thismummaslife

Motherhood, Art, Creative Play, and Finding Joy in Everyday Life


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Salad Spinner Art

Did you know you can use your salad spinner to make awesome art? I was reminded of this recently, when Jean over at The Artful Parent posted a link on Facebook to her blog post about doing so. I have had a salad spinner sitting in the back of a cabinet, and it has been years since I have used it for washing salad. I almost donated it when we moved last year, but I am now glad that we still have it kicking around for this new creative purpose.

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Simply add paper to the salad spinner, drip in some paint, put the lid on and spin! It is really fun to see what the results are when it finally stops and you take the lid off. Simon squealed with delight every time each new piece was revealed.

We had fun testing out different color combinations. Simon even made one using all of the paint colors we have. We discovered that the results were better when the spinner went really, really fast.

This project is also very easy to clean up, for those of you who are more hesitant about using paint at home with little ones. I recommend using water based, non-toxic paint, such as tempera. When you are done, just wash the salad spinner out in the sink.

The following week I also brought my salad spinner to work with me and did this project with the kids who attended my Preschool Storytime program. I read aloud books about colors and art, and then gave the kids paper plates. They dripped paint onto their plates and we passed the salad spinner around for them to take turns. They had a blast!

spin art at the library

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“Wintered-in”

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Last week there were two days of school cancellations due to weather, which meant no work for Mumma, and no preschool for Simon. We were stuck inside for two days. Then, we kicked off the beginning of this week with even more inclement weather, dangerous roads, and staying indoors. This winter has been a doozy, and it is only just beginning for us here in Maine. I think it is safe to say that cabin fever has been high around here, and we are all a tad grumpy.

However, there has also been a lot of creativity. Jeramy got into the baking mood, and whipped up some crock pot beer bread on a whim. Simon and I drew in our sketchbooks. There have been multiple instances of toy cars being pressed into playdough, and some sponge painting.

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The sun has returned, and I look forward to shaking off some these feelings of being cooped up by getting us out of the house. However, I am glad that when we do end up “wintered-in”, we are able to find ways to add color and flavor to our days.


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Side By Side

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Last night I did some drawing in my sketchbook while relaxing on the couch. I forgot to put my art supplies away when I finished, and this morning, Simon noticed the bin of drawing supplies sitting on our current makeshift coffee table, and asked: “Mumma, what are these?”. I told him they were art supplies and he asked “Can I use them?” “Sure!” I said, and went to get a large pad of newsprint.

We spread out paper and supplies out on the table, and worked side-by side. Simon was mostly interested in experimenting with charcoal and a rubber eraser, two things that he hasn’t used before. I sketched while he experimented with the feel of new materials, and I made it a point to let him experience the trial and error of attempting to erase various drawing mediums.

Since moving, our routine has been really off. The house is still a major work-in-progress, and I have a harder time finding my way through our routine as I adjust to our new surroundings. However, this reminded me of our frequent morning art time, and I hadn’t realized how much I had been missing it!

I love working side-by-side with my little one, being creative together as our first act after breakfast.


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Outdoor Spray Art

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Simon saw his spray bottle on the top shelf of our art cart the other day and, remembering how much fun we had using it to spray paint the snow last winter, asked if we could “please go spray some snow.” I explained that there is no snow right now, because it is Springtime, but that we could find a way to make some art with the spray bottle anyway. Thinking of our day at Smudge Art Studio, when we sprayed paper shapes, I grabbed some big sheets of paper and we headed outdoors.

I used wooden clothespins to attach the paper to some low hanging branches. I asked Simon to choose which color he wanted to use,  and then mixed some non-toxic, water-based paint with a bit of water in the spray bottle. After explaining that he was not to spray the house or people, I let him have fun spraying the paint onto his “canvas”. Of course, there was also some decorating of the surrounding greenery and some rocks too. After he would finish with a color, he would pick out another one, and I would mix him up a new bottle of paint. (I am thinking I will have to pick up a couple more spray bottles so that next time he can use multiple colors at once, or share with a friend.)

We had a lot of fun making art together this way, and will most definitely be doing it again. It was a terrific way to spend time together, be creative, and enjoy nature.

Note: I am thinking the finished paintings are going to make terrific wrapping paper!


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Smudge

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Smudge Art Studio for Kids is located in Freeport, Maine. They are an open art studio for children aged two to nine. I first heard about them when Simon had only just turned one, and was not old enough yet to go. Going has been on my to-do list since his second birthday, but we only just got around to visiting last week. I am sorry I waited so long! It is a fantastic place, and Simon had so much creative fun.

When you walk in, you see one, large room filled with easels, and different tables and art-making stations set up all around. We happened to have the whole place to ourselves the day we went, and Simon immediately made a beeline for the spray-bottle station. There, he sprayed liquid colors onto cat-shaped cutouts on the wall. He also painted on a HUGE piece of paper that was taped up at the far end of the room, painted and glued objects onto a plaster mask, and got creative mixing pipe cleaners with natural materials. Before we knew it, our hour of open studio time had passed.

Smudge also offers art classes for kids, as well as creative birthday parties. We do lots and lots of art at home together, but it is great to go be in such creative surroundings, play with different supplies, and not have to clean-up! We will definitely be going back there again!


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Glittery Snow Paintings

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Here is a fun wintery themed art project that we did last week. I put out blue construction paper, white paint, and silver glitter for Simon to have fun with. My idea in setting this up was to make “snow paintings”, and I explained to him how the white and the sparkles would look like glittery snow.

He enjoyed painting, but his favorite part was sprinkling the glitter, and he got really excited about shaking it from the tube. He also got very creative with this project, at one point figuring out that if he dipped the bottom of the glitter tube in the paint, he could stamp circles onto the paper. He also began using his hands instead of the paintbrush, and discovered the way the glitter made the paint feel gritty between his fingers. This added a fun sensory element to the project.

Simon had such a blast with this, that we will definitely be breaking out more glitter soon!


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Coffee Filter Hearts

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My little guy has been very artistic lately. Since I am not one to let such creative energy go to waste, I set up a project for him to do yesterday that was a little different from the everyday crayons on paper.

Coffee filters make a great surface to paint on with watercolor. First, they suck up the wet paint and it is so much fun to watch the colors spread and “bloom”. Secondly, they are very tough, and can withstand a lot of water, roughness with the brush, and being pushed and pulled around by toddler hands without ripping. That made them perfect for this project.

I cut some hearts out of the coffee filters, since it is valentine season. Then I placed the hearts onto a spare piece of cardboard (to help soak up excess water that he might slosh around), and set out his water jar, paints, and brushes. Before he started, I put some water onto each dry pan of paint to get them ready.

Simon had a lot of fun doing this project, and the hearts went through many different stages of paint and color before he finally declared them finished. I then placed them onto some wax paper to dry for a while. After they dried, we taped them to the windows in the kitchen together (I put the tape onto them, he did the sticking), where they now catch the light beautifully. They are just transparent enough for the light to shine through, adding pretty color to these grey winter days.

For more heart-related fun, check out the banner I made with Simon’s paintings last year!