Salt Drawings

Materials: chipboard or cardboard (I use the back of art paper pads), chalk pastels, white glue, salt, liquid droppers, liquid watercolors, cups or muffin/paint tray

  1. color chip board with chalk pastels, just to add background color!  could plan something fancy like using only cool colors with chalk and warm with watercolors, but I just let them choose from all
  2. drip glue designs (older kids could make shapes/pictures) on chip board
  3. sprinkle salt all over glue, then shake excess in trash
  4. drip liquid watercolors carefully onto salt, and watch it spread along the salt trail magically ūüôā

Hot Air Balloons

So, I’m obsessed with the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.¬† My husband and I went in October (book yourself a ticket for next year ASAP), and absolutely loved it- the festival, and New Mexico in general.¬† We also went to Ghost Ranch, where Georgia O’Keeffe visited and painted (and eventually bought a home near), so stay tuned for a few O’Keeffe-inspired lessons too.¬† Here is a paper mache hot air balloon lesson, complete with pics from our trip to show your students!¬† I can’t figure out how to upload a video I created, so contact me through my site if you’d like me to send it to you (it shows the balloons in action, being inflated, and landing).

Materials

bowl, water, flour, balloon, tempera paint, (I love these, especially if you can find the neon colors!), newspaper or recycled copy paper, string, berry basket (I bought these), OPTIONAL–> masking tape, cup, fishing wire, brad

  1. mix flour and water in a bowl- I have never measured this and it has always worked (sorry!), but it’s aboouut 1 tablespoon of flour to 1/2 cup of water
  2. cut papers into about one inch strips (can be any length, for little hands I wouldn’t do larger than 12 inches)
  3. blow up balloon as big as you want! and if you need to keep it still and from rolling, tape it to a disposable (or not) cup or bowl as a stand
  4. dip a strip into the mixture, scoot extra mixture down off of strip so that it drips back into bowl, and drape the wet strip onto the balloon
  5. repeat until the whole balloon is covered (maybe even twice, definitely some parts overlapping)
  6. let it dry! should take about 8 hours or overnight
  7. paint, and let that dry
  8. attach the basket – I wrapped the string around masking tape, taped that inside the ballon, then covered the masking tape with duct tape and tied the loose end to the basket
  9. if you want to hang them from the ceiling, you can push a brad through the top and use fishing wire (tied around the brad) so it looks like it’s floating

*Neon tempera paints make this really cute.  You can talk with the children about different designs and patterns ahead of time, using my pictures (scroll down) as inspiration.  Also, when I used newspaper I actually painted them with a coat of white chalk paint so the temperas would have a fresh bright base.  With the white recycled copy paper, there was no need so that saved some time and paint.

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The fiesta lasts a whole week and starts each day with “Dawn Patrol,” where the first balloons take off before sunrise and they GLOW.¬† It’s … so beautiful.

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My kids loved seeing the different kinds of balloons, as well as learning about the gondolas (the baskets hanging from each balloon).  There is so much you could do with this lesson- the gondolas are hand-woven with wicker so you could also incorporate weaving.

It was wild watching so many trucks just drive through the open field (which was full of festival-goers), unload, ask people to scoot back, and inflate their balloons!  Balloon Fiesta forever!

 

Easy Printmaking

Materials:  plastic baggies cut in half (or other piece of flat plastic), water soluble block printing ink, paint brushes, white paper, brayers

  1. paint a picture or design on the plastic bag with inks
  2. press face-down onto paper
  3. roll over the baggie with a brayer to press ink onto paper, then peel off
  4. repeat to make a “ghost print” or make a new design on a clean baggie and continue printing on the large paper as many times as you’d like!

Easy Sculptures

flower arrangement foam or styrofoam cut in small cubes, pipe cleaners of different colors and lengths, beads, foam paper, scissors

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  1. push a pipe cleaner into the styrofoam- can leave straight, or bend into different types of lines, can also poke the second end into the styrofoam too
  2. decorate with beads
  3. cut shapes from foam paper and push them onto pipe cleaner like a bead
  4. repeat!

These are so simple and the children are really engaged in the process. ¬†Michael’s sells little jewelry boxes and the last time I did this with kids, I cut the foam to fit inside the box for a finished touch. ¬†(I also bought a styrofoam cutter but it is possible to cut with a knife!)

Contact Paper Mural

contact paper, masking tape, windows if you have them handy ūüėČ , sequins, tissue paper shapes, decorative paper shapes

  1. pre-cut tissue and decorative papers into shapes- I did rectangles, squares, and triangles, and with the decorative papers I also made some circles with a punch
  2. place all items in little bins/bowls on a table (or floor) near the windows (or just spread them all over the table…)
  3. cut contact paper to fit window, and peel open
  4. tape contact paper sticky side out to the window
  5. add beautiful shapes!
  6. seal with either a second piece of contact paper or a piece of clear plastic film (transparency sheet)
  7. trim edges if needed, and send home with kids – for these, I cut each piece in half so each child could take one home

Silly Drawing Tools

Materials:

large paper, plastic forks, toothpicks, masking tape, card/mat/chip board, feathers, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, inks or liquid watercolors, muffin pan paint tray

  1. set out ink trays on each table, along with several drawing tools
  2. to make the pipe cleaner tool, simply bend one in half and wind the ends to keep them together
  3. to make the toothpick tool, connect several toothpicks with masking tape onto a small piece of either cardboard, mat board, or chip board
  4. tape a few feathers to a popsicle stick for the feather tool
  5. draw! (rinse soft tools between colors, and pat plastic and wood tools dry)

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Sand Drawing

sticker board, colored 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

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.