School's out for the year? We know, this is really, really hard on everyone. To help just a little bit, we can try and see this time at home as an opporunity for more creativity, exploration, discovery, and self-expression. Here are a few art projects that require supplies you probably have around the house (if not, modify as needed), and are easy and fun to do:
Easy art projects to do at home
Sidewalk chalk rainbows! We’ve been seeing a lot of encouraging, heartfelt, beautiful chalk art on walks through the neighborhood, so why not jump on board this fun, community building effort? Create a giant rainbow in your driveway for walkers to enjoy, or (practicing letters and handwriting) spell out messages of hope like “we can do this,” “love your community,” and “stay strong” and decorate them with colorful doodles.
Painted rocks! Take a walk around the neighborhood and collect a few smooth rocks that fit in the palm of your (or your child’s) hand. Use paint or paint pens to decorate them, and then re-hide them on your walking route. Leaving little treasures for others to find (and look, but don’t touch!) is a great way to build community when we can’t be together.
Paper plate animals! Using whatever you’ve got around the house, be it paint, markers, or crayons, make your favorite animals with a little cutting, gluing, and coloring. Head to the Seattle’s Child Kids & Art Pinterest page for inspiration, and enjoy a creative crafternoon!
Household object color wheel! Learn about ROYGBIV and rainbow order, and how primary colors can mix to create secondary colors, and primary plus secondary colors create tertiary colors! Older kids can learn about complementary and monochromatic colors, too. Then, go around the house, collecting toys and colorful objects and forming a rainbow-order circle (color wheel) as a lovely visual aid.
Painting unlimited! Going through a lot of cardboard (snack) boxes these days? Us, too. Incorporate the idea of conservation into this art project and do some upcycling! There’s not a lot to this one- just lay out an old sheet so the floor doesn’t get messy, break out the paint supplies, and go to town on recycled scraps! Your pupils won’t need much direction; it can be fun for kids to simply explore the effects of paint on surfaces other than paper.
Paper plate weaving! We’re loving the paper plate opportunities! Cut slits around the perimeter of a paper plate (make sure it’s an odd number of cuts; more for older kids, fewer for younger). Wrap yarn through the slits so that it crosses in the center of the plate until you have a “loom.” Tie a separate piece of yarn at the center of the circular loom, and begin weaving in an “over, under” pattern around the circle. Tip: Use multi-color yarn for effortless and colorful patterns.
Paper arts! Requiring no paint or color at all (unless you want to add some), paper arts provide tons of creative versatility as well as opportunities for sculpture art. Make paper flowers (and add green pipe cleaners for stems!), cut out paper Easter eggs (and “dye” them with watercolor), or make a paper chain to count your quarantine days (and write a gratitude on each strip of paper). Or, try some paper weaving or folding, origami style. Make a paper fortune teller, or tear up old magazines, newspapers and paper scraps and learn about layering and overlapping while creating collage. So many possibilities!
Geometric chalk mural! Grab the painters tape and create a rectangular grid; as big or as small as you’d like, but around 3’ x 5’ is good. Try making your grid in the driveway or even on your fence! Have kids create diagonal lines throughout the space, creating angular sections throughout. Fill each section with a different color, and when the tape is removed, the clean artwork is delightful!
Photo credit: Vonne Wilde Photography
Local art galleries offering free online learning resources
In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, many local art galleries have gone virtual and are providing a ton of learning sources at no cost. Check them out!
Stay Home with SAM. Seattle Art Museum has put together behind the scenes videos, stories, photographs of gallery pieces, and fun activites for families during the COVID-19 shelter in place. Take a tour of the new Asian Art Museum, follow prompts for creating art, study “objects of the week” and so much more.
Get Crafty with BAM. Bellevue Arts Museum presents crafting tutorials, created by their education team, on their website. Watch videos on how to make a Silly Sea Turtle, a Jolly Jellyfish hat, a Rainbow fish, and other fun crafts.
Schack Center for the Arts. Everett’s Schack Arts Center has created weekly online lessons, free to the public, that can be downloaded on their website. Learn about math by making an artful clock, create a paper banner inspired by Mexican Folk Art, paint a Georgia O’Keefe-inspired watercolor landscape, and explore many other exciting art lessons.
Frye Art Museum walks viewers through a fun vegetable stamping activity that can be done at home, using black ink or paint, a paintbrush, paper and vegetables. Check out their website for more artful online learning opportunities.
Tacoma Art Museum. View Art of the Pacific Northwest and other Legacy Collections, works by both national and international artists, on the virtual gallery pages. TAM is a premiere collector of thousands of Northwest art and western American art pieces, ranging from late 18th century to the present, and can be used as a high-quality resource for studying and being inspired by art at home.
Seattle Center Arts at Home. Learn about arts-based events around Seattle that have gone virtual this year, like Northwest Folklife, MoPop, Seattle Rep, Seattle Opera, and much more.
Deep Space Sparkle free art lessons. This one's not local, but it's an awesome resource all the same. Former art teacher and blogging entrepreneur Patty Palmer walks viewers through bright, colorful drawing and painting lessons that require few materials (think paper, crayons and markers) and are sure to delight. She created several Facebook Live tutorials during the COVID-19 shelter in space, which are always available on the Deep Space Sparkle YouTube channel.
Leah Winters is the Calendar Editor for Seattle’s Child, and a former K through 8 teacher with a Masters in Art Education from Boston University. She is also the mother to three young boys, ages 7, 4, and 1. For more ideas on themed learning from bugs to outer space to farm life and much more, check out her blog at creativehomeeducation.com.