Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DIY art scavenger hunt$VIEWER_IMAGE$
image of plastic magnifying glasses via / courtesy of:

I love to share the story with my students about how my parents dragged (yes, even to the art ones - dragged) me to museums growing up. Every city, every state, every country – we’d be at the entrance the minute they opened. While it took me years to figure out how it would all manifest and resonate, museums are now one of my favorite places to go and teach in! Looking back at the experiences, one of the main reasons why I found them sort of boring is because we'd just walk in circles. We never talked about any of the work!

Part of my job is to give families tips on how to make their museum trips more of a holistic group experience rather than just wandering around aimlessly. Of course I am an advocate of joining family tours given by a docent or educator, but sometimes we all just want to do our own thing, right?

Here's one way to spice up your next museum visit: Turn it into a scavenger hunt and team effort. Through these activities you are giving your child the opportunity to explore, be inquisitive and you're allowing them to form an opinion.

One last thing: Everyone in the family has to play. Depending how large your group is, make teams - try not to be too competitive :)

What you’ll need:

A pre-made list of things you’ll be on the “hunt” for (see below)
Magnifying glass (plastic)
Ziploc bags (to hold all the pencil, magnifier, and other stuff you collect)
Paper, notebook, or notepad
Mini – clipboard

Here are some ideas for your art hunt! Enjoy!

Find an artwork that…

has more than 5 colors.
has more than 5 shapes.
has weirdest title (I would LOVE this one!)
(*make sure you write the titles down)

Act out (silently!) ….

And pretend you are one of the characters in a painting. Or if there is 3d work, act out the gesture of a sculpture. Document with your camera phone! (**check with the museum staff if you are allowed take photos**) If you can’t take a picture, have someone draw you or your child doing this :)


a picture of your favorite piece
a picture of your least favorite piece
a picture of another museum visitor
a picture of the museum building and architecture


a copy of the museum map
your ticket stub
any pamphlets
(*you can turn these into a scrapbook page)


A story of what you think is happening in an art piece
A letter to the artist asking them questions you have about the piece
A thank you note to the museum once you’re done with your hunt!

P.S. If you're in NYC this weekend, you must go to either the DUMBO arts festival in brooklyn or  the Maker Faire in queens.... or BOTH!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

draw with your....scissors?

Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors: Drawing with Scissors
book image courtesy of/ via

Book alert! If you’re building an art library for your kids, today’s pick is “Drawing with Scissors” by Jane O’Connor. It is an endearing book about Henri Matisse and his artist journey. Did you know that he started out working at a law firm but ended up drawing on all of the important legal documents? When he became ill and spent a lot of time in bed and a wheelchair he began cutting lots and lots of paper shapes – the beginnings of collages you see in major museums today.  
Want to create collages at home but don’t want little bits of paper all over the place?  (I call them baby scraps!) Here is how I set-up in my classroom with a variety of materials. Everything is visible and just calling to be used! When your child is finished working, everything can go back in the tray, along with the scissors and glue stick. Links below to buy everything you see here:

butcher tray with fadeless paper, cellophane sheets, burlap, corrugated cardboard, and metallic paper
**Art teacher tip: A sure fire way to make clean up super fun? Turn organizing the paper & scraps into a game. Challenge your child to classify by paper type or color family!

p.s. I know I promised my “painting picks” last time, so here’s one of them.  Loads of color, little mess. tempera cakes (get the ones in the palette). Just don’t eat them! 

shopping list:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fab Five

Au Revoir Summer 2012…TODAY is the first day of school for thousands of children in New York City! My art studio is ready, pencils sharpened, blank paper stacked and oodles of art supplies in their perfectly labeled cups.

To keep the art party going at home, here are my Fab Five Art Supplies that are a fun addition to any at-home studio:

  1. Crayola Color Sticks: Colored pencils that don’t roll off tabletops and never need sharpening!
Color Sticks, Set of 12
Crayola Color Sticks! Image courtesy of / via
2.  Crayola Air Dry Clay:  If you don't have access to a kiln to bake clay, here's the next best thing. Its consistency and qualities, especially with a sprinkle of water will make you feel like you just dug it out of the earth yourself! Just note that whatever you create will dry solid after 24 hours.
2½ lb Bucket
image via / courtesy of:
2.Elmer's X-treme Glue Stick: This glue stick is extremely awesome! After testing about 10 different brands of gluesticks (glam life over here!) I am all about these. While creating collage projects, it keeps fabrics, cardboard and all types of textures on surfaces. (*don't worry, I never encourage my students to glue on furniture or walls!)

X-TREME School Glue Stick
image via / courtesy of:

 4. Twisteez : Oh, so fun! Sculptors and aspring jewelry makers will obsess over these easy to manipulate brightly colored wire strands! Mix them up with some of the air dry clay and the sky is the limit.
(P.S. - Wouldn't this be a cool bracelet?)
image via / courtesy of:

5. Watercolor Postcards: Such a perfect size for the little ones. While I believe a child should paint on all types of crazy sizes of paper (massive mural size even!) - to keep things controlled at home, these are a fun way to encourage the old-fashioned art of letter writing while creating an original painting on the other side. Grab a pencil, a cup of water, and watercolor brush (my picks for these next week) and get started!
Watercolor Postcard Pad, 15 Sheet Pad
image courtesy of / via:

Hope everyone is having a great first week back!

P.S. If you haven't noticed, I have a preferred vendor!
Check it out!