Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Prehistoric Rock Paintings: Exploring Algeria Through Art

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Our third stop in Project: Around the World was to the country of Algeria. Algeria is located on the northern coast of Africa. (See it on the map here.) The majority of the population lives along the coast line because about 80% of its land is covered by desert, specifically the Sahara Desert. Inspiration came easy for this project once we discovered the prehistoric rock paintings in Tassili n'Ajjer. The Tassili n'Ajjer rock paintings are some of the oldest artwork in the world and is considered one of the most important groupings of prehistoric art in the world. (You can read an extensive description, plus view many pictures of Tassili n'Ajjer, at this link from the World Heritage Convention.)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Math Fact Islands

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Every single day I see the words "practice math facts" in my 2nd grader's planner. In fact, I also saw that every single day when she was in 1st grade. Do you see that too? It's a hard task, and it's definitely not something we do on a daily basis. After all, the last thing my daughter wants to do after a full day at school is come home and get drilled with flash cards. We did a lot of car drills with the easier facts (car drills = me calling out problems while on a car trip and she would try to answer as fast as she could). But now, I'm trying to come up with ways to practice her math facts and have a little fun at the same time. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Monochromatic Collages

I love art. I love doing it, I love seeing it, and I love thinking about it. And, that's how this monochromatic collage project came about. It all started when I was browsing Pinterest and stumbled across this blog post for cardboard self-portraits. My mind started thinking two things: first, what an amazing project it was, and second, what else could we do with a similar method. After mulling it over in my head a few days, I latched on to the idea of a monochromatic collage. So, the other day after school, my girls came home to a table full of supplies.

I looked through my craft supplies and pulled a variety of things that would provide texture and also would be able to be painted. I found squares of heavy cardboard (cut from a packing box) to build our collages on. I tore out the middle of corrugated cardboard, so we could use the rippled part. I also found craft sticks and a pile of craft foam that hadn't seen the light of day in a good long while. I grabbed glue, scissors, paint brushes, and pink and red paint, because we've had Valentine's Day on our minds, and spread them out on the table. Now all that I needed were the artists. 

Once the girls got home, they immediately started examining the art table. (They love to have a project waiting for them when they get home.) I explained the concept: create a collage on your cardboard using the items I had out and once the glue dries, paint over the whole thing with your choice of paint color. The results were amazing. I had one daughter come up with a deliberate plan, the A's, and set out to create it. The other had a more organic process and just made it up as she went along. Once the glue was dry enough to not smear all over our collages when we painted, the girls painted over their project with a single color. 

(These projects were created by a kindergartner and a 2nd grader)

This was such a fun and open-ended art project. Don't limit yourself to the supplies I listed, just grab what you have at home. You only need to think about whether or not you can paint over the supplies you use. That's it! It's time to go create!

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Colorful Buildings: Exploring Albania Through Art

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Our second stop in Project: Around the World was Albania. Albania is a small country located in Eastern Europe, just east of the heel of the boot that is Italy. (See it on a map here.) It was a little bit difficult to narrow down our inspiration. Albania is a beautiful country and I found many examples of beautiful buildings and traditional folk costumes. In the end, we stumbled across the town of Tirana. Tirana was completely downtrodden until mayor Edi Rama decided to brighten the spirits of the citizens with paint. Tirana is now completely transformed and is full of the most fun and beautiful brightly colored buildings. (You can see before and after examples at this link from TEDx.) For our art project inspired by Albania, we took a few simple supplies and made our own version of the colorful buildings of Tirana.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Simple Valentine Card Making Station

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No matter how many creative Valentine's craft ideas I come up with, a basic card making station has always been the most popular with my girls. It's nothing more than a simple invitation to create that allows your child to make as many open-ended projects they want. The kids will love it! 

Keep reading to find out all the basics for setting up your own Valentine Card Making Station.