Sunday, September 22, 2013

Summer Recap: Independent Craftiness

Okay, so I admit it. We kind of got away from our weekly artist lessons this summer. I'm sort of bummed about this because I really enjoy doing those projects with the girls. But, this summer just kind of got away from us! It flew right by and before I knew it, they were heading back to school.

We had a great and fun summer! But I guess we just focused on other things. The girls summer bridge work in the mornings, we had books to read for a book club we were in together, not to mention minutes to read for there summer reading log on top of all that. So I guess we focused more on academics this summer instead of planned art activities. But the girls still did art camps at Kidcreate. They created fun things like these candy beach scenes!
Ha ha! Do you see the marshmallow people in the chairs? See one of them is pink? That's because that one is sunburned! LOL!
I did ask them to create some LegoQuest projects. In this one, they were asked to create an outdoor scene. I told them it could be anything, a park, ocean, whatever they wanted!
My ten year old's Arboretum complete with bridge, stream, and "path with lights on the side".
 LOVE the "No Picking" sign with the park security guard there. :-)
My 8 year old's beach scene complete with sand castle and person laying in the sand by the water.
But, honestly, what I think is one of the neatest things about this summer is that our art room was used ALL the time! Just not for projects I was leading. The kids, all three of them, just went up there whenever they wanted and created things. They came up with their own projects, figured out what they needed for them, sat down, and produced some fun and amazing things!

My three year old just sat down one night (hence the yucky red light and terrible iphone photos!) and did his own thing. It was so fun to watch!
And this is what he created, his first artwork all on his own!
I think it should be entitled "Alien Spaceship". He couldn't verbalize to me exactly what he was making, but in watching him, it was very purposeful. And here is the aftermath of his creating. ;-)
My younger daughter crafted this owl pillow completely on her own:
Also, this beautiful chalk wall on the side of our garage:
A wrapping paper version of herself on her bedroom wall:
And a plan for a birdhouse (she is getting a kit to make one for her birthday in a few weeks):

My 10 year old daughter was also inspired this summer and created this winter fairy garden based on a project she found in our Jumbo Book of Outdoor Art book:
She also created this Minion ipod holder out of duct tape:
And just a couple other fun random creations from the summer:
Lily made a little fort/tent for her and Kellan to play under. It included a "tv" as well. She hung the iPad from the back of the couch. :-)
 And a wine cork person just for the fun of it.

I'm sort of proud that I have set the foundation for my children to find the supplies they need and just create to their heart's content. It makes me so happy to see them inspired by so many things and even though I missed doing our projects together, it was almost better to leave them be and see what they came up with on their own!

The Rainbow Loom Phenomenon

We had never heard of Rainbow Loom before the middle of August. Then, all of sudden within two days, we had heard about it AND received one as a gift. And now, my girls are somewhat obsessed (and admittedly, so am I!).

Just in case you don't happen to have a tween girl or boy living with you and have missed the news stories about this latest friendship bracelet craze, Rainbow Loom is a plastic loom with three rows of spokes. You place small rubber bands (that are non-latex--in case your child has a latex allergy) in a certain pattern on the loom and then flip them in half to "knit" the pattern together. Pull it off, add a plastic clip, and voila, you have bracelet!

There is a TERRIFIC post over at the Teach Mama blog discussing all the reasons that Rainbow Loom is amazing aside from the sheer entertainment factor. It is math-skill building, reading skill-building, fine-motor skill building, relationship-building, and confidence building all in one fun activity!

There are a ton of patterns you can create and a million you tube videos made by girls your daughters' age demonstrating how to do each pattern. You can start off super simple and do increasingly harder patterns as you get more acclimated to using the hook.

These can be purchased at Michael's, Amazon, and many independent small toy stores. I also LOVE that this was created by a family who run their business out of their house. And when they made the deal to have their loom in Michael's they stipulated that no coupons could be used so that Michael's wouldn't be competing with the small mom and pop stores that got the Rainbow Loom craze started in the first place. Awesome!

I REALLY like this activity for my kids for all the reasons stated in the Teach Mama blog, but especially like it for my older daughter who has a tough time with sequencing and motor planning. It is a great exercise for her to have to think through and execute all the steps. I could see this being a great tool for speech or occupational therapy!

We spent our morning together working on these fun bracelets:
My younger daughter created the "triple single" bracelet on the top and we added a cute plastic button in the middle. You can get these fun buttons at Micheal's in a variety of themes. There are several in a pack for less than $2.

My older daughter decided to tackle the more advanced "starburst" bracelet today. She tried this on her own last night, but just couldn't pull them through in the right order. Because I know she struggles with motor planning, I told her it might be a good idea to use a different color band around the starburst for her first bracelet in this style. That way she would always know what color she had to pull through, and not have to worry about the order so much. This tip helped her tremendously and she was able to complete the bracelet all on her own!

I predict this will be one of the most popular gifts for Christmas this year! Correct me if I'm wrong. ;-)