Colorful valentine kids’ project

multihearts

Maybe this would be a perfect Valentine Day project to do with your kids today. I came across this lesson “Heart Rubbings” on this wonderful site, everything preschool.

First I scrounged up a piece of recycled cardboard and cut it into boards about 7 x 10″. Then I hot glue gunned bunches of hearts on each board. I introduced the project to the kids as “invisible bumpy hearts”. They each felt the texture of the raised glue hearts (dry and cooled of course). I taped the boards on the table and then taped recycled white computer paper over the boards. The kids scribbled and excitedly the crayon rubbings revealed the hearts. They had a blast and most of them wanted to do at least 2 rubbings.

Learnings: texture, drawing pressure, movement.

I’m thinking of other subject matter to use for rubbings for more kids’ projects and in my own art. This would also be great for wrapping paper, collage backgrounds, etc.

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3 and 4 year olds make recycle scarecrows

I’ve been working with the Coastside Children’s Programs preschool over the last month. We have been learning about what “recycling” means and using these materials for art making.

Here are some materials we were looking at initially. Old bamboo fencing, cans, gardening tools.

Here is where we ended up. We are entering our 16 “scarecrow recycle kids” in a contest for the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin festival.

Kids and seniors create their own story

If the slideshow stops, click on the “x” in the circle in the upper right corner of the show.

Well what a fun and creative blast we had! I recently facilitated an Inter-generational Art class with Coastside Children’s Programs and Coastside Adult Day Health Center.

Why intergenerational art? I think it is important and therapeutic for different ages to have experiences together. In order for communities to be whole, they have to have respect and understanding of all its members, no matter what their age. And with our current lifestyles, many of us are miles away from our families and do not get a chance to be with our different generations. My parents are in Nevada and my mother has Alzheimer’s disease, so I have compassion and understanding for families in this situation. When my mother was living closer and at home, she and I did some art together and it allowed us to communicate in a whole new way and in the moment. I really wanted to bring this intergenerational experience out into the world.

The process – Like when you bring any kind of group together, everyone was a little shy at first, but once we got going the markers and pastels were scribbling with vigor. First we sat in a circle with interspersed seniors and kids, and did introductions. Everyone announced their favorite color and I think blue won as the most popular. Then we passed a special talking object, so when it was their turn, each person contributed to a story we made up together. I really wanted to create something together in the here and now. That way no one had to remember anything since we were making a new story. If anyone got stuck when it was their turn, some one helped out with an idea.

Communication was an issue we worked with. One of the centers assistants reminded me to speak loudly so all the seniors could hear and Emma from the children’s group did some translation into Spanish so everyone could understand and contribute.

After we finished with the story, I read it out loud to the group and then they started drawing. We made sure all the characters and activities in the story were in the drawing. The canvas was a large white paper which was taped on the round table. As the large communal art piece developed, it became a mandala of intergenerational creativity, a mutual story of their own.

The seniors asked the kids about some of their drawing and they responded with pride, explaining their art. Some of the seniors and kids worked together, each drawing their own versions of some of the characters and comparing them.

At the end of the hour, the Coastside Children sang “itsy bitsy spider” in English and Spanish, as a thank you to the Seniors.

To finish the story mandalas I added some stitching along the edges and wrote the stories in a spiral for the centers.

Here are the two stories created by the kids and seniors:

THE SNAKE, HER FRIEND, AND THE ELEPHANT – Once upon a time there was a big storm and it was very rainy. A little snake and her friend named John woke up in the morning and looked out the window. They saw an elephant in the front yard. The snake and John took the elephant to the hillside to eat some grass. The sun came out and so did the flowers. They were pink and purple. They picked some flowers and took them to grandma’s house. She opened the door and said, “Thanks for coming to see me!” Grandma cooked them up a bear. It was so salty; they had to drink a lot of water. Then of course they all had to use the potty. It was time to go, so they put on their raincoats again and ran outside. Next the snake and John and the elephant went to church to say some prayers. After a long day they all went home to see their mom and dad, who took them inside and put them to bed and everyone went to sleep.

PANCAKES AND MORE PANCAKES – Once upon a time there was a horse named Charlie and he had a pony friend named Michael. They woke up and had pancakes for breakfast and went out to have some fun. They played and played with a big green ball. After awhile they got hungry again and gobbled down some carrots. After their snack they went over to Adult Day Health Center to visit everybody. Charlie and Michael drew some flowers and some birds. Then they galloped over to see Dolly and she cooked them up some more pancakes, this time with yummy syrup and hot chocolate. Charlie and Michael heard a noise up in the sky and ran outside to see a butterfly. “Hi butterfly!” they neighed. Now it was time to go home and rest. “But, I don’t want to take a nap!” said Charlie. So Charlie and Michael played and played soccer till the sun went down. And now they were tired.

Here is the format I used for the storymaking:

Once upon a time there was a _________________named_________________ and he/she had a friend named_____________. They woke up in the morning and _________. They looked (up or out the window or where ever makes sense with the developing story and saw _______________ so they______________. ( Create the rest of the story and blanks to help develop the storyline.) Then they went to visit, etc ________________ and had a, or did  ______________. They ______________ and saw _____________. It started to get dark so they________________________. On the way back they ______________________. Why don’t we _____________said__________. So they _________.

Keep in mind you want everyone to get at least one turn to add to the story. While the story is developing write it down, so you can read it back to the participants so they can visually create the story.

Contact me, Judy Shintani, for more info on this project. I am available to facilitate Inter-generational art projects, children, and senior art classes in the SF Bay Area or can travel to your location.

Invitation to write a story about your mother

Since Mother’s Day is coming up, maybe you are thinking about your mom like I am.

I’d like to invite you to write a story, an experience about your mother. It could be a story you heard or an interaction you had with her. Anything really that you would like to share. You could add it to the comments and then it will be shared with who ever reads this blog and anyone you want to send the link to.

I’ll start off with a story about my mom…

momI really have my mom to thank for me being an artist and an art teacher. When I was around 3 or 4 years old, she was trying to find some kind of activity that I would like to do. First she tried swimming. I think she really wanted me to learn how to swim because she wasn’t so hot at it, even though she grew up in Hawaii. Well, I did not do too well at that. (Though I did learn eventually, but that is another story). Then she took me to ballet lessons. I was not too graceful, kinda an ugly duckling type, so that did not last too long. Well, what next? How about art? She took me to a wonderful art teacher named Donna. Donna was very kind and patient. I mostly remember drawing cats and dogs. After that I was constantly drawing. The refrigerator was covered with my art. All my aunts got letters stuffed with my drawings. As I grew older, my mom the teacher, would have me work on her bulletin boards in her class room. I learned to work large. The subject matter was anything from season themed to lessons on geography or science, what ever she was focusing on with her students. I’m glad she kept at it at an early age, to find the right fit for my interest and talent.

Where kids can have fun and mom can shop

sandbox

One of the best store environments I have seen in a while! The Pt Reyes Surf Shop has a sand box in front of their dressing room, complete with a slide. My guess is many surfing mom and dads or maybe just parents that want to browse at cool clothes, come here and have a great time while their kids are happily occupied in the sand.

Christmas fun for kids AND adults at Rancho Siempre Verde

A bunch of us went to Rancho Siempre Verde over the weekend. It is a Christmas tree farm and a lot more. I have to say I was a bit dubious since I didn’t even need a Christmas tree, but S.T. insisted it was a fun time and she can be quite persuasive. So S.T. and Sandy and little Joey and I climbed in the car and Clifford and Leslie, with Red and Blue (their cute cattle dogs) followed us to this magical place on Highway One, south of Pigeon Point Lighthouse. AND we had a blast!

As they say on their website:

“For 40 years, family and friends have made Rancho Siempre Verde a lively and beautiful place to enjoy the Christmas season. We invite you to come swing to your heart’s content, picnic overlooking the Pacific Ocean, take a tractor ride, roast marshmallows by the fire, romp in the hay, make a wreath, and stroll leisurely through the fields in search of your perfect tree. We promise no plastic Santas, no long lines, and no parking-lot-style Christmas trees. Just a relaxed rural farm with a diversity of beautiful trees and lots of very friendly people.

Leslie and I made wreathes for $10 each and I think that is a bargain since I’ve seen them in stores for $35. We clipped our own trimmings from a variety of branches they provided and worked with a circular metal ring to make our creations. Sandy helped me wire in some pine cones. Some other people who obviously had been here before, brought some of their own stuff to mix into their wreathes.

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Then we all hiked up the hill to try out the swings and make music on the larger than life xylophones. Well, if you ever want to make your “kid” come out – you must experience the swings because they are a blast!

None of us ended up getting Christmas trees, we just enjoyed the place and making wreathes. It was nice that it is not the usual tree lot with everyone clamoring to find “the best tree” and haggling over the price.

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Rancho Siempre Verde is open the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 23 and every weekend through Sunday, December 23. This includes November 23, 24, & 25; December 1st & 2nd, 8th & 9th, 15th & 16th, 22nd, 23rd and until 12 noon on the 24th. We are open from 9 AM to 5 PM, rain or shine.

Girls design their own keyboards

I thought this was fascinating! Interesting input from the new generation. Mostly I love the creativity of these kids!

The Laptop Club 
When is your kid old enough to use a computer? Even “wired” moms are leery of letting the little ones go at it lest they become addicted, but now comes The Laptop Club, a bunch of 7-to-9-year-olds (mostly girls) at a North Carolina Montessori after-school program, who draw their own keyboards on construction paper and wear them out with constant use. These kids came up with this idea without adult coaching. “….the paper laptops have keyboard buttons assigned to “Barbie.com,” “best friends” next to “friends,” “HP [Harry Potter] trivia.”

Read more here: http://www.communityarts.net/blog/archives/2007/11/the_laptop_club.php