Tag Archive for fun

How to Throw a MARVELOUS Art Party for Kids!

painting with leaves

Open ended art is super important for kids to experience. Crafts that turn out cutesy lady bugs or perfect cookie cutter American flags are cute, but giving kids an opportunity to really experience art mediums and have valuable sensory experiences is vital to their development. These activities also give kids the chance to be in control of the outcome and create what THEY find beautiful instead of what we tell them is good.

Creativity is established by age 8, and in the state of Oklahoma, art is not offered in school until 5th grade. What are we missing here? Where is the disconnect? Art is essential for children’s development! Click here to see 10 reasons why.

Children learn so much from open ended, child directed art. According to the National Association for Education of Young Children they learn:

“Social and emotional

Children relax, focus, feel successful, and can express their feelings

Language and literacy

Children may choose to discuss their art and add print to it (on their own or by dictating to a teacher)

Cognitive

Children compare, predict, plan, and problem solve

Physical

Children use small motor skills to paint, write, glue, use clay, and make collages”

There are a multitude of other things children learn from experiencing creating art. Click here to read the rest of the article.

At Little Sprouts, we do a lot of art. I was raised by an artist, and I have seen the impact of art on the world, myself, and children’s development. When my daughter Kayla was little, I made sure she spent a lot of time being creative and now she is perusing creative goals as an adult.

We love to have special art parties at Little Sprouts. It’s a great party to throw outside where the kids can get as into the art as they wish. I ask parents to send children in old clothes and send something to change into after the party. This would also be a great idea for a children’s birthday party or even a party for adults. If you don’t spend time creating things, you will be amazed what it will do for your stress level, your self-esteem, and your sense of accomplishment if you do some creating. Even our God loves to create, look at all the beauty He made and still makes? We are born to do it!

What makes an art party marvelous?

  1. Fun! Make sure the atmosphere is laid back and you are engaged and ready to support children’s efforts. Praising children with “good job” and other comments is not nearly as important as taking the time to appreciate what they are doing. You can ask children what they were thinking as they created their art or how it made them feel. Instead of saying what is it, you can say, tell me about it. You can also say, I loved watching you have fun making this, or I love how many colors you used. This type of feedback encourages children to appreciate their own efforts as well.
  2. Freedom. Children need to be able to explore the art mediums they are offered and use them any way they see fit to create. Avoid using terms like, you need to use the paint brush or do this or that. At our art party last week, the most common thing I said, is “You can use it any way you want”.
  3. Variety. For instance, when offering paint to children, don’t just give them paint brushes. Also offer some leaves or other natural objects to paint with as well as sponges, shaped objects, and of course, they can be free to use their fingers.
  4. Options. Don’t require children to participate. If they just want to put one line on a paper and move to another station, that’s perfectly fine. They are exploring the materials and its part of learning. Soon, you will see them take a deeper look at things and begin to use more creativity.

Here are some of the activities we did at our last art party. No two parties are the same here, I always try to come up with something new and different to expose the children to. Be creative when thinking of ways to encourage the kids to create!

shaving cream painting, art party

Shaving cream paint. Just shaving cream squirted into a bowl and a few squirts of paint added. This was definitely the favorite medium of the day. Kids loved exploring it.

art party for preschool

sidewalk chalk, preschool art partySidewalk chalk is always a fun outlet. Who doesn’t like to color on the ground?

Throwing a marvelous art party for preschoolColored pencils, crayons, and markers were available with stacks of paper to use.

Drawing with markers, preschool art party

watercolor relief art for preschoolLiquid water colors and paint brushes were a big hit. Everyone enjoyed painting with it.

murals painted with nature brushespainting with onion tops

Murals were available. I just used news print cut in pieces and stapled them to the fence. Children could paint with brushes, fingers, onion tops, leaves, branches, pinecones, and a number of other things I found around the yard.

painting with leaves

natural paint brushes

watercolors over glue, relief paint for preschool

As the art party began, children were able to make designs on these papers with glue, then at the end of the party, I gave them liquid water colors to paint over the dried glue and make relief art. They thought that was pretty cool.

There are so many other options, these are just a few we did this time around. If you want to get inspired with children’s open ended art ideas, check out Pinterest. It’s always a great place to get ideas!

To read an interesting article on how creative art can change the lives of neglected and abused children, click here.

I wish you art, I wish you love, I with you the peace in your soul that art brings. I hope you will create something today and tell me all about it!

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

Pablo Picasso

 

How to Host a Kid-Friendly Gingerbread Decorating Party

How to Host a Kid-Friendly Gingerbread Decorating Party

At Little Sprouts, we have a yearly tradition of gingerbread decorating.  I build a creation and invite all of the daycare families over to have dinner and decorate.  We donate the creation to KidSpace, a child advocacy center here in town to bring some joy to the lives of children in transition. 

» Read more

Wondering…

A few days ago I asked readers of the Facebook page to send me questions they wondered about for me to answer, so here goes:
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1. Leslie B Reynolds asks “Do you ever have kids that refuse vegetables?”
That’s a great question, and the answer to that is a resounding YES! Most kids begin uninterested in most of what I serve because it is unfamiliar to them. Over time as they help cook veggies, grow veggies and just the simple repetition of seeing veggies, they end up trying them and find out they like them. I just keep putting them on their plate and let them decide when they are ready to try them. Some kids that are very picky eaters never learn to like many things, but they all learn to like some new things which is a win in my book!

2. Little Big Harvest asks “What is your favorite ‘fun’ garden activity with the kids?”
There are so many things I enjoy doing with the kids in the garden. When I asked them, they all replied “picking stuff” and a few said “picking stuff and planting stuff”. For me, watching them be amazed is the very best part of gardening with them. Seeing their faces and watching their excitement is very rewarding for me. As far as activities go, my favorite is finding caterpillars. We put them in a jar, bring them in, and continue to feed them the host plant we found them on. Them we get to watch metamorphoses. Nothing can beat the amazement involved in that!

3. Yavonna Wright Bolding asks “Who are the people who test soil and do they come out or do you have to take some in ?”
Here in Oklahoma the OSU extension services will test soil for you. You can mail in a sample or take it in to the office to have it tested. Call your local county extension service office to find out where you take it in your area.

4. Sharica Cole asks, “What are some fun ways to help children tell the difference between different plants? And which garden plants are the safest?”
Repetition is the way to teach children to tell the difference between plants. Besides spending time talking in the garden, we use many pictures that we find in our curriculum, online, and in books and magazines to make it fun. Kids will pick up the information fairly quickly and I am learning right along with them. Many plants are poisonous. The nightshade family which include potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant have extremely poisonous leaves as do some other plants. I always teach the kids not to eat anything unless they ask. If I am unsure of the plant’s safety, I will tell them, since I’m not sure, we better not eat it. The safest things are plants that can be eaten from root to leaf tip such as cabbage and other brassicas or vines like peas and sweet potatoes.
I love your questions and comments, so please ask away if you want to know anything.