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So, my son just drew a sword. On the tablecloth. I want to encourage his (enormous) creativity, but where to draw the line? Suggestions?

(I know this particular work of creativity was likely inspired by Draw a Stickman. In case you were wondering.)

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I wrote this whole post on my phone and when I tried to attach the pictures it crashed and my words were lost. Super frustrating. But, the project was so cool I’m trying again (and plan to save before adding images!).

We have really been enjoying Mariah Bruehl’s Playful Learning and last week when the moon was clear and bright we decided to do the moon journal project. The idea was to make little books (which we did out of a piece of construction paper and staples) and observe the cycles of the moon.

Well, my guys were having SO much fun drawing at night with flashlights and oil pastels that they completely filled their journals with pictures not only of the moon but the house across the street with one light on, the big old oak that appeared black in the darkness and the streetlight that glowed very brightly. It was so much fun that they asked to do it two nights in a row, despite chilly temperatures.

Below are images of the kids working as well as some shots of the finished pages.

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The kids have been entertaining themselves after school by working on various projects. This is not only great for me (I can make dinner!!) but it is great for them as well. The two bigger kids don’t get as much time together now that E is in full day kindergarten, so these quiet moments working and talking are all the more special.

The other day they decided to do some leaf rubbings after reading a library book about leaves (wish I’d written the name of the book down, it was quite good.)

After the leaf rubbings there was a Cheerios necklace making (and eating) session.

Then, a couple of days later, they decided to work on some spooky stuff for Halloween – a sign and a spider web.

[Grr, having trouble with pictures from my phone being published. Will work on this! Seems to be fixed.]

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Thanks to technology, you can look up an image of anything, such as a “spotted baby deer” and do a drawing while looking at the actual thing! This project was requested this morning as a part of “playing school”. What fun!

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Very much motivated by an interview Jean did with Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord over at The Artful Parent, we made books today with recycled materials. The part of the interview that really inspired me was this:

The process of making books with recycled materials is liberating. When we start by cutting a panel out of a grocery bag with a pair of scissors, the edges are crooked. We are freed from the burden of precision.

Let me repeat that last part: freed from the burden of precision.  Perfect.  So, we cut up a couple of boxes, punched some not-at-all-precise holes and away they went.  I’ll stop with my own words here and let the kids pictures and my transcriptions of their words speak for themselves.

The Alien by Eleanor
Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue by Henry
Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Handmade Book

Drawing and Painting

We have been doing quite a bit of drawing lately, some painting, lots of cutting with scissors and even some installations (with paper and stickers on windows), too. Both kids become absorbed by the process of making marks on paper. Henry makes lots of small marks with an occasional long streak across the page. Eleanor uses circular motions, hard scribbling and even makes some very deliberate marks — mostly when Henry is asleep though. Marking tool of choice right now, for both kids, are these not-entirely-washable stinky scented markers.

Drawing and Painting

Installations have been created in various windows reached by standing on boxes of CDs or the couch, using cut pieces of paper, stickers and markers/colored pencils/crayons.

Drawing and Painting

Drawing and Painting

And, the other day while Henry was asleep, Eleanor painted a couple of “Mickey Mouses”, which involved two circles (ears? or eyes?) and a curved line, presumably the mouth. She did say that she was painting a neck on one of the pages — I think it was the one in the picture below. She is beginning to understand how to effectively use watercolor paint, which is much more translucent than the tempera she normally works with at school.

Drawing and Painting

I love to see them hard at work, engrossed in their own creative processes.

Crayons

It is fun when kids get to the age where they can use paint and crayons and all sorts of other good art materials.  Henry is just getting to that age.  Paint and crayons occasionally still make it to his mouth but we have the non-toxic stuff so I am hoping a tiny bit won’t hurt.

Crayons

The other day, we worked on a collaborative piece on a big canvas.  I have (embarrassingly) had the canvas for multiple years, intending to paint something on it.  I finally decided that the kids would enjoy it much more, so we headed outside and brought the paint along.

Painting on Canvas

Once we had finished (or so I thought), Eleanor decided that she wanted to paint the back too.  How clever, never wasting a space.  Once the back was completed, we let it dry and now the reddish brown canvas with Henry’s bum print hangs right over our fireplace.

Painting on Canvas

The aftermath, though, required the garden hose.

Painting on Canvas

It has been a while since I have seriously sat down to draw.  I love to draw but I just never seem to have time to do it.  Turns out, I should sit and doodle while my daughter draws.  She loves the company and I can let my pencil (or in this case, crayon) wander.  I guess it still isn’t really serious drawing, but it sure is nice.  And, my big man (a.k.a. my baby boy) is also getting in on the fray.  He has recently started putting the crayon down on the paper instead of into his mouth.  Hooray.  Family art time.  I must get sketchbooks for each of us so we can keep our little works of art in one place.  (Thanks again Soulemama for the ideas in The Creative Family.  Oh, and I should also mention that the remnants of strawberry-rhubarb muffins in the picture are also from Soulemama’s blog post.)

Doodles

I must mention, I love these crayons — the ones in the box (the others are good, old-fashioned Crayolas).  I LOVE them.  They are Stockmar crayons and they are from Germany.  They are made of beeswax and pigment.  They smell lovely and draw beautifully.  We got a box that has crayon sticks and blocks, which gives my girl (and me) different shapes to work with.  I had read about them somewhere and was so curious to see if they really are worth the extra expense.  I would have to say they are.  Definitely.