Flower mosaic art project

Mosaics are artworks that arrange small pieces of glass, tile, or stone to look like a picture. It’s one of the oldest traditions in art, dating back to ancient Greek and Roman times – and earlier! Elaborate mosaics were used throughout the ages to decorate the floors, walls, and ceilings of prominent buildings. This is a great art form to explore with your family, but it’s pretty hard for most of us to do an actual mosaic at home. Luckily we have a more accessible solution! This flower mosaic drawing can introduce your kids to the idea of mosaics, using whatever basic art materials you have on hand. It’s also a playful, colorful project – perfect for adding new designs and brightening up your home this winter.

Mosaic 2

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Wintry Penguin Art Project

Are your kids itching for some wintry, snowy fun? This penguin art project is the perfect indoor option! It’s a great celebration of the season, with fun winter details to add like scarves and hats. There are lots of ways to do it, so everybody in the family can find something to spark their imagination. The finished art could make a great decoration for your home, or a sweet family gift.

Winter Penguins 3

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Are artists born or made?


When I watch my five year old draw, he has this natural flow with no obvious upfront agenda. He simply adds to his picture as he develops a narrative in his imagination. When his drawing doesn’t turn out the way he intended, he just changes his story and turns it into something else – without getting hung up on it being “right” or not. His flexible, joyful, non-critical approach to making art inspires me. It reminds me how much I loved to draw when I was little – and that unfortunately, like many, I stopped drawing as I got older.

drawing closeup

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Owl Art Project

With the days getting shorter and that slight chill in the air, we all look for some indoor activities that can keep our kids occupied. Trying a new art project is a fun, relaxing way to engage the whole family’s creativity. This owl drawing is great for kids and adults alike, and works with whatever art materials you’ve got at home. Owls are perfect for using lots of the fall colors your kids are seeing in nature, but don’t feel stuck keeping things realistic! Tons of artists use owls as a creative design, adding their own imaginative patterns and playful, bright colors.


Owl Example 2


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3 ways to help kids learn to draw anything

I loved to draw when I was little but by the time I was 10 years old, I had stopped drawing all together. As I got older, like most kids, I wanted to draw things more realistically and I remember feeling frustrated by not knowing how. Fortunately, I rediscovered my love of drawing as an adult when I finally learned the skill of contour drawing.

Contour drawing is one of the most useful of all the drawing skills for kids to learn and a big confidence booster because it gives them the ability transfer their observations onto paper.  When kids can look at something- whether an actual object or an image- and draw what they see, they’ll have the foundation to tackle any subject matter they want and the confidence to spin off and create their own unique compositions.

Here are some fun exercises you can try with your kids to help them learn to draw the what they see (no pencil required):

TACTILE PRACTICE. Learning to draw realistically is really about learning to observe and this can be a tactile experience, not simply a visual one. Have your child run their finger slowly along the side of the object they wish to draw. Talk about the the change of direction as they follow the contour of the object. “Now you are curving, feel how it bends a little?”


The side of an apple is a curved line

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7 Ways to Keep Little Artists Engaged this Summer


Most of the time our little artists need no input from us to express themselves but there are lots of ways we can broaden their creative endeavors by introducing them to a variety of artful experiences both at home and around Seattle this summer.

My youngest son loves to paint and my oldest is most alive when he is having a nightly dance party before bed. Whether your child’s favorite way to express himself  is through painting, dance or other art form, here are some ideas to broaden their exposure to the ‘Arts’ and keep their creative juices flowing:


Painting projects can happen on the fly if you have three basic supplies on hand: brushes, paints and paper. If you have a set of watercolor paints, take a look at this video for painting techniques your whole family can try. The Artful Parent blog is a great resource for a whole slew of painting projects. You can also plan to hit the Seattle Art Museum for family art fun on select Saturdays of each month. The SAM’s family program, designed for kids age 3-12, provides art projects and kid-inspired tours of the gallery. Details and online calendar can be found here.


No Time for Flash Cards

No Time for Flash Cards

We are lucky to have instant access to amazing craft projects curated by popular Seattle bloggers such as Make and Takes and No Time for Flash Cards. These prolific crafters, educators and parents share projects for every age, theme and season. Start collecting your jar lids and bottle tops for this recycled craft project inspired Kandinsky’s color study with concentric circles. Another project perfect for summer is this frisbee craft. Plan a good chunk of time visiting these blogs- by the time you click away, you’ll be all set with craft projects for the rest of summer.

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Develop Focus through Drawing


The skill of focus is one of the most important lessons we can teach our kids as it underlies the acquisition of everything else our kids learn.  Often with our busy lives we unintentionally teach our kids to be expert multi-taskers, flitting from one thing to the next, and while multi-tasking can be useful, our kids also need to be able to concentrate deeply on a task at hand.


Here are three ways to cultivate your child’s ability to focus:

 Monart second class fall 06 025

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Teach our Kids to Fail

We all want to raise confident and creative kids who fearlessly pursue their ideas, right? What’s the best way to accomplish this? Help them get comfortable with and learn from their failures.

In last week’s post I talked about helping your child to create a plan before diving into a project. This week is about the most challenging step in the creative process: taking action and doing the creative work to see an idea through- which often means dealing with the possibility of failure.

Image from http://pearsonlabs.tumblr.com/


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Why Draw?

Do you remember being asked in elementary school to write and illustrate stories? For me, the drawing part was always discouraging. I loved to write tales about living on our farm and especially about my horse but I couldn’t draw one for the life of me. In fact, I stopped drawing all together after multiple attempts that felt like failures.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that everyone can learn to draw, we just need to learn how!

Watch this video to learn some of the awesome benefits of drawing.

How has drawing made a difference in your life? I’d love to hear your stories!


Tip-Why-Draw from Thrive Art School on Vimeo.