Posts Tagged With: craft projects

DIY Holidays: 2 Sweet Ornaments to Make With Kids!

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The 1st ornament is a “make your own necklace” kit and the 2nd is a sweet keepsake of hand-written-well-wishes for a loved one (in our case, Grandma ūüôā )

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Both of our holiday ornaments are made with clear, empty bulb ornaments that we purchased from a craft store for 50 cents each.

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The well-wishes ornament was made simply by using an old scrap of Christmas paper.  Any paper will work!

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We cut the wrapping paper into strips.

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Write sweet, personal messages on the strips (use at least 2 per ornament) and gently feed them into the bulb. ¬†Pop the top on and add a little tag. Captain’s tag reads “Well-wishes for Grandma”. Her little messages on the strips of paper are very dear. One wish was to “come and visit me a whole bunch!” These are so incredibly easy to make, and each one can be quite personalized.

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The 2nd ornament is a “make your own necklace” kit for a friend of Captain’s. She filled the bulb with an assortment of beads, then we added some lengths of cord, and little ends, so that her buddy can make a couple of necklaces. Add a festive little tag and you’ve got a sweet gift for a craft-lover. (We cut out a small paper round and added some edging with a red fine point Sharpie).

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We were inspired by Heather at Green Eggs and Goats. She and her daughter filled a bulb with lovely feathers!

Today is a perfect day for doing some crafting here at The Cabin. The snow is falling again, and after playing outside, it feels so good to be indoors getting ready for the holidays.

Do you have any ideas for filling the clear bulbs? We would love to hear about them here on Kartwheels. Have a most wonderful day….

Cheers! Karen

Categories: Family fun, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Make Fun Egyptian Gold Bracelets!

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Toilet paper tubes, paper towel pieces, macaroni, glue and gold spray paint. Yep, that’s all it took to make these sturdy cuff bracelets!

When delving into Ancient-Egypt studies, there is nothing more fun that the huge variety of crafts and projects that can be done. This is a remarkably simple project that makes for some surprisingly sturdy costume jewelry for play. Captain made these delightful gold cuffs with just a little help from mom. And, don’t forget, these cuffs are for boys too. Egyptian men and boys adorned themselves with beautiful jewelry as well!

You’ll Need: One toilet paper tube per set of cuffs, a paper towel, white school glue, a small bowl, dry macaroni and gold spray paint¬†

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1. Cut the toilet paper tube in half. Cut lengthwise along the tube to make it cuff-style (so they fit on any sized wrist as well). The child can then draw a line where the macaroni is going to be glued on, if they wish.

2. Mix a squirt of white glue into a bowl and add a little water to thin it. Twist a scrap of paper towel and dip it into the glue/water mixture and affix it to the middle of the cuff, as seen above. Press down firmly.

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3. Spread white glue thickly onto the top and bottom border of the cuff (inside the lines if you drew them) and affix your macaroni.

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4. Bend the tubes back into bracelets and let dry.

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5. After completely dry, a parent, or other adult, can spray the outside of the cuffs with gold spray paint.

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Voila! They dry quickly and are ready for play. Again, they are quite sturdy and look so much cooler than one would think from the materials used to make them!

I hope you enjoy making these Egyptian bracelets too!

Gold thoughts and cheer,

Karen

Categories: Family fun, History Rocks For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Create Your Own Egyptian Hieroglyphic Tablets!

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Who wouldn’t WANT to make their own hieroglyphic tablets out of sand dough?

Ancient Egypt has been rocking our household all summer long, and making sand dough hieroglyphs is full of gritty fun! Hieroglyphs are fascinating for kids, and I think this project would be terrific whether or not kids are studying ancient Egypt. Even for very young kids, I feel that this project is really beneficial because it is fun, and kids seem to have a natural fascination with Egyptian symbols. Basically, a simple sand dough is mixed up and pressed out into 1/2″ “tablets”, symbols are pressed into it, the dough dries and can then be sprayed with clear acrylic, or coated with Mod Podge. Kids can do as much of the measuring and mixing as they like with this project!

* This is one of those instances where I feel that just being exposed to the idea of ancient cultures, picture languages and sticky, gritty dough to play with is enough to stimulate even very young children. It is NOT important if they learn all the specifics of the history and social-science of Egypt! Just brushing up against these ideas and letting whatever crumbs (quite literally!) fall where they may is a wonderful thing.

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You’ll need: Two bowls, mixing spoon, 2 1/2 – 3 cups sand, 2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons white glue, measuring cups, rolling-pin, a dash of dark red, or sand-colored acrylic or tempera paint (optional) and clear acrylic spray or Mod Podge, parchment paper, baking sheet, clay tools or spoon, chopstick, toothpick etc. It is helpful to have a book about hieroglyphs to look at and hieroglyphic stencils. *I recommend the book Hieroglyphs by Joyce Milton, illustrated by Charles Micucci. It is simple and vibrant and includes a plastic stencil sheet too! It sells for $6.29 on Amazon. I found the recipe for the sand dough at a wonderful children’s art and craft site called firstpalette.com.

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Step 1: Measure 2 cups flour into large bowl stir in 3/4 cup of water and mix into a soft and sticky dough. Add 2 cups sand and mush it all together. Add glue and a small squirt of dark red paint (optional) and mix together. Dump out onto countertop and 1 cup of sand (as needed) to make a thick dough. Using rolling-pin, roll out dough onto lightly sandy counter until about 1/2″ thick.

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Step 2: Using stencil, clay tools, toothpicks etc. Press symbols deeply into the dough.

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We had a lot of dough and Captain used the last “tablet” to make a hand print for Grandma!

Step 3: Place tablets onto baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or waxed paper. Be very careful when transferring them to the sheet so that they don’t crack. If you live in a low humidity area, you can let them dry out slowly over a few days, turning once in a while. Or, put them in a low oven for about 5-10 minutes to help start the drying process.

Keep an eye on your hieroglyphs. We had a little trouble with the drying of Captain’s hieroglyphs and two of them cracked. Captain’s reaction was terrific. She exclaimed “They look more real now!” ūüôā I love the spirit in her!

This project is very fun and we ended up talking a lot about The Rosetta Stone and Ancient Egypt. I hope you try these too, they are fun!

Here’s to getting messy and vacuuming up sand…

Cheers! Karen

Categories: History Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Make Summer “Camp” Lanterns From Recycled Cans!

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Sweet little lanterns make the table look so festive!

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You’ll Need:

Recycled tin cans, hammer & nails of various sizes, wire for handles, battery operated tea lights or tea candles (supervised), freezer or boards and clamps (explained below)

This project is so simple and fun… perfect for lighting up warm summer nights, or dressing the dinner table. They also make a sweet gift for loved ones!

Captain and I camped with a group of homeschoolers from HSC last month in Mono Hot Springs, CA. What an incredible place, and the people were wonderful! One of the moms, the eco-crafty Mary Ann, brought all the fixens’ to create tin can lanterns, and a great time was had by all who made one. Mary Ann said that she saw online that these can easily be made at home by placing a recycled tin can, filled with water, into the freezer. The block of ice inside the can helps prevent it from getting dented when hammering the holes in.¬†I would highly recommend using the freezer method if you can. If you decide to try this project while camping, Mary Ann came up with a great idea to replace the ice. She brought boards and some clamps to secure it to a picnic table. As you can see in the photos below, a piece of wood that will fit inside the cans extends out far enough that the can will slip on. This provides support inside the can so that it won’t dent while hammering the holes.

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You can use a permanent marker to make a design on the can, or just go free-form. ¬†When you have your design in mind (think constellations, hearts, names, or random patterns!) use the various sized nails and hammer to pound holes into the can. Hold the nail in place and give it a tap to “seat” it, and then give it about two more solid pounds and you’ve got a hole! ¬†Using large nails and small nails give the lantern a really nice look! Add two holes at the top of the cans, on opposite sides, for your handle. ¬†Handles can easily be made by snipping about a 6″ piece of wire and crimping it on. Kids can write their names and the date on the bottom of their can and they have a lovely summer keepsake for their rooms!

** A note about hammers, nails, and kids! ¬†I helped about 6 different kids with their lanterns, as hammering is hard work and they could only do a few holes before getting tired. The kids were in the 5-8 age range, and although a couple of them did whack their finger once or twice, they never complained or gave up. I told them how to seat the nail with a tap, and if they were a little afraid of hitting the nail with the hammer, I just encouraged them to try, looking only¬†at the head of the nail when they swung the hammer. ¬†It’s like the idea of “keeping your eye on the ball”- it works! The kids felt empowered and special to be hammering tin cans and doing it for themselves. So, don’t be afraid to let them go for it, just remind them to watch the nail head¬†and they’ve got it!

*We used both tea light candles, and little battery-operated tea lights for our lanterns.  I highly recommend the battery ones for fire safety.

Captain LOVES her lantern and was so proud to bring it home to show dad her memento of a very special camping trip. I made one too, and it reminded me that I had done this project on a Girl Scouts camping trip when I was a kid! What fun! I hope you decide to make these with your kids.

As summer rocks on, I wish you many good thoughts, glowing like little lights around the campfire!

Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Family fun, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Visit a Street-Artist!

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Who wouldn’t love to capture themselves in cartoon? I want to share an inexpensive, and really fun, idea for a wonderful memento of a city visit. If you live in a big city, or have plans to go with your kids, perhaps you’ll try a visit to a street artist!

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Captain and I had a wonderful time last year in the great city of San Francisco! We were lucky enough to go with Captain‚Äôs two Grandmas (the ‚ÄúGrandma Patrol‚ÄĚ) and we stayed in a lovely hotel and got to experience many wonderful sights. One thing we did was to stop at the stand of a street artist, who sketched our portrait, capturing us in all of our pink-cheeked, freckled wonder. The experience itself is delightful, especially for us mountain-dwellers, for we sat surrounded by the powerful smells of coffee, flowers, baked goods, and salty ocean air, mixed with the exhaust of passing busses and cars, all topped with a slight whiff of urine. There were people everywhere, going by with intense briefcases, baskets of apples, rolls of paper, and flowers in their hair. There was a single man’s black leather shoe in a bush, as though placed there as a little sculpture of imagination. I still think about that perfect shoe in that exquisite bush. Fantastic!!

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We only paid $20 (including a tip!) for the sketch & matte frame, and the experience itself was priceless. Even though we live in a remote forest-cabin and relish the excitement and energy of city visits, I think that someone who lives in a place large enough to support street artists would enjoy doing this with their kids. If I could, I would do this one time each year, just to see the little cartoon face of my daughter change with age, the seasons and the particular artist who sketched for us. Our artist was a wonderful man, who told us all about his life and artwork. Doing street-sketches is how he earns money to live and to pursue his true artistic endeavors. He was quiet and reserved at first, but when I asked a few questions, without prying, we ended up sharing all kinds of interesting things about our lives and travel. Oh how I love people!!!

IMG_0691So if you get the chance, go out and support your local artists, in whatever form they choose to express themselves, earn income, and make memories for our families. I would like to wish our artist, who would rather his name not be mentioned, good travels and let him know that a couple of pine trees are waving to him from the Sequoias!

Cheers, Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Family fun, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

DIY: Cool Art with Aluminum Foil, Glue & Shoe Polish!

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View From The Cabin, By Captain and Mom

This project is soooo cool! ¬†Captain and I had a blast doing this, and it has a wide range of possibilities that meet the needs of smaller kids, big kids, and adults. ¬†Our first attempt at creating aluminum foil, glue, and shoe polish art had some mistakes that we learned from. ¬†Our second try was inspired by the view out of our front window at home. ¬†We love how it turned out, and enjoyed working on it together. ¬†We’d like to frame it as a “mom-n-daughter” piece ūüôā This project can be adapted to all kinds of images, and I hope you try it!

You’ll need:

A piece of cardboard (we used the back of a pad of watercolor-paper)

White glue and a glue stick

Heavy duty aluminum foil

Black shoe-polish (the kind that comes in a sponge-applicator bottle is best)

Method:

Create your basic image (don’t worry about the little details as they get added later) by drawing on the cardboard. ¬†Go over all of the lines with the bottle of white glue, squeezing out some of the lines in a thin stream and go back over some of the main lines heavily with the glue. ¬†Let it dry. ¬†Or, as we did, you can skip the drawing part and just use the glue to make the free-form shapes.

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As you can see here, the glue has dried clear.  If you run your fingers over it you will feel the relief-texture that will create the basic shapes in your picture.  Very simple!

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Next, use the glue stick to go over the parts of the piece that don’t have the dried glue. ¬†This will help hold the foil tightly onto the cardboard. ¬†Be sure to rub the glue stick around all of the edges too. ¬†You will then decide if you want the shiny side of the foil to show, or the matte side. ¬†We chose the matte side, but it will depend on your image and the effect you would like to have. ¬†Place the image, glue side down, onto the foil and press it down. ¬†Be sure to have a big enough piece of foil so that you can wrap the flaps around and tape them on the back.

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Put a piece of toilet paper, or a thin, soft cloth, over your fingertip and carefully (don’t rip the foil!) go over both the raised, and flat, parts of the image. ¬†Take your time. ¬†Use a cotton swab to go over every line to make the image really stand out. ¬†This is an excellent time to talk about “relief”.

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Ooh, good fun here.  Swab the whole thing with the shoe polish, wait a couple of minutes, and then wipe it all off with a paper towel.  Use a dull pencil to make details, textures and patterns on the foil.  If you used heavy-duty foil and your pencil is dull, the foil wont rip.  All these little swirls, dents and marks help add dimension and life to the finished piece. Cover it with the shoe polish once more, let set.

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Wipe off the polish, taking care to let the very dark parts of the polish, right up against the edges of the raised parts stay.

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Voila! ¬†Your very own “antique-ish” piece of art!

Below you will see our first try.  We were inspired by two beautiful, pearlized ammonites.  Our mistake was that we used yarn to make our relief, and it was too thick for the foil.  We looked online and saw how others had made this project and learned that simple glue was enough to get a good relief.  We loved making this one and it turned out pretty sweet anyways!

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The possibilities with this project are juicy and delightful!  We saw some nice owls and other free-form patterns when we looked online.  I hope you try this one.  It is inexpensive, easy and rewarding.

Cheers! Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Make Easy Recycled Rings of Power!

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Using the seal from a 1/2 gallon of milk, a piece of a cereal box and some pretties, we made ourselves a couple of power rings! 

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This is a cool project that Captain and I did yesterday, in only a few minutes, and it was fun!  We discovered that the seal from a 1/2 gallon cardboard milk, or juice, container was a perfect ring.  It fits almost any sized finger because the top flap holds it on comfortably, and can have just about anything glued on to it!

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Save your tops for rings of power!! ¬†We want to figure out how to put dragons on them next ūüôā

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The little seals fit both of us nicely…

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We used a pink cap and a stone for Captain’s ring. ¬†I used a hot glue gun to attach the pink cap and then glued the stone inside. ¬†We finished it off by gluing the edge with sparkly red ribbon. ¬†For my ring, I used a piece of cereal box, which we cut out into a pentagon shape. ¬†I liked the orange side of the cardboard so I left that and glued a red, ruby jewel onto it and attached it with the hot glue.

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I just wanted to share our simple idea for using stuff around the house. No need to buy anything when you have a hot glue gun, a creative moment, and a desire to make something out of what’s around.

Cheers!  Karen

Categories: Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Calling all K’ARTwheels Kids: Make a Fabulous Color Wheel Gecko!

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Captain’s Gecko turned out great…. Turn the color wheel (poking out on the left hand side) and the gecko changes color!!!

Once in awhile, when working with kids, we come across a project or idea that is truly remarkable.  When a project really lights a kid up and makes them want to create something special, and they are willing to see it through to the end, it is a keeper.  This project has it all! Captain has been working on a science project involving geckos and wanted to add an art piece to it, so I looked around online and found this fabulous color wheel gecko conceived by Gail Bartel of  that artist woman.  Her site is incredible!!!  She is a terrific artist, and educator, and we will certainly be visiting regularly as there are so many great projects.

I want to share photos, the materials list, and a general idea of how we put this project together. ¬†If you decide to try this, PLEASE use the link above to visit Gail and see the original project and photos. You won’t regret it. ¬†The moving color wheel-in-a-painting concept could be adapted in so many creative ways. ¬†The opportunities are endless!¬†From this project, your child will gain an understanding of the basic color wheel, as they create one themselves, and understand how different components can come together to create an interactive piece that will wow family and friends. ¬†I want to add that we did this project in several sessions. ¬†This is not a super quick process, and I followed Captain’s lead as to how much we did each day, so you’ll want to plan accordingly. ¬†There were times that she was ready to keep going but the paint had to dry! ¬†Now, lets take a little peek!

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After the circle was cut out, Captain painted her color wheel first.  

Materials you will need:  

Tempera or watercolor paint (we used watercolor)

2 sheets of watercolor paper (we used a larger size: 11×15)

Fine sharpie

Template: click here to use Gail’s, or make your own. ¬†I looked at Gail’s drawing and sketched one for Captain

Scissors, pencil, eraser

Paper fastener

Tape

Transparency sheet, optional but WORTH IT! (I found an old, clear report cover that worked great.) It just has to fit the gecko cutout.

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Captain’s dad cut out the gecko template for her. ¬†Gail shows a way on her site that students can do this step themselves without using an exacto knife, which can be dangerous.

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Once the gecko was cut out, Captain sketched her background using Gail’s example on that artist woman¬†as inspiration. ¬†When she was done, we got out the watercolors!

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She painted the sky in the background last and was really excited!

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This photo shows the gecko painting upside down on the counter with both the fastener and transparency taped in place.  Time to add the color wheel!

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She lined it up and got the fastener up through the hole. ¬†This is the point when she realized why we put the color wheel “off center”.

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This is a super fun step. ¬†After everything was attached, she turned it over and got to add the gecko’s details right onto the the transparency with the sharpie. ¬†Cute!!

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Turn the wheel (showing on the left) and the gecko changes color!  She took her piece to one of her classes to let her friends see it and turn the wheel.

Yay!  This a terrific project and I want to thank Gail Bartel again for the inspiration.  If you decide to do this project, we would LOVE to see the results!

Cheers and colorful-friendlieness to all!

Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Easy Dough Ornaments For Easter, Or Anytime!

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Here is a very simple recipe for craft dough for making cool ornaments. These dry quickly so there isn’t an overnight-wait period for little crafters ūüôā

This dough is great to use for any ornament shapes, using cookie cutters, and you’ll want to have some colorful yarn, or ribbons, on hand for hanging the sweet creations when finished. ¬†After the paint dries, Captain likes to write her name and the date on the back with a black, fine-tip permanent marker, which adds such a nice touch for gifts for family. ¬†This is a perfect Easter craft too, as a simple egg shape looks adorable with any colors or patterns!

Method

4 cups flour, 1-1/2 cups water, 1 cup salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Combine flour, salt and water (excellent time to let the kids measure & mix!) and after mixing well, knead for 10 minutes (let the kiddos set the timer and help knead too!).

Roll out onto floured surface and cut into desired shapes.  Make a hole for hanging.  Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool.

Paint with tempera paints and allow to dry. You can now write on them with permanent markers, if you like. Spray with clear polyurethane on both sides. ¬†Hang from ribbons.¬†¬†I hope you enjoy making these with your little ones…

Good thoughts, Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Art Rocks! Kids are doing it for themselves…

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One of the Colors of Her Hair Рink on paper, September, 2011

This is a drawing that Captain did right before her 4th birthday.  She was very into human anatomy and was so proud to have drawn ribs for the first time.  We just love this piece, and the cool name she gave it,  and framed it to hang on our kitchen wall at The Cabin.

Kids do amazing things when they are allowed the freedom to express themselves through art and music! ¬†I am a huge proponent of letting kids use any art supply available, as long as it is safe. I will be posting photos of artwork from kids, and adults as well, from time to time here on kartwheels. ¬†Sometimes it feels really great to just know that others have viewed your work! ¬†If you have a piece of artwork to share, please contact me and we’ll try to post as many as we can.

Happy creating and cheers!  Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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