Back in the seventh grade, my mom took me on an overnight trip to Columbus, Ohio. The state capital was about 70 miles from our small, rural-ish town and represented cosmopolitan magic and sophistication. We dined at a small, family-owned sushi restaurant, and I was absolutely hooked. I remember that the slightly-sweet tamago (egg) was a favorite, but I was a little unsure of the tako (octopus).
About a month ago our family found ourselves stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire. Between poor cell reception and it being rush hour we waited on the side of the road for two hours until help arrived.
Already tired and cranky the thought of taking my two kids to the tire store for a new tire was not something I was looking forward to. That is, until I remembered my Mini Travel Art Kit in my purse. My heart skipped a beat as the stress melted away. Everything was going to be fine. Just find.
At the tire store we settled into the waiting room that smelled of stale popcorn and instant coffee. I pulled the little kit from my bag and laid out the contents for my children to begin playing with. Within minutes they had created mini masterpieces, kites, necklaces, and little books. Two hours in and the kids had used the contents of the kit to create an entire little paper world to play in. The kids stayed engaged. My stress kept at bay, and the car got fixed. The day was saved.
You can make your own mini traveling art kit for kids for that next time you find yourself stuck at the mechanic's, the dentist office, a restaurant, or a day out at the park. Use items from around your home, or click the items listed below to purchase the items to create a new kit just for you (note, contains affiliates).
For your kits you will need:
1 Pencil Case/Make Up Case
A stack of recycled sheets of paper cut down, or a small notebooks
Small Hole Punch (We like these with the shapes)
Other Options of Items to Include
What Else Could You Include?
Pack all of your items into your pencil case. You may need to play around with how to arrange all of your items. Close your case with all your items inside, and toss it into your bag or glove compartment of your car. Pull it out the next time you need some entertainment for your children (and a bit of a break for you).
There's nothing like hearing that dreaded question from the back seat of the car 5 minutes into your 18 hours road trip,
"Are we there yet?"
You roll your eyes, sigh deeply, and remind your child kindly that, "No, not yet. The adventure has just begun." You begin rummaging through all the snacks, games, books, and gadgets you packed to provide an assortment of entertainment. Making you feel absolutely confident that you can keep that question at bay, just a little longer.
However, upon the 55th time that question is asked you find yourself in desperate need of something more to offer besides car bingo (Although, if you are looking for a good one give this one a go).
We totally get it. We have been there too. It's one of those pivotal parenting moments, the quintessential test that no one tells you is part of this thing called parenthood. Can you stay as cool as a cucumber while confined in a small space while your child asks you the same question over an over on repeat...for hours. We would like to see a Yogi make it through a long road trip and still feel zen by the end.
Fortunately, we polled the KidArtLit community and asked them for their favorite audiobook recommendations that are just the ticket to easing those tense moments, provide some quality entertainment, and keep everyone thoroughly entertained, and not asking "Are we there yet?"
Classic retelling of the story of Christopher Robbin and his sweet bear (and all the Hundred Acre Woods Friends) told by Peter Denis. Joyful, hilarious at times, and touching too. You and your children will want to listen to these stories that stand on their own, or build upon one another again and again. Wonderful for ages 2-8 years.
Read by the ever-talented Kate Winslet you and your children will get lost in the magical wonderland of Matilda's imagination. Filled with the trials and tribulations of young childhood this audio book packs all of the colorful imagery and style Roald Dahl is known for. Matilda is witty, charming, a nuisance at times, but always creative. She is an inspiration to childhood. Recommended for 5 years and up (some content may be troublesome to some young listeners).
Originally published in French by Antione De Saint-Exupery, the Little Prince is a remarkable story within a story. A pilot crash lands in a desert where he meets a mysterious little boy who tells him of the planet he is from, of his beautiful rose, and in the process helps the pilot remember his own creativity. A delightfully slower-paced story that will entertain any deep thinker. Wonderful for children entering kindergarten and up.
Did you read the wild adventures of Pipi Longstocking as a child? You are in for a delicious treat with this audio book. Jam-packed with all the original stories Pipi's escapades will keep you and your children rolling with laughter. Pipi and her spunky personality will perk up any long car ride in no time. Children in preschool and up will enjoy these charming stories.
Who can resist the joy that Maurice Sendak's Little Bear brings with every new story? Narrated by Signourney Weaver this sweet series is a delight to listen to no matter your age. The language is simple, and the audiobook does a wonderful job of enhancing the emotions indicated in each passage. Clearly marked within the audio "chapters" so you can easily pause, stop, and resume this audiobook. A great addition to any collection for children ages 3-7.
If you are like us then your kids also create a ton of art, bring home a ton of art from school, and seem to leave bits of paper filled with drawings in their wake. We aren't complaining. It's a great problem to have, but what is one to do with all of that art? Keep it? (how?) Throw it away, Display it? (Again how?), or give it away? What brings the best benefit to children, as well as allow we grown-ups to continue to provide a home environment that isn't overrun by piles of paper?
Displaying children's artwork, whether in your home or classroom provides such a benefit to young children and their overall sense self worth. Early Childhood educator and author ofThe Art of Awareness: How Observation Can Transform Your Teaching, Debbie Curtis says, "They see that their work is being taken seriously. Displaying their work tells them that their work is important and that grown-ups value their work..."
That's all fantastic, right? But, how do you go about displaying your children's artwork in your home without losing the aesthetic of your home? We all love our children, and we LOVE that they make art, but that doesn't mean we want to wallpaper our home in their artwork (although, that could be really cool for a kid's bathroom...just a thought). Don't worry. We've got you covered. Over the next few weeks we will explore the best ways to keep, store, and display our children's artwork. Starting today, let's dive into our top 5 simple techniques for creating changeable art displays, so you can keep that kid art moving and rotating through. Plus, these techniques are child friendly, so your kids can get in on the action too.
Transform an Old Picture Frame
One of our favorite ways to display children's artwork is in a clothesline fashion, and one of the best ways we have found to create a "classy" clothes line is with an old picture frame (minus the glass), some wire, and a few, you guessed it, clothespins. All you need to is measure a piece of malleable steel wire (like this one) and wrap one end around one side of your picture frame, extend the wire across the frame and wrap the other end several times around the opposite side of the frame until you have created a simple "clothesline" attach a few clothespins and viola you have a very shabby-chic way to display your children's artwork.
Is there anything more functional than a clipboard? Attach a few to your wall to create a charming, slightly industrial, and absolutely kid-friendly framing method (no glass!). We like these the best for our hanging purposes.
Integrate Kid Art into your Every Day
Kid art is extremely versatile, and because there is so much of it theres no need to feel badly about displaying it ways that get every day use like as placemats, coasters, table runners, or ahem, wallpaper.
Curate A Gallery Using Unusual Frames
We love it when we get to repurpose items from our homes to create a beautiful display of our children's artwork, and two of our favorite items to use are mason jar lids and embroidery hoops. Both of these techniques are simple, create a consistent look, and are easy to change out the artwork. They are also great ways to display more process-based artwork; making them great for displaying artwork created by very young artists.
Create a Box Frame
If there is one thing we have more than enough of it's boxes. Did you know you can create a simple and fun shadow box frame using an old box? We created these dream theaters as part of the May KidArtlit box delivery. The best part? The box was not only a fun way to play with the artwork created, but also a great way to frame and display the art that was made.
BONUS! Printable Frames
Sometimes just creating a mini gallery wall for your children to change out their own artwork can be so fun. Why not print out paper frames to let your children decorate (or not) and then tape their original master pieces to and use washi tape to hang up in their own "salon gallery" style wall. This makes for a great way to display artwork in a bedroom, playroom, or hallway too. You can download your own printable frame from the KidArtLit Resource library. Enter your e-mail address below to get instant access.
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