Easter Eggs-travaganza, day2: Lines and Stix

wikki_stick_egg

Last week we talked about lines (at home): what they are,  how they can make shapes… and then decided to use the idea on the Easter eggs we want to put on our windows.

We took wikki stix (that we haven’t played with in a long time) and started decorating. My 5-year-old tried to make hearts and spirals, which was really cute… while my 2-year old went for quantity (and just stole on of the shapes from her brother when he wasn’t looking). Anyway, I really liked this because it was fun, fast and totally mess-free. No glue, no leftovers… just two eggs for our window display.

Easter Eggs-travaganza, day1: Egg in Black

egg_in_black

It’s just 10 days until Easter. That said, let me kick-off the Easter Eggs-travaganza 2013! Every day from today until Easter, I’ll post egg decorating ideas and techniques you can try – from real eggs to paper ones, from watercolors to wax. Stay tuned and eggsiting enjoy the ride (I promise I’ll stop with the puns).

Today is a simple black and white art – you just need paper and a sharpie. Let your child divide the egg into couple of parts and fill each of them with a pattern. Show them different patterns beforehand – lines, dots, swirls, spirals, etc.

When they done, you can cut it out and glue it onto a black/dark colored piece of paper to help it really stand out.

(These were created by 5 and 2 year olds)

Happy spring (art idea)!

ladybugs

Happy spring everybody! Let’s welcome the sunshine, the flowers and the ladybugs…  in our garden and our homes (even though that may be only on the paper). I wanted to share the picture our family did. We decided to do a simple collage – with grass cut out of different shades of green paper and red ovals for ladybugs. Then we added details with markers… and – done. Suddenly it feels like the winter is truly over.

Btw, did you know that in 1999, NASA sent ladybugs and aphids up in the space shuttle? Why? On Earth, ladybugs climb a stalk to capture aphids and aphids will try to escape by falling off the stalk. Scientists wanted to know what would happen without the aid of gravity. So, four ladybugs and couple of aphids were sent into space – and only the ladybugs returned… after all space IS a dangerous place. More here.

Birds Nesting on a Plate

birds

Just the other day we saw a huge nest up in a tree on our way for lunch and kids thought that it is the best thing ever. At home, they still talked about it, so we decided to make one as well. We collected things for the nest (from shredded paper to feathers) and glued them on half of a paper plate. Then we colored the background of the top part, cut out a bird (and some eggs) out of a colored paper and glued it onto the nest. For my 2-year-old I cut out basic shapes for the bird and she put it together herself – that’s why the bird has an eye on its tummy as well.

When they were done they wanted to decorate it even more and used markers and tiny stamps to make a border around the birds.

It was a very fun collage project and we got to talk about birds, nest, spring and much more while working. I have to keep this one to see how the birds (or the kids’ interpretations of them) change over the years.

Art Education in the 21st Century

imagination

I attended the ScienceNow talk about art education last week and got a chance to listen to some interesting questions and answers.

Dr. Daniel J. Levitin talked about the importance of structured art education (that is currently missing on so many schools) – and that benefits of these programs (with engagement-by-doing) are seen with as little as 10 minutes a day. He talked about importance of playing music in building character, teaching turn taking and paying attention to what others are doing… and about a study which showed that people who read a lot of fiction had much stronger empathy than others.

For me, the most important question was – How can arts education help teach creativity and other important life lessons for a 21st century America?

When I was going to school we had to memorize a lot of useless information. Sure, it helped us to exercise our brains but I do not remember almost any of the dates and formulas I was memorizing 15 years ago… on the other hand, the creative work that I did – researched and presented, I remember very vividly. Which is not surprising – but it makes this point even more important.

Daniel Levitin said: what we need to teach our children now is (a) how to evaluate information to be sure it is accurate; (b) how to think logically; (c) how to think creatively – the most difficult problems facing the world such as global warming and peacekeeping, require creative solutions.

My question is – how can we nurture creativity – if kids do not really see it around them? There are many benefits of teaching art in schools… and they seem to be getting more and more important in the Internet age. We should strive for a balance between creativity and logical thinking… after all, even Einstein said: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Isn’t THAT something we should want for us and our kids?

Spring into Spring

easte

Spring is beginning in a couple of days and we are less than two weeks away from Easter. How did this happen? Well, at any rate… it is high time to start planning the EGG-citing art projects for this month that bring some spring into your homes… I put together a lot of great projects and egg-decorating ideas (that I tried or have on my try-this-year-for-sure list) and I hope you’re going to enjoy them as much as we do. Click here to see them all.

30-pages of Art Projects for Download

The first copy of newsletter is out along with a link for a free download of the “first issue” of arTree. 

These are just some ideas from the 30-page-long magazine/lesson plan. You will find projects inspired by Mondrian, Seurat, Monet, and Matisse… games and activities, ways to make your own watercolors and much more. you can download it for free here.

And please, if you have a minute, rate arTree… it’s most appreciated!

color_ projects

You can view the newsletter here.  And if you would like to subscribe, please do so on this page.

Have fun and stay creative!

Bunch of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers (for preschoolers)

van_gogh_sunflowers

Vincent van Gogh painted over 800 paintings in less than 10 years. He was so passionate that sometimes, he did not sleep for couple of days just to finish a painting. Other times, he did not eat much because he spent all of his money on art supplies. He put a lot of himself and his feelings into his work – making it very personal and intense.

Show kids his beautiful Sunflower paining and then give them each an orange/yellow circle. Explain the difference between short/long brushstrokes:

brishstrokes

Then show them the parts of the flowers and discuss them (seeds/petals… their shape). After the kids spent some time exploring the flowers, let them use brown  short strokes (for the middle – seeds) and long yellow strokes (for the petals). Let each kid create one sunflower and put them all in a big vase, along with some green tissue paper. Done.

Do the Arts Make Us Smarter?

smarter

Tomorrow (3/14/13) at 3 p.m. EDT, there is a live chat at ScienceMag.org with researchers who study the relationship between arts and intelligence – Daniel Levitin ( professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience) and Keith Oatley (professor of Cognitive Psychology). You can join the discussion here.

I will definitely check in and will share the highlight with you, if you do not have time to join yourself.