Pins of the Week: Art Appreciation

art/ärt/
Noun:

  • The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture.
  • Works produced by such skill and imagination.

You might say that art provides daily nourishment here at Kiwi Crate, which is why we had to share these five pins — kid-friendly projects inspired by some of the world’s greatest artists.

Encourage your little Picassos, Monets, and Warhols to explore materials, colors, and most importantly, their own imagination and discover their inner artist. Happy Creating!

Want more ideas for fun, learning, and play? Follow us on Pinterest.


About Kiwi Crate
Kiwi Crate delivers monthly projects for kids ages 3 to 7, all materials and inspiration included. All activities are reviewed by experts and tested by kids to make sure they encourage curiosity, exploration, and creativity! Learn more.

Back-to-School Creativity Tip #5: Be Prepared for Inspiration at All Times with a Travel Art Kit

Over the next several weeks, we’ll share 10 Ways to Inspire Creativity During the School Year. With easy project ideas and Kiwi printables on their way, your kiddos are in for a treat!

Back-to-School Creativity Tip #5: Be Prepared for Inspiration at All Times with a Travel Art Kit! With three kids, an activity-packed calendar, grandparents who live a half-day’s plane ride away, and lots of weekend excursions, our family is always on the go. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been up late packing a travel bag filled with stuff to keep the kids busy. I used to pack everything but the kitchen sink in there, and lug it through the airport (or throw it in the car)—only to find that the kids were only interested in a few things!

Now that two of my kids are old enough to tell me what materials they enjoy, I’ve pared down our travel kit to a manageable assortment—and in doing so, I’ve found that they really don’t need a ton of materials to pique their creativity.  (Finding the magical ingredients that will entertain a two-year-old on a five-hour plane/car ride though? That’s another story…)

In preparation for our upcoming end-of-summer road trip, I finally carved out some time to make a travel bag that’s always ready. We just grab it and go, whether we’re going on a four-hour car ride, watching a sibling’s soccer/ballet/gymnastics practice, or going out to eat. (This kind of organization is rather unlike me, and I’m so excited!)

Before I show you how I made our Travel Art Kits, here are some tips on creating a bag that you can use to carry the kits in.

Bag for the Travel Art Kit—What You Need:

  • Tote bag – I used an inexpensive white canvas tote bag I picked up at the hobby store. You can also use a re-usable grocery bag, an old trade show tote, etc.
  • Sticky-backed felt or foam (optional) – You can decorate your bag and make it feel special.  (If you’re using a bag that has print on it, you could glue a big piece of fabric on it first to cover up the writing.)

I just traced my son’s initial on the sticky-backed felt, cut it out, and pressed it down on the bag. Easy peasy. You can also let your kid decorate the bag himself and suggest or provide shapes, letters, etc.

Now, on to the stuff that goes in the bag!

Here are two versions of Travel Art Kits: one if you’re feeling really crafty, and one if you’re not. Your kids will have a blast with either—so go with whatever makes you happy/not crazy. (Sometimes crafting makes me happy, sometimes it makes me crazy.  Perhaps you feel the same.)

Travel Art Kit #1 (the not-so-crafty version)—What You Need:
Note: These are just some ideas; feel free to toss in whatever materials you think will interest your child.  For travel kits, I tend to err on the less-messy side (e.g., no stamp pads, no Play Dough).

  • clipboard and paper or sketchpad
  • colored pencils or cool crayons (I’m sick of finding orphaned, dried-out markers all over the car floor and crawling around under the airplane seats looking for a marker cap… so I’m a big fan of colored pencils or really neat crayons)
  • open-ended coloring/doodle book (I love these. They’re much more creative than your standard coloring books; they give you a prompts like, “What does the scuba diver see in the ocean?”)
  • special bonus – this amazing paper + fabric Doll Set from Kiwi Crate (my daughter has taken it on three trips this summer, and it has kept her engrossed for hours!)

Travel Art Kit #2 (the craftier version)—What You Need:
Note: This may seem like a long and intimidating list, but it really just came together with stuff I had around the house. Feel free to substitute for things you have on hand or can come by easily.

  • sturdy box, ideally with a hinge in the middle (I found an inexpensive one made of balsa wood at the hobby store, so that’s what I used)
  • felt – one sheet
  • ribbon
  • sticky-backed Velcro – 2 small pieces
  • glue – fabric glue or glue dots or even school glue (a hot glue gun would also be great, if you have one)
  • metal clip – to hold the paper
  • pencil sharpener
  • 2 disc magnets – to hold the clip and pencil sharpener
  • paper (you may need to trim it to size to fit your box)
  • pencils/crayons/markers

Step 1: Fold the felt up to create a little pocket, then trim the felt to size to fit into the “top” of the box.  Cover the wood with glue, then press the felt down.

Step 2: Place a thin line of glue along the right and left edges of the felt where the pocket is folded up, in order to glue the edges of the top layer of felt to the bottom layer of felt. (Sorry – didn’t get a picture of this!)

Step 3: Place the pencils / crayons / markers in the folded pocket. Stretch your ribbon over the pencils, and cut the ribbon to size so that it fits from one edge of the top to the other.  Step 4: Place a sticky-backed Velcro dot on one end of the ribbon, and the matching Velcro dot on the edge of the felt. Do the same for the other end of the ribbon, stretch it across the pencils, and secure it with the other sticky-backed Velcro dot on the other side.  This will help keep the pencils from falling out when you pick up the box!

Step 5: Glue the disc magnets to the top edge of the other side of the box. I placed the magnet for the pencil sharpener in the corner, and the one for the paperclip in the middle.

Voilà! Your finished Travel Art Kit—ready for creativity wherever it may strike!

If you create your own Travel Art Kit—or already have one set up—please let us know and share your kids’ favorite materials for on-the-go creativity!


About Kiwi Crate
Kiwi Crate delivers monthly projects for kids ages 3 to 7, all materials and inspiration included. All activities are reviewed by experts and tested by kids to make sure they encourage curiosity, exploration, and creativity! Learn more.

 

 

 

Back-to-School Creativity Tip #4: Tell Tall Tales With Printable Story Cards!

Over the next several weeks, we’ll share 10 Ways to Inspire Creativity During the School Year. With easy project ideas and Kiwi printables on their way, your kiddos are in for a treat!

Back-to-School Creativity Tip #4: Tell Tall Tales With Printable Story CardsLooking for a fun way to fuel your kids’ creativity and communication skills? These 30 story starters will stretch their imaginations and help them spin yarns worth weaving!

Last Christmas, my roommate gave me a story starter kit—a box of 500 cards that contained words and phrases (e.g., “fashion maven,” “mysterious package in the mail”) that could be combined to create writing prompts or to tell collaborative stories. (This is what happens when English majors get each other gifts.)

These cartoon cards are a kiddie-friendly version of that kit. Use the images to inspire plot twists and turns in a storytelling session that’s fun for the whole family! (Hint: If you print the cards on heavy paper and keep the cards together with a rubber band, you can throw the bundle in your bag as an on-the-go game.)

You’ll need:

1. Cut the printables along the dotted lines.

2. Lay the cards face-up.

3. Let someone draw one (or several) of the cards as inspiration for the start of a story.

4. Give everyone a chance to add on to the story, using the cards as inspiration. As the story is being told, have each narrator line up the card(s) in chronological order so that everyone can remember the sequence of events.

When I showed the cards to Max (6) and Violet (8), they said they had never used story cards before. At first, they were a bit shy about playing with them. However, by the end of the first story, they were old pros! I can’t remember how many stories we ended up telling; I just remember that at the end of each round, one or both of them would exclaim, “New story!”

In order to keep the storytelling open-ended and to not put any one person on the spot, we said that anyone who thought of the next part of the story could chime in.

Here are two tales that Max, Violet, Walt (our grownup friend), and I came up with:

Violet: Once upon a time, there was a garden that grew strong and healthy because the sun shined down on it.
Walt: The garden had golden butterflies.
Max: And fireflies lived underneath the garden.
Yale: Because of the fireflies that lived underground, the flowers in the garden glowed bright.
Max: But a superhero came and said that he was the reason that the flowers looked magical. And he got a tractor and plowed over the garden and filled it with newspapers.

Violet: There was a fairy that lived in a castle.
Walt: She had a pet whale, which she kept in the moat.
Max: There was also a glistening sword.
Violet: One morning, she read in the newspaper that someone was planning on destroying the castle. With a catapult.
Max: We don’t know who that person is, but it was an enemy. But her friend the superhero came to help. His superhero power is that he can do magic tricks.
Yale: He magically changed the rock that was in the catapult into a balloon. The balloon floated away.
Max: And the fairy popped the balloon with the sword.
Violet: So the castle was safe!

As your kids play with these cards, they’ll learn about sequencing and teamwork—skills that will definitely come in handy as they develop their reading abilities and return to school. Plus, storytelling from an early age helps kids express thoughts and feelings, consider new ideas, and understand cause and effect.

Here are some other ways to use these cards:

  • Instead of spreading out all the cards face-up, choose just a handful at random and rearrange those cards to tell a story.
  • Stack up the cards. Draw one card at a time and take turns adding on to a story.
  • Think of and sort the cards by different categories (e.g., “things that are alive,” “things that we saw this summer,” “things that are green”).

Share a story your kids came up with!


About Kiwi Crate
Kiwi Crate delivers monthly projects for kids ages 3 to 7, all materials and inspiration included. All activities are reviewed by experts and tested by kids to make sure they encourage curiosity, exploration, and creativity! Learn more.

Two-Ingredient Tuesday: Magnet Magic

Measuring magnets

To kids, magnets are almost like magic! And they’re a great source of (mostly) quiet games and exploration. We took the magnet wands from our Robot Rally crate and invented the Magnet Magic Challenge as a before-bedtime activity.

Challenge #1: Five Things

This is (of course) to find five things the magnet could pick up, and then five things the magnet couldn’t pick up. Here’s what my 6-year-old came up with:

The great thing about this challenge is that you can repeat it as many times as you like! If the toy bin starts to get stale, you can move the hunt into the kitchen, or go dig through the office supplies.

When we’d had enough fun finding things to pick up, we moved on to

Challenge #2: Measuring Magnets

When we did this activity in my son’s kindergarten class, we used little printed grids to measure how close the magnet had to be to pick up a paperclip. For home use, I figured we’d keep it simple, and the kids got a kick out of using blocks to measure with.

We discovered that the hole punch was a two-block-magnet, while the scissors were a three-block-magnet. And the big surprise was that the Magnatile was a half-block-magnet.

Finally,

Challenge #3: Magnet Pickups!

I couldn’t find paperclips, so we went with safety pins. The goal here is to build the longest chain you can. For extra credit, measure how long the chain is with the blocks!

Got any good magnet games? Share yours in the comments!

Win the Ultimate Kid’s Staycation Giveaway!

staycation kiwi crate tiny prints tea collection giveaway sweepstakes

We know, we know! Where has the summer gone?

To celebrate one last hurrah, we’ve decided to partner up with our fashionista friends at Tea Collection and our creative chums at Tiny Prints to give one lucky family the ultimate kid’s staycation!

(After all, while beach getaways, camping trips, and Disneyland can be pretty awesome, sometimes we’re just in the mood for some at-home relaxation.)

Grand Prize (1):

♦$100 worth of clothing from Tea Collection
♦$100 to spend at Tiny Prints
♦$110 worth of arts, crafts & science projects from Kiwi Crate (6-month subscription)

(Open to U.S. Residents Only)

Enter here.

Back-to-School Creativity Tip #3: Spend Quality Time Sharing Hands-On Experiences

Over the next several weeks, we’ll share 10 Ways to Inspire Creativity During the School Year. With easy project ideas and Kiwi printables on their way, your little ones are in for a treat!

Back-to-School Creativity Tip #3

Spend quality time sharing hands-on experiences! Even though there’s nothing intrinsically magical about the start of the school year (just like there’s nothing really magical in those brand new markers or fresh notebook—though it sure does seem that way, doesn’t it?), an essential part of creativity is finding inspiration everywhere you look. No doubt, your kids have been inspired by experiences they’ve had all summer. Why not keep the inspiration flowing as your kids return to the classroom?

You can nurture creativity in your little ones by spending quality time together sharing hands-on experiences—whether at exciting new places, everyday haunts, or just at home—that will keep that creative spark alive.  Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

1) Plan a visit to your local museum / aquarium / botanical garden.

It doesn’t matter if the world’s greatest museum isn’t nearby; your kids will never know! They don’t need (and don’t have the patience for) four floors of exhibits; just a few interesting items—and some thought-provoking questions—will be enough to set them on their way. Try to keep your questions open-ended. For example:

  • “How do you think the artist created that?”
  • “Which one is your favorite & why?”
  • “How would you have done it differently?”
  • “Why do you think those fish are colored that way?”

When you get back home, a fun exercise is to ask your kiddo to design a garden / ocean floor / still life, inspired by what he saw on your adventure.

2) Head outside & encourage your kids to try out different perspectives

Tell them to LOOK CLOSELY, LOOK DOWN, and LOOK UP.  There’s so much to see when you just take some time to look closely, or look at things in a different way (which is one great way for all of us to light that creative spark).  There are also great opportunities for imaginative play (so closely linked to creativity) in nature’s playground.

3) Create memorable shared experiences at home

Use fun traditions and creative explorations. Okay, I admit to some bias here—but the monthly arrival of our KiwiCo is a great opportunity for me to sit down and spend some quality time with my kiddos, creating cool, open-ended projects and exploring new materials. The inspiration sheets provide great things to think about and ways to extend our creative play.

If you’re looking for a convenient way to keep creativity flowing throughout the school year,  here’s a special coupon offer:

Get 30% off your first month by using this link!

What are some of your favorite ways and places to light your little one’s creative spark?


About KiwiCo
KiwiCo empowers kids to explore, create, and learn with hands-on kits delivered monthly. We have delivered over 10 million crates of fun around the world!
 

Pins of the Week: Beat Those First Day of School Jitters!

Pinterest Pins Back to School First Day of School

Are your littles ready for Back to School? We love these sweet & simple ideas to get them excited for their first day and calm their nerves.

Want more creative recipes and ideas for fun, learning, and play? Follow us on Pinterest.


About Kiwi Crate
Kiwi Crate delivers monthly projects for kids ages 3 to 7, all materials and inspiration included. All activities are reviewed by experts and tested by kids to make sure they encourage curiosity, exploration, and creativity! Learn more.

Back-to-School Creativity Tip #2: Design a Discovery Zone!

Over the next several weeks, we’ll share 10 Ways to Inspire Creativity During the School Year. With easy project ideas and Kiwi printables on their way, your kiddos are in for a treat!

Back-to-School Creativity Tip #2: Design a Discovery Zone! Creating space around the home for your kids to…well, be kids will help open up a world of imagination. Here are some ways that you can make room for creativity in the home:

  • Encourage your budding engineers. By making forts and tinkering with construction toys, children learn how to find creative solutions, think independently, and imagine new uses for common items. Somehow, some sofa cushions and a bundle of blankets are all it takes to keep kids occupied for hours!
via BUILDblog

 

  • Send the message that it’s okay to get dirty! By creating an area where your kids can play to their hearts’ content, you’re also setting up healthy boundaries. You’re making it clear that there’s a time and place for different kinds of play. You can concoct a crafting corner, put together a pea gravel sandbox, or even stock up on supplies for a marvelous mud pie kitchen.
via Joyful Home

 

  • Give kids a blank slate to create. Did you know that Maria Montessori was one of the first educators to put child-sized furniture in classrooms for very young kids? She believed in the importance of tailoring a child’s learning environment to the child.
    Thankfully, creating a kid-friendly environment doesn’t mean filling a room with expensive toys and video games. Instead, it simply means giving imagination room to grow. Basic supplies like crayons and paper (or, in the case below, chalk and one very nifty desk) go a long way in encouraging creativity. Keeping activities and crafts open-ended gives kids a sense of security; since there’s not one “right” way to do or make something, kids feel free to think outside the box.
via Warm Hot Chocolate

 

  • Stock up on pretend props. Imaginative play helps kids brainstorm new possibilities, express emotions, and consider situations from other people’s perspectives.
    You can build up your child’s treasure trove of pretend props in simple ways. For example, donate that silk scarf or old pair of sunglasses you haven’t worn in years to the dress-up bin. Or visit neighborhood garage sales for play props, like small briefcases or costume jewelry. (A garage sale junkie’s insider’s tip: Forget about the early bird getting the worm; the later you get to a sale, the more likely it is that the proprietors will just be giving stuff away!)As your child starts thinking about returning to school (or going to school for the very first time!), you can role play together about what being in a classroom might be like.
via Rambling Renovators

 

  •  Support your child’s interests—and see where it takes them. When I was watching Spencer work on his train puzzle, I was reminded of an acquaintance whose childhood fascination with choo-choos inspired him to build a business that manufactures historically accurate model trains.By letting your child take the lead on exploring new topics, you’ll be certain that his or her interest in a subject grows organically. If your little one’s obsessed with maps, then by all means let her be if all she wants to borrow from the library this week are atlases. Who knows—you may have a future cartographer on your hands!
via Better Homes and Gardens


What are some ways that you’ve created a discovery zone in your home?

 


About Kiwi Crate
Kiwi Crate delivers monthly projects for kids ages 3 to 7, all materials and inspiration included. All activities are reviewed by experts and tested by kids to make sure they encourage curiosity, exploration, and creativity! Learn more.

 

Back To School Creativity Essentials Giveaway

back to school giveaway sweepstakes kiwi crate School is (almost) back in session! Help your littles get a fresh start for the school year with our Back to School Creative Essentials Giveaway!

You could win one of 5 prize packages, which include everything you need to fulfill your child’s creative learning needs!

Plus, refer a friend and your winning backpack could contain a shiny new iPad just for you! The more people you refer, the more chances you have to win the Grand Prize. ipad 2

Grand Prize (1):

A $100 Pottery Barn Kids gift card (that can be redeemed for a backpack and other back-to-school gear), creativity essentials from Kiwi Crate, a 3-month subscription to Kiwi Crate, and a shiny new iPad (for mom or dad, of course!). Approx retail value: $700.00.

First Prize (4):

A $100 Pottery Barn Kids gift card (that can be redeemed for a backpack and other back-to-school gear), creativity essentials from Kiwi Crate, and a 3-month subscription to Kiwi Crate. Approx. retail value: $200.00.

Open to U.S. Residents Only.

Enter here.

Good luck!

Two-Ingredient Tuesday: Paper + Crayons = Negative Space Drawing

 

This simple project was a hit during a recent testing session at Kiwi Crate HQ. Experimenting with negative space (the space around and between objects) bolsters spatial thinking skills…and is just plain fun!

You’ll need:

  • a sheet of paper with simple shapes cut out (e.g., circles, triangles, squares)
  • crayons

Keep this activity open-ended: Invite your kid to draw and see what happens!

Older kids may want more direction, in which case you can say it’s up to them whether they want to incorporate the shape(s) into a picture or draw whatever else they want.

Anya (age 5) created “a kiwi playing with a ball.”

Younger kids are often unfazed by the negative space and may require less instruction. They may simply scribble around the shapes or ignore them completely. (If your child is very young, line the workspace with a brown paper bag—just in case!)

Peter (age 3) did a little of both. At first, he drew around one of the circles. Then he started scribbling across the page. “This is hard work!” he informed me as he colored.

Then my little performance artist slipped his arms through the holes to create a 3-D masterpiece. (See the first photo. I don’t know about you, but I crack up every time I see his mischievous eyes.) What a visionary!

The activity kept Christina (age 3) occupied for a longer time. She carefully drew blue circles around the larger hole, and then added splashes of color.

Let us know what your mini Matisse comes up with!


About Kiwi Crate
Kiwi Crate delivers monthly projects for kids ages 3 to 7, all materials and inspiration included. All activities are reviewed by experts and tested by kids to make sure they encourage curiosity, exploration, and creativity! Learn more.