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Bring back the childhood magic to Christmas by wrapping your gifts in handmade wrapping paper created by your children.

I came across a wonderful article in the Washington Post this morning about some kids who entered a ‘kid art wrapping paper’ contest.

Just clicking through the many pictures of the fantastic kid art papers will inspire you and your children to start making kid art wrapping paper a new family tradition. 

Seeing these beautiful, charming, witty designs reminded me yet again how amazing and powerful children’s art really is!

In a world where Christmas has become so commercialized, materialistic, and pressured, the magical twinkle in your child’s eye as they hand you a gift they have made, makes every second of hectic preparations worth it.

You can share that magic with all those you love, by having your child’s art lovingly wrapped around the gifts you give this year.

Use some of those great art pieces they have already created, or buy a big roll of white or brown paper and get the kids to make some of their own.

Just watch everyone take a little extra time this year to carefully unwrap their gifts, so as not to damage the precious art that they are encased in.

Kid’s art wrapping paper is just one more way to slow down and enjoy the magic of Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone…… Have a wonderful Holiday!!!!

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I just received a question from Stacy  who visited my website www.kidsart4kidsrooms.com wanting to know how she could use the art from the children in her Kindergarten class to make a blanket.

There are a several ways you can do this and I thought it would be fun to share this with you all.

First, you can have the children create the art directly onto fabric squares using fabric paints. If you are working with such small children however, your results will be best if you stick to simple designs such as ‘finger painted’ squiggles in two or three colors. When the paint is dry, heat set by ironing the back side for a minute or two.

You can also use fabric felt pens. I find the felts look a little ‘hokey’, but that can be fixed by ‘over-dying’ the ‘drawn on’ fabric with fabric dye. This gives the art a more professional look.

Another cool thing you can do to put kids art onto fabric is to use fabric wax crayons. Designs or pictures are colored onto regular white paper with the special crayons, and then ironed onto the fabric like you would an iron-on transfer. The colors melt into the fabric and permanently dye it.

For a more high-tech way to transfer kids art to fabric, use your photocopier. You can then use these color copies in two different ways.

You can print color copies onto regular white paper. Then using a transfer medium found in arts or crafts stores that looks like white glue, transfer the image onto the fabric. This is a very cool thing to do with children depending on their skill levels.

The medium is spread thickly onto the front of the photocopy, and the laid onto the fabric. When dry, the fabric is put into water to soak off the paper. With a little rubbing the image appears. The kids will think it is quite magical!

The other way to use color copies is to print them onto photo transfer paper. You can find this in office supply stores and the transfer paper can go into your own ink-jet printer. The transfer paper is then ironed onto the fabric.

Anyway you choose to make your kid art blanket or quilt, you will be forever capturing the precious art of your children in a cozy, cuddly, comforting form.

I’m not sure if Stacy is a teacher or a parent, but I think it is wonderful that she would like to memorialize the children’s art in such a treasured way!

Good luck with your fantastic project Stacy! Send us pictures if you end up making a kid art blanket with your Kindergarten class!

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Environmental issues have always been important to me. So when I read that Wyland (a famous mural artist) and the Fish and Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Missouri were working with children to create art that educated children on protecting water quality I got excited.

Quoting the article, Wyland said,  "If (children) see the beauty in nature, they’ll want to help preserve it."

"It’s a masterpiece," said Wyland as he watched the children work. "Picasso said he painted his whole life to paint like a child again."

"A child’s art, he said, is a window on his or her thoughts."

Children inherit the world in whatever condition we have left it in. Educating them on protecting the Environment while they are young, means there is a greater chance they will take better care of it than we did.

Reaching children through art is a fabulous way for them to experience the beauty and wonder our Earth has.

Seeing a large mural come together piece by piece with the art of many children, shows them that even though they are small, together they are great.

Together they can make a difference!

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Wow!! Just the response we were looking for!!  The Great Spirit Bear Auction & Gala took place at The Westin Bayshore Resort & Marina Tues. October 10th. and our Spirit Bear ‘captured’ a pretty grand price!

Approximately 30 ‘Spirit Bears’ from the Greater Vancouver and Whistler areas were auctioned live with the proceeds raised from the to benefit the BC Lions Society’s Easter Seal Services and the Canucks For Kids Fund.

Our "WPGA School Spirit Bear" based on the collective artworks of over 500 kids from West Point Grey Academy as well as the bears of other British Columbia artists raised over $570,000 at the auction! (Click on ‘the bears’ link and scroll down to see the bears.)

Our bear was made possible by the generous sponsorship of 4Moms for Kids. A group of four moms from West Point Grey Academy (WPGA) in Vancouver B.C.

One of the ‘4 Moms’ had purchased my ‘Young and Free’ Orca whale, created for the Orcas in the City Project done by the Lions Society a couple of years back.

She loves the art of small children and the Look What I Drawed style of the Orca so she really wanted to involve the children of WPGA in a similar project.

When the Spirit Bears in the City Project came up, she gathered together her sister and two other moms from the school and sponsored our bear… and the rest is history!

The Spirit Bears in the City project was a fantastic experience for me that went beyond just making great art.

Thanks to the BC Lions Society both the Orcas in the City Project and the Spirit Bears in the City Project were a huge success. They were so organized and friendly to work with and are really doing wonderful things for the children who receive their services.

Our sponsors the ‘4 Moms’ were fantastic to work with as well as the children from West Point Grey Academy.

This project has so many winners:

The children and families who need the support from the BC Lions Society, The Canucks for Kids Foundation and the Easter Seals.

The artists who can share their love and talent with the community.

The sponsors who can feel good about their contributions to a worthy cause.

The children of West Point Grey Academy who had a fantastic opportunity to showcase their talents to the world and show that kids art is truly beautiful.

The Spirit Bear who with the the help of Simon Jackson and his Spirit Bear Youth Coalition gets more public attention to his fight against extinction.

The kids from Sullivan Elementary who viewed our Spirit Bear in his ‘creation process’, and whose wonderful insights into the art were truly inspiring.

And the general public as well as the people who come to visit our great city, get to enjoy the beauty and diversity of all the artwork presented.

 

Thank you so much everyone for an exciting experience that will last me and my family a lifetime.

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As I mentioned in a previous post Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) – A very cool new collectible!, making and trading Artist Trading Cards would be a real cool thing to do with children.

And wouldn’t you know but a day or two later I find a site where kids are doing just that.

Grade 2 and 4 students from Clever Elementary Clever, MO, United States have created 273 Artist Trading Cards to trade within their classes and with another school. The project was created to help the children realize that they are truly artists and that they may end up with the ATC of a future famous artist.

Check out these beautiful cards and get excited about the potential of doing such a project with your kids.

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Apparently artists from all over the world, working in all kinds of mediums have jumped onto the ‘trading card bandwagon’ and I have been sitting along the side of the road, without a clue all along!

How or why I never heard of Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) until now, is beyond sad!

Just like the sports trading cards of our childhood, these tiny original artworks are collected and traded among the artists that create them. In fact they must be the exact size of those cards, at 2.5"x3.5" or 64x89mm, to be an ATC.

To this rule, a true ATC must only be traded and collected, not sold. And just like the kids, artists will trade more for some cards and less for others depending on rarity and beauty of the card.

Unique or one-of-a-kind cards are called ‘originals’; sets of identical ATCs are called ‘editions’ and are limited and numbered; sets that follow a theme are called ‘series’.

On the back of each card is the artist’s name and contact number, as well the name of the ATC and its number if it is a limited edition.

The cards are often even stored like Baseball cards in transparent protective sleeves, put into handmade books and special boxes.

There are websites and formalized organisations where this trading can take place. This morning I found a site that has lots of examples of these Artist Trading Cards as well as links to groups doing this sort of trading.

Not only do I need to get making some of these cards and trading them with other artists but I think this would be a fabulous thing to make with your kids.

They could trade them with their friends, family and other adult artists as well. For me it ‘beats the heck’ out of collecting and trading Baseball Cards any day! Of course I’ve never really been that big of a sports fan!

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Are the ancient scratchings and paintings found in more than two hundred caves scattered through southwestern France and northeastern Spain, sophisticated renderings done by ‘cave man’ artists?… or are they the playful ‘doodling and graffiti’ of Paleolithic teenagers?

I absolutely love the idea that "kids will be kids" whether they are from the ‘Paleolithic Times’ or this ‘New Millennium’, especially when it comes to their art!

Reading through this interesting article called "Secrets of the Cave Paintings" By William H. McNeill, I was delighted to read R. Dale Guthrie’s insights on the art found on the walls of several caves inhabited by Paleolithic Cave Man.

"It was, he supposes [the depiction of animal forms on rock surfaces ], —something an adolescent boy or mature man would do casually in spare time, using both sharpened stones to carve the outlines and various mineral and vegetable colors to make the animal images accurate.

Not specialized artists but quite ordinary males, Guthrie believes, were the cave artists and they decorated the walls for fun, not for any religious or other ulterior purpose."

"…youngsters were responsible for much more of preserved Paleolithic art than scholars have assumed…. I am not concluding…that all Paleolithic art is children’s art, only that works by young people constitute both a disproportionate and largely unrecognized fraction of preserved Paleolithic art."

The thought of a group of cave kids ‘just hanging out’ scratching some stuff on the walls, (mostly gory hunting pictures and human private parts)  reaffirmed my suspicions that kids are pretty much the same creatures no matter what time and place they are from.

 

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Here is a fantastic story that I came across the other day. It moved me so much that tears ran down my face.

I thought you may be touched by it too, so here it is…

An Hour Of Time

Tim was disappointed that his father didn’t attend the last soccer game of the season, but he wasn’t surprised. Tim was a mature 10-year old and he understood that lots of clients depended on his dad, a lawyer, who had to work most nights and weekends. Still, it made him sad, especially since this year he won the league’s most valuable player award.

One evening Tim got up the nerve to interrupt his father’s work at home to ask him how much lawyers make per hour. His father was annoyed and gruffly answered, "They pay me $300 an hour."

Tim gulped and said, "Wow, that’s a lot. Would you lend me $100?"

"Of course not," his father barked. "Please, let me work."

Later, the father felt guilty and went to Tim’s room where he found him sobbing. "Son," he said, "I’m sorry. If you need some money, of course I’ll lend it to you. But can I ask why?"

Tim said, "Daddy, I know your time is really worth a lot and with the $200 I’ve already saved, I’ll have enough. Can I buy an hour so you can come to the awards banquet on Friday?"

It hit his father like a punch to the heart. He realized his son needed him more than his clients did. He needed to be there for his son more than he needed money or career accolades. He hugged him and said, "I’m so proud of you, nothing could keep me away."

Lots of parents are stretched to their limit trying to balance business demands and family needs. It’s always a matter of priorities. But if we don’t arrange our lives to be there for our children, they will regret it – and after it’s too late, so will we.

This story is derived and adapted from one that was circulated on the Internet without attribution. The original source is unknown.

Michael Josephson
www.charactercounts.org

 


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I just don’t get it! In this modern-day-in-age where empowerment, equality and enlightenment are at the forefront in every parents’ mind, why the heck are the toy store aisles filled with shallow, sexist, less than innocent toys for our children!!

I was absolutely amazed!

The other day my two children Willow 10, Fisher 7 and I had some time to kill while waiting for some computer repairs, so we decided to hang out at the Toys R Us next door.

The kids had a few bucks to spend, but we were there more to check things out than to buy, so we went up every aisle to see what there was.

Man… are the gender roles clearly marked out for kids!

Boys are supposed to play sports, like fast cars, be superheros and even warriors.

Girls are supposed to like pink, be a princess, grow up to be a ‘hottie’ and be a bitch about it.

Just look at what’s available for our kids.

Want a kid’s TV? Batman or Hot Wheels for boys. Hot pink Barbie for girls.

Want to build something? Better be a boy, not much available for the girls.

How about a craft? With the exception of Crayola all crafts seem to be geared towards the girls, and most of them tacky.

And the dolls. Doesn’t the name ‘Bratz’ say it all? Where are the wholesome everyday dolls?

When my daughter saw the Bratz campfire set, she said, "Ewe! Too much make-up and who would wear a skirt and high heels camping anyways?"

Don’t even get me started with the Bratz Big Babies. Black leather,  lacy lingerie and heavy makeup on a doll for 3 year olds? Who’s making that stuff? Who’s buying it?

I’m not slamming Toys R Us, the kids both love GameBoy, and Lego and stuffed animals and bikes.

I’m just asking the question, "If we all don’t want self-centered, materialist, smutty daughters, or violent, chauvinistic, fast driving sons, then why is there a market for toys that are?"

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Well … Messy kids rooms may be a reality in most families’ homes, but is it really a necessary part of your child’s development?

After reading the article Preteens & Messy Bedrooms and all the comments from parents and their children, I could see that the issue of messy bedrooms is a hot topic for more people than just myself.

Parents want their kid’s rooms clean and kids want their parents to relax.

My gut says they’re both right, there just isn’t a plan in place to make it work for either of them.

From my experience, without a system, the kids get ‘in over their heads’, and the mess becomes an ‘insurmountable task’.

And I have yet to meet a kid that likes to face an ‘insurmountable task’! So they don’t.

Parents nag…. kids hate that.

Kids want to do it their own way…. parents hate that.

Result… messy room!

So what to do?

Talk to your kids. Ask them how they would like to set up their rooms so that both of you are happy.

Do they want to hang their clothes, or put them in drawers or baskets? Do they want things to be hidden out of view or to be displayed so they can see it?

Give your kids tools to make the job easier. If they can’t figure out where to put it, they will put it on the floor!

Kids need tons of storage. Book shelves, dressers, rolling bins with drawers, display shelves, under the bed storage, etc. If it is a tiny room, you need to plan storage for every square inch.

Pick your battles. It is OK to have a few hard fast rules like, "All food and dishes must be removed from room everyday." (Tell them it could cause a rat or insect problem, most children would prefer not to have rodent problems in their room!)

But be more relaxed about making their bed nicely or leaving out a few things. Certainly do not invade their privacy or throw away things without their permission. Everyone deserves some respect, especially kids.

Do a little every day. If you remind your child each night to throw their clothes in the hamper, and put the books back on the shelf, then the room won’t get so terribly out of hand.

Praise them. Every time they tidy their room on their own accord, tell how nice it feels to enter their clean room. Really ‘play it up’ how more relaxed you feel when you enter your own clean room and how good they must feel to be in theirs.

Your child needs to get some direct benefit from cleaning their room other than just doing it because you said so. Otherwise why would they do it?

Think about it, would you feel motivated to clean your house just because your spouse told you to? I think not!

And as far as a messy room being part of your child’s development, well I don’t know.

I think that your child learning the skills of organization, responsibility and the desire for comfortable surroundings is a bigger part of their development than just letting them have a messy room.

But that just my opinion!

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