Young Children As Artists

I need to be upfront and tell you that Christie from Childhood101 and I aren’t just blogging colleagues – we’re friends.*  And when I say I like her ebook – I mean I love it.  So much so that I contributed a few photos, helped with editing and I am a proud affiliate.  (That means if you purchase the ebook because I said it’s awesome, I get a percentage of the profits too.)

What is it?

ART not Craft is a downloadable, 53 page ebook in a pdf format.  Instead of buying a paper-and-cover book, you purchase an ebook and either print it out, or read it on the screen.  It is in full colour and contains lots of great photos of young children in action with a variety of mediums.

How much is it?

Using an e-format keeps overheads low, so you can purchase it for $15.95 (and you get a bonus gift).  If you could book an early childhood consultant to sit down over coffee while you pick her brain about all-things-art, it would cost a fortune!  This book is kind of like that.  Oh, except Christie is totally a tea drinker…

What’s in it?

Loads of information on why we approach art in the early years the way we do, and great ideas for you to try.  ART not Craft is broken into sections on drawing, painting, printmaking, collage and sculpture.  Christie gives suggestions throughout for learning, doing, seeing, and talking with your child as you go.  It is a resource you will go back to many times.

Who should buy it?

If you have ever given your child a blob of playdough, or put a paintbrush into their hand and thought, “Now what…?!” – this is a book for you!  Many parents want to be creative with their kids, and want to provide creative learning opportunities, but just don’t know where to start.  It’s also a great resource for anyone working with under fives.

When asked to comment on the book, here’s what I had to say:

“Children are inherently creative, and are capable of doing so much more than merely copying simple crafts. In this ebook Christie opens up a world of possibilities for you to explore with your child, or with a whole class of young children. I highly recommend Art Not Craft to parents and educators who are looking to provide rich, creative and artistic opportunities for the children in their care.”

BONUS!  Purchase Art Not Craft: The Process of Learning Creatively and you will receive ‘A Wish For All Children’ poster as a downloadable, easy to print A4 PDF. Hang it in your home to inspire and remind you of the importance of children making art.


*Yes, she lives in Perth and I’m in Brisbane. We share virtual cuppas. And yes we squealed like teenage girls when we got to meet in Sydney and be roomies for the Australian Blogging Conference…

Water Spray Play

Spray bottles are a regular play item in our backyard during the warmer months, but with Autumn in the air it’s been a little too cool for this:

So instead I’ve been encouraging the kids to use the spray bottles differently. They’ve enjoyed using them to water in new plants, and lightly mist delicate fern leaves.  They’ve had fun squirting them high into the air.  Most of all, we’ve enjoyed creating water spray art together.  Continue reading

Stick Sculpture

After Mr 2’s birthday there were lots of new and exciting gifts to open.  Several toys were wired into boxes with clear coated wires about 20cm each in length.  I kept them, figuring they would come in handy for something.  It’s a teacher thing – we can’t help ourselves!!

The kids collected a nice bunch of sticks from the backyard the other day, and we played around with them for a while before deciding to turn them into a “sculpture”.  (This is a word Miss 4 knows from visiting the Art Gallery and exploring different mediums with her artist-Nanna.)  My daughter’s first suggestion was to attach the sticks to each other with sticky tape.  We discussed whether sticky tape would hold very well to the bark and wood, and decided string would be better.  When we went to get some string, we discovered the wires!  Perfect!!

Wiring the sticks together was fiddly for a four year old, but fantastic for fine motor skill development.  She put the sticks and wires where she wanted them, and I just tightened up the joints.  It was also her idea to add some feathers into the joints, and I think the final result is rather lovely.

The sculpture is sitting on top of a skinny cabinet in the hallway just beside the back door.  This Ikea cabinet is fabulous because everyone in the family has their own drawer for outside boots and hats!  The birdcage decals run right along the hallway, so my daughter’s addition of feathers to the sticks seems just right.