• Freebies,  Projects

    Funky Fish Kids Art Collage

    This is a really simple but versatile activity which is great for using up odd scraps of paper, whether it be pieces of painted paper, children’s discarded artwork, wrapping paper or even sweet wrappers. Apart from this, all you need is a Medium Circle Paper Punch (we actually used 2 for the different sized fish, measuring 1.5cm and 1cm), some glue and pieces of coloured or painted thin card for the fish base. It’s also a great ‘drop-in’ activity or collaborative project. Each child can choose a plain card fish and they can then create something of their own which can be combined as part of a larger group artwork. Perfect…

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    Creative Teacher Gift Bags

    It’s that time of year again, and for us, the end of an era as my eldest finishes primary school and moves on to pastures new. As he described it, the last day was one of the happiest days of his life, but also one of the saddest as members of the class go their separate ways. Email and phone numbers have been exchanged, and hopefully nowadays there is no excuse for not keeping in touch. It is a particularly busy time for us, which the complete lack of recent activity on this blog testifies to, as we prepare to take the opportunity of the enforced change to relocate both…

  • Art Materials

    Drawing with Charcoal

    Charcoal is my all time favourite medium for drawing –  I love the speed and spontaneity of the medium. However there is no doubt that it’s not something used a great deal with young children. This is probably because it can be incredibly messy to use (though washable), and young children could easily end up covered in it – not to mention everything else in the vicinity if you’re not too careful. I think this is a shame though, so I decided to bite the bullet and introduce my younger son to the medium. I would have involved the elder too if he had been willing, but though he took…

  • Materials & Techniques,  Projects

    Paint with Bubbles – 3 Ways

    Bubble painting is a classic children’s art activity, and it’s easy to see why – it’s easy, cheap, kids love it, and the results are pretty good too, but bubbles are also amazingly versatile, we’ve tried 3 different techniques now, and each one has distinctively different results. Bubble Painting Method#1 The first technique is the one most people will be familiar with. Here, you mix your paint (in this case tempera) with a little water, and a squirt of washing-up liquid, stir it up and then blow into it with a straw to create lots and lots of bubbles. You then gently place the paper over the bubbles to take…

  • Projects,  Seasonal

    Tissue Paper Valentines

    Sometimes the old favourites are the best. This project uses a familiar, one might even say classic, technique of children’s artwork, to create something that looks a lot more sophisticated. I actually made these cards (along with a whole bunch of others) a month or two ago, but decided to hold them back because they weren’t particularly Christmassy. I will share some of the others too at a later date. The cards are created by taking tiny ripped up pieces of tissue paper, and scrunching them into miniature balls. The balls are then glued in place, either singly or packed tightly together to form a picture, depending upon what you’re…

  • Projects

    Graffiti Giftwrap

    It’s heading towards mid-November already, and I need to start thinking about getting things organised for Christmas. Over the last 12 months or so, I have discovered that I love decorating paper – creating gorgeous effects with paper, paint, crayons, and whatever else I have to hand, so this year I thought it would be fun to create our own giftwrap. I thought creating our own graffiti giftwrap would be particularly fun for the boys to do, so I bought a cheap flip chart pad to use for the purpose. For under £10.00 I got 40 sheets of bright white A1 size paper which is just the right thickness to…

  • Features

    Not just for Kids!

    I fell into a love of children’s art accidentally. I’m not an early years educator or an art teacher, and although I’ve always loved creating artwork, it was not until I had kids of my own, that I developed an interest in the artwork children produced. The value of artwork as an activity for children – especially small children, has long been recognised, and while many parents will be happy enough to let school or nursery or kindergarten get on with providing those experiences, there are lots of others who want to do more, even though they may not have been that creative themselves in the past in any conventional…

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    Art Materials,  Materials & Techniques,  Nature

    Watercolour Spray Inks

    Ever since I first heard about watercolour sprays, I’ve been wanting to try them out. The ones you can buy ready-made are I discovered quite expensive, so I decided to create my own using the new powdered water-colour inks I’ve recently treated myself to. That way I can control the dilution I want, mix the colours, and be much more extravagant with them as they are so economical to use. So, I mixed up my inks, and bought some travel sized spray bottles to put them in. There are quite a lot of  posts around the internet at the moment for using spray paints with kids, more particularly using trigger sprays outdoors.…

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    Collaged Door Sign

    This week we found yet another use for all those old comics and magazines we seem to accumulate – creating a collaged door sign. I’m not going to insult anyone’s intelligence by creating a ‘tutorial’ for this as I think it’s pretty self-explanatory really. The base was a piece of foam-board covered with coloured paper. The letters were cut out and glued a little haphazardly (I think it looks better that way) onto a piece of plain white paper whose edges I tore for decorative effect.  Overall I’m quite pleased with the finished result….     Alternatively you could glue the letters onto pieces of adhesive magnetic sheet to create…

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    Happy Accidents

    ‘By looking attentively at old and smeared walls, or stones and veined marble of various colours, you may fancy that you see in them several compositions, landscapes, battles, figures in quick motion, strange countenances, and dresses, with an infinity of other objects.  By these confused lines, the inventive genius is excited to new exertions’. These are the words of Leonardo da Vinci – from his ‘Treatise on Painting’. As this quote proves, the use of the accidental or incidental to spark imagination is nothing new and has been used by artists for centuries. If it was good enough to help Leonardo spark his creativity, then it’s good enough for me.…

  • Projects

    Scanner Art

    Some of us may have fond memories of photocopying parts of our anatomy in the office in days gone by (do people still do that?), but the fun and games don’t end there, as the humble domestic scanner is an important piece of art equipment these days. You’ll often see scanned textures used in children’s book illustrations to give added texture and depth and create a ‘collage’ effect – in fact if you have any suitable books which use the technique,  playing ‘spot the scanned in texture’  is a game that you can play alongside this activity) but even without the additional digital manipulation often involved in mixed media illustrations,…

  • Projects

    Creating Splat Monsters

    This is a really simple, yet fun activity which is a great way for kids to exercise their imagination and can result in some fabulous artwork. There are no doubt numerous different ways in which you might create your monsters, but I chose to create my ‘splat monsters’ by dribbling several different colours of tempera paint onto paper. You can also tilt the paper about if you wish to move the paint and give yourself more ‘control’, but this isn’t really necessary. The ‘splat’ is then created by placing another piece of paper over the paint and pressing down – the amount of pressure you use, and how you move the…