KIDDO CRAFT | Abstract Art!

kids make abstract art

When planning out the decor of our living room, I knew I wanted a large, minimal, mostly white abstract art piece to go above the credenza, sort of to anchor the space, since the wall is just a large mass of whiteness. Realizing how expensive original art can be, and how difficult finding the perfect oversize print can be, I decided to make my own! Well, sort of. I commissioned my children to paint an abstract piece for me.

Of course, when you commission your children to make art, you never know what you’re going to get. I was a little nervous, but I figured, hey, if we hate it, we can let them paint over it until we like it! Which is sort of what I did anyway. Here’s my experience…

kids make abstract art

I purchased large canvas stretchers from a local craft/art supply shop, and a piece of canvas by the yard. I used my staple gun and clamps to stretch the canvas across the wood frame, then rolled over top of it with some wall primer, because we always have plenty of it around, and I didn’t want to have to buy a ton of gesso to prep the canvas.

kids make abstract art

I bought some large bottles of acrylic paint, and mixed a variety of neutral hues and shades into disposable bowls. Then I grabbed a couple of roller sizes, a paint tray, big paint brushes, little paint brushes, and put out two shades of paint to get the kids started. After Lucy became bored with the paint and brushes she started with, I brought out different brushes and different shades of paint.

Now, you might wonder how much guidance I gave as the kiddos painted. Really, this was more a sensory exercise than it was an unguided art experiment, so yeah, I was definitely involved with art directing this piece! Ha! I obviously selected all of the colors (or lack thereof) involved, but I was pretty surprised with how much I liked what Lucy created with it. I would suggest things from time to time, like, “What about working in that corner over there?” Or, “Have you tried to make blotches with the tip of the brush?” I suggested blending more, splotching, long brush strokes, and whatever else came to mind, but she did with those directions what she wanted. And honestly, the reason I had the kids make the art instead of me, is because I love how open-ended their minds are, without any preconceived notion of what they want their creation to look like. At least at this age, they can just paint abstractly in a way that I never can.

kids make abstract art

Juniper was newly two years old at the time of this art project, so I gave her sections to work on, and she just enjoyed painting with a small brush. She definitely smeared the paint around a bit with her body at times, but it all adds to the freeform charm of the thing!

I do plan to frame the canvas soon, and try some more canvases of medium and smaller sizes with the kids. I’ll share more about different guidance techniques and more of letting Lucy do whatever she wants on the canvas. I’m really excited to see how her creations come together!

Polka Dotted Pumpkins

polka dot jack-o-lanterns

I’m always a little sad when daylight begins to dwindle every Fall, but then I remember how much I love the cozy, comforting glow of candlelight in the evenings! Lucy and I got a jump start on cozy-lit evenings with our jack-o-lantern project we did last week.

Lucy was relatively patient as I took pictures along the way, and surprisingly she was grossed out by the pumpkin guts, so I did all the scooping and scavenging for seeds. (This is the girl who loves digging for bugs and playing in the mud. Make it productive, and it’s not as fun, though!)

Making jack-o-lanterns

According to Lucy, pumpkins smell like watermelon. And her favorite was the medium-size tan pumpkin. I loved that one too, and it’s deep orange insides were a surprise.

Check out how we created these jack-o-lanterns over at A Beautiful Mess. I didn’t want to get too crazy this early in the season by making a whole batch of these cuties, only to have them rot before Halloween. So I think I’ll wait a bit and make a few more for our front stoop. Gotta up the trick-or-treat game this year— make a good impression in the new neighborhood and all that! :)

polka dot jack-o-lanterns



KIDDO CRAFT | Tic Tac Toe Snack Board

kid craft ideas- snack game board

One of the hardest parts of moving, from the kiddos’ perspective, is that crafting has not been easy to come by! Most of our craft supplies are still packed up, and we’ve only just began to have a space suitable for sitting and crafting the day away. But I looked around and found some leftover materials from our kitchen renovation, and came up with a fun craft Lucy really enjoyed, especially since in the end it involved playing games while eating a favorite snack.

I partnered with Horizon Organic on this project to feature their honey graham snacks, but this project would also work great with Horizon cheese shapes and your kiddo’s favorite fruit. Follow Horizon on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for more fun snack ideas!

kid craft ideas- snack game board

DIY snack game board

This project was free for me to make, because I already have the materials on hand. But if you don’t have scrap wood, chalk paint, and sandpaper laying around, they aren’t to expensive to pick up in stores.

MATERIALS

  • 5×5 piece of wood
  • sandpaper (We started with 80 grit and finished with 180)
  • white chalk paint, or white primer
  • artist’s paint brush
  • optional: wax or your sealer of choice— butcher block oil is a great food-safe option

DIY snack game board

Lucy has seen me working with power tools and building things for as long as she’s been alive. It’s a great passion of mine to empower her to be able to do and create anything she can imagine. But first, she needs to get to know the fundamentals of woodworking. I cut the wood before we got started, which left jagged edges that needed smoothed out. We talked about why we sand wood, and how to sand in the direction of the grain. Also, we talked about beginning with a lower grit (“more bumpy”) sandpaper to smooth out and rough edges and uneven places, then transitioning to a higher grit (“less bumpy”) sandpaper to smooth out the scratches and make it nice to touch.

It was really special to see her focus so much on getting out all of the scratches and corners! Look at that concentration.

kid craft ideas

After we wiped the saw dust off of our boards, we got out chalk paint to do our lines. We used chalk paint because it doesn’t require primer. But using primer would’ve worked too!

Painting lines was also a great preschool exercise for her. She did a pretty good job, I thought. But she did ask me, “Why is yours better than mine?” I told her I’ve had lots of practice. And then she told me she was going to practice a lot so she could be better than me. Ha! Sounds like a plan.

When I took this photo (above), Lucy asked me, “Do I look like an artist?”

kid craft ideas

Her first line was globbiest, but she quickly learned how to adjust to make finer, straighter lines. (I lightly drew the lines in pencil first, so she could trace them.)

kid craft ideas- snack game board

After the paint dried, we got out our Horizon Organic graham game pieces and began to play tic tac toe. I think I won five games in a row before she figured out she needed to focus more on blocking me than filling up the board with her chocolate game pieces.

kid craft ideas- snack game board

Lucy and I really had a nice time making these boards together! It was just enough of a process to be interesting to her, but not so long that it tested her patience too much for just a fun craft. I’m already thinking about other games we can make together! Bonus points if food is involved!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine.

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