Sand Drawing

sticker boardcolored sand, condiment bottles

  1. pour some of the bulk colored sand into condiment bottles
  2. peel off the cover sheet to expose the adhesive side of the sticker board
  3. pour sand onto sticker
  4. smooth sand around with hands if you’d like (another great sensory experience)
  5. dump excess in trash to reveal the design that was created by the very first sand to touch the sticker

A day late on the art in schools theme- #showyourart @americans4arts #kidscreate #creativekids #kidmade #arted

A post shared by Christy King (@christymking) on

Bubble Wrap Printing

bubble wrap, masking tape, tempera paint, squeeze bottles, brayers, paper, shaving cream (optional), a sink close by!

  1. tape bubble wrap with bubbles facing up all over a table
  2. ideally, put tempera paints in small squeeze bottles
  3. set brayers and squeeze bottles all along table
  4. squeeze a little bit (good luck) of TWO colors in one spot on the bubble wrap (I had only yellow, blue, and pink paint available to make sure their mixing would turn out pretty)
  5. roll paint out with a brayer
  6. make a print!
  7. repeat! (if your table is crowded, have children keep their prints paint side up on the floor near them in between prints)
  8. if there are a few extra minutes, add shaving cream to the table and let them mix it with the paint with their hands- great sensory experience!

Watercolor Monoprints

clear plastic, liquid watercolor paint, muffin pan or paint tray, watercolor paint brushes, watercolor paper, paper towels

  1. paint on plastic
  2. press paper onto paint
  3. wipe plastic clean and set print somewhere to dry
  4. repeat to make a second print!

This is super easy but also exciting for young children everyone to do- somehow it is always shocking when you peel your paper away and see the beautiful print made when the colors squished and mixed together!



Dream Catchers

embroidery hoops (these are 6 and 8 inch and I love the look with 6), markers or washi tape, yarn or ribbon, wooden beads, plastic needles

  1. decorate the wooden hoops with marker (these images also show some decorated with washi tape but it is tricky for kids to wrap it tightly enough to stick)
  2. attach decorative hanging pieces of yarn by folding one piece in half, holding by the loop, placing loop under the hoop, putting loose ends of yarn piece over hoop and through loop, and pulling! (directions I tell kids- so simple- see picture and video)
  3. add as many hanging pieces as you’d like
  4. use the plastic beading needle to thread beads onto hanging yarn and tie off the last one on each strand
  5. tie a long piece of yarn to the hoop and wrap around until there is only enough left to tie off, creating the web- I think less is more regarding the web because if kids play with it (it’s a jellyfish! it’s a hat with hair! etc) the web can come undone into a loose tangle and you’ll have to stretch it back to be taut again (this is also why we do the web part last)

I did this with 4-7 year olds so we kept it simple so they could work independently, but there are lots of ways to embellish and make these really fun for all ages!  Here is Art Bar‘s version, and Meri Cherry‘s.



Gift Guide

Here’s my 2016 list of favorite art supplies to use with little ones!

  • Rubber Brayers for all kinds of printmaking fun.  These can be used with printmaking inks, acrylic paint, or tempera paint.  I find that kids don’t even worry about the print they might be making… they could just roll that brayer in the paint all day!

  • Catalyst Silicone Wedge Tools for scraping textures into paint.  There are lots of different kinds, and some come with handles like paintbrushes as well (sometimes little ones set the wedges down in the paint and they don’t want to touch it again- it gets messy quickly).  I LOVE THESE.

  • Wooden beads for adding decorations to pretty much anything.  This pack from Dick Blick has a really fun assortment of sizes, and so far all of the holes are drilled through (hate it when wooden beads are closed…).


  • Liquid Watercolors which are gorgeous and bright, but easily spilled since they are liquid!  I love setting them out in condiment cups inside of paint trays (basically a muffin tin).  That way you can close the cup to save extra paint for later.



  • Yes! paste– I use this in my own art as well as with kids.  It’s amazing- archival once dried between surfaces, yet easy to clean up with soap and water (or just water honestly).  The consistency is very thick so you can position collage or assemblage items and they will stay put (no counting to ten thirty-five).  You can also water it down for a thinner consistency.

  • Crayola Premier Tempera.  This sounds crazy, but I really just started using tempera paint this year.  I researched which brands/versions are the best and decided on these.  Have not been disappointed!  The colors are bright and opaque and I don’t even miss using acrylics with kids (especially during clean up!!!!!!).  They aren’t actually marketed as washable (these are) but I notice a big difference between washing acrylic and these off of brushes and tables.


Thanks for reading!  Here is last year’s list (still love all of those things too!).

Inspired by Helen Frankenthaler

These turned out SO well- it was hard to send them home with the kids because I wanted to keep them all for myself!  First, we looked at pictures of Frankenthaler’s paintings and talked about how she made them and what they reminded us of.  The pouring step was inspired by Frankenthaler’s process, and the hammering was an added touch that was an idea from Purple Twig.

muslin, liquid watercolors in condiment cups, sponge brushes, plastic placemats or wax paper taped to table, hammers, flowers and leaves, dowels, sewing machine with white thread, white yarn

  1. cut muslin into about 10×20 inch pieces
  2. cover table with paper to soak up extra paint once pouring starts
  3. pour *a little* paint at a time on the fabric, and spread it around with a sponge brush
  4. let that dry, or leave empty spots that are dry for the hammering step
  5. place plastic or wax paper (anything that does not allow the pigment from leaves/flowers to soak into it) on the table (or floor- wherever kids can hammer without ruining the surface)
  6. place painted and dried muslin on plastic
  7. place a leaf or flower under muslin wherever you want the color to be smashed (with leaves- lay them flat if you want the leaf shape, or bunch them up to make it easier to squish color out)
  8. hammer! I did this with 4 and 5 year olds and they did great- I had them hold the hammer right at the top so they would have more control and be safer
  9. throw away the smashed leaf/flower
  10. repeat steps 7-9
  11. sew the top of the banner so that the dowel can slide in
  12. tie a small piece of yarn to the dowel for a hanger…we didn’t have time but kids could also decorate the hanger with beads


Chalk Drawing

I couldn’t find chalkboards at Staples or Walmart, and instead of ordering online or looking at art stores, I just bought black heavy duty poster paper.  It worked really well as a chalkboard, and the kids even washed it off repeatedly.  Still can be used again later as well!

heavy poster paper, chalk pastels, water, wash cloths, water container, tape (for wall)

  1. draw
  2. wash
  3. repeat!

Inspired by Alexander Calder

I found this lesson on Dick Blick, and modified it for my students who are much younger than the lesson’s intended students. I drew the shapes on the metallic paper, and the children used air dry clay instead of styrofoam for the base. You can click over to read the lesson, but since I changed it I will include my supply list here (paper, colored wooden beads, and thick wire from Dick Blick).  Check this post for Alexander Calder children’s books.

air dry clay, wire, Twisteez, wooden and plastic beads, metallic paper, white glue, brushes for glue