Allow your child to explore his or her creativity this summer by attending an art camp! Art camps are offered in a variety of locations through a variety of providers throughout Marin County this summer, and present the opportunity for children to experiment with a variety of artistic themes and media. Here are a few of our picks:
Art Reactor The Image Flow, Mill Valley
Art Reactor offers a summer digital art camps for kids entering 4th–12th grades. Explore many ways to create artwork using digital tools! Learn to use a digital tablet to draw and paint in the computer, learn to draw using vector based tools, create simple 2D animation, sculpt using virtual clay, and manipulate digital images. The cost is $250–$475 depending on the class per week. For more info, visit their website.
de Young Museum
Spend your summer making art at the de Young! Summer art classes for children ages 5–14 are taught by professional artist-teachers.The five-day sessions run Monday through Friday from 9 am-3 pm; classes are June 17 through August 9. Classes include explorations of the museum’s galleries, adventures in Golden Gate Park, and visual and performing art activities. An optional Open Studio from 3 to 5:30 pm allows for less-structured time in the studio classrooms. A supervised lunch period is provided for all campers. Campers must bring their own lunch. For more info, visit their website.
Doodlebug is offering a summer camps for ages 3–15 from June 17-August 23. Each week try a variety of different projects—from building things from clay to painting fabric and canvas. You'll use all sorts of materials from glitter and glue to paint and paper. Some of this year's themes include Summer Art Adventures, Clay on the Wheel and Off, Sewing on the Machine and Off, and Mosaics and Mixed Media. Prices rage from $90–$195. For more info, visit their website.
Earth Day is right around the corner, so why not help the planet by creating a craft using recycled and re-used materials as well as plants? Kids have a blast creating their own miniature gardens with this easy-to-make terrarium craft. It's fun to create your own world in a glass container and decorate it with found materials. This project is great for all ages, with adult supervision, of course.
The creative possibilities for this project are endless—make a fairy garden, a prehistoric forest, a jungle, or just let your imagination run wild. You can pick up plants suitable for a terrarium at your local garden store. Mosses, succulents, and air plants are all great candidates for a terrarium.
Decorate your terrarium with interesting rocks and plastic animals, dinosaurs, or figures—whatever you have on hand. Keep it moist with spray bottle filled with water. You can put a cover on your terrarium if you want, but make sure to poke holes in the lid first to let air circulate.
Easter is just days away, and my kids and I have been busy creating festive holiday crafts to decorate the house for our big family celebration. My daughter insisted on making a cute and decorative wreath for the front door, so we came up with this fun and easy Easter egg wreath paper craft.
If you don't want to create your egg shapes freehand, I made a basic egg template that you can download and print onto colored paper. Get it here.
Coloring Easter eggs is a fun spring tradition, but do you really know what's in those commercial dye kits that you pick up at the supermarket? Dying your Easter egg dyes with your own homemade natural dyes is easier than you think, and the results can be really beautiful. There are plenty of recipes and formulas out there, some of which work better than others.
Over the years, we've experimented with various mixtures and figured out a few that really worked well. You can make these plant- and food-based dyes with many of the things that you have on hand in the pantry or refrigerator, or can pick up at the farmer's market, so why not give it a try?
When we do this our kitchen becomes part art studio and part mad scientist's lab. The process is similar for each dye: mix up a natural color source with water, white vinegar and salt, simmer it to extract the color, and dip in your hard-boiled eggs. The results take more time than your standard Easter egg coloring kits, so patience is a virtue here. Our kids always spend quite a bit of time hovering over the dye bowls wondering if they're ready yet. "Not yet" is usually the answer.
My daughter wanted to do an original craft for St. Patrick's Day—the only criteria were that it was something she could do by herself, she could wear it, and that it was green. I remembered my son making a simple bead friendship bracelet a few years back, so we decided to make St. Patty's day versions. They're super easy to make, even for littler children, and are a perfect way to wear your green on St. Patrick's Day.
To make the bracelets, you'll need green plastic beads and green pipe cleaners. I found both of these at the Dollar Tree, but they're also available at most craft stores, like Michael's or Beverly.
To assemble, string beads—we alternated dark and light green shades—along a strand of pipe cleaner. Vary the length of pipe cleaner and number of beads depending on the size of the child's wrist. Leave about an inch of pipe cleaner showing at each end, and twist together to complete the bracelet. The one thing I did was to snip the pipe cleaner to size, otherwise, the ones we put together were 100% kid-made. My daughter was so proud that she made it herself, that she wore it to bed, even.
My daughter loves working with paint, so I thought this would be the perfect craft for her to make for St. Patrick's Day. These potato print shamrocks are a fun project for the little ones. We made a bunch of these cool shamrock prints and hung them throughout the house to decorate for the holiday.
This project is really easy and fun, and the kids think it’s neat that they’re using something they usually eat to create a colorful craft.
This week's spring-like weather has us wishing that winter was over already. Get a jump on the season with this ladybug craft made from a recycled egg carton. These ladybugs are adorable, easy to make, and of course environmentally friendly. My daughter loves to make this craft with our old egg cartons and then use her ladybugs to decorate her bedroom windowsill.
Supplies you'll need:
Empty egg carton
Black pipe cleaners
Small or medium black pom poms
Small wiggle eyes
Crayola or other watercolor kids paints in black and other colors
Sculpting with Play-Doh is always a favorite activity with kids, and it can be even more fun to make your own quick, easy, and fun Play-Doh style modeling clay (AKA "playdough"), especially on a rainy day. You probably have most if not all of the ingredients sitting in your pantry right now.
To make your own dough, get the following ingredients together:
Always on the lookout for fun and easy crafts to make, I loved these cute little Valentine's Day heart people that my daughter made in her kindergarten class. My daughter, who takes after me in the craft department, spent an afternoon making an army of these little guys, who she called "heart buddies," to decorate our house for Valentine's Day.
They're easy and fun to make. If you have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, you can trace around it to make your heart shape. If not, you can cut them by hand; it's not hard to do.