Sunday, 10 July 2011

Phew - a busy weekend!

Have had a jam packed weekend to top off a manic fortnight so whilst I'm just chilling on the sofa catching up on emails and Facebook/Twitter thought I'd jot down what I've been up to and what's going on in the next few weeks in the world of ARTventurers....

The last couple of weeks have been really mad - getting the summer programme sorted, venues and planning activities. I've had some really exciting meetings too. Perhaps the most exciting was a meeting with a local art shop - they already run a fantastic Saturday morning art club for kids age 4-11 and I'm really chuffed that they've asked me to take over the running over it from September :). It's a big responsibility to take over what is already a very successful and happy class run by a very talented artist but I'm always keen to take on new challenges and have some great activities planned for the kids....

As some of you might know my great love is ceramics and so I can't wait to run "Little Potters" over the summer - a three week course which is an introduction to ceramics for kids aged 6+. There'll be some handbuilding with clay as well as pottery painting and I've found two fantastic venues to hold it in, including the Washington Arts Centre. The struggle I've had is with the pricing as the cost of glazing and firing is becoming so expensive, as electricity prices are shooting through the roof!

And for littler ones I'm teaming up with Music Bugs in Sunderland to run a Teddy Bears Picnic party in the first week of the summer hols which should be tons of fun - then launching straight into 3 weeks of Little ARTventurers Summer Fun classes. Pirates and Princesses, the Very Hungry Caterpillar and On Safari - three themes I can't wait to get cracking on! I've run the same summer programme a couple of years ago back in Yorkshire and they were really good fun and feedback was excellent so I'm hoping that the kids and parents/carers here will be just as enthusiastic!

And as for this weekend - yesterday was a school fayre at Durham High which was a lovely afternoon. Didn't start well as I had the wrong start time so was running late and then the roads were all closed in Durham due to the Miners Gala. To top it off I also managed to lose my voice somewhere along the way (don't ask!!). All that aside though, the children and parents were all great and very friendly making me and the other stall holders feel very welcome. Then today I was down in Seaburn running a couple of pottery painting sessions for kids at the Makers Market in the Seaburn Centre. If you've never been to a Makers Market then you really should get down there - they are fantastic markets packed with gorgeous handmade goodies, cupcakes, I've got a few kids craft sessions booked in there for the course of the year - next one is Sunday 7th August, T shirt printing (and might do some keyrings too!)

Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Hot hot hot - warm weather activities for the garden! Part 1

It's so warm here at the minute - who knows how long it will last but we're all making the most of it by opening those doors and windows and letting the summer in! We've got the paddling pool and water slide out already this morning (and it's only twenty to ten!) but when they get bored with that it's a good opportunity to try out some outdoor art and craft activities that we might not have space for in the house (or just not want to do in the house!!!)

Here's some ideas you might want to try.......

Ice cube painting

My kids LOVE doing this - it's great for all ages but takes a wee bit of pre planning. Make some ice cube painting sticks - you can either do this by using ice lolly moulds or alternatively ice cube trays and toothpicks/lollysticks. Make up the ice cubes/lollies by pouring paint in and then freezing overnight. You can use normal non toxic liquid paint or try watercolours mixed with water. Then when frozen the kids can have great fun using the lollies/ice cubes to paint pictures - make sure the paper you use is quite thick. Just remember to remind the kids that the lollies aren't for eating!

Life size self portraits

Fab activity for on the lawn! Get a large roll of paper (wallpaper is great for this) or stick a few sheets together. Get your child to lie down and then draw round them and cut the shape out. They can then paint the figure, make a collage person......

Football painting

In a previous blog post I talked about bouncy ball painting - this is a super sized version! Get a large piece of paper and a tray of paint. Roll the football through the paint then have fun kicking it around the paper (best to do this barefoot!). If you're not too precious about garden toys you could try scooter painting or even space hopper painting using the same theory - but thick card or even board will work best.

Painting with water

This is one for the teeniest tots - give them a bucket of water and a paintbrush and set them off to "paint" the fence, the patio....keeps them entertained for hours and is a good way of mastering holding a paintbrush, a fun way of learning to draw shapes etc.

Den building and decorating

All kids love building dens - easy enough to do with chairs and a couple of sheets. Then they can spend many happy hours decorating then den and getting really creative designing bunting, keep out signs, pictures to decorate the den....!

Hope this might give you a few ideas to be getting on with - my ice cube paints are now frozen so off we go...!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Why do we have music at our pre school sessions?

At our Little ARTventurers art and craft classes for pre schoolers we always round the session off with a well deserved snack and a drink and a noisy sing along  joined by Arty the Bear!

For me it’s an integral part of the class structure – the kids absolutely love it, it's part of the routine of the weekly classes and it got me thinking again about the importance of music for babies, toddlers and pre schoolers.
So why is group singing and music making so important for young children?
-         It’s a sociable activity – it stimulates a basic desire to join in and interact with others
-         Music encourages self expression  and self confidence
-         Engaging with music encourages children to develop gross and fine motor skills and coordination – moving and dancing in time to the music and using instruments to tap and shake
-   Sing a longs are great fun!
One of the most fun sing a longs was when we ran a carnival themed session and the children made their own musical shakers as well as party hats and pasta jewellery - they then had loads of fun  using their shakers during singing time! One for this coming term again I think.....:)
And don't forget our Teddy Bears Picnic party on Tuesday 26th July when we'll be teaming up with Music Bugs to run a jam packed session of teddy bear art and craft activities, biscuit decorating and a fab and noisy Music Bugs session! Session is to take place at St Andrews Church, Roker, Sunderland and places are limited so must be pre booked! check out our website for more details!