August 2006 Archives

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It was all so exciting!

Last week my two children (Willow and Fisher) and two students from West Point Grey Academy  (Kate and Mathew) were interviewed by Kush of Kids CBC in front of our KidArt Spirit Bear named "WPGA School Spirit".

Kids CBC is a hugely popular kids show viewed every weekday morning across Canada by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC.

The kids were filmed at the location of the bear in Vancouver, B.C. on Tenth Ave and Sasamat in the West Point Grey area.

Kush, the Westcoast Host of Kids CBC, interviewed the kids as a ‘Roving reporter on the scene of the exciting sightings of spirit bears all over the Vancouver area!".

The kids loved the ‘overly dramatic’ Kush in her very loud pink jacket as they explained to her that the bear was actually a friendly bear and that they were some of the children that created the original artwork for the bear.

It was a very special opportunity for the kids to be involved in such a fun project. They were all very excited about the chance to be able to be on television. It was an experience I’m sure they will not soon forget!

The segment will be aired several times in the fall of 2006 with the exact dates and times TBA.

I will let you know when it airs so you can check it out. (Canadians that is.) After it airs I will see about posting the video so you can all see it.

It was really cute to see those happy little guys talking so proudly of their great art!

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Are you so completely buried in wonderful kids art that you no longer know where to put it? Is the fridge so full, stuff keeps falling on the floor? Are drawings and posters leaving your kid’s bedroom walls feeling like a pin cushion?

The solution… Magnetic Paint!

Just as fun and creative as chalkboard paint, magnetic paint can now be used on just about any surface to turn it into a ‘virtural fridge door’. Use it wherever you want a place to hang artwork, photos and those important bits of paper you want to have close at hand.

The cool thing about magnetic paint is that you can paint any color latex paint over the metalic primer. The greyish primer actually contains real metal filings making the surface it’s painted on magnetic. Paint it over with regular latex paint and no one will even know it’s there.

Magnetic paint is a much easier and flexible option than the typical corkboard or white board and way nicer to look at. Your child can feel free to hang their art and memorablia any where they like without the mess that’s left behind when they move it.

You can even use magnets as part of the decor. If your child has a garden theme you can put magnets on silk flowers, ladybugs and butterflies. For a fish themed room think, fish magnets and seashells to pull together a moveable dispay.

I think it would be fun to paint other objects with the paint as well, such as the side of a desk, a bookcase, on a room divider, or a closet door. You could also create a multipurpose wall by first painting with magnetic paint and then covering it with chalkboard paint. The idea is to get creative!

To read more about this cool paint check out this article called "Make your walls talk with fun, functional paint".

Filed under Kids Rooms by  #

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(For those of you over thirty ‘Chill-ax’ means to be cool and relax . Something we are going to have to do as parents if we really want our kids to succeed.)

 

Are we putting so much pressure on our kids to succeed that it’s bound to blow up in our face?

I know we all mean well but the pressure that we are putting on our kids these days is getting so intense it is taking its toll on their lives.

Many children are growing up, never feeling quite adequate or up to our standards. It’s causing depression, stress and a lack of self-confidence in our children. Exactly the opposite to what we are trying to create in our kids.

There is even a  term for this style of parenting;  ‘helicopter parenting’ which comes from the constant hovering over everything our child does.  An excellent article worth the read on this subject is called "How pushy parent syndrome can leave you depressed".

Here’s a quote from the article that particularly hit home with me:

"The most dangerous feelings a child can have are of self-hatred, yet middle-class parents are unwittingly instilling those feelings by expecting so much,’ she said. The ‘helicopter’ parent insists on meddling in every area of their child’s life, for example by going into school to challenge a teacher about a mark their child has received.

But they are actually hampering their children’s development by denying them opportunities to deal with difficult situations.

‘Kids aren’t having the experiences that are mandatory for healthy child development – a period of time to be left alone, to figure out who you are, to experiment with different things, to fail, and to develop a repertoire of responses to challenge,’ Dr Levine said. "

How do you feel about this hovering trend? Are you a helicopter parent?

 

Filed under Self-Esteem by  #

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As most of you already know, I am crazy about kid’s art and art projects for kids that build confidence and self-esteem.

I feel it is very important for children to have the opportunity to create art in their own ‘voice’. To discover who they are, what they can do and what is interesting to them personally.

It is important to discover these things in a creative and supportive environment. One where they are not judged and where the process of creating the art is more important than the actual result.

You’ve heard it said before, "It’s the journey, not the destination."

This morning I was reading an article about an art teacher that teaches summer art programs for kidsout of her barn-turned-studio. She creates an environment where the children are free to create art their own way using a variety of techniques and materials.

My favorite line from the article is something the teacher said about what is important to her in teaching kids art.

"I want the kids to learn that art is about losing your inhibition, expressing yourself, about not looking around the room to see if you’re doing it the right way," she said.

If you are reading this blog you probably already agree about the importance for art in our society, but there are many people who don’t realize how the creation of art and the skills learned, can benefit other areas of their child’s learning and development.

When your child discovers they can run their fingers through blobs of paint to mix colors, they find out how new colors are made. (Science)

When they attempt to tape CD’s to a box to make wheels for a cardboard car and they fall off, they see that glue can be stronger than tape. (Physics)

When they cut out a rectangular paper door for their paper ‘House Collage’ and realize it is too big to fit, they learn to look back and forth to their original for reference. (Math, Measuring & Surface Area)

And when your child creates something beautiful using their own two hands that makes their heart sing, they begin to understand that they are capable and that they can make a difference. (Self-Esteem)

So throw a big pile of art supplies on the table and let your child create whatever their heart feels like creating.

You will not only be giving them something to do, but will be giving them the freedom to learn… in their own way!

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You heard me right… If you’re looking for great craft supplies for your kids you need to look no further than the trash!

(Before you actually throw them in the bin of course, but I think you know what I mean. )

I am a big fan of recycled crafts for kids. In fact those that know me well, know that I love the concept so much that I once had a small craft show on a local network called the "Sophisticated Scrounge" ,where all the crafts shown the viewers were created from ‘scrounged’ or recycled materials.

I recently came across an article about an artist who teaches children to use recycled materials in her art classes.  After reading the article it reminded me of what a valuable resource the things you may consider ‘junk’ can be for your kids.

Getting kids to work with materials that can be found around the house is great for many reasons.

It allows them to think more creatively when working on their art. It teaches them that there is more than one way to use something and to waste as little as possible.

Plus, because the materials were going to be thrown out anyways, using recycled materials in your crafts saves you money.

You can make some of the best costumes from recycled materials too!

Last year both of my kids made their own homemade robot costumes.

They had so much fun, starting by covering boxes with tin foil and then gluing ‘robot like’ accessories found around the house.

They glued on old CD’s, dead batteries, broken headphones, wires, metalic papers, buttons, knobs, old jewelry, glow sticks, film cases, and even a K’nex motor and gears!

The comments they received while Trick or Treating made them feel so proud and thrilled that they had made the costumes themselves.

Keeping a box of recylcled materials that your kids can use for craft supplies, means you’ll have a place to put those funny little odds n’ ends and your kids will have a valuable resource that they can go to when creating art.

So go ahead, keep some of that junk and tell your spouse you’re, "Doing it for the kids!"

Filed under KidArt Projects by  #

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OMG people!! This is what it is all about… for me that is! Once you have read this article and watched Jonathan Fineberg’s video, hopefully you will understand why I find children’s art so absolutely fascinating!

In September of 2006, the prestigious Phillis Collection in Washington, D.C. is holding a wonderful exhibition of the artwork of famous and not famous children including Picasso, Klee and others called "When we were Young: New Perspectives on the Art of the Child".

Watch the narrated four-minute tour of the show to see commentary on some of the artwork being presented.

What I am so excited about is, the high level of recognition this event will give to the artwork of young children.

As you will hear in the video, the curator of the exhibition Jonathan Fineberg is an Art History Professor from the University of Illinois. His insightful words on the ‘giftedness of children’s art’ rings true all the things I have felt about children’s art at an instinctive level.

As Frank Greve from  McClatchy Newspapers writes in his article called "Artwork by kids, some later famous, rates a show of its own", "Art by kids gives more people more joy than any other kind. But it’s like McDonald’s fries: so eagerly consumed and abundant that almost no one appreciates it articulately. "

I can’t agree more with Greve. One of the saddest things I see with people regarding children’s art, is their lack of lasting appreciation of the work while it is abundant.

It seems that most people only truly appreciate a child’s artwork as real art, when they are no longer a child. When there isn’t any of it left. Wouldn’t you love to have some of your own childhood art? How about your Grandmother’s?

Think about this… If you are a parent of a young child right now, what happens to their art?

Do you gaze at it fondly and hang it on the fridge for awhile, only to replace it with something else you think is better later on?

Then what? Do you put it in a box or do you eventually throw it out?

Just think how precious those few pieces of art saved from Picasso’s and Klee’s childhood have now become… Priceless.

How do you look at your kids art now?