Arts and Crafts

Make a Summer Journal to Record Vacation Memories

July 6, 2013

Summer journalWith summer vacation in full swing now, it’s really hard to think about going back to school in the fall and answering the age old question: “What did you do on your summer vacation?”

Make that time-honored topic easy to address for your kids by creating fun and colorful summer journals. My kids have already started working on theirs, and over the next few weeks, they’ll write about all the experiences they had over the summer, and fill their journals with photos, postcards, drawings, and other reminders of vacation fun.

There are no hard and fast rules for creating a summer journal with your kids. We use simple three-ring binders, but you might like to use an acid-free sketchbook or a spiral-bound notebook. We like using the binders because you can put all kinds of different things in them. Get out the three-hole punch and you can put drawings, brochures, and other souvenirs from your summer in them. Clear plastic sheet protectors can be used to hold things like postcards, brochures, and pressed flowers.

We also get the kind of binders with the clear plastic sleeves on the cover, so the kids can personalize their journals by sliding a drawing onto the front. Of course if you have a plain binder or other type of notebook you can customize it in other colorful ways, with stickers, paint, glitter, or anything else that your imagination can dream up.

Surprise Dad with a Custom BBQ Apron

June 15, 2013

Father's Day BBQ ApronFor Father's Day, sometimes the best gifts for Dad are those that the kids make and personalize themselves. If Dad's the grilling type, you can have the kids can make him this cute custom BBQ apron. It's easy to put together and Dad will love it!

You'll need:

  • A plain cotton apron
  • A pencil
  • Fabric paints

 All of the supplies needed for this apron can be found at a craft store like Michael's. Plan out a design and wording for your apron. I had the kids decorate this one with their handprints first, to remind Dad of how old they were when they made this for him.

Fun Shamrock Potato Prints for St. Patrick’s Day

March 12, 2013

Shamrock potato printsMy daughter loves working with paint, so I thought this would be the perfect craft for her to make for St. Patrick's Day. These potato print shamrocks are a fun project for the little ones. We made a bunch of these cool shamrock prints and hung them throughout the house to decorate for the holiday.

This project is really easy and fun, and the kids think it’s neat that they’re using something they usually eat to create a colorful craft.

To make these potato print cards you'll need:

Create a Cute Butterfly Card for Your Valentine

February 6, 2013

My kids always love to make their own unique valentines to give to friends and classmates. This butterfly-shaped card holds either a candy stick or a pencil (especially handy when your child has a teacher who discourages giving candy away in class), and above all is easy to make and decorate.

My daughter cut out the butterfly shape with kid-safe scissors, and decorated the card with foam stickers. Of course you could embellish yours with whatever you like: crayons, markers, paint, or whatever you happen to have in your crafts bin.

For this project you'll need:

Valentine's Day Tissue Paper Suncatchers

January 19, 2013

Valentine's Day suncatchersAlthough it's been really cold lately, it's also been bright and sunny. Since Valentine's Day is just around the corner, we decided to make these colorful heart-shaped tissue paper suncatchers.

They have a beautiful stained glass look, and will brighten up any room, especially with this bright winter sunlight.

This craft is easy to make and is suitable for children of all ages, with adult supervision.

You don't have to make these just for Valentine's Day—they're suitable for any occasion or any time you just want to make a neat, beautiful craft.

New Children's Art Program in Mill Valley: The Little Art Studio

January 7, 2013

The Little Art Studio in Mill ValleyIf you're a southern Marin parent looking for art classes for your children, then check out the new Little Art Studio in Mill Valley. Owned and operated by Mill Valley based fine artist and art educator, Jhaya Warmington, the Little Art Studio offers a variety of fun and unique art classes and art themed birthday parties for children aged of 1 ½  to 12.

Each class is focused around a specific art medium or technique, and the children are encouraged to explore art materials in an open, safe, and supportive environment. The emphasis is on the creative process rather than the product, but the children always come away with incredible works of art. Small classes offer children a comfortable, creative, age-appropriate atmosphere, while promoting cooperation and connections. The students constantly watch each other, learn from each other, and learn how to work together.

Young Writer/Artist Bookmaking Workshop at Northbay Artworks

October 28, 2012

Young Writers BookIf your child is naturally talented in writing, artistic or just loves to tell stories, then check out the Young Writer/Artist Bookmaking Workshops this fall at North Bay Artworks in Novato. In this workshop, children will work with writer Brenda Zahn and artist Alice Orth to create and publish a children's book of their very own.

This workshop will be offered once a month on two consecutive Saturday mornings from 10:30 am–12:30 pm or in one four-hour session from 1–5 pm. Every month has a theme.

In this four-hour art and writing workshop you'll get a professional quality published book of your child’s story and artwork, a working journal of your child's notes and sketches as tools for the future, and a fun adventure for your child for building skills and confidence!

Share this special memory and order more copies of your child’s book—they're great for holiday gifts!

Join Studio 4 Art’s Fifth Birthday Party with a Free Art Day!

August 22, 2012

Free art day to celebrate Studio 4 Art's fifth birthdayNovato's Studio 4 Art celebrates its fifth birthday with its annual free art day from 10 am to 1 pm this Saturday, August 25. Come be part of the birthday festivities and create your own original piece of art! Studio 4 Art is located in downtown Novato at 1133 Grant Avenue.

Reserve your spot for the free art day through Studio 4 Art’s Facebook page—state the number of people in your group when reserving your time slot of 10 am, 11 am, or noon. You can choose to create in clay, painting, or illustration.

Studio 4 Art continues to grow and bring new programs to Novato and the surrounding areas of Marin and Sonoma. Last year the studio announced the opening of its second art workspace on the property called the Annex and it has been bustling with activity from workshops, to camps, to birthday parties, and student art shows. Also this past year, programs expanded to include the very popular teen-only art camp and portfolio building class, giving the middle and high school set an opportunity to work with peers in a focused manner to learn and hone in specific art interests and skills.

Kiwi Crates Bring Fun and Learning to Your Doorstep

July 30, 2012

Kiwi CrateMy kids love keeping busy with hands-on activities, whether they're crafts or science projects, or art. While I try to keep a good stock of supplies for creative activities on hand, sometimes it's a stretch to come up with something new and put it together with what I have. That's one of the reasons we were so excited to get our hands on a sample of the new Kiwi Crates—activity kits designed to keep kids engaged and busy.

Created by Bay Area mom Sandra Lin, Kiwi Crates operate on a subscription service: for $19.95 a month, you get a crate of creativity appropriate for kids ages 3–7 delivered to your door. Themes include "Colorful Inspiration", "Dig into Dinosaurs", and "Growing Gardens".

Our sample was the Growing Gardens crate, the contents of which are pictured below. It contained three projects: a window garden kit to plant and grow beans and squash indoors, supplies to create our own one-of-a-kind veggie pots, and some recipe cards to write down the tasty creations that we'll eventually make with our vegetables.

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