Time for Art: Painted Butterfly

I have a confession… sometimes I dread the weekly art projects. Not that I don’t like them or I don’t want to spend time with my kids, it’s more like how I dread my workout when I’m tired and unmotivated. Getting up for art projects that involve messy materials can be hard! Especially with little ones. But just like my daily workout, once I get into it I enjoy it and we have fun. When it’s done I’m so satisfied at the accomplishment. And so are my kids!

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So for that reason, sometimes our art projects get pushed back in the week when I feel more up to the task. Last week we made a cute caterpillar friend and so this week I love having the next activity be a butterfly friend. To see a list of materials and short instructions go here.

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And, it ended up not being too messy or stressful and my son loved it, he was so proud of his accomplishment!

We have discovered two ways to do this. For the first one paint dots, random blobs, and smears… basically just let your toddler or preschooler paint the coffee filter how they choose! IMG_3728

Wet the sponge to medium wetness- not too drippy and not too dry… and then let them squish the wet sponge on top of the coffee filter to squish all of the paint together.

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The second way to do this isn’t a ton different, and it borrows from the old sponge painting technique. Remember that? This time start with the wet sponge and paint the blobs and dots right onto the sponge… all over with all different colors. Once it’s covered in paint, squish it onto a coffee filter. Move it and squish again until all of the white is colored, or until your little artist is satisfied with their creation. The final product is similar, but it’s two fun ways to get this pretty painting technique onto the coffee filter.

The one on the left is the first technique (painting onto the coffee filter) the one on the right is painting with the sponge.

Once the paint is dry you can gather the middle together and twist a pipe cleaner around to keep it gathered with the painted wings on each side. Curl the ends of the pipe cleaner for the antennae and it’s all done! Such a cute, and easy craft! And it really wasn’t so bad right?

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A couple of tips for this activity:

  1. IMG_3727Kids love to learn what they can do on their own. We’ve got to make sure we find a balance between helping and doing it for them! Resign to the fact that it’ll get a little messy. Counters wash, clothes wash. Ultimately, they will gain a ton of satisfaction and pride when they can do as much on their own as possible. Know where your child is at, and know when to let them do it on their own and practice their independence and creativity.
  2. A lot of the fine motor experience comes from the painting and squishing of the sponge. So, again, even though it is tempting to want to step in and help, let them do it and get all of the benefits!
  3. Talking and describing are the ways our young children make new connections in their brains. Even if they don’t communicate back, take all of these opportunities to talk about what you see and ask questions! We might be doing an art project here, but it’s really building brain connections, communication, creativity, and tons of other stuff!

Happy Painting!

Time for Art: Apple Stamp

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I love finding different ways to do traditional activities. So, for this fall art activity we used apples as stamps. The apple is a good option because it gives your child a lot to grab on to, but works those little fine motor muscles at the same time.

Let’s talk about what is going on in this activity!

Fine motor: Anything that engages the small muscles of the hand and forearm are great for your young child. Grabbing the apple will definitely use those muscles!

Art/creative expression: If you think about your child’s life, a lot is predetermined for them. It’s great for them to get to do things that they are in absolute control.  Getting to pick their colors, which ones they use, where they stamp on their paper are all decisions that are completely up to them. And, as they do it they will be learning what happens each time they do it. It’s hard for those of us standing by, watching them mix up their paint, smear their stamps, and make a mess, but try to let your child have full control and get to experience that trial and error process!

Happy Playing!