KidArt Projects

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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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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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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!"

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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!