Kid Stuff: Art

March 31st, 2010

Kid Stuff: Art

There’s a funny stretch of parenthood between ages 3–6. Your kids are not yet totally immersed in school, but they’re voraciously absorbing the world around them. Free play is vital at this age, but that can’t always fill every moment of your day.

My sister, Susie, and I ran into this problem time after time. Our children greeted us with the same question in the morning, “What are we doing today?” Sometimes we had an answer, but other times we were at a loss. And we began to think, what if the time we spent with our kids was sometimes played by ear, but other times was a bit more intentional.

With this thought in mind, we began to develop a small curriculum around a subject that interested our kids. Things you could fit in a week or stretch out over the course of a month. This would include various sources, such as books, DVDs, activities, cooking, and outings. Snuggle up with a good movie one day, and hit the road the next, but end the day having learned something new in a fun way. When we tried it out on our own kids we discovered that not only were they entertained and happy, but so were we!

Another aspect to a curriculum is that we attempt to keep them as cost-effective as possible. The week prior to a curriculum, we hop on our local library website and reserve all the books and DVDs. Most of the materials needed for activities can be found around the house. We wanted this to be as easy as possible to prep for.

We thought we’d share our ideas every now and then. Feel free to contribute other ideas and resources!

Our first post? Art! Clearly a huge topic, but a fun one to explore both in practice and in theory.

Dig in and enjoy!

Paper Examples

Color mixing with JELL-O.


Color Mixing with JELL-O
Color mixing with a twist. Create JELL-O cubes in primary colors and then squish to mix. We ultimately gave up on the plastic bags and just took the whole mess into the bath tub.

Painting with kid-friendly tools
Try using marbles, trucks, or spray bottles.

Food painting
Paint cookies or bagels with food coloring and a brush or food-safe markers.

Kitchen table art show
Spend an hour or so creating fine works of art with whatever media you have on hand, and then create a gallery of work on your kitchen table. Fabricating signage and indicating the artist and title of works always makes it feel much more official.

Paper Examples

A messy art party.


The Art Museum
Our art museum is currently free to the public, and with a little planning ahead, we had a docent give us a full hour session tailored specifically to a preschool audience.

Find local art
Charley Harper lived in our neck of the woods, so one day we set out on foot to find one of his murals. When we finally found it, the kids were amazed at its size and complexity. What can you find in your neighborhood?

Have a collaborative messy art party
Why wait for a birthday? Hold a messy art party with friends in a back yard or park, with each family bringing an activity to do with the group.

Paper Examples

The Cincinnati Art Museum, a kitchen table Art Show, and a visit to the Charlie Harper mural.


Art, Patrick McDonnell

The Art Lesson, Tomie dePaola

The Dot, Peter H. Reynolds

Make a World, Ed Emberley

Mona Lisa: The Secret Smile, Letizia Galli

More than Meets the Eye: Seeing Art with All Five Senses, Bob Raczka

Mouse Paint, Ellen Stoll Walsh

Oooh! Matisse, Mil Niepold (also available, Oooh! Picasso)

Tell Me a Picture, Quentin Blake

The Year with Grandma Moses, W. Nikola-Lisa


Linnea in Monet’s Garden

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists Series

Dropping in on Grandma Moses


April 7th, 2010   12:43 pm

Beautiful photos and fantastic ideas. Thanks for sharing.

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