Category Archives: Art Activities for childre

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!

 

 

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!

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.

 

 

 

Polar Bear Art Activity Based on The Icebergs by Frederick Edwin Church

God has given polar bears many unique features to help them survive in cold arctic regions. In this art project children will learn about some of these features as they draw and put together a collage of a polar bear framed against the colorful aurora borealis.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step Directions
  • Helpful Hints
  • Containing the Mess
  • Variations and adaptations for older and younger children
  • 6 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, social, and spiritual development
  • Molly the Artsy Corgi picture

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

  • White and black construction paper
  • Pastels (There are 2 kinds of pastels—chalk-like soft pastels or crayon-like oil pastels. Either kind works for this project. If you or your child is bothered by dust, choose oil pastels instead of the soft ones)
  • Pencil, black marker, and scissors
  • White glue or glue stick

Directions:

Start with the background of ice floes and

the aurora borealis:

  1. Tear jagged pieces of white paper that will stretch across the width of the black paper (tearing these gives a more natural look)
  2. Place the torn strip on a paper scrap and color blocks of pastels along the edges of the paper. Apply the color heavily.
  3. Place the strip a little below the top of the black paper and with your finger, “push” the color up and away from the white paper and onto the black paper. You can apply more pastel to the strip if it’s not dark enough.
  4. Repeat this with other strips and colors, moving the strips down a ways each time. Children can do as many layers as they wish.
  5. If you’re using soft pastels, you can clean off the dust with a tissue.
  6. Polar bears live and hunt out on ice floes, so cut white paper for the ice floes and arrange on paper to look as if some are farther away. Glue these down.

Next the polar bear

mother polar bear and cub, public domain, wikimedia

My elementary students are all drawing animals right now. Some classes are doing owls or seahorses, while others are drawing patterned animals, such as giraffes.

In each class we begin by looking carefully at the animal to see its unique features, head and body shape, and nose and ear size and placement.

Looking at these things not only gives them a greater appreciation for how our wise and creative God has made each animal just right for its environment, but it also helps them draw more accurately.

The bear we draw here is simplified for drawing by several ages, but we still want to make it show some of a polar bear’s unique features.

So as we go through drawing a polar bear, I’ll  do the same thing so you can help your child look carefully at the bear’s special features and draw these more accurately. It’s often best to draw on another paper first to make a pattern for the “good” paper, especially if it’s a collage. Draw the head and body separately  and then glue together.

polar bear out on ice floes, public media, wikimedia

  1. Bears have circular-shaped heads, and so do polar bears, but they are thinner and have thinner heads than many other bears.
  2. So its head is a circle that narrows more as you get to the chin.
  3. Polar bears have rounded ears, but they’re small so they don’t lose too much heat through them. Notice the wide placement of them toward the side of the head.
  4. Notice that polar bears have a longer snout than many bears that ends in a very large nose. Snout and nose together, make polar bears super smellers. For the snout draw an inverted triangle that’s rounded under the nose.
  5. Polar bears have smallish eyes that are close together in the front like most predators. They need to be able to see well in front of them to catch and grab their pray. Look carefully at where the eyes are in relation to the snout.
  6. In this drawing we’re looking at the bear face on and only see those powerful shoulders rising behind and around the head in an inverted U shape. Make another, much smaller u, to forms the front legs.
  7. Polar bears have huge feet, the size of dinner plates! These spread their weight so they can walk on thin ice. Their foot pads have little bumps that give them traction on ice and snow. They have long claws to help with traction and grab and hold onto slippery seals.
  8. I’ve just tried to show the enormous size of the feet without much detail.
  9. Outline your bear’s head and body in black marker, cut out and glue together.
  10. When cutting the bear’s body try making it a little jagged in places to suggest the thick fur polar bears have to keep warm, in addition to layers of fat.
  11. To finish, glue your polar bear wherever you’d like on the background.

Helpful Hints:

  • Children often need to see how to tear shapes.  Quick tears result in random shapes, so show children how to tear jagged pieces of paper by tearing slowly in one direction then changing direction to tear slowly again.
  • If older children decide to add the blue shading, I mostly gathered the blue on my finger and then brushed it across the edges of the bear’s fur and on the ice. In a few places, I made some scribbles with the pastel stick itself.

Containing the Mess:

  • Place a tablecloth or large sheet of paper under your work. Pastels are a little messy. If you used the soft pastels, you can just shake out the cloth outside. Watch out for what direction the wind’s blowing though!
  • Have paper towels and tissues to clean up hands and paper between colors and steps.
  • Place wax paper under papers as you spread glue on them to prevent them from sticking.

Variations and adaptations for older and younger children:

  • Instead of a black background with the aurora borealis, use blue paper for daylight and add snowflakes with white paint. You can spatter the paint or use Q-tips.
  • Younger children may need help with drawing and cutting, but if you show them shapes like the U and circles, they will learn to look and draw more accurately, too.
  • Younger children will enjoy coloring  and pushing the pastel colors onto the black paper, but may need help moving the paper down each time.
  • Older children may want to use deep blue pastel to add shading to the bear and the ice
  • Older children may want to study more polar bear pictures and try drawing one from the side
  • Use the same method to draw and create a smaller polar bear for a cub next to the large bear.
  • Send your polar bear to your grandparents or display on the fridge!
  • Use as an illustration or cover for a school report on the amazing polar bear!

6 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, social, and spiritual development:

  1. Using pencils, scissors, and other art tools helps develop fine motor skills.
  2. Looking carefully at what they want to draw helps develop better observation and drawing skills.
  3. Learning about the polar bear’s special features enhances their appreciation of God’s creativity and care for all His creatures.
  4. This activity helps develop visual/spatial skills and how to understand and use visual information—important in learning to interpret photos, graphs, maps, etc.
  5. When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills.
  6. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.

Before You Go:

If you’d like more activity ideas and devotions 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 to go with 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 the Artsy Corgi Picture

Molly loves snow and she hopes you enjoy making this mixed media picture of a polar bear!

Sign up for our blog and don’t miss more art fun!

 

 

 

 

 

Glittery Angel Art Project Based on Fra Angelico’s Painting of the Annunciation

Angels surrounded the coming of Immanuel. The Archangel Gabriel announced His coming birth to Mary. An angelic host appeared to the shepherds on the night of His birth. Children will enjoy making glittery angels to display on a Christmas tree or table and remind us of the angels who sang at Christ’s birth.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Examples of angels done by 1st graders this year
  • Helpful hints
  • Clean-up tips
  • Variations and/or adaptations for different ages
  • Molly Photo

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

 

  • Inexpensive white paper plates—the kind with rippled edges (coated or foam plates don’t work with the watercolor paints)
  • Watercolor paints
  • A fairly large paint brush
  • Tissue paper—white or light-colored
  • A copy of Hark the Herald Angels Sing music
  • Scissors, pencils, glue
  • Thin markers, colored pencils, crayons
  • Gold paper for halo
  • Glitter
  • Optional, clothespin

 

Directions:

  1. Wet paper plate all over with clear water (don’t soak it but make sure it’s wet)
  2. With a wet, but not dripping brush gather some paint and run the brush over a short section of the rippled edge. Allow the paint to run down onto the plate center.
  3. Repeat step 2 with other colors, swirling the plate a little so the colors mix in the center of the plate.
  4. Set plate aside to dry
  5. Cut an angel pattern from an extra paper plate (see photo)
  6. Use the pattern to cut an angel with its wings from the dry plate. Choose the part of the plate you like best.
  7. Cut a robe from colored paper or sheet music
  8. Cut a cape from the tissue paper.
  9. Glue the robe with the music to the angel’s body.  
  10. Glue the tissue robe on top of the music robe (Just glue both of these along the top so they look like fabric)
  11. Use colored pencils or thin markers to make the angel’s face
  12. Add a halo of gold-colored paper behind the angel’s head
  13. To add glitter, spread a thin layer of white glue wherever you want glitter. In a shallow box or over a large plate, shake the glitter over the glue areas. Allow glitter and glue to dry then shake off excess glitter into the box or waste basket

Examples of angels done by my 1st graders in art this year!

Helpful Hints:

  • It’s fun to swirl the paint on the plates, but stop before the colors become muddy.
  • You may have to experiment with several plates to learn how much water to use. (too much water and colors will be too light. Too little water and colors won’t flow and mix)
  • Rinse and partly dry your brush between colors

Variations and/or adaptations for different ages:

  • Younger children may need to watch once as an older child or adult applies the paint
  • Younger children may also need help cutting out the angel
  • Many children will enjoy experimenting and doing several plates.
  • Attach a clothespin to the back of the angel, if you wish, to hang on the tree

Clean up Hints:

  • Be sure to put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Wax paper under items you’re putting glue on keeps them from sticking
  • When using glitter, place a clean sheet of paper or a large box to catch the glitter. It speeds cleanup and you may be able to return the unused glitter to its container.
  • Have a wastebasket handy for trash
  • Wash and lay brushes flat on paper towels to dry so they keep their shape
  • Leave paint set open until paint pans have dried.

 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 about how art benefits children cognitively, physically, spiritually, and socially, along with some fun and easy art activities.

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, patterns for Christmas projects, and coloring pages for kids. You’ll also find an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages. http://www.kathy-oneill.com/

___________________________________________________________

Molly the Artsy Corgi and I wish you a joyous Christmas! May your angels remind you to celebrate the birth of our Lord, just as the angels did!

Molly and I will be taking a short break for the holidays, but we hope to see you back here for more great art and art projects in the New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

Set Your Thanksgiving Table with a Devotion and Art Activity Based on Saying Grace by Jean-Simeon Chardin

Let’s set our Thanksgiving table with a cute children’s art activity and devotion that will encourage your family to thank God for all their blessings. 

As always, there’s a cute Molly the Artsy Corgi picture at the end with more things you can do.

The Devotion

Let’s look again at Chardin’s painting, Saying Grace, the moment when the children are thanking God for their meal.

Saying Grace, Jean-Simeon Chardin, 1744, The Hermitage, public domain

Do you think this is a special day or a normal one when the mother has called the children from their play for lunch or supper?

What food has the mother cooked?

That’s right–just a normal day with a simple meal of soup, but the mother and children are taking time to fold their hands and thank God for providing for their daily needs, as Jesus teaches us to do in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:11).

You may need to explain that in the Lord’s Prayer, “our daily bread” symbolizes all our daily needs.

Read James 1:17 and ask children to list some of the daily needs and blessings God provides for them.

Read Luke 18:15-17 and point out that, like the people in the Bible, the mother in the painting is teaching her children that they can go to Jesus to talk with Him and thank Him for His care. They don’t have to wait until they’re older.

Invite your children to tell about a time they went to Jesus with a prayer.

Chardin could have shown the mother saying grace before the meal, but his focus is on the children, perhaps to emphasize that we are all like children, dependent on God, who made us. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture, and we must come humbly into His presence with thanksgiving and praise for His loving care.

Read Psalm 100 together.

We know we don’t need to fold our hands or close our eyes to talk to God, but the mother has taught her children to sometimes fold their hands like this for prayer.

We see this same position in the iconic Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer. It’s as if our hands become a church steeple pointing to God, which may just remind us that we can always look up to our heavenly Father who is good and whose love endures forever (Psalm 100:5).

Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer, public domain

Prayer: We praise you, Lord, that we are the sheep of your pasture. Thank you that we can bring every need to you, and you love and provide for us each day. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

The Art Project, Praying Hands

Praying hands for thanksgiving table

This simple project will remind your children that their praying hands can be like a steeple pointing to God as we bring our praises and requests to Him.

It can be done with crayons in about 15 minutes, so could be a simple project to engage children as they wait for dinner on Thanksgiving Day. But I’ll also explain an extra step you can do if you have time and don’t mind a little mess.

 At the Thanksgiving table guests may write prayer requests or praises on slips of paper and put these in the bottom of the bag under the praying hands.

Supplies:

  • brown, white, or Thanksgiving-motif paper lunch bags
  • scissors
  • pencils
  • glue
  • crayons or markers
  • Tempera paint, a largish brush, and paper towels if you want to do the extra step

Directions

  1. Place a folded paper bag flat on the table with the folded bottom of the bag facing up
  2. Have child place his or her hand flat on the bag with finger tips pointed toward the top of the bag and their wrist at the upper edge of the folded bag bottom
  3. With a pencil, trace around the child’s hand
  4. Keeping the bag folded, cut in from the sides of the bag (just above the folded bag bottom) to the child’s wrist line. Then cut up and around the traced hand (through both thicknesses of the bag) and out to the bag’s other edge on the other side of the hand
  5. The child may then decorate or color the hands. Most want to add rings, fingernails, watches, etc.
  6. Open the bag
  7. To form the praying hands, glue the tips of the fingers together. (just a little glue so you can still put things into the bottom of the bag)

The extra step:

  1. Before opening the bag, fold the two hands away from each other and the bag bottom
  2. Spread a thin layer of paint on the child’s hands and help them make hand prints on what will be the inside or palm of their praying hands
  3. They need to hold their hand still, fingers together, and just press down gently
  4. They will also need to do each hand separately so thumbs and fingers match

Helpful Hints

  • When tracing the child’s hand, have them keep their fingers mostly together, although you’ll want to draw the lines between their fingers.
  • If you’re not sure how much paint to use for the hand prints, have some scrap paper handy and do a couple trial prints

Cleanup tips

If you decide to do the hand prints, as you finish printing with each of the child’s hands, fold a paper towel into their hand to hold until you get them to wherever you’ll wash up

Before You Go

Are you looking for a kid’s devotion for fall that’s all about God’s care for butterflies and us? Visit Devokids for a children’s devotion I wrote. It’s called, Get Ready, Butterflies! Winter’s Coming!.

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 making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for you whole family!

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 this devotion and activity based on Saying Grace has been a blessing as you prepare for Thanksgiving. We put them together so you and your children would have plenty of time to go through the devotion and make the craft before Thanksgiving.  

We hope you’ll come back next time for an interview with Nancy Sanders about her new children’s book, Bedtime with Mommy.

Art Activity for Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflower Paintings

This paint activity based on Vincent van Gogh’s sunflower paintings is all about experimenting with color.

When van Gogh began painting he used dark colors. But when he moved to Paris and saw the colorful, light-filled paintings of the Impressionists, he began to lighten his palette (the paints he used). Some of his sunflower paintings were painted during this time, and they were experiments in using lighter colors.

Have fun mixing different colors with yellow. Think of your papers as pages from an art sketchbook, and label the mixtures. Make notes of what you like and what didn’t work.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Clean-up tips
  • 5 Variations and/or adaptations for different ages
  • 6 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Vocabulary
  • Molly photo

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

  • Sturdy paper
  • Tempera paints work best for mixing
  • Brushes in a variety of sizes
  • pencil
  • White paper plate for mixing tempera paints

Directions:

Paper preparations

  • Draw a big sunflower, or part of one in one part of the paper, leaving space for the color mixes
  • Draw separate petals or boxes for trying the color mixes

Tempera Paint Experiments

  1. Pour several small puddles of yellow on your paper plate.
  2. Add just tiny drops of red to one yellow puddle, tiny drops of brown to another yellow puddle. Mix before adding any more of the darker color.
  3. If you want a lighter yellow, (a tint) pour a small puddle of white paint and add just a few drops of yellow. Mix.
  4. Label your color swatches with what you did.
  5. Paint your sunflower with the mixtures you like best.
  6. Use lots of paint and let your brush strokes show like van Gogh.

Hints for Tempera Paints

  • Always add just a little of the darker color at a time to the lighter color and mix in between each addition. You may be surprised how little of the darker color is needed.
  • Don’t wet your paper before painting.
  • Tempera paints dry quickly, so if you want to blend different colors, you’ll need to work fairly quickly. Experiment.
  • To create a textured center, use a small piece of sponge or round-tipped brush to paint the center of the sunflower. Go up and down with the brush or sponge.
  • Don’t have any brown paint? No problem. Just mix a little yellow, red, and blue (the primaries) to create brown. Experiment with different amounts of the 3 colors to make different browns!

Clean up Hints:

  • Be sure to put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Have lots of paper towels handy
  • Have a wastebasket close for paper plates and paper towels
  • A dish washing tub is great for gathering all supplies for washing
  • Lay brushes flat on paper towels to dry so they keep their shape

5 Variations and/or adaptations for different ages:

  1. Some children may prefer to just paint swatches of their color mixtures all around their papers, without drawing boxes. Many artists do that as they experiment.
  2. Older children may really enjoy seeing how many different color mixtures they can create.
  3. Paint a sunflower on another paper  and make it into a card or poster.
  4. Paint the background around your sunflower a bright blue.
  5. Children may want to experiment with mixing other colors, too.

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

  1. This activity will give children lots of ways to experiment with color and show them why artists do these experiments to decide which mixtures best fits their projects.
  2. Children will also develop fine motor skills as they mix and paint.
  3. Discussing the colors they choose and why builds vocabulary and social skills.
  4. When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills, and helps them see that trying different colors and paints can be fun.
  5. Art gives children opportunities to explore their interests and talents.
  6. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.

Vocabulary

  • Palette—what we mix paints on—such as a paintbox cover or a paper or plastic plate
  • Palette can also mean the colors that an artist uses for a painting. We might speak of a light palette for many Impressionists, but a darker palette for an artist like Rembrandt.
  • Hue—an undiluted color
  • Tint—a hue plus white

Before You Go

Molly and I would love to know if you enjoyed this art activity and any variations or other ideas you came up with!

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 making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family!

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. Add link

Molly hopes you enjoy mixing color combinations and painting a large sunflower! We hope you’ll come back next time for the beginning of a new series on a great artist!

Molly thought you’d like the gold rabbit brush against the dark green cedars in this photo taken today.