Jan 16

Inspired by a post at Fresh Picked Whimsy, my sister and I organized a “secret” activity for the family on Christmas Eve. We had some hardwood blocks for another project* that we prepared by painting a plain color with acrylic paint.

We then gathered acrylic paints, paint brushes, paper plates (to use as individual palettes), and set up tables to give each person in the family a workspace. We also had a couple of big mirrors for people to use for reference.

We let people choose their blocks one by one, then everyone got down to work. Some people used the computer to take a picture of themselves to refer to. Everyone was pretty into it as soon as they found out what we were doing. The guys ended up taking the longest on their portraits.

I love seeing how people interpret their own appearance – the features they choose to emphasize, the details they have to include to make an authentic portrait.

(2nd from the left): For me, I had to include my white eyebrows (how do you paint that?) and the multiple colors I used on my hair draw attention to it to symbolize the way I see my real hair – I love my hair color and I feel like it’s my signature feature. Of course, I didn’t think of that when I was painting it, but once it was painted, I realized why it came out that way!

It was a really fantastic family activity, and we all had a great time! I highly recommend it!

*encaustic wax painting

Oct 23

Yesterday I thought it would be fun to put tiny dots of food coloring in an ice cube tray and let my son pour water into it.

He’s now able to control the little water pitcher enough to pour into individual ice reservoirs.

I put single dots of blue, green, yellow, and red, and I also doubled some dots up (red-yellow, blue-red, etc) to make different shades when the water hit them.

The colors mixed together as the water hit them, but continued to deepen as the minutes passed.

When the water was all poured, I gave him a paintbrush and scrap paper to “paint” on.

Total entertainment value: about 15 minutes. It would be more if you re-colored the ice cube trays and got more water. It made pretty water, though!

Sep 30

This quickie activity is a great addition to your nature walk or just any playtime outside. You can use your bag of treasures that you collected when you went on a nature walk, or just use whatever natural bits are convenient.
Nature faces can be made virtually anywhere, at any time, so remember this activity next time your kids say “I’m bored, mom!”

Nature Faces

What you need:
-Various natural materials such as pinecones, leaves, rocks, acorns, grass, flowers, etc.
-Sidewalk chalk (optional)

What to do:
Gather your materials, clear off a spot on the ground, and create faces! It might be helpful for some kids if a chalk circle is drawn on the ground so they will have a starting point for their face creations.

If your kids are too small to make their own faces, let them play with the materials while you make simple faces, and then let them point out eyes, nose, etc. (or ask them what various parts are called).

Don’t forget to take pictures of your work!

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