranging these in loops all over the cardboard base (see photos)
  5. Make a small rectangular box or boxes for roller coaster cars (see photos)
  6. Cut small strips of paper the width of the car and draw people on these (give them different facial expressions and hair dos)
  7. Fold the bottom end of these strips under, add glue, and glue into the car (see photo)
  8. Glue the car to the top of a loop or on the way down a loop

Clean-up Tips

  • Wax paper under the strips as you add glue keeps the strips from sticking, AND makes clean up quick and easy.
  • A plastic dish tub for scraps also aids quick clean up

Variations and Adaptations to Include and Challenge Various Ages

  • Younger children may need strips cut for them and a short demo of how to make the loops.
  • Young children will need more help with the box car and people, but be sure to let them draw the people!
  • All children may need a reminder to hold each piece in place for a moment until the glue sets a little
  • For more challenge, use a larger base and make your roller coaster much larger
  • Use cardstock for stiffer loops
  • Connect the loops as if a roller coaster car could really travel on it
  • Make multiple cars
  • Use actual photographs of you and family or friends in the cars

2 Ways this Activity Aids Mental, Physical, and Social Development

  1. Learning to use scissors is an important skill for young children
  2. Making color and design choices helps enhance creativity and encourages children of all ages to learn to problem solve

A Kid-friendly Devotion

Higher and higher the roller coaster climbs. As it teeters on the top, people hold their breath. Then wooosh, down it rushes, and everyone raises their arms and screams!  

Have you ever been on a roller coaster?

How did you feel?  Excited? Scared?

Sometimes life is like a roller coaster ride. Everything is going along smoothly, and then woosh, your family moves, a new baby arrives, or your best friend gets angry with you.

Was there a time you felt as if you were on a roller coaster?

Were those rushing changes scary?  Did you feel sad or lonely?

Sometimes Jesus felt sad and rushed. In Mark 6:29-46 we learn that when His cousin, John the Baptist, was killed, Jesus and the disciples were sad and tired. But people still crowded around. Jesus and the disciples didn’t even have time to eat!

When they tried to get away, crowds followed them. Finally, that night Jesus sent the crowd away. He even told His disciples to leave in the boat.

Wow, Jesus was all alone. But was He?

No, He knew His Father was there. So Jesus climbed up the mountainside to talk to Him. He trusted His Father to give Him comfort and strength to continue the rush of His earthly ministry.

When changes rush at you and you’re scared, Jesus promises you can talk to Him just like that. Jesus is with you and will never leave you (Deuteronomy 31:8), and He will comfort and strengthen you.

And when you are sad or lonely, remember Jesus will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

Prayer: Dear Jesus, we know you sometimes felt sad and tired, so you understand just how we feel. Thank you that we can come and talk to You about these things, and You will comfort and strengthen us. 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 for my newsletter. Just click the sign-up  button above on the right. You’ll receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family. Even if your family isn’t into museums, the quarterly issues have lots of fun stuff for kiddos!

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

Our last post used zigzag and curved lines for ocean waves, and so does the roller coaster, so on  a recent walk, Molly posed with zigzag shadows! Molly and I hope you enjoyed making a roller coaster. Sign up to receive our posts by email, and don’t miss a fun and easy, AND  squishy paint activity!

 

 

Sailing Over the Bounding Waves, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

Sailboats skimming over a lake or breezing through ocean waves are colorful parts of summer. In this art activity you’ll make a mixed media, 3-D project with waves and boats that look like you could sail away in to catch the cool summer breezes!

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Clean-up tips
  • Adaptations for various ages
  • Variations to extend the activity or make it more challenging
  • 6 ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • A short kid-friendly devotion
  • AND as always pictures of Molly, the Artsy Corgi!

Supply list:

  • Sturdy white paper for the waves and for the background paper
  • Tempera paint for the waves—blue, green, and purple
  • Watercolor paints for the sky on the background paper
  • Large brushes
  • Colored paper or cardstock for the sailboats
  • White glue—glue sticks aren’t strong enough for this project
  • Scissors

Step-by-step directions:

I’ve divided the directions for this mixed-media activity into 4 parts to make it easier to understand, and because each part needs some drying time. Each part only takes 15 to 20 minutes depending on individuals. Each section takes more time to explain than to do!!

Part A: Creating the ocean waves

  1. Put largish puddles of blue, green, and purple tempera paint on a paper plate or a plastic tray. Don’t worry if they get mixed.
  2. With a large, flat brush paint these colors across the paper from one side to the other.
  3. Don’t try to fill in every little space.
  4. Don’t clean the brush between colors.
  5. Do mix colors together on the paper as you add new ones.
  6. Have fun and paint in a slappy,dappy manner, letting your brush stokes show.
  7. Set aside to dry. When dry you may need to flatten it under some books.
  8. When the tempera paint is completely dry, slowly tear across the painting to create jagged strips of ocean waves.
  9. Don’t tear quickly, make zig zag dips and points like waves.
  10. Don’t cut these—tearing creates the white edges that look like foam on breaking waves.

Part B: Creating the sky

  1. Mix up largish puddles of water color paints in whatever sky colors you’d like. I chose a couple blues and a yellow.
  2. With clean water and a large brush, wet your background paper. Don’t soak it—just give it a light sheen.
  3. Paint and drop in your sky colors in various places and allow these to mix freely. Move the paper around to let the colors flow into each other.
  4. Don’t worry about leaving some white–these can be cloudy areas.
  5. Set aside to dry.
  6. When dry you may need to flatten it under some books.

Part C: Create the sailboats while the waves and sky dry

  1. Cut and glue together sailboats of various sizes out of colored paper (look at the pictures for ideas)  Cardstock paper is stiffer and will stand up better, but you can use a double layer of colored paper.
  2. Set aside to dry.

Part D: Putting it all together

  1. Choose where the ocean will meet the sky and lay a strip of ocean waves across the sky background. Have the white edge of the strip uppermost.
  2. Do not glue yet.
  3. Overlap more strips of waves across each other until you reach the bottom of the background paper. Work with these until you have a number of layers of waves and colors, always keeping the torn white edge showing.
  4. To begin gluing, pick up just the bottom strip and put a line of glue along its bottom edge. Then place it down so its edges are even with the bottom edge of the background paper.
  5. Pick up the next strip, add a line of glue along its bottom edge, and tuck it under the strip you just glued.
  6. Repeat this with each strip until you reach the point where you want the sky to show.
  7. By not gluing down the tops of the waves, you now have waves that stand out and look more real.
  8. Decide where you want the boats to be and put just a line of glue along the hull. Then tuck the boat down into the waves.

Ahoy there, matey! Now you can enjoy your easy, breezy ocean picture to send to a friend or put up on the fridge!!

Helpful Hints:

  • It takes quite a bit of tempera paint for the wild ocean wave paper.
  • When you mix your watercolors for the sky, start with a puddle of clean water for each color and add enough pigment to make your colors bright. Remember that watercolors fade as they dry, and when mixed wet-in-wet, they get diluted even more.
  • You may want to tilt the boats so they look like they’re riding the waves.
  • To give your picture a sense of depth, put larger boats up closer than smaller boats.
  • Try curling the flags around a pencil first so they look like they’re flapping in the wind.

Clean up Tips:

  • Use an old plastic table cloth under your work.
  • Use wax paper under the tempera wave painting and your watercolor background. That way you can paint right over the edges on both sides and not worry about cleanup.
  • Use wax paper under the sailboats as you assemble them with glue. They’ll peel right off.
  • Have a plastic dish tub handy for all paper trash.
  • If using plastic containers for paint, use the brushes to clean these under running water. The containers get clean, and your brushes may only need a little more cleaning.
  • But brushes that have had tempera paint need soap and water. Put a little liquid soap in your palm and swirl the brush around. You’ll be amazed how much more paint comes out. Rinse well and dry flat.

Adaptations for various ages

  • Once the papers and paints are prepared for the waves and the sky, little ones should only need a little demonstration to be able to enjoy doing these 2 parts.
  • Little ones will need more help tearing the waves, making the boats, and assembling the scene, but use your judgement about your children. And remember to let them create as much as possible. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.

Variations to extend the activity or make it more challenging

  • Instead of watercolor, use blue paper for the background and cut out paper clouds or dab clouds on with white paint and cotton balls.
  • Instead of blues for the sky, use blacks (these will be gray to black, depending on how much water is added) to make a stormy sky. Add lightning zigzags with yellow tempera paint or marker when the water color is dry.
  • Make different kinds of boats, such as cruise ships, navy ships, tugboats, etc.
  • Go online and find directions to make origami sailboats.
  • Follow this link to Winslow Homer’s famous painting, Breezing Up, a painting of ocean waves and sailboats and enjoy together.  https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.30228.html

6 ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. Using paint brushes and scissors helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. Discussing their own art and/or the painting, Breezing Up, builds vocabulary and social skills.
  3. Discussing zig zag lines and places you may see these (as in the letters A, K, M, N, R, V, W, Y, and Z) will help young children become more observant of small differences—helpful in learning letters and in reading.
  4. This art activity also helps children develop visual/spatial skills, which is important in learning to interpret photos, graphs, maps, etc.
  5. When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills.
  6. Creating art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes from all those screens.

A short kid-friendly devotion about when Jesus calmed the storm:

Jesus and His disciples were in a fishing boat when a big storm came up.

Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. the disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matthew 8: 24-25 NIV)

Then he [Jesus] got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm (Matthew 8:26 NIV).

  1. Have you ever been in a boat and felt it rocking on the waves? Did you feel a little afraid?
  2. But we don’t have to be in a boat in a storm to feel afraid. What are some things that make you afraid?
  3. When Jesus awoke, He spoke to the wind and the waves, and they became completely calm right away! Jesus was with the disciples, AND He was completely in control of the storm!
  4. God is in control of everything! He holds the sea and the mountains in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 40:12). He is mightier than the waves of the sea! (Psalm 89:9)
  5. When we’re afraid and call out to Jesus as the disciples did, we can trust that He is always with us to calm our fears and that He is in control of what’s happening. Memorizing this verse may help you remember God loves you, is with you, and He is always in control:

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Psalm 62:11-12a

These verses may be helpful, too:

  • Psalm 139:9-10
  • Joshua 1:9
  • Psalm 4:8
  • Psalm 23:4
  • Psalm 62:1-2
  • Hebrews 13:6

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that we can always run to You when we’re afraid. We praise You that nothing is outside Your control, and we know You’ll understand and help us, because You love us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Molly, the Artsy Corgi

In this activity we made zig zag lines for the waves. In our last art activity we made lots of circles, and Molly decided to get in on the fun! Here she is sitting in the middle of a hula hoop after some lessons on jumping through it!

And here she is all tired out from jumping through the hoop.

But You don’t have to jump through hoops and get all tired out to have even more summer fun!!  Sign up to receive these posts by email.

AND If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to click the button to sign up for my newsletter, and receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family! Sign up now and you’ll be all set to receive my summer newsletter, with lots of ideas for summer fun–inside and outside!

Visit my all-new website to get free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and see an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages. http://www.kathy-oneill.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circles of Fun, A Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

School is out, but before you and your children jump into summer activities, take some time to wind down together. Enjoy sleeping in. Soak up some sun. Watch clouds sail overhead. And try this Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids, called Circles of Fun.

It doesn’t take many materials or time, and it’s neat enough for indoor fun—have I said fun enough? It also encourages some quiet creativity, without screens!

Circles of Fun is a printing project, simple enough for preschoolers, but with a few variations and suggestions, can easily challenge older children.

The only thing you need to think ahead about is to save cardboard tubes!!

In this post you’ll find 6 things:

  1. Supply list
  2. Step-by-step directions for the activity
  3. Easy clean-up tips
  4. 8 Variations to extend the activity or make it more challenging
  5. 4 Ways the activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  6. A short kid-friendly devotion

Supply List

  • Paper
  • Paint (tempera or acrylic; watercolors won’t work well)
  • Paper plates or recycled plastic containers for paint puddles
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Crayons or markers
  • Find other circular-shaped items around the house, such as pencil erasers, bottle caps, glue stick covers, etc.

Directions

  1. Spread thin puddles of different colors of paint around your plates or plastic containers
  2. Set cardboard tube up in each paint puddle
  3. Demonstrate how to go up and down with the tubes on their paper—explain that they are printing, not painting

Hint:

Some children like everything very orderly, while others like to mix things up. No one way is correct or better. Some children will want to return each tube to its color before changing to a new color, but if they end up mixing colors on one tube, that’s an opportunity to see color blends and talk about how that happens.

If you have children of both types, try this solution to prevent arguments: provide a separate plain container for used tubes. As these dry they can be used again, and since cardboard tubes are pretty abundant, provide a stash of new ones, too.

Okay, Let ‘em loose! Have fun!

Easy Clean Up Tips

  • Put an old plastic tablecloth down to collect spills
  • Have paper towels and wipes handy to wipe fingers
  • Have an old plastic container, such as a dish-washing tub to dump all disposables in
  • Use cheap paper plates for the paint puddles and then toss

8 Variations to extend the activity or make it more challenging

  1. Suggest children see how many circles they can make before the color gets too faint. Ask which they like better—the bright colors or those that are lighter.
  2. If you have large enough stamp pads, children can try these instead of paint. Neater, but not as bright:)
  3. Create a pattern of different size circles or colors and encourage younger children to repeat your pattern.
  4. Use crayons or markers to color in the various shapes created by the overlapping circles. Whenever they cross a line, they must change colors. They could use all the colors or just cool or warm colors. I dare you to stop, once you start this!!!
  5. Use some of the circles to create people or animal faces.
  6. Use circles to create things, such as a caterpillar or a bike.
  7. Use the cardboard tubes and other circular objects to create designs and patterns.
  8. Print the random circles or designs on large sheets of paper and use as wrapping paper for presents.

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

  1. Circles of Fun helps develop visual/spatial skills and how to understand and use visual information—important in learning to interpret photos, graphs, maps, etc.
  2. When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills.
  3. Discussing their choices builds vocabulary and social skills.
  4. Children improve fine motor skills as they print up and down.

A Short Kid-Friendly Devotion

When you printed your circle masterpieces, you probably printed many to overlap or cross over each other to make interconnected designs. Sometimes at home or school, we’re part of a group playing a game or working on a project. God created us to enjoy these special times with family and friends.

But brothers and sisters and friends may disagree about how to play a game or how to complete a project. How does that make everyone feel? What can we do when that happens?

In the Bible, God has given us the very best way to get along with others and settle arguments so everyone can have fun. He tells us we are to love each other (John 13:34-35). God also wants us to treat others the way we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).

  1. What are some ways you can show love to brothers, sisters, and friends when you disagree about something?
  2. What are some ways you could treat your brother, sister, or friend when you have a disagreement? Would you like them to listen to what upset you?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord for giving us our friends and family. Please help us love them and treat them the way we want to be treated. In Jesus’ name, amen.

________________________________

Molly and I were soaking up some sun this week, and we found a sprinkler just her size. She didn’t want to drink from it, but she cooled off as she bobbed for cheerios! What kinds of fun do you enjoy with friends and family in the summer?

Before You Go

To receive these posts by email, sign up above and join the summer fun!

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to click the button to sign up for my newsletter, and receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family!

Visit my all-new website to get free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and see an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages. http://www.kathy-oneill.com/

The American Cemetery above Omaha Beach in Normandy

When we visited France a couple years ago I took this photo of a small part of the American cemetery above Omaha Beach where, on D-Day in WWII, so many Americans gave their lives to preserve freedom for us and help bring freedom back to parts of Europe.

Over 9,000 crosses and stars of David stretch across the green hillside that was once a battleground. Seeing the beaches and the cemetery reminded me of all those throughout our history who have fought to preserve freedom and dignity for all.

We must also never forget all those first responders and the health care workers who have helped us through the terrible covid pandemic.

I hope you’ll join me on this Memorial Day, to remember and thank God for all those who have served and given their lives in the military and as first responders to keep the peace and protect us here at home and overseas.

This is a link to an earlier post of mine that has a tribute to my Dad who had just passed away. Although he had to get permission from his parents because he was only 17, he enlisted in the navy in WWII and served in the Pacific.

https://kathythepicturelady.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/the-storm-on-the-sea-of-galilee/