Gratitude Jars

How to make a Gratitude Jar with kidsI’m so excited to introduce my friends, Julia and Megan, from KidArtLit.  They have an incredible subscription box company that delivers storytime and art kits every month to families like us.  I have had the great pleasure of receiving one of their boxes and was totally blown away by how great it is. It included beautiful, easy to implement process art activities, plus a gorgeous book to go along with them. Here’s a peek into one of their subscription boxes.

Kid Art and Literature BoxJulia and Megan were nice enough to create a project for us this month.  We jumped right in and made Gratitude Jars with them.  This project is super simple for any age and a really sweet way to celebrate gratitude.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for your support.

How to make a Gratitude Jar with kidsWe’re so grateful to be here. We’re Julia & Megan, the creators of KidArtLit. We believe books and art are better together and that curating a home with beautiful books and open-ended art experiences helps us raise creative and curious children.

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This season cultivate a culture of gratitude in your home and read one of our favorite books, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson’s thoughtful 2016 Caldecott and Newbery Honor Book, Last Stop on Market Street. Then, create a Receiving Jar to explore the actions of giving and receiving and start the beautiful tradition of counting your everyday blessings.

Last Stop on Market Street reminds us to be thankful for the small things and that giving and receiving are one action. Accepting simple gifts teaches us to appreciate and value what surrounds us. Enjoy this delightful read, and then create a container to fill with the beauty, joy, and generosity you receive in your everyday experiences. Empty your receiving jar to practice gratitude for life’s many gifts, or save the sentiments to read for your Thanksgiving feast.

How to make a Gratitude Jar with kidsEvery Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty–and fun–in their routine and the world around them.- G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

How to make a Gratitude Jar with kidsYou’ll Need…

Supplies

mason jars

1 Tbsp water

½ Cup white glue

Paintbrush or small sponge

Paper collage materials—tissue paper, books, magazines, wrapping paper, etc.

Yarn

Sheets of paper, cut into 2” x4” cards

Pens or markers

Optional—glitter to mix into the glue and water mixture

How to make a Gratitude Jar with kidsSteps

Wash and dry the jar.

Mix the water and glue in small bowl. (Add glitter for an extra special glaze, if you wish.)

Paint the jar with the glue mixture.

How to make a Gratitude Jar with kidsStick the collage materials onto the jar. Go over the paper with the glue mixture a second time to completely adhere the collage materials to the jar. Allow to dry completely.

Cut up strips of blank writing paper and set them beside the jar to record the beautiful, joyful, and good things that happened throughout the day. This could include, “receiving a gift from a friend,” or “saw a rainbow today.”

Place the gratitude sentiments in the jar and read them all at the end of each day or week. Or save them to read for your Thanksgiving feast.

Tips: Not a glitter fan? Use glitter glue to give your jar a sparkly finish. Wear a smock or clothes that can get messy before applying the glitter.

How to make a Gratitude Jar with kidsExtension: Heart of the Matter Jar Tag

Add a little extra flair to your jar with a special tag and braided decoration.

  1. Cut a heart shape from a piece of drawing or construction paper.
  2. Use watercolors or markers to color the heart.
  3. Use a permanent marker to write your child’s name or the word “gratitude,” or “Receiving Jar” on the tag. Older children can do this step themselves. Hole punch a hole into the tag and set aside.
  4. Braid several pieces of yarn together. Thread on the heart tag toward the end of the braid, and tie a knot. Wrap the braided rope around the mouth of the jar and tie the rope together to secure it in place.

Like this project? To check out more Kid Art Lit activities and subscription boxes, click here.

How to make a Gratitude Jar with kids

How to make a Gratitude Jar with kids

Online Process Art ToolKit

Process Art Toolkit for Parents - Everything you need to know about Process Art for Kidsit'shereIt’s finally here. I have been working behind the scenes for months on an amazing, value packed super cool project I am so excited about. Say hello to the Meri Cherry Process Art Toolkit. It is a downloadable kit that will go straight to your email box and you can print it out in minutes. I’ve bundled all of the most valuable information I could possibly think of based on 20 years of experience making and creating art with children. I am so excited to share it with you!

*In case you’ve missed this post or this post, Process Art is art that focuses on the making and the doing rather than the final product.

Process Art Toolkit for Parents - Everything you need to know about Process Art for Kids

The Process Art Toolkit Includes…  

*15 Invitations to Create and How to Implement Them (20 dollar value)

*7 New Process Art Activities, Including Step by Step Tutorials (25 dollar value)

*How to Talk to Kids About Art Making Poster (This is my absolute fave!!! See pic below to catch a glimpse) (20 dollar value)

*Five favorite Sensory Activities (10 dollar value)

*Set Up and Clean Up Tips for Art Making (15 dollar value)

*Answers to Important FAQs and Additional Art Tips to Make Your Life Way Easier (15 dollar value)

*A note sharing some thoughts about Process Art and why it will bring immediate value to your life

*My ebook Art Secrets Every Teacher Should Know…a Reggio Inspired Approach 

**AND for the next four days, The Process Art Workshop Video (125 dollar value)

Bundle Price of $75

*Just a note that the link will direct you to PayPal but you don’t have to have a PayPal account to purchase. You can use a cc.  Thank you!!! Process Art Toolkit for Parents - Everything you need to know about Process Art for KidsIf you are new to Process Art, I’ve included EVERYTHING I’ve learned over the past 20 years into this tool kit.  It’s all in there from soup to nuts. I’ve been working on this for a really long time and my number one goal was to pack it with as much value as I could possibly think of. If you are already committed to a Process Art Lifestyle or doing art with your children, there is still so much here to keep you going.  The 7 Process Art Activities are some of my all time faves that I’ve been saving for this took kit.  80% of them are not on my blog and the additional 20%  have been tweaked to make them that much more awesome.

 Invitations to Create Through Process Art

Stay tuned for our next Live Workshop coming soon to a city near you! Sign up below and be the first to get all the details, plus special discount offers. Our LA workshop was a HUGE success.  New workshop dates will be announced soon.



Process Art Workshops at Meri Cherry Art Studio and select locations throughout the world will include…

*The Online Process Art Toolkit

*A Process Art Workshop with Likeminded Women, Teachers and Moms Learning and Sharing and Being Creative Together

*A Walk Through the Tool Kit as we practice hands on Process Art Invitations to Create and activities

*A collaborate Process Art Experience

*A lovely catered dinner from one of my favorite local LA restauraunts

*Q & A with Meri Cherry and Staff

*Certification of Staff Development Hours upon Request

*A Special Curated Open Studio Experience You Will Love

Process Art Toolkit for Parents - Everything you need to know about Process Art for KidsOne Last Thing

If you have any questions at all about the toolkit, please don’t hesitate to email me at meri@mericherry.com  I’m happy to answer them for you.  Thank you! xo, Meri

all pics by Neil Apodaca

Process Art Toolkit for Parents - Everything you need to know about Process Art for Kids

5 Reasons Process Art Makes Life Better

5 Reasons Process Art Makes Life Better for Kids and Adults

5 Reasons Process Art Makes Life Better for Kids and Adults

*PROCESS ART* Art that is about the making and the doing rather than the finished product.

1. Process Art offers kids some seriously needed down time. 

It seems like the older our kids get, the more we’re pushing them to their limit.  School can be very demanding emotionally, mentally, socially and physically.  Often they don’t even have an art or music program anymore. After school comes and we’re  rushing from one activity, practice, tutor, to the next and that doesn’t even take into account the hours of homework some schools are giving.  There is only so much that any child can take.  Children (and adults for that matter) need to be able to chill and be themselves, have some down time, make their own choices and go at their own pace.  Process art honors those needs.

5 Reasons Process Art Makes Life Better for Kids and Adults

2. Process Art is good for the Brain.  Like, really good.

“Every time you engage in a new or complex activity, your brain creates new connections between brain cells. Your brain’s ability to grow connections and change throughout your lifetime is called brain plasticity or neuroplasticity. Creating art stimulates communication between various parts of the brain.” –  from Be Brain Fit. See the whole article here. I wrote a whole post about why it’s important to let kids paint here.  

Let Them Paint – Here’s Why

3. Process Art helps us connect with our children, our families and ourselves.

I’ve told this story before but since it really speaks to this topic, I’ll repeat it. Plus, it’s one of my favorites.

I’ve always been a working mom. Before I had an art studio I was the the atelierista at my girl’s preschool and before that I taught k-2 at a private school in Hollywood. It was hard to leave my girls every morning, especially in those early years. When I discovered process art, which is really all there is when they are so young, and started setting up invitations to create, it was the first time I realized I could have a positive impact on my girls everyday in a manageable, fun, and thoughtful way. Every night while my girls were sleeping I’d set up two trays and a mini art activity for them to wake up to. They’d run into the kitchen every morning to see what mama had set up for them. I’ll never forget the time Gigi turned to me and said, “I don’t really care what it is, I just like knowing you thought about us.” From that moment forward, I was hooked.

5 Reasons Process Art Makes Life Better for Kids and Adults4. It doesn’t have to be messy.  I swear. 

I know you don’t like the mess.  I get it.  I have created a business based on the fact that moms don’t want a mess in their homes. However, I can give you three no mess process art activities to do right now at your kitchen table that won’t give you a heart attack.

1. A hand or table mirror, a pencil and a piece of paper.  Draw what you see.

2. Put several flowers and leaves on a tray along with some scissors and several small bottles or containers filled with water.  Invite your child to clip the flowers and create a fairy potion or a magic potion.  *water spilling does not count as a mess. C’mon : )

3. Put out a few pieces of cut up cardboard, a toilet paper roll or two, a few sticks and a roll of masking tape and ask your child to make something smaller than an elephant and bigger than a mouse.

5 Reasons Process Art Makes Life Better for Kids and Adults

4.  Process Art Teaches Empathy and Builds Future Leaders

Through process art we come to understand our children and ourselves.  It gives us the opportunity to listen and react with empathy as we attune to our child’s developmental process. Process art strengthens critical thinking skills, build trust in the process, helps connect new ideas and encourages children and adults to think outside the box.  I think it’s safe to say that leaders with these qualities is a step in the right direction.

5 Reasons Process Art Makes Life Better for Kids and Adults

How to Make Safe Slime for Kids

how to make safe slime with kidsHas slime officially taken over the internet and every child’s free time or what? My kids are obsessed.  I’ve had so many people ask me what recipe we use so here you go.  Please keep in mind there are TONS of ways to make slime.  This is one way we really like to make safe slime for kids.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for your support!

how to make safe slime with kidsMaterials

You’ll Need…

Elmer’s Glue

Baking Soda

Food Coloring

Lotion (We used Oil of Olay and another time we used a Kiehl’s lotion.  We just looked for whatever was around the house. I don’t think this matters so much but there are a bunch of articles out there on what lotions to use for slime if you google it.)

Contact Lens Solution (We used the one below and it worked great.  We tried one other and it didn’t work so if you’re slime isn’t working this could be the problem. I’m sorry I haven’t tested out all the solutions, so you may have to do some experimenting.)

how to make safe slime with kids*Disclaimer* this is not an exact recipe so you will have to experiment. I will do my best to explain what my 5 and 6 year old do.  They are the slime masters.

Steps

The recipe below will make a small amount of slime so it’s good for experimenting.  Once you get the hang of it you can make a large amount by increasing all the ingredients. My girls have watched many a Youtube video on how to make slime and this is the one they like the best.  I’m sorry, I have no idea of the original source.

1. Pour some glue into a bowl.   Maybe like a half a cup of glue.  Then add about half a teaspoon of baking soda.  Mix with a spoon.

2. Add a few drops of food coloring if you want.  Mix.

3.  Add a squirt of lotion.  Mix.

4.  Add a squirt of contact lens solution and mix a lot.  This part is important.  Mix mix mix and then you will see it starting to get jelly like.  Sometimes it’s great right away, other times it take another squirt or two of contact lens solution.  And then more mixing.

5.  Stretch and squeeze your slime in your hand.  If it’s kind of wet feeling you might have put in too much contact solution.  Same if it kind of breaks.  It should be really stretchy so try again if it didn’t go so well.

I am sending you awesome good slime vibes from the Cherry girls.

ps If you have questions, add them to the comments below and I’ll ask my girls.  They know way more about this than I do.  Not joking.  Good luck!

how to make safe slime with kidshow to make safe slime with kidshow to make safe slime with kidshow to make safe slime with kidshow to make safe slime with kidshow to make safe slime with kids

Process Art Rainbow Book

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!
I am so excited about this post! If you’ve seen my instagram stories lately you may have caught glimpses of My Rainbow Book that I’ve been working on.  When I first had the idea to make a process art rainbow book, I thought it was a cool idea, but now actually holding it in my hands and seeing it in action, it’s a whole new level of cool! This book is super fun and just has my wheels turning on other interactive process art books we can put together.

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!The thing about process art is that it’s all about connection.  Some people connect with their children by cooking together.  Other families connect by playing cards or hiking.  There are tons of ways to connect.  Process Art is the way that I connect with my family and I invite you to join us through all the projects we share.

 

My Rainbow Book is already made and ready to go by clicking this link here.  Plus, you can use the limited time 40%off coupon code MERI40. I made it on Mixbook.  It’s super easy to make your own book by going to a blank canvas but you can make it even easier and just order this one already made.  There are lots of ways to use the rainbow book.  Here is how we made ours.

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!Materials

You’ll Need…

My Rainbow Book (Use discount code MERI40 for 40% off!)

trays or bowls to hold different colors of the rainbow supplies (these trays are from ikea. they are lids to containers)

art supplies in different rainbow colors. we used shape stickers , rainbow washi tape, tissue paper shapes, and sharpies.

glue sticks or white glue

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!I could have taken pics of the all the rainbow materials for the rest of the day but I’m weird like that. Don’t they look so pretty though?

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!On the first page your child can write their name.  I love that right away the kids are taking ownership of their books.  Another reason I love process art is it’s all about the individual making the art.  Their ideas, their choices, their pace.  Look at the determination and engagement on my girl’s faces below.  Too good.

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!Process

Step 1  Sign your name.  This is your book kids.  Enjoy it!

Step 2 Set up trays of different colors and invite your child to show their rainbow.  They can show it any way they want.  My kids stuck to the matching colors of each page but yours may not.  Part of the specialness of these books is that no two will look the same. Everyone will interpret their rainbow differently.

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!You can also split the book up and do a different color a day.  I think that could work really well.  You can always have the next color tray ready in the waiting for when your child is ready.

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!My girls did their colors all at once, skipping around to different pages.  I noticed when I sat down and worked on mine with them their attention was much more focused and they stayed engaged longer.  This is often the case with my kids.  The more I’m a part of things, the more they like it, and the more we connect.

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!Markers, oil pastels, or paint markers are a great addition, especially if your kids want to add a story or words that are a certain color.  You can make lists of different things that are yellow, or green or blue.

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!You can talk about shades of colors, dark and light, names of colors, patterns, all kinds of bigger ideas.

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!This is a page from my book below.  My girls LOVE the interactive direction of pulling a piece of orange tissue paper to display a rainbow.  That was a big hit.

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!Process Art Rainbow books make great gifts, especially with the holidays coming up.  You can even put a little bag of art supplies with it, like markers, rainbow washi tape and some paint markers.  So cute!

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!I’m very happy to say we have a few extra books tucked away as special gifts for different readers who love process art and believe in the process art lifestyle. More to come on that.

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!In the meantime, I hope you feel as inspired as we do about these books.  My girls have been requesting I read them mine and tell them different stories about each page.  We plan to add different designs and details over time.  It’s a work in progress, which I love.

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!The pic below is why I do process art with my kids.  We talk, share ideas, get creative, and love one another.  This is process art.

If you’d like to see more ideas that focus on the making and the doing, rather than the finished product, check out

50 Process Art Ideas

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!Thanks so much for reading along and thanks so much to Mixbook for helping me make these great rainbow books! xo, Meri

Process Art Rainbow Book for Kids - This is so cool!*This post is sponsored by Mixbook.  All opinions are my own.

 

Candy Worlds – Candy Craft for Kids

Candyland super candy craft for kidsOctober is here! Which means lots of talk about costumes, pumpkins and candy.  If your kids are anything like mine, the promise of insurmountable amounts of sugary, chocolatey goodness is almost too good to be true. My six year old has a sweet tooth like no other, so making candy worlds is something I know will make her very happy.  We actually made these candy worlds this summer at Art Camp.  They were such a gigantic hit that I knew we had to bust them out again for Halloween.

Candyland super candy craft for kidsEach candy world is totally different.  There is no right or wrong way to do this, unless of course you eat all the candy as you go.  Here are the basics of making your own candy worlds.  You’ll need…

Materials

a shallow dish of some kind.  we used a plastic planters dish.

candy, of course (choose candies that are soft so you can stick toothpicks through them)

colorful straws

beads

cut out house shapes from foam core

toothpicks and glue

a piece of paper for a sign

 

Candyland super candy craft for kidsSteps

1. Fill your shallow dish with rainbow colored playdough.  Here’s my favorite recipe for homemade play dough. We bought our dishes from a local nursery.  You can use terrecota plates as well, like we did for these fairy gardens.  You could probably even use the lid of a shoe box and it would work just fine. Once you have the play dough the way you want it, it’s time to start creating your candy world.

Candyland super candy craft for kidsStep 2.

Like I said, there is no right or wrong way to do this.  We set up a buffet of super colorful and engaging materials for the kids to choose from, demonstrated a few ideas, and let them have at it.

Candyland super candy craft for kidsAs you can see, the kids really liked using the straws to make garlands. They looked awesome and added some height to the worlds.   The best part of these worlds is the ease in which the kids can push the different materials into the play dough.  They can change their mind over and over again, play with play dough, and squish things in there over and over again. Kids made candy rivers, rainbow swimming pools, candy houses, all kinds of fun things.

Candyland super candy craft for kidsI love this project because pretty much any age can do it and both boys and girls love it.  Even some moms got in on the fun.

Candyland super candy craft for kidsFor the kids that made the candy houses, they glued pieces onto the foam core and let them dry before pressing their house into the play dough. Sorry I don’t have any pics of that step but it was pretty straight forward.  Brush some glue on the foam core and add your candy.

After a few hours, the play dough will start to get hard so you can’t take objects in and out at this point. It still looks really great when dry and will make an awesome Halloween display.  Ooooh, maybe we have to make some haunted Halloween Worlds like this.  That would be so cool!

Candyland super candy craft for kidsHowever you do it, just have fun.  Shockingly, we didn’t even have any tummy aches after this.  Now, that’s a win.  Happy Halloween! xo, Meri

Candyland super candy craft for kids

all pics by Neil Apodaca

Fairy Potions for Kids

how to make awesome fairy potionsMaking fairy potions with kids is one of our all time favorite things to do. It’s also the biggest hit at birthday parties in the art studio.  Check out all the steps in this post called Making Perfume with Kids. It’s the same exact process as fairy potions with a different name.  You can also call these magic potions or unicorn blood or whatever you can think of.  Fairy potions are amazing whether you bottle them or not too.  Just have fun.

All the pics are from a recent party in the studio celebrating our 1 Year Anniversary, taken by Neil Apodaca. They were just too pretty not to share.

How to make amazing fairy potions with kidsHow to make amazing fairy potions with kidsHow to make amazing fairy potions with kidsHow to make amazing fairy potions with kidsHow to make amazing fairy potions with kidsHow to make amazing fairy potions with kids

Large Scale Collaborative Murals for Kids

How to make large scale collaborative murals with kidsI have wanted to write this post forever.  Large Scale Collaborative murals for kids have remained a staple in the studio and in our art classes since I began teaching years ago.  There is something so magical about watching children create something large, over an extended period of time, that has stunning results.  Over the years I’ve learned some really fantastic tricks to make them work.  I’ve even thought of writing a book about collaborative murals for kids.  They are my absolute fave.

How to make large scale collaborative murals with kidsI thought I’d share some pictures of murals we’ve created over the years and share the basics of how they can be done.  First, check out one of the first collaborative paintings we ever did in my backyard years ago, when my girls were toddlers.  Now they are 5 and 6! Here’s another one, a Jackson Pollock inspired mural, with toddlers.  This one (featured in the pic above) is hanging in the studio now, thanks to the suggestion of my friend Ana at BabbleDabbleDo.  When we made it, she said, you have to save this and hang it when you open your own studio and that’s just what we did.

collaborativemural10The one above is totally insane.  I’d hang it in my living room if I felt like it was mine to take.  It’s hanging in the light room (paint room) in the art studio.  This one was created by 6 three and four year olds.  It’s amazing! They worked on it for 3 weeks.  Here are the steps, and down at the bottom of the post I’ll share some tips to help make sure your mural is extra successful.

How to make large scale collaborative murals with kidsFirst, the paper is super important.  If you’re familiar with my blog and instagram, you’ve probably heard me talk about Double Sided Drop Cloth.  It’s ridunculous.  You can buy it at the hardware store in the paint section.  There are a few kinds.  One is a brownish paper with plastic on one side and paper on the other.  The other is white, with absorbent paper on one side, kind of like a table clothe and plastic on the other.  I love them both.  They are cheap and big and you can easily cut down the paper to the size you need.  The one above is made on the white paper.  The collaborative mural in the first pic is on the brown paper.

How to make large scale collaborative murals with kidsHere is the process we’ve used over and over on our murals.

Steps

Start with sharpies.  Invite kids to make important marks all over the paper.  Sometime I make squares or circles on the paper as an invitation to create. Do this on the shiny side of the paper.

Next, turn the mural over and use chalk pastels.

After that, try oil pastels.

After that, liquid watercolors and droppers/pipettes.  The white paper especially is super absorbent, like a sturdy paper towel and the liquid watercolor seeps in, mesmerizing the kids.

After that, tempera paint.

After that, if you want and it’s dry, chalk pastels again.  Or mixed media papers and glue, stickers, washi tape, etc.

How to make large scale collaborative murals with kidsNow here’s the trick!

You must give these items in stages, never all at once.  This is a process.  That’s why it’s called process art. Be patient. Creating successful collaborative murals with kids is an art form onto itself. If you hand all this out at once the kids will be done in five minutes and it will likely look kind of…well…lame.

The pic below is after I had given out several materials.  I don’t take materials away because some kids might still be using them.

collaborativemural8I give out an art material, demonstrate how I might use it and wait while the kids work.  I often work with the kids, unless it’s for a family art session, and in that case,  I don’t want my work on the mural.  If I’m engaged, the kids tend to be more engaged.  When I hear the first child say the words all teachers dread “I’m done,” that’s when I say “Oh, great, because we’re just getting started.  I have these amazing oil pastels.  Would you like to see them?”  I have all the supplies out of sight and bring them out in that same fashion one after another.  With a mural like this we probably will just get to a few and then I wait for another time to bring the mural out again.

How to make large scale collaborative murals with kidsNext time the kids come, I have the mural set up and new materials to try on it.  The liquid watercolors are always a favorite and you can see why.  The colors bleed beautifully onto the absorbent paper, leaving an incredible stain that seeps in between all the writing and coloring.

How to make large scale collaborative murals with kidsThe collaborative mural above started with five concentric squares that I drew in sharpie, prior to class.  I thought it would be interesting to see how the shapes inspired the kids.  I’ve done this with circles too and the effects have been remarkable.

How to make large scale collaborative murals with kidsThe one above has gotten a ton of attention and I can see why.  It’s pretty incredible.  This collaborative mural was created at one of our family art sessions.  We basically rent out the studio for a family to come and create a large scale masterpiece together on primed unstretched canvas I buy on the roll at at art supply store.  The trick to this mural is to use ink, rather than paint.  It flows over the canvas inspiring wonderful creativity and imagination.  We also offer tons of different painting tools to go with it.  Brayers, rolling pins, large and small brushes, sponges.

How to make large scale collaborative murals with kidsLike I said, we use primed, unstretched canvas for our family art sessions and families get it framed afterwards to their size specifications. We’ve used it for mixed media murals as well and they’ve been incredible. Here’s one my daughter Gigi and I have been working on.  It’s really cool.  We definitely have a few more sessions in us.

More tips

Pacing is everything. Take your time but pay attention to when the group is petering out.  That’s when it’s time to introduce a new material or take a break.

Get creative with your supplies.  There are so many ways to make a collaborative mural for kids interesting.  Get creative.

Know when to stop.  We often take breaks, back up and look at our work to decide if it’s finished.  Something I say to the kids when I’m concerned if we don’t stop, it will all turn to a mush, is “Artists have to make important decisions, like knowing when their art is done.” Then we take a step back, talk about what we see and decide.

How to make large scale collaborative murals with kidsIt’s ok to manipulate colors.  Be really careful when you use black oil pastels and chalk pastels.  Sometimes they can take over a mural in a way you don’t want.  I tend to leave out blacks and browns all together.  The one above was from the 4th of July, so I limited the colors to red white and blue, silver, gold and black at the end.  It all worked really well together.

Play music.  Kids love music.  Music feeds the soul and adds a great rhythm to the art making.

I said this before, but it’s so important to pay attention to the timing of the kids.  It’s the job of the facilitator to monitor the pulse of the project, know when something new is needed and know when it’s time to take a break.  These things take time and practice.  It took me a long time to feel comfortable enough to offer this to families with confidence.  Now that I have 20-30 murals under my belt, I am able to tweak them each time to make something really special happen.

Large   scale collaborative mural for kidsHere are some other murals we’ve made over the years if you’re looking for more inspiration

Paint Dot Mural

Painting on Plastic Spring Mural

Freestyle Collaborative Mural on Fabric

The Bottle Cap Mural

I hope I’ve answered your questions about collaborative murals.  If I left anything out, please leave a comment below.  I’m happy to try and answer it.  Thanks for reading along and please tag me on instagram if you give this a try.  Thank you! Meri

How to make large scale collaborative murals with kids

6 Great Art Activities for Kids

DIY aprons for kidsYou may have noticed I haven’t been blogging as often since we opened a brick and mortar art studio for kids here in Los Angeles.  Well, it’s sort of true.  I’m not blogging as much here, but I have been busy blogging over on Oriental Trading Company’s blog for the past year.  So if you like my ideas, I definitely recommend you hop over to some of these ideas for some great art activities for kids.

 Nature Wall Hangings

process art wall hanging for kidsDIY Painted Umbrellas

umbrellas1Fall Leaf Garland

fall leaf garlandDIY No Mess Art Apron for Kids

DIY Aprons for kidsDIY Suncatcher Garland

suncatcher9Simple Hula Hoop Picture Frame

hula hoop picture frame

Thanks for checking out my work.  Happy Summer! xo Meri

 

Fairy Gardens for Kids

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kidsI am so excited to share these fairy gardens from a gorgeous birthday party we did recently.  I have tried making fairy gardens for kids multiple times, in multiple ways, and never felt satisfied with the process or the results.  These fairy gardens are totally different.  They rock from beginning to end.  I really recommend you give them a try.  And if your kids aren’t into fairies, just change the theme and you can make whatever kind of small world you want. I hope you like all the great photos courtesy of Love Bucket Photo.  What a treat to have a photographer at the party!

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kidsSupplies

You will need…

a terracota planter plate (check your local nursery)

play dough (here’s my recipe)

a toilet paper roll and little planter cups for the fairy house

felt, pom poms and beads

little wood fairy dolls ( or use clothespins or a cork)

glue and glitter (of course, glitter)

pebbles, stones. moss and sticks of varying sizes

other odds and ends

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kidsSteps

First, the set up.  We had set out all the terra-cotta plates with a little plastic bag of “fairy dirt,” also know as mixed up homemade play dough. One of the kids suggested we call it unicorn poop so feel free to go with that one.  We also had all the different materials in little bowls spread out over the table.

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kidshow to make incredible fairy gardens for kidshow to make incredible fairy gardens for kidsI’m pretty sure all the tables and chairs for the party are from the party rental company Teak and Lace.  They have so many great things if you’re planning a party in LA.  Don’t they look pretty?

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kidsOn a side table we had a few extra goodies, including fairy hair and something resembling fish tank rocks.  I can’t say for sure.  We got it at Trash 4 Teaching, one of my favorite places on earth.

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kidsOk, so back to the steps.

The first step is to spread the fairy dirt/unicorn poop all around the plate.  It’s important to keep some extra handy on the side for later too.

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kidsNext, begin to decorate different parts of your garden including your fairy house, fairy, fairy lakes and beaded garland.

For the fairy house, we used a toilet paper roll and little cardboard seed planters from the dollar store that just sit right on top of the toilet paper roll.  No glue necessary.  They come in a pack of 12 for a dollar.  The kids glued on little pieces of felt to make them colorful.  Some even added pom poms and we cut little doors upon request.

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kidsThe beaded garlands were made by stringing a pipe cleaner with beads and wrapping the ends to two skinny sticks.  The sticks were squished into the play dough on either side of the fairy garden.  If they had trouble standing, we added a little more play dough to keep them secure.

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kidsFor the fairy lakes, we glued some of that whacky fish stuff to cutout cardboard pieces that resembled a lake.  You could use glitter for this part also, or sequins, or even perler beads.  Just brush the cardboard with white glue and sprinkle them on. Place the lake in your garden in any spot you like.

Continue by adding all the details, like little pebbles, colored rice, and green moss in different areas of your fairy garden.

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kidsThe coolest thing about these fairy gardens is the play dough.  Laying in all the details is so much fun because you just squish it in and if you don’t like it, you can easily remove it.  The sensory aspect is really satisfying.  It also slows the kids down so they feel a sense of purpose as they layout their gardens.

A few details I didn’t mention that worked out great were glitter brushed in shells, little sticks with beads on top for flowers, and little tables and chairs with goblets on top made from beads

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kidsAll the kids at the party took home a sweet little fairy garden to play with.  The play dough will dry after a day or two but you can still gently take out the fairy to move it around the garden.

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kidshow to make incredible fairy gardens for kidsPlease tag mericherryla on instagram if you make a fairy garden.  I’d love to hear about your experience and see your child’s work.  Have fun and thanks for reading along! Meri

how to make incredible fairy gardens for kids