Posts Tagged ‘arts and crafts for kids’

23rd Annual Celebration of Fine Art...come see the artists at work!

Yes, spring break is upon us and if you are anything like me, you are scrambling to keep kids busy with things other than video games and movies! In my hunt for the affordable (and hopefully sneaking in that somewhat educational!) entertainment in the Valley of the Sun, I have discovered a real gem! Today I took my five children (ages 2 through 12) to the Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ.

The show highlights work from over 100 artists, some local and some traveling from out of state to attend. What’s fun about a glorified outdoor art museum you might ask? Well, the coolest thing about this art exhibit is the artists are actually on site WORKING on their art! You can ask questions, see demonstrations of their technique, or just shoot the breeze about the latest trends. My kids LOVE that they can actually see the artists at work and ask questions! My youngest loved all the colors and because many of the artists enjoy bringing their pets on site, he LOVED playing with the friendly little pups resting at the foot of several of the artists. One particular artist today painted birds and could mimic a bird call so convincingly that we had to look around for a minute for the bird before we realized it was her!

Whitney Peckman was one of our favorite artists! Here she displays some of her hand sculpted and painted gourds. Amazing!

Rather than learn from art teachers who are bound by certain techniques they are required to teach, these artists have no such restrictions and they truly let their imaginations go wild with the off-the-wall techniques they’ve invented, the customized processes they’ve had to discover and the media they have developed to answer that creative call!

When we arrived home this afternoon from over 3 hours there, my kids all rushed to our art cabinet and immediately took to making their own wildly creative pieces with all their new ideas!

Looking to get inspired? This is your chance! When we arrived home this afternoon from over 3 hours there, my kids all rushed to our art cabinet and immediately took to making their own wildly creative pieces with all their new ideas!

The event runs through March 24th and is open daily from 10am to 6pm. It’s located on the SW corner of Hayden Rd. and Loop 101 (Exit 35 from the 101). Just look for the big white tents! The best part?? It’s FREE for kids under 12!!! Yes, that’s right…FREE! Adults are $10 but if you go to the 23rd Annual Celebration of Fine Art website, you can download a 2 for 1 coupon for adult tickets.

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Laveen is having their Laveen Art League and 2nd Friday Community Market This Friday, December 14th from 6:00pm-9:00pm in the South Mountain Community College – Laveen Campus courtyard.

The Laveen Art League will have their on campus gallery open for viewing of art from the majority of Laveen Art League members. The artists that will be hanging in two rooms work in a variety of mediums, such as papercrafting, jewelry, photography, mixed media, painting, drawing and more. On Friday December 14th, there will also be children’s activities and crafts, like a “Seek and Find” activity as well as an “Art Petting Zoo”, Music and Puppetry performances, Paint and Take and a visit from Santa Himself!

Fantasy Face will be face painting at this event so come join us for some holiday glitter!

Fantasy Faces (courtesy of yours truly!) will also be hanging out with Santa to paint faces and bring some holiday glitter to your smile! So stop by and get a unique work of art you can wear all night long!

Some other vendors you might recognize are Kettlecorn, Native American Frybread, It’s a Divine Bakery, Double L Originals, The Spirit Box, Native American Jewelry (Rosina), Rider’s Ranch, Maricopa County Stormworks and City of Phoenix, Hot Dog cart, 4 Elements, Fantasy Faces, Joyce, Bethany and Capiz by the Sea!

Outside the gallery will be a wonderful selection of food and craft vendors, with beautiful handmade crafts and delicious food. While some do take debit/credit, you may want to bring some cash with you for when you find something you love!

This is a not to be missed holiday event! The location is South Mountain Community College Campus at 5001 W Dobbins Road, Laveen, AZ 85339.

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“NO! Not flashcards, mom! They’re BORING!”…

You know what? My daughter was RIGHT! Being more along the artistic and music side myself, flashcards did nothing more than frustrate and bore me as a kid too and I have to admit, they’re not any more interesting as an adult! While they do still have their place in education, we have stumbled across some wonderful activities that can not only be fun, but of equal educational benefit. And even better, YOU can make these at home! And in most cases, for less than a dollar!

Pool Noodle Learning Game

The first is a number game. Take a rope of about two feet and knot it at one end. Insert this knotted end into a whiffle ball. Take a couple of pool noodles of varying colors (ours were blue, yellow, white and pink) and cut from the end 2 three inch cylinders from each color plus one extra from the color of your choice. Write a number on each cylinder, 1-9. Now you can create any number of combinations of colors or numbers for your child to try to duplicate. Your child can then string the appropriate color or number in order onto the string that you attached to the whiffle ball. This not only works on dexterity but on color and number recognition as well as pattern association…and it’s lots of fun!

The second activity we have for you is called a Tangram. For those of you unfamiliar with Tangrams, they are a puzzle brought out of China. Using several predetermined shapes (click here to check out a site devoted to Tangram printouts), your child can move the shapes around until they create a recognizable shape. They can either try to duplicate shapes already created, or make up their own. The catch is that all the shapes must be used and none of them can overlap! It’s quite a challenge!

Now we don’t want to leave out those early readers! So here’s one more activity that’s great to help them with their phonograms as they start to learn how to blend sounds and recognize letter combinations. Take a plastic easter egg. On one side of the seam where the egg comes together, write the letter combination “at”. One the other side of the seam write “h”, “r”, “c” and “b”…one above the other along the seam. Now when you twist the egg, the “at” will align with one of the other letters to form a word. You can print small pictures of a “hat”, a “rat”, a “cat” and a “bat” and cut them out to fit inside the egg. As your child twists the egg and discovers the new letter combinations, they can try to guess what’s inside the egg!

Word Family Eggs

We hope you enjoy some of these learning crafts with your children! Happy “back-to-school” month! If you have any fun learning crafts that you have found helpful, please share them in the comments! We’d love to hear what has worked for you and your family!

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It’s back to school time!

July 12th, 2012 12:41am

Yes, we know…you’re not ready! That’s where we can help! Summer is fast coming to a close as we gear up for another exciting school year full of class activities, programs, sports events and about a million other fun activities that we love to help our kiddos excel in! One of the hardest things for young children to understand is time management. They just don’t recognize the passing of time as acutely as we adults do. One of the best ways to help them learn this concept is to give them a visual! Our calendars can help your children understand the order of the days, weeks and even months and how this passage of time affects them in preparing for upcoming activities, whether it be practicing for a piano recital or working on a project for school. So visit our calendars page and get started now! You can make a different calendar for each one of your children so only the events specific to them are represented and print it out for them to track.

Create your very own "Mom, I'm bored" box!

We also recognize that as summer is winding down, it becomes more and more difficult to find activities that can keep your kiddos busy. You begin to hear those dreaded words, “mom, I’m BORED!”. One of the ideas that has worked wonders at our house this summer is to create a “mom, I’m bored box” and fill it with chores, fun activities the kids complained all year that they never had time to do (think crafts, reading, games, sports, etc.), learning activities (math worksheets, reading passages, etc.)…let the kids help you write them all out on separate scraps of paper so they can contribute their own ideas as well. My kids and I made a game out of it so that anytime they came to me with the “mom, I’m bored” comment, I would point their little tooshes to the box. They would have to pick an activity and the deal was, whatever they picked, they HAD to do (whether it was fun or work)! Since they helped get all the ideas in the box, they all made a competition out of it to see who got the “luck of the draw”! It has been quite comical and made our summer so much fun!

If you have some summer boredom buster ideas that have worked for your family, please share them in our forum!

We wish you luck in your back-to-school preparations and hope you share our excitement for another great year of learning and growing!

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What are YOU thankful for?…

November 4th, 2011 12:58am

We had lots of little goblins and ghoulies this Halloween and once again, made it all home safely with our overstuffed bags of candy! Aside from another scorpion sighting, we made it through this spooky holiday unscathed! We hope your Halloween was equally safe and full of more treats than tricks.

Looking forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, it is easy to start reflecting on the many blessings in our lives. In this difficult economy with financial stresses and economic woes, it is sometimes easy to forget the important things in our lives. It is equally difficult for our children to appreciate the small but important blessings in their lives. We’ve got some fun family activities that might help everyone count those most important daily blessings in our lives. Hope this gives everyone some positive family fun!…

Create a Thankful Paper Chain

Similar to a  regular paper chain (cut strips of paper and connect them together as loops) but a Thankful Paper Chain has things you are thankful for written on each paper strip. Take a moment each day of November to add chains and by Thanksgiving, you’ll have a unique reminder of the blessings in your lives! Use green and white paper and keep it up as a Christmas decoration!

Giving Thanks Placemats

The goal here is to create something that can be a reminder of each year of your childs life and the things they were most thankful for that year. Help your kids cut out pictures, draw, paste special items or photos and make a collage of all these materials. Take the completed collage to a copy shop and have it laminated! Don’t forget to put your childs name and the date on it!

Basket of Leaves

Create a small paper box and cut out leaves from different colored paper (fall colors of course!). This will be their Basket ‘O Blessings! Have your kids write something they are thankful for on each leaf and put them in each others boxes. Keep collecting leaves through the next few weeks. At Thanksgiving, have each child read through the leaves in their boxes and see if they are thankful for the same things or maybe they missed a few! It will be a good exercise for your kids to see what each of them is thankful for and how their blessings differ. Also a great opportunity for each child to anonymously tell their siblings things they are thankful for about that person…great esteem builder!

We hope this gives you some fun ideas for this Thanksgiving season!

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October Festival!

October 20th, 2011 7:13pm

Ok, I know this is somewhat limiting to all of you out there not currently in Arizona. But for those of you burned out on the traditional pumpkin patches of Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek or Mother Nature’s Farm in Gilbert, we’ve got a new alternative for you! Hop on over to DeWitt Stables and let your kids enjoy “The Patch of Pumpkins, Pets and Ponies”! You definitely can’t beat the price! Kids under 3 are FREE and admission is $5.00 for 3 and up. Families can purchase a group ticket for only $25.00! They also have special rates for larger groups.

Besides picking out that perfect pumpkin from their pumpkin patch, kids can enjoy hayrides, a petting zoo, pony rides, a hay maze, a craft fair, games and even more rides! The festival hours are Fridays from noon until dark and Saturdays from 10:00am until dark.

DeWitt Stables is located at 2211 E. Quince in Mesa, just 1/2 mile north of the 202 Red Mountain on Gilbert Rd. For more information, call (480) 717-9540 or visit their website at www.dewittstables.com

Be sure to mark your calendars with our pumpkin graphic to help remind your little ones of the upcoming holiday fun! Halloween is almost upon us!

Kids will love this great petting zoo!

Pony rides are sure to delight those little western rustlers!

Don't forget to stop by the pumpkin patch for the perfect holiday pumpkin!

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It’s time to visit the pumpkin patch!!

October 10th, 2010 10:41am

Are your kids just chomping at the bit to get their little hands on what is sure to be another Halloween masterpiece of Jack o lantern proportions? There are of course very inexpensive ways to make these pumpkin purchases and while Walmart tops our list of cheap alternatives, we’ve got some suggestions for helping you make this festive purchase a memorable experience for your little one! Taking your little one right out into the pumpkin field to retrieve their special pumpkin can be a very fun activity to help your child mark he season. Check out some of these options…

PUMPKIN AND CHILI PARTY

Schnepf Farms, 24810 Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. Phone: 480-987-3100. Website: www.schnepffarms.com

Description: Voted as one of the best family friendly experiences by Phoenix Magazine, this pumpkin patch festival offers something for everyone. Featured rides are a hay wagon, a mini roller coaster, carousels and trains. Try finding your way through a 4- or 10-acre cornfield maze. And check out the chili.

Times: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
 
Prices: $15, $10 military. $12 discount tickets available at Fry’s. Be aware that a lot of the farm activities are priced a la carte so discount tickets are definitely recommended. This is not a cheap experience but it is sure a lot of fun for the kids!

PUMPKIN PATCH

Mother Nature’s Farm, 1663 E. Baseline Road, Gilbert. Phone: 480-892-5874. Website: mothernaturesfarm.com

Description:  Families can purchase pumpkins and decorate them, plus take part in activities including an inflatable bounce house, hayrides, a straw bounce, animal feeding and Alexander’s Adventure Maze created with bales of hay.
 
Times: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily through Nov. 5.

Prices: $7, $3 adults. 

Wherever you decide to purchase your pumpkins this year though, keep your little ones age in mind when it comes time to decorating. Remember, pumpkins don’t necessarily need to be “carved”. Fingerpaints can be an especially popular way for the youngest of your crew to still enjoy the experience. Topping your childs painted creations with a little glow in the dark paint or fingernail polish, glitter glue or the like, available at most grocery stores, and you’re good to go!

Does your enjoy Mr. Potato Head? How about working on the work bench with their play hammer and pols? Well, Paper Magic Group from Creative Seasonal Solutions has some great pumpkin decorating kits available at your local Fry’s Marketplace. The Fright Lights kit allow your child to pound in some transparent colored pegs with a small wooden mallet which then light up when a light is placed inside the pumpkin! Great for ages four and up. You could also try the Pumpkin Push Ins for ages 3 and up that allow your child to decorate their pumpkin with eyes, ears, horns, teeth, mouth and nose in true Mr. Potato Head fashion!

Whatever you decide, have a wonderful time making this years Halloween masterpiece!

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It means so much to our kids when we display their artwork in our home. It can boost their morale, help them feel appreciated and contribute to their confidence in succeeding. But sometimes, we look at our cluttered walls and wonder, “what would this look like if it weren’t covered in scribbles?!” Well, one of our subscribers, Meggin, found a wonderful fun compromise!…

She started with your basic set of fingerpaints, large paper and of course, her two toddlers! She let the kids go nuts outside with the various colors of fingerpaint. Along with their crazy splashing across the page, each toddler thought it fun to make their own handprints on different pieces of paper as well. Once it was dry, she noticed some really fun coloring combinations along with some interesting lines in her little ones artwork. She had some extra frames and decided to see what they looked like. Then she found the pages with the handprints on them and had one of those “lightbulb” moments! She cut out the handprints, framed the large pages and placed the handprint on top of the matted artwork. She finished it off with each childs name and date and voilá! She had a beautiful piece of memorable artwork to perch on her wall that not only looked nice, but was a great positive reminder to her and her little ones of the days fun and the creative powers of those little minds!  Thanks for sharing, Meggin!

If you or someone you know has a great craft or creative activity for young children, please submit them to us at info@mytimecalendars.com with subject line of “creative fun”.

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Does your child struggle with behavior concepts? Perhaps numbers or letters are particularly difficult for them? Or maybe you just want your little one to feel extra loved and appreciated? All these are reasons to give Personal Child Stories a call!

Personal Child Stories

Little Sammy was one of the inspirations behind Personal Child Stories

Personal Child Stories was begun specifically to address all of theses questions. The company owner, writer and designer, Shara Lawrence-Weiss is a journalist, early childhood specialist, experienced nanny and freelance writer who is also experienced in special needs children from a firsthand perspective. She has taken this diverse background and combined her many skills along with a passion for reading into a wonderful positive learning tool for children of all ages. Her books are custom designed for each individual child with pictures, story line and theme centered around each childs particular needs.

I had to see this for myself! I recently received some samples of her product and was most impressed! Her books come in two sizes, 5×5 for smaller children and 8.5×9 for older children. Trust me when I say that these books are meant to last! Each page is laminated and the book is spiral bound for easy page turning. The result is a sturdy book that will hold up to drooling, chewing, throwing, stepping on, and just about any other rough treatment your toddler can imagine! The pages will not tear, can be written or colored on and then can be wiped clean again with a damp cloth to look brand new again!

Personal Child Stories

From babies to toddlers to even older children, Personal Child Stories inspire and teach all ages!

Storylines are completely customized and used in conjunction with actual submitted photos of the child to fit each childs individual need, situation or desired learning concept. She works closely with parents to accomplish this. Her alphabet book and counting book samples were a huge hit with my little toddler! She loved flipping through the book again and again, counting the pictures and pointing out the letters of the alphabet!…of course that was after I had exhausted my patience answering numerous requests to “read it again, mommy!”. The counting book was especially neat because it not only had a cute rhyming lilt to it but it also showed the numbers in Spanish, English, and sign language!

As a graphic designer of over 12 years experience, I can attest to the life-changing impact that strong images and well written copy can have on people of all ages. Shara has combined both in her product and I would highly recommend these books to anyone looking to teach their children through the power of positive reinforcement.

If you would like to learn more about obtaining your own personalized book for your child, visit Shara at www.personalchildstories.com

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New spin on child birthday parties

August 9th, 2010 11:29pm

Looking for a new spin on kids birthday parties? We’ve got a great idea for you courtesy of Cheryl Tallman of “Fresh Baby”! When her son turned 5, she decided to play off his particular interests and strengths by providing a cooking party for him and his friends! She hosted a 2 1/2 hr party in their kitchen which she entitled “Cooking School for Brilliant Kids.”

Cheryl’s party was complete with disposable chef hats, aprons and a few kid sized cooking utensils which she used in take home gift bags for each child. The recipes were simple consisting of pizzas, green beans, carrot sticks, pigs in blankets (hot dogs rolled and baked in crescent rolls), and home made ice cream. She had her husband do a short little magic show during the baking time (he read up earlier in the week at the library!).

At the end of the party, she took a picture of her “class” and mailed each child a certificate of completion from the “Cooking School for Brilliant Kids” that had their class picture in it! What a fun idea!

As a former Pampered Chef consultant, I actually did many child birthday parties that were a huge success! Sometimes the mothers even tagged along for a brush up on some kid friendly recipes and demos! These types of parties were certainly a departure from the norm and gave each child an opportunity to participate, start good cooking habits, enjoy some great food, and take home not only fun memories but some actual cooking skills and recipes they could use at home!

Some tips for hosting this kind of party:

1) keep it simple!…easy recipes with a short list of ingredients are best. Mix and match things you can cook with things you can serve right away.

2) keep the party list small!…smaller groups definitely work better in this situation. Keep the number of attendees to 5 or 6 depending on the age and maturity of the group. This gives everyone a chance to participate and helps you maintain some order in the kitchen as well as safety.

3) have a time filler to keep kids busy while the food is cooking…in Cheryl’s case, she had her husband prepared with some “magical” interlude but you could have any number of fun party games prepared. Some oldies but goodies are “pin the hat on the chef”, musical chairs at the dinner table, and hot potato.

4) keep mess in mind…remember to prepare an area where you can have everyone gather and be able to see and participate. In Cheryl’s case, she prepared a ping pong table with a themed table cloth and had everyone gather around it.

5) always be safe!…teach the kids good hand washing and surface cleaning habits. Make sure that no child is left unattended around hot surfaces. It is best to leave the oven and stove preparation to the “master chef” (i.e. the adult!).

And probably the most important tip, cater to your childs interests and food preferences so they and their friends can have a great time making cooking memories together!

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