Process Art

Jackson Pollock Art Mural for Kids

Who says kids can't make modern art?  This Jackson Pollack art mural was made by toddlers!Every once in a while we do an art activity at toddler play group that silences all the adults and has us all kind of dumbfounded by it’s beauty.  This Jackson Pollock art mural for kids was one of those activities.  With every addition of color we just all stared in awe of the gorgeous effortless beauty these little ones created.  It was truly magical.  If you have some little ones (or big ones) who might like to try an incredible art experience, here’s the how to.

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

Modern art for your living room made my toddlers - Toddler made art muralWhat’ you’ll need…

Supplies

1. 2 Layer Drop Cloth

I was introduced to this incredible, absorbent surface via my friend Joleen at The Inspired Child and it is amazing!!! I have to add it to my favorite must have art supply list.  It’s that good.  One side is plastic, making it super durable, and the other is this amazing absorbent clothe like surface that sucks up paint and doesn’t tear.  It’s awesome and cheap! You can cut it any size you want, too.

Assorted Paints – we used liquid watercolorsMala PaintsBiocolor Paints

pipettes

Brushes

Rollers or brayers

squeeze bottles

spray bottles

*Note*

All of the above is optional for this project with the exception of the 2 Layer Drop Cloth.  I’m not suggesting you buy all of these supplies to do a project like this.  I’ve been collecting art supplies for a long time.  Use what you have.  Of all the supplies above, I’d say the squeeze bottles are the best investment.  We use them for paint, glue, watercolors, water, etc.  Great supply to have around the house.

Who says kids can't make modern art?  This Jackson Pollack art mural was made by toddlers!Step 1.

I started by filling a big bucket with spray bottles and ketchup bottles filled with liquid watercolor and water, nancy bottles filled with tempera and water, and bio colors and water.  Adding water will help your paints last longer.  If you are new to bio colors, they are heavier than tempera paint and sort of stain whatever surface you’re working on leaving an amazing print.

Check out these supplies for the best toddler art muralThen I spread the entire 2 Layer Drop Cloth absorbent side up, on the ground in our backyard.  This project can get messy so you may want to save it for a sunny day outside.  Please keep in mind that we did this on a large scale.  You can easily cut up much smaller rectangles of the drop clothe and put them in a bucket like you see here, and do this on a much smaller scale.  It will still come out awesome and be super fun.

Within minutes the kids began to gather around the bucket.  I didn’t have to explain a thing.  They got right to work squeezing the paint over the drop clothe just like Jackson Pollack.  These young artists are all toddler age.  If you are working with kids older than three I would take the time to talk about Jackson Pollack and show examples of his work.  Here is a fun Jackson Pollack book to read as well.

Modern art for your living room made my toddlers - Toddler made art muralStep 2.

Let the kids squeeze and spray and walk all over that art mural as they please.  For these toddlers, the concentration was palpable.  Once supplies started to dwindle I brought out my favorite mala squeeze paints from ikea.  This gave me a chance to do a little refill of all the squeeze bottles.  The kids were engrossed in squeezing those mala bottles. They are the perfect size for little hands.  You’ll be surprised how long the paint lasts too.  I’m not suggesting you’ll have any left most likely, but you’ll have some really happy kids and an amazing art mural inspired by Jackson Pollock.  Look at these kids go.

Modern art for your living room made my toddlers - Toddler made art muralModern art for your living room made my toddlers - Toddler made art muralModern art for your living room made my toddlers - Toddler made art muralStep 3.

This step came straight from one of the toddlers at play group.  She walked straight over to my supply area of huge brushes (I got these brushes at Trash for Teaching, my favorite place) and started using them on the art mural.  All the parents had a good laugh at her resourcefulness.  It reminded me to bring out our rollers and brayers too, which the kids loved to move back and forth over the mural.

Modern art for your living room made my toddlers - Toddler made art muralThese kids had such a blast we worked on this Jackson Pollock art mural for two weeks.  We probably could go on and on with it but it looks so beautiful right now I am saving it to hang in my new art studio.

Modern art for your living room made my toddlers - Toddler made art muralModern art for your living room made my toddlers - Toddler made art muralI just love seeing these happy artful faces.

Of course, once it was all dry a few days later, we had to hang it and do a photo shoot.  That’s pretty much a Cherry household standard.  Make a mural, do a photo shoot.

Who says kids can't make modern art? This Jackson Pollack art mural was made by toddlers!Who says kids can't make modern art? This Jackson Pollack art mural was made by toddlers!My girls are performers and love a chance to show off their moves in front of the camera.

Who says kids can't make modern art? This Jackson Pollack art mural was made by toddlers!This Jackson Pollock Art Mural was a super  fun art project for kids.  I love Jackson Pollock’s free form style and it works so well for young children.  Next I want to trace my girls in different positions on the drop cloth in thick black marker and then have them paint it so you can just see the sillohuetes and all the amazing paint.  Won’t that be cool?  My list of art for kids keeps growing and growing.  There is never enough time.

Remember, this art mural doesn’t have to be gigantic like this one. The drop cloth can be cut up and they are so big they will last a long time.  I highly highly recommend it.  Here are all the other art supplies I recommend as well. This is my go to list from years of experimenting with art for kids.

best art and craft supplies for kidsSo, what do you think?  Will you give this a try?  I’d love to see a picture if you do.

Who says kids can't make modern art?  This Jackson Pollack art mural was made by toddlers!Thanks for reading along everyone!  xo Meri

Who says kids can't make modern art?  This Jackson Pollack art mural was made by toddlers!

No Paint No Carve Pumpkin Decorating for Kids

these are the coolest markers to decorate pumpkins ever!!!I’ve never really been a big fan of Halloween.  I know, I know. Halloween is so much fun you say.  But, it’s true. Until I had kids I was happy to put a big bowl of snickers on the porch, turn out the lights and watch 3 hours of Sex and the City reruns hiding in my bedroom.  Now that my girls are 4 and almost 3, that magical evening of R&R is a thing of the past…on many levels. For one, my daughters are hardcore excited about Halloween. And 2, I kind of find myself wanting to join in on the fun.  So, in an effort to embrace this holiday loved by millions, I’m trying to find ways that I can enjoy it with my family but with out a crazy pumpkin mess.  So far so good actually, starting with this no paint and no carve, pumpkin decorating activity for kids. It’s awesome for Halloween lovers and want to be Halloween lovers alike.  Plus, this new art supply is my new favorite and my go to gift for all birthday parties.

these are the coolest markers to decorate pumpkins ever!!!*This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for your support!

Ok, so first how is this no paint?

Say hello to FUNCHALK Markers, my new favorite art supply not only for pumpkin decorating, but for many other art activities as well.

I was introduced to Funchalk via my happy place, instagram (follow me here for tons of behind the scenes pics), and really haven’t been the same since.  I’m serious.  The colors are ridiculously vibrant.  When kids (and adults) first use them they’re like “OOOOOhhhhh,” and “AHHHHHH!”  “These are so cool!”  And if it’s my family, there will be a few over the top gasps.  We’re big gaspers over here.  It’s a family tradition.

these are the coolest markers to decorate pumpkins ever!!!Want to know how to do this fun activity?  Here are the steps.

Steps

Decorate your pumpkin with FUNCHALK Markers.

That’s all the steps : )  Pretty good right?

Though if you have young children I recommend sitting down and doing the decorating with them.  Kids will likely stay engaged way longer if you make it a family thing.  My youngest (almost 3) wanted to decorate her pumpkin on her own, but my oldest, 4 years old, was really excited to do it together.

these are the coolest markers to decorate pumpkins ever!!!One of the great things about Funchalk markers is that they are basically chalk that goes on like paint, but without the mess of paint.  The chalk goes on super smooth and the colors are absolutely incredible.  I’ve tried a lot of chalk markers and these are by far my favorite.  When you get them you have to shake them, remove the cap and then push the tip on a piece of scratch paper over and over (kind of like your gently hitting a hammer to wood) until the chalk paint starts to come down.  You’ll start to see it on the tip and on the paper.  Then you’re ready to go.

these are the coolest markers to decorate pumpkins ever!!!The markers will glide right over the pumpkin. It’s really satisfying to do, kind of like piling up 10 stamped and addressed thank you notes.  Know what I mean? Though I rarely have that feeling because I am THE WORST when it comes to thank you notes.

We’ve used these markers on more than just pumpkins too.

these are the coolest markers to decorate pumpkins ever!!!We’ve used them to make birthday cake dream catchers on transparency paper, (you can download the birthday cakes here) gorgeous “painted” leaves, and halloween masks.  They work best on non-porous surfaces, like plastic, tinfoil, windows, and picture frames.  They do work on paper but they won’t last as long if you use them that way.  We couldn’t resist on the paper masks.

these are the coolest markers to decorate pumpkins ever!!!My girls loved the pumpkin decorating.  Just look at these faces.

these are the coolest markers to decorate pumpkins ever!!!Oh, and see those polka dots, you can go over any section after it dries and make dots, x’s, smiley faces, etc. That’s one of our favorite parts.

these are the coolest markers to decorate pumpkins ever!!!If you are looking for to do some  pumpkin decorating for kids, this activity is the one.  Oh, and the FUNCHALK Markers come off in the wash too.  So there’s also that.  We’ve been buying funchalk markers for birthday presents and giving them as a gift with a plastic frame or lucite box from ikea (check the plant department on your next visit.) In other words, these markers have my total art teacher endorsement.  I’m so grateful to have discovered them.  If you decide to order them, please let me know what surfaces you try them with.  I’d love to hear from you.

 

these are the coolest markers to decorate pumpkins ever!!!Thanks for following along everyone and Happy Halloween! xo Meri (recent Halloween convert)

ps If you like this pumpkin decorating activity, try this one too.  It was our biggest hit from last year.

these are the coolest markers to decorate pumpkins ever!!!

50 Process Art Activities for Kids

easy process art projects and activities for kidsI’ve been wanting to write this post for ages.  Process art is so important to me and at the root of pretty much all the work that I do.  I am the art teacher at a Reggio Inspired Preschool in addition to teaching process based art to over 50 children a week here in Los Angeles.  I realized that I didn’t have one specific area on my blog to share process based activities and articles I’ve written about the subject.  Say what?! How could that be? Yeah, it’s true.  But now I do!  Here is everything process based you need to know to get started at home and in the classroom.  Also, I share tons of behind the scenes and process based ideas that don’t make it to the blog on Instagram.  Please join me over there. I’d love to connect with you and talk process art and exchange ideas.

process artI love this quote because to me, it speaks to the idea that children don’t need to be told what to do, they need to be given rich experiences to explore and engage in.  Children are capable beings that given the opportunity will continue to raise the bar on their own learning and development.

*NOTE* If you’re thinking, “Meri Cherry, what the heck is process art?” The most basic definition is art that focuses on the process rather than the outcome.  Doesn’t that sound good?  I think so.  If you want more info, I have tons more for you.  Just keep reading.

Tons of engaging process based easy art activities for preschoolersFirst, some articles and info about process art…

Process Art for Kids – It’s No Mess

Process Art – Why It’s Great for the Whole Family

Family Process Art

Let Them Paint – Here’s Why

Working with Real Tools

Paint Mixing

Art Secrets Every Parent Should Know

Now, for the PROCESS ART ACTIVITIES.  

We’ve done a ton of process art but these are my faves.  And the kids faves. I’ve starred the ones that are my all time super duper faves.

easy process art projects for kidsleft to right clockwise

*Salt Painting,     *Salt Painting Collage,

Salt Painting Over Art Work,     Sand Art

 

easy process art projects for kids

Wood Working with Toddlers      More Woodworking with Toddlers

*Paper Towel Art with Watercolors   *Evolving Canvas Art

 

easy process art projects for kids

*Painting on Plastic     *Hanging Rainbows

*Paint Dot Mural     Contact Paper Mural

 

easy process art projects for kids

*Spin Art Rocks     Collage Art

*Mixed Media Collage     Recycled Shape Art

 

easy process art projects for kids

Printmaking     Veggie Print Making 

*Pumpkin Decorating with Tinker Trays     Nature Table

 

easy process art projects for kids

Shell Painting     Reggio Inspired Nature Painting

Tire Painting     *Repainting Thrift Store Canvases

 

easy process art projects for kids

Tissue Paper Art     Rockin’ Records

Sand Art Stickers     *Dot to Dot Art Challenge

 

easy process art projects for kids

*Clay Bowls     Building Clay Structures

Outer Space Process Art     Water Balloon Painting

 

easy process art projects for kids

Temporary Mosaic Art     *Washi Tape Mural

*Super Easy Puppet Theater     *Crayon Art Sculpture

 

easy process art projects for kids

*Face Painting     *Working with Pastels

*Wet and Dry Chalk Painting     *Chalk Nature Painting

 

easy process art projects for kids

Building with Wood      Fabric Resist Art Pillows

Working with Tinker Trays    Make Rainsticks

 

I hope you are feeling inspired to let go of the outcome and let your kids explore new materials and new ideas.  I know I’ve starred my favorite process art activities but that doesn’t mean the other activities are not as good.  I just have especially fond memories of the starred ones.  I would love to hear your experiences with any number of these in the comments below.  Thanks for reading along everyone and enjoy the process! xo Meri

easy process art projects and activities for kids

Salt Painting Art Work – Process Art for Kids

saltpaintingpastels1I know I’ve shared about our all time favorite process art for kids before, salt painting, but this one was a first for us, salt painting over your art work.  It’s so so cool and the kids loved it.  Not to mention the results were pretty outstanding, don’t you think?  I’ll walk you through the process but pretty much, if you are familiar with salt painting (we have a great salt painting video here on my youtube channel) then you’re already ahead of the game.

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

salt painting process art for kidsHere is what you’ll need…

Materials

watercolor paper or cardstock

chalk pastels and oil pastels (if you don’t have both that’s ok)

table salt

white glue (buying in bulk is currently on sale and has been life changing for us in the glue department.  I was so sick of buying new bottles!)

liquid watercolors

droppers/pipettes

salt painting process art for kidsSteps

1. First, we made a colorful background using the chalk pastels.  The artists got to chose what colors they wanted and we rubbed them back and forth on the paper.  If you’re not familiar with chalk pastels, I highly recommend them.  You can read the full pastel tutorial here.

salt painting process art for kids2.  Next, we did an observational drawing of a vase of flowers in oil pastels over our color background.  We talked about the shapes of the flowers and then drew what we saw.  Everyone’s looked so different.  That is always something I look for and enjoy when working with groups of children.

salt painting process art for kids3.  Next, we traced over our flower drawing with white glue.  Kids never get tired of squeezing.  It’s just so satisfying.

salt painting process art for kidssalt painting process art for kids4.  The last step is to sprinkle salt all over the glue, shake off the excess and use the liquid droppers to squeeze liquid watercolors over the salt.  If you’ve never tried this before, take a minute to click over here to this salt painting post and you’ll see what I mean.  It’s super cool and easy and fun to do with all ages.

salt painting process art for kids salt painting process art for kidsWe let them dry overnight and then framed them.  Some of the salt does fall off but I find if you frame them right away they will last.  If you spray the whole thing with a spray adhesive, that will hold everything together too, plus it will prevent the pastels from rubbing off.

salt painting process art for kidsHow do you like this process?  Will you give it a try?  As an art teacher I really like to encourage multi layered art works.  Art is a process that can be lost in the “1,2,3 I’m done” mindset that some kids have. I find that doing layered work creates a slower process where students work more carefully and are more engaged in the experience.  Salt painting collage is actually one of my favorites to do with young children.

salt painting process art for kidsThanks for following along everyone.  I know I’ve been posting less lately.  It’s because I am working extra hard on some other big projects that I’m so excited about, like a new ebook filled with really helpful art tips for teachers and parents.  I can’t wait to share it with you!! xo Meri

salt painting process art for kids

50 plus art projects for kids

10 Getting to Know You Easy Art Activities for Back to School

Back to School time is filled with great art opportunities.  Tons of easy art activities for preschoolers and elementary age kidsI love this time of year.  It’s Back to School season which means teachers and students are busy getting to know each other as they transition into their classrooms.  Kids, teachers, and parents alike are often having some pretty big feelings and everyone is doing their best to make back to school a smooth transition. As a long time teacher, I always tried my best to create a sense of community in my classroom from day one with various Getting to Know You Activities.  Some years were more effective than others, but overall when I look back on my years as a Kindergarten through Second Grade teacher, I am pretty pleased with what we were able to accomplish.

Back to School time is filled with great art opportunities.  Tons of easy art activities for preschoolers and elementary age kidsThere are so many ways to build community in your classroom through art. For parents, these ideas are great for home as well.  We called them getting to know you activities and most of them are pretty easy art activities as well.  Ok, maybe not every single one is easy, but most of them are pretty easy and I know you can do at least one.  I have faith in you.  Here are ten art ideas for the first few weeks of school, at home or in the classroom.

Back to School time is filled with great art opportunities.  Tons of easy art activities for preschoolers and elementary age kids1. Self Portraits  – Self Portraits are pretty standard for back to school because you can do them again at the end of the year and see the transformative growth that’s taken place over the course of one year.  There are so many ways to do self portraits, from collage, to painting, to pastel and watercolor.  I would say this is one of the best activities for the first week or two of school.

2. Family Portraits – Family portraits are such a wonderful keepsake and can provide so much information about a child.  They can be a great conversation starter and a window into the most important people in any child’s life.  This watercolor and pastel activity can be done as a self portrait too and is super simple.  If you’re going to start somewhere, here may be the best place.

Back to School time is filled with great art opportunities.  Tons of easy art activities for preschoolers and elementary age kids3. All about Me Glyph – You can tailor this glyph to your students or children, make it as silly or informative as you want.  A really fun one for back to school.

4. Building with Wood – You might be wondering why I put this open ended building activity on the list.  I am a firm believer in tinkering (check out this post All About Tinker Trays) and the power of open ended creativity.  Building with wood is perfect for getting to know your students or children, seeing what interests them and getting to know how they think and see the world.  I love this activity!

Back to School time is filled with great art opportunities.  Tons of easy art activities for preschoolers and elementary age kids5. Art Journals – Art journals kind of rule.  I would be thrilled to receive an art journal my child had been working on over the course of the year or several weeks/months.  You can start with the cover for the first week and add as you go.  Kids love to reflect on their different projects throughout the year.  You can add a photo page in the beginning where kids can tell about their families and friends and use quotes throughout.

6. Self Portrait Shadow Boxes for Kindergarten and First grade – I share this project as much as I can. It’s in so many posts you may be thinking, ok already, enough with the shadow box self-portraits.  I just love this so art project so much and still can’t believe I haven’t done this with my own children.  It’s such a wonderful keep sake and you can learn a lot about your students or children from the experience.  Plus it makes the coolest display in the hallway or a child’s room.

Here’s another self portrait shadow box post with Preschoolers

Back to School time is filled with great art opportunities.  Tons of easy art activities for preschoolers and elementary age kids7. Mixed Media Collage – I love mixed media collage for kids of all ages.  You can prep some pics from home, cut out some magazine pictures, and let your children or students create an incredible masterpiece on wood, cardboard, paper or canvas all while getting to know the person growing and learning in front of you.

8. Art Portfolios – I threw these art portfolios in here because you’ll need a place to store all this wonderful getting to know you art.  We use these all the time at home and love them.  I have them in a big basket and at work I have them for every preschooler in a big cardboard box.

Back to School time is filled with great art opportunities.  Tons of easy art activities for preschoolers and elementary age kids9. Family Photo Shadow Box – In this day and age of photographing everything (you can follow my obsession here) it’s nice to have some creative ways to share those photos.

10. Gratitude Boxes – These gratitude boxes are so open ended and thoughtful.  I did them here as a way to celebrate a Reggio Inspired Thanksgiving.  You can use them in a similar way to hear from your children and students.  All the art has quotes on the back.  You can ask them to tell you 5 things about themselves, introduce you to family members, draw pictures of the family members, etc.  A great great getting to know you project.

I hope you are inspired to bring some creativity into the first few weeks of school, if not the whole year.  Please let me know if you have any questions about the above projects.  I’d be happy to hear from you. xo Meri Cherry

Back to School time is filled with great art opportunities.  Tons of easy art activities for preschoolers and elementary age kids8 original birthday cake coloring pages that will totally rock your child's next birthday party!   The beginner's art supply list for "Non Crafty Moms"artsecretsbutton1Find more than 50 awesome art projects for 3 to 5 year oldsZero to Two - the book of play ebookKindergarten projects that rock

GO BANANAS! Super Fun Paper Mache Tutorial for Kids

Kid made, parent approved art projectEvery few weeks I give the kids in my art classes free choice as to what we will make.  Each student gets to pick the project for the following week.  They really love it.  For this week, the request was bananas.  Yes, bananas.  “Okkkkkk,” I said.  “Let’s make some bananas.” So we did.  And they were awesome!

Have you tried paper mache with kids before?  It’s really fantastic if you follow a few simple tricks (see below.)

Kid made, parent approved art projectKid made, parent approved art projectFirst, of course, you need some bananas.  You want to take a look at the shape and see what you notice about them.  You can substitute any fruit or vegetable or any object for this part.  We noticed the long shape, the color, the different colors on the tip and the skinniness forming the stem on one side.

Then we got out our materials.

Here’s what you’ll need…

Kid made, parent approved art projectMaterials

newspaper

flour

water

a big mixing bowl

spoon

masking tape

paint (you really only need primary colors when it comes to paint.  kids love to mix their own colors.  this set is a great starter kit.

Kid made, parent approved art projectThe first step is to make your shape, the banana, from the newspaper.  We took a few big pieces of newspaper each and sculpted them into the shape of a banana.  Once you have the basic shape you are going for, you’re going to tape it up with masking tape.  You don’t have to tape the whole thing, but enough so that it maintains it’s shape.  If you’re doing a more complicated shape, you may want to do it in parts and then tape those parts together.

bananas33So now that you have your shape all ready to go, here comes the fun and very messy part, so make sure you are outside or working over a plastic tarp.  Also make sure you’re wearing clothes that you won’t mind getting messy, though it all washes off.

Paper Mache with kids is an interesting thing.  I have learned four tricks for making it successful so kids can tolerate the gooey texture.

4 Tips for Making Paper Mache Work for Kids

1.  Have the kids make the paper mache.  Let them do all the pouring and mixing.

2.  Add water if it’s too clumpy.  The consistency is less intense for kids if it’s not so gloppy.

3.  Keep a bucket of water close by so kids can intermittently wash their hands.

4.  Prep the kids with a conversation that sounds something like this.  “Today we are going to make something really different and fun called paper mache.  It’s a gooey paste that some kids love the feel of and some kids find weird to touch.  I wonder what you will think of it?  Let’s give it a try.  Will you help me make some?”  This kind of conversation preps the kids for what’s ahead and I’ve found it makes kids more likely to dive right into the paper mache paste.

Kid made, parent approved art projectKid made, parent approved art projectOkay, so how do you make paper mache?

Paper Mache Recipe

There are lots of different recipes.  I stick to the most basic one, simple flour and water mixed in a bowl. Occasionally, I will add some white glue but I really don’t think you need any. I/the kids put about two cups of flour and two cups of water into a bowl.  It’s not an exact recipe.  If the paste feels gloppy, I add some more water.

Pre cut newspaper strips about an inch thick and 4-6 inches long.

I demonstrate how to dip the newspaper into the bowl and then using my fingers like  scissors I wipe the excess paper mache off the newspaper in between my fingers.  I start with my two scissor fingers at the top and then run them down the newspaper to the bottom as the paper mache drips off into the bowl.

Then we wrap the newspaper strips around our banana until the entire banana is covered.  Two or three layers covering the whole shape is ideal.  Let it harden for a full 24 hours, preferably in the sun, before painting. If it dries in a damp area the paper mache can get a little stinky and moldy.  Not fun.

Kid made, parent approved art projectKid made, parent approved art projectWe had a little extra time after we paper mached our bananas so what else could we do but enjoy a yummy banana treat of cut bananas, whip cream and sprinkles.  They gobbled it up!

Lastly, it’s time to paint your banana.  You can make them funky or go traditional.  It’s up to you.  Like I said, any tempera or acrylic paints will work just fine and I like this set a lot.  If you need to add an extra coat of paint to make your paint extra bright, feel free.  Let them dry before playing or displaying them.

Kid made, parent approved art projectI love this project especially because it was a kid idea that totally came to life.  We had a blast making these bananas.  I’d love to do a whole line of fruit in a big paper mache bowl.

Hope you’re feeling inspired to give paper mache a try.  Thanks for reading along everyone.  xo Meri

Kid made, parent approved art projectincredible resource for creating totally doable art spaces for kids!art secrets every parent should knowFind more than 50 awesome art projects for 3 to 5 year oldsebook

Colored Sand Art Stickers

gorgeous process art activity for kidsI love tinkering around in my art studio and coming up with new projects.  We’ve been doing a lot of sand art lately.  First, we made our own colored sand and then I found some colored sand at the craft store and decided to give it a try.  It had been sitting on the shelf for a while until inspiration struck.  Love these fun and vibrant sand art stickers.  They’re not exactly stickers but they are to start with.  See the full tutorial and more super cute pics over at Hello, Wonderful.

gorgeous process art activity for kids

Kid Made Painted Pillows

A really fun summer art project for kidsHow fantastic are these kid made pillows?  Can you believe they were made by five year olds. For real, 5 year olds.  Each one is sweeter than the next.  I just love them.  I’ve made a few pillows with kids before, like these fabric resist pillows that are perfect for Father’s Day, and these no sew veggie print pillows.  These painted pillows may be my favorite though.  I just love the vibrant colors and the way each one reflects the style of the artist that made them.

A really fun summer art project for kidsHere’s what you’ll need to give these a try which I really hope you do because they are really awesome.

Materials

canvas fabric – you can buy it by the yard at any fabric store.  Our pillows range in size but on average are about 8×10.  The canvas is a medium to heavy weight.

batting (pillow stuffing) – you have some choices.  you can try polyester batting or cotton batting, both found at the fabric store.

fabric paint – there are a lot of choices for fabric paint.  We used a combo of Colorations and Tulip fabric paint

paint brushes

A needle and thread OR a high temp glue gun (adults only) and skip the sewing all together.  You can use a low temp one with the kids but it may not hold the fabric as well.

A really fun summer art project for kidsSteps

1.  Cut a piece of canvas about 8×10 or your desired size and lay it on the table. Make sure you line your working table with craft paper or a plastic tablecloth or something.  If you can do this outside, I’d recommend it.  The paint can be messy.  I was definitely going around with a paper towel dabbing up any accidents.

2.  Design Time – You can plan your design out on a piece of paper first or just go for it.  I did a little demo with some different paints in front of my art class students.  Some of the paints we used were puffy paint so I wanted to show the difference between those and the regular ones.  I also talked about “a little dab will do ya.”  My go to song for paint and glue that we all sing so they don’t use too much.  We actually applied the paint right on the fabric as opposed to putting it in a paint dish.  It just seemed easier and worked really well for us.

A really fun summer art project for kidsI had water in little bowls for brush cleaning and a lot of paper towels, like aI said.  Since this is fabric paint, it will stain your clothes, so make sure you have a smock on if you’re concerned.

All the girls in class loved using the bright colors to create their pillows.  We talked about the difference between decorative pillows and sleeping pillows.  This paint will dry a little hard so it’s not a sleeping pillow, but it definitely will look great sitting on a bed!

A really fun summer art project for kidsThe girls worked diligently painting their pillows.  Each one had their own plan and no two pillows looked the same.

Once everyone was finished painting we set our fabric to dry overnight.  We meet once a week so this was part one of a two part art class.

3.  When your fabric is completely dry you’re going to cut a second piece of canvas the same size as the painted one.  This is going to be the back.  Place the two pieces on top of each other with the painted side facing inward.

A really fun summer art project for kids4.  It’s time to sew.  For this group it was their first time sewing.  We had a talk first about some activities being super easy and some being really challenging.  We decided that it was often the challenging things that we felt the most proud of.  This was a great intro to sewing.  It’s not always easy for kids so I felt like I needed to prep them.

I drew a line in marker about an nice from the edge along three sides to help them sew in and out along the line.  We practiced for a while but then the girls needed a break.  Good thing I had a plan B!  We worked on something else and I told the girls we would continue sewing the following week.  The interesting thing was the next week when they returned, everyone was really fired up about their pillows.  They couldn’t wait to start sewing.  Again, we practiced going in and out on three sides of the fabric.  The stitches were by no means perfect, but it wasn’t about that.  These girls were sewing and they were really excited about it!

A really fun summer art project for kids5.  Once you have three sides sewn, it’s time to stuff the pillows.  Turn the fabric inside out so that the painted side is now showing. I stitched up any big gaps that the girls had left before turning the fabric inside out.  Then we jammed some cotton batting in there until each pillow was really fluffy.

6.  You can either stitch the last side up by folding the ends inward and sewing or fold the ends in and glue gun them together.  That’s what we did/I did.  We were short on time and the girls were super pumped to take their pillows home.  They were soooo excited about them.

A really fun summer art project for kidsAnd that’s how we made our amazing painted pillows! These pillows make a fantastic gift, especially with Father’s Day coming up.  Go for it! Thanks for reading along everyone and happy painting.  xo Meri

A really fun summer art project for kidsA really fun summer art project for kidsKindergarten projects that rock   The beginner's art supply list for "Non Crafty Moms"incredible resource for creating totally doable art spaces for kids!  art secrets every parent should know

 

Kid Made Clay Catch All Bowls

Kids LOVE sculpey! Such a fun art project.Ahh, this was so much fun!  I know I’ve posted about sculpey a million times before, like these Random Acts of Kindness Hearts and these 7 Layer Birthday Cakes.  I have been working with kids and Sculpey for years and years.  It’s by far one of my favorite art supplies.  But these bowls! These catch all bowls are so cool and so unique and so much fun to make.  My girls absolutely loved this process.  See how we did it below.

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

Note – Sculpey is best used with children ages 5 and up in my opinion, though my almost 3 and 4 year old had great safe success during this process.  They were well supervised while working with this material and we made sure to wash our hands thoroughly after making our bowls.  Sculpey is not safe to ingest so please use your discretion.

Kids LOVE sculpey! Such a fun art project.You’ll need…

Materials

sculpey

a crafting machine aka my secret weapon aka the tool that all kids LOVE (it’s kind of expensive on Amazon but if you check your local craft store you may find it for less.  I’ve had mine for years though.  It’s really sturdy.)

a metal bowl (one that is safe to put in the oven)

a cutting tool

an oven

Kids LOVE sculpey! Such a fun art project.Kids LOVE sculpey! Such a fun art project.Steps

1. Cover the surface of your table with craft paper or a placemat.

2. Pick some colors that you think would be great together.  Take a few bits of each of the colors and moosh (technical term) them together.  Also called kneading the clay.  You can take about a marbles worth of each color.  Mooshing them together will create this great marbled effect of the clay in addition to warming up the clay so it’s easy to work with.  If it’s a little hard to start with you can roll it back and forth under your palm on a the surface of the table to soften it up.  I’ve found that a fresh package of sculpey is super soft and pliable for kids.

Kids LOVE sculpey! Such a fun art project.Kids LOVE sculpey! Such a fun art project.2.  Once you have a marbled clay blob (another technical term) you’re going to put it through the craft machine to flatten it out.  As you can see in the video, kids can easily work the crafting machine.  They love it’s professional quality and the great results it yields.  The sculpey will be super flat, smooth and beautiful with all the colors you chose.

Kids LOVE sculpey! Such a fun art project.3.  Place the flattened sculpey piece on top of the metal bowl.  You’re going to cover the whole top of the bowl so that it just fits over the curve.  My kids didn’t want to stop covering the bowl as you can see in the pics.  So I used this sculpey cutting tool to cut around the sculpey forming a shallow bowl.  We were able to use the extra sculpey to cover another bowl.

4.  Once you have the bowl covered to just over the curve, you’re going to gently lift it off the bowl and then place it back on gently.  I’ve found this makes it really easy to remove after baking.

Kids LOVE sculpey! Such a fun art project.5.  Bake the metal bowl with the sculpey on top in the oven according to the directions on the back of the sculpey package.

6.  Let it all cool for a few minutes after baking and then gently remove your sculpey from the bowl.  Voila! You’ve got yourself a gorgeous, kid made catch all clay bowl.

Kids LOVE sculpey! Such a fun art project.Maybe you want to put hair ties and barrettes inside or your favorite toy figures.  Or maybe you just want to display one on a coffee table.  Each one is different and unique.  My kids are so proud of theirs.

If you want to do a “woven” one, just cut strips with the cutting tool or knife and place a bunch of sculpey strips going one direction on the bowl and then a bunch more going the opposite direction.  These can be a bit more fragile than the ones you see my girls making in the video.  Make sure you smoosh the layers together before baking these and don’t forget to let them cool before removing them from the metal bowl.  I didn’t let the first one I made cool and it cracked when I took it off the bowl.

My kids loved this whole process and I did too.  The bowls are kind of addicting since there are so many color choices.  I dare you to make just one. For more sculpey posts try these finger puppets and check out this Alien Army with over 200 characters.  Thanks for reading along everyone.  Happy sculpting.  xo Meri

Kids LOVE sculpey! Such a fun art project.**This post is sponsored by Sculpey.  All opinions are my own and I am thrilled to spread the word about this fantastic product I have been endorsing on my own for almost ten years.

The beginner's art supply list for "Non Crafty Moms"   Kids LOVE sculpey! Such a fun art project.art secrets every parent should know Find more than 50 awesome art projects for 3 to 5 year olds

 

DIY Art Books for Kids

Art Books by little kids. Would be so great with photographs too. Great way to store art too.As an art teacher, I am constantly introducing young children to new process based art techniques, like salt painting, printmaking, and collage.  Sometimes we have piles of art that needs a home.  Making art books with young children is like an active art portfolio you can enjoy over and over again.  It’s a great coffee table book and a great way to share your child’s art work all contained in one space.  Plus, they make awesome gifts! There are lots of ways you can make an art book.  It can be big, small, and anywhere in between.  Check out the full post on how to make art books with your kids over at The Artful Parent.  There are lots more pics and ideas for each page.  Thanks for reading along!

Art Books by little kids. Would be so great with photographs too. Great way to store art too.