There is a long history of artwork created while out and about. From the truly inspirational sketchbooks of JMW Turner to the ‘plein air’ art of the impressionists, art produced ‘on the spot’ often has something which art created later from notes, photographs, memory etc. lacks.
Travelling or going away on holiday is also no excuse for kids to stop being creative – in fact it offers lots of new sights, materials and inspiration for artwork. The opportunities are not just confined to those while you’re actually away, but the time before and after your trip can also be used to get creative with a travel theme. Here are just a few suggestions to inspire you:
Before You Go
Make and decorate your own travel journals and sketchbooks, complete with personalised covers. You can find a tutorial for children’s art jotters here.
Create decorative luggage stickers inspired by vintage examples. Use a sheet of large blank stickers, or simply glue them on (at least that way you get to cut out whatever shape you want). Alternatively you can buy reproductions of original stickers. I came across these scaled-down versions by Dover publications which are great for children’s luggage, or you could print off your own using this CD-Rom Collection.
Create personalised labels to help identify your luggage. You could do this using Shrink Plastic (see my tutorial for Children’s Art Bag Tags here) or simply laminate thin card.
Put together a portable studio of paints, crayons etc. There are lots of these which you can buy, but sometimes it’s more fun to make your own.
Create your own passports.
Decorate a special box or tin to collect found items and souvenirs in.
For the Journey
There is no shortage of travel art solutions out there. I particularly liked the following examples:
The Trunki Govinci Back Pack and Travel Drawing Table available in both pink and blue, and complete with a clear frame for displaying completed artwork.
Or the Alex Desk To Go, a compact and sturdy travel desk which folds away, easy for children to use, with 2 side storage pockets.
Doodle Cards – I’ve featured these before, but thought it was well worth mentioning them again, because I for one find them so very useful for keeping the kids occupied while we’re out and about. Small enough to put in a hand-bag, and re-usable again and again, Usborne’s Doodle Cards are also available in a Travel theme.
While You’re Away
Let children collect interesting items and snippets to put in their special box. Whether it be shells, decorative stones, pieces of ephemera such as tickets and leaflets, postage stamps, even wrappers or labels…. they can all be used for artwork either when you get home or in travel journals and sketchbooks.
Keep a travel journal. These can be written, purely illustrative, a scrapbook, or a combination of all three, and will form a lovely keepsake of their travels. They can also help to stop children’s writing skills getting rusty over the long school holidays. If you’re short of time, there are various children’s travel journals which you can buy. I particularly liked the look of I’m Going on Holiday from Buster Books. With doodles to do, space to stick in memorabilia, tickets and photos, collages to create, and loads of boxes to tick and fill in, this is a doodle scrapbook to be customized and treasured.
Check out these gorgeous Travel Themed Stamps too if you want to treat yourself.
Use those Sketch books. Not quite the same as a travel journal, sketchbooks can be less a record of their travels, and more a place to draw for it’s own sake, express themselves, or respond to something inspiring.
Postcards – Take some A4 or A5 sized plain, stiff white card with you, and get the kids to draw a picture of what they’ve been up to, somewhere you’ve visited etc., on one side. Much nicer to send than boring standard postcards. Strathmore produce sets of blank postcards for children, designed specifically for this purpose, or Usborne offer a set of 25 Holiday Postcards to Colour, complete with text prompts on the back for children to fill in.
Create Land Art. Whether you’re at the seaside, or in the country, holidays and land-art are just made to go together. Make sure you take a photograph of your masterpieces. You might like the following posts for further inspiration:
Take lots of photos – this one goes without saying really!
Visit inspirational places – of course!
When you Return
Create a Memory Jar or Memory Box. Use some of those evocative souvenirs and other items which you collected, and combine them with photos, drawings, or other artwork. A large glass storage jar works well for this purpose, or if you don’t want to buy a box frame, use a shallow lidded box, cut a window in the front, stick a clear acetate sheet behind it, and ‘voila’ you have your own economy memory box frame! If you’re really lucky you might even find you have an old gift box with a window in, ready made for the purpose. As you can see, I’ve already created our boxes in readiness!
Make a Collage from all that 2-dimensional ephemera and souvenirs.
Create a Travel Poster of where you went to, or somewhere you visited, or you can find this free printable resource of travel posters illustrated below, which is ideal for collaging here.
I’ve also put together an Art of Travel Board on Pinterest for creative travel related ideas which I come across. Check it out if you’d like even more ideas.
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