Purple Twig- Art Exploration for kids. A mom run small business in Los Angeles. Stop by to see the trials and tribulations.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ice Exploration

For our Potions and Spells week of camp we create soaps and candles, using essential oils,  Bug Bite salves from basil and  lip balm from mint to name a few projects.  These are great for kids to learn the medicinal properties of herbs but we need to follow the recipes in order for these wonderful treats to work. It was important to us to come up with some exploratory projects in between the very structures ones so that kids could use their minds for observations and discussions amongst themselves. We came up with ice. It seemed like a great material for the kids to make a transformation to occur.

Okay so now where are we going to get 4 big blocks of ice?  I decided to make them by using washed milk cartons, filling them with water and freezing them for two days.  After frozen, I ripped off the outer milk carton to reveal a beautiful solid block of ice. We diluted some liquid watercolor for each little artist along with a pipette and poured salt into cups for each of them. They loved the salt so have a lot on hand. We use salt so much in the studio that I buy 25 pound bags from smart and final. 

We then let the children explore adding the color and the salt, which sparked a lot of conversation and observation. They mixed colors on the ice to create new colors and watch it run off the ice. They melted the ice using the salt. 

And boy did they explore. We had the children working in teams and they really spent the time working together with their peers as they melted and dyed the ice.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Banish Boredom

Parents ask me so often if there is a good book out there that talks about being creative with kids. My answer is there are quite a few, but this particular one is so wonderful for those who are interested in adding creativity to many aspects of their lives and not just in art making.

Banish Boredom-Activities to do with kids that you will actually enjoy by Rebecca Green

And I believe you will actually enjoy them. Rebecca Green, was an attorney at law, who made the decision to become a stay-at-home-mom with her two children. When her children became ready to explore the world outside of the home, Rebecca searched the world-wide-web for all kinds of creative activities with her children and began to blog about her experiences at notsosahm.blogspot.com (SAHM stands for stay at home mom). Now she has written this incredible book with some of her best experiences and ideas.

One of the things I really like about this book is that she talks about adapting activities to your children’s personalities as well as discovering what you, as a parent, would enjoy sharing with your kids. If we, as parents, plan a full day of activities that we are not interested in, at the end of the day we are going to become frustrated, which makes it difficult to parent reasonably or patiently.

As you can see I have done quite a bit of earmarking in this well read book and I have happily used some of her recipes to the delight of my students.

Banish Boredom is divided into 5 chapters, art- making, science exploration, sensory activities, outdoor activities and field trips so there is definitely something for everyone. You can pour over each and every project and activity or pick and choose which ones appeal to you. The art, science and sensory projects are so clearly laid out with the ingredients and supplies you will need. I know some are daunted by the idea of being creative with your kids, but with Rebecca creativity comes in all kinds of forms from squishing shaving cream to geo-caching (if you don’t know what this is you must look it up right now) to going for walks. Creative thinking can happen on a hike not just on paper with paint (although that is good too).

Rebecca writes so thoughtfully about experiencing things with your children both at home and out in the world and if you find images more inspiring than words, she has great images showing curious faces creating mystical science experiments or jumping around playfully in a field.

If you are looking for a book to inspire your days with your children you can get Banish Boredom here.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Making Interlocking Disks

I saw an image of interlocking discs on the Instagram feed of Corinne Amato. It's just so exciting to me to see an image from across the country that really speaks to you in some way. I knew this project would be great for our Architecture week of summer camp. Not only do I love the idea of the kids creating their own building materials to build sculptures, but I could just use cardboard boxes that sit in the recycling bins to make the circles. 

Which is just what I did. I became that lady going through other people's recycling bins looking for cardboard. That and people who know me tend to drop things like milk cartons, mismatched socks and cardboard boxes into Purple Twig for me. We cut out 100's of circles (over time of course) of different sizes. The children chose their circles and cut the notches themselves.

The cardboard notched discs in themselves are quite appealing.

Believe me there was a lot of complaining about cutting the notches in the circles. The moaning and groaning was comical, but then came the fun part, decorating the circles.
We set up two tables - one covered with bubble wrap and the other with tempera cakes, brushes and water. We created bubble wrap prints using just tempera paints in squeeze bottles and brayers. I am obsessed with this process at the moment because the kids absolutely love the sensory aspect of this process and the layered results are gorgeous.

I offered florescent colors for the tempera cakes because they pop so beautifully on the brown cardboard. The kids added, mixed, and splattered paint onto the circles,  creating a different pattern on each one.

 The results are these bright colorful building discs which the kids can interlock to create sculptures.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Bubble Wrap Prints

This sensory project is one of my favorites. It's just so layered. If you have ever taken a class with me then you know there are a lot steps to our art making at the Purple Twig. Especially when we are working with ages 2-5. The kids know to ponder "What is the next material" When finished exploring the one they are working with.  This is a color exploring project that results in these gorgeous prints.

These are the materials I used for these mono prints. 

Drawing Paper
yellow, pink or red, and blue tempera paints
small squeeze bottles ( I put the paint in the squeeze bottles or get the IKEA ones)
brayers ( if you don't have brayers then the hands do just fine)
bubble wrap

Oh the joy of just squeezing the paint onto the table covered with bubble wrap ( yes I just taped it down, covering the entire table). The texture of the bubble wrap alone was an enjoyable sensory experience, running their hands on it, popping the little bubbles. Oh so satisfying. First I gave them blue tempera paint to roll around and then yellow to mix with it.  We then made a print with the green paint. The mixing of the colors themselves allows for the blues and yellows to still appear while the main color is green.

We then moved to a clean area on the bubble wrap and started mixing orange. Printing it on the same paper to give the print those gorgeous layers. Luckily tempera paints dry rather quickly so rather than a brown mess of a print, each color remains separate. 

Look at the layers of different colors in this print, oranges, greens, pinks, red, purples oh my. 

When they were finished with their color exploring I brought out the good stuff, shaving cream!!! They rolled it or moved it around with their hands, popping bubble wrap if they pressed really hard. We bring out the shaving cream a lot on the table but putting it on the bubble wrap was a new experience for them. The sensory play went on and on. It was a good day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I Wrote a Guest Post

When Bar Rucci from ArtBarblog asked me to write a guest blog post, I jumped at the chance. For one thing I have borrowed many ideas from her so I am happy to return a favor. And another thing is Bar has been incredibly supportive of Purple Twig and has become a friend.

She generously gave me free reign to share whatever project I wanted. So please go to her blog to read how to create our dyed watercolor banners. Let me know if you give them a try.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Little Cakes

Delicious looking aren't they? Little sweet looking cakes. They are far from edible but so fun to make. This is sensory play at it's best made in our Toddler Classes.  Using a combination of glue, shaving cream and liquid watercolor or food coloring.

Mixing and stirring, squishing and giggling.  Sensory play is so important at this age to develop and refine their senses and aids in stimulating their brains and they have so much fun in this exploration.

To make the cakes I used oatmeal boxes that I had cut in half. They were just the right size to mimic a small cake.  Each child had their own way of adding the "frosting" onto the "cakes", some love using a tool so a spoon was desired and used and some like to smudge and smear away continually squishing the solution through their little hands.

After washing hands, which is also a wonderful sensory activity in itself, the children decorated the cakes with ribbon, dots saved from hole punchers and colored sand. The kids wrapped and sprinkled and poured away.

Good enough to eat!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Fabric Flowers

The days are getting longer. The light is beautiful in the early evening as the spring showers continue to aid in the growing flowers which are blooming away. The theme of seasons is a never ending resource for classes, camps and projects for us. It's a great theme that allows children to understand their environment. Creating projects around the season is a way for the kids to collectively celebrate in there surroundings, in something they all share. 

In celebration of Spring we made giant fabric flowers. I can not take credit for the idea. It came from an wonderfully creative woman , Bonnie Scorer and her husband Galen Scorer, who are the creators of Make-It-You-Own website, which has so many ideas that one can alter with materials one has on hand or to their own interests.  Here is a link to the instructions for these big gorgeous blooms.

Since we have so much fabric at the studio, so many beautiful fabrics that I decided to use fabrics in substitution for paper (which is what she uses with her children. We offered the children many different varieties of already cut gigantic petals  to choose from. I also used a fabric stiffener but I am sure you could use the acrylic medium she uses for the paper or even Mod-Podge.  

I also used chopsticks with wire wrapped around them it to make the stigma.  I love the black paper to make the stamen. That's Bonnie's great idea. It stands out beautifully and graphically against the colorful petals. This project allowed us to talk about the different parts of a flower and their functions.  We all enjoyed both the process and the results. Thank you Bonnie for the idea.

Happy Spring!!!