Every year we paint turkeys for Thanksgiving. It’s always a fun project and I’ve always been pleased with the results.

I can’t stand the turkey hands! So, I came up with a project that would allow kids to make turkeys on their own, that would look unique.
I call it: “Crazy Turkeys” or “a Turkey Mess”.
It’s pretty easy… I give the kids brown paint and feathers, a beak, a waddle and googely eyes (of course!). I have images of turkeys on the wall and we talk about the shape of the turkey body, neck (long or short?) and head. The younger ones (3 and under) usually make a “turkey mess”. which consists of a blob of brown paint with feathers on top and the beak, waddle and eyes spread a little bit everywhere. It’s funny and kids love it!

Preschoolers and older kids usually will take their time and get the shape right and paint a brown turkey, use the feathers for wings of the tail, place the beak, waddle and eyes on the head… sometimes even add extra things around their turkey.

Today was the first time, that even though I mentioned how the turkeys looked, kids painted their hands and stamped it on their paper. In both classes, Toddler Art & Family Art! I was not expecting that! Or the fact that the kids wanted to do it, not the parents. It seems like they learn it in school (or daycare) and they automatically go for that easy symbol instead of trying their own. Some of the kids saw they others do their hand print and by the end of the class, more than half the class had stamped turkeys on their paper or asked for a different piece of paper.




I made masks today at work. It was fun!

I was inspired by a few examples I saw on Pinterest, but ended up making my own design.

I made 6 woodland animals and running out of ideas for the last 2, I did a giraffe and a monkey. They are pretty cool, if I may say myself.


Georgia O’Keeffe Flower Close-Up

Only girls showed up for our Georgia O’Keeffe’s art lesson. Which in a way was pretty cool.INTERNATIONAL O'KEEFFE

We looked at different images from Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers and talked about her work in New Mexico and how she found her own style. I was hoping to get fresh flowers and try to do this project by having the kids look at the flowers closely. But, it was too complicated and I was afraid they would have a harder time to render a closeup from 3D to 2D. Now, I wish I could have done both!
There’s a great lesson plan on the National Gallery of Art if you need inspiration or do this activity differently.

Instead of having the real flowers, I printed different pictures of flowers. I cut-out small squares in the middle of a cardstock paper to create a frame that children would use to focus their attention to a detail of the flower. They each chose a flower and place their frame on top, choosing a specific spot they wanted to draw. Using washable markers, they drew that detail close-up of the flower on a piece of cardstcok, posterboard or construction paper.



They used water to create a watercolor effect to their drawing. The ink from the washable marker “bleeds” when wet. This would be a great effect on watercolor paper, which I didn’t have, but I think it’s worth experimenting.


Coil Pot

Ahhh… clay.  I love clay!

For Art Club this week we made coil pots from crayola’s air-dry clay. It’s not too expensive and if you don’t have a kiln to fire real clay this is a great option. It feels like real clay, works like real clay as well.

I taught the girls how to roll coils of clay and using a plastic container as a mold, we created coil pots. Not just by mounting the coils one of top of each other, but by adding circles, loops and other designs.

Here are some pictures

However, I made a big mistake when we created our pots… We build it on the outside of the plastic containers instead of on the inside.  Once the clay started shrinking in the drying process, the pots broke because of the mold constraint. Very, very sad and I’m sure the kids will be very disapointed next week.

broken2 broken1

Halloween Papel Picado

papel picado garland

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, we did papel picado in Art Club. It’s really easy, fun, pretty and will make any dull space vibrant like a Fiesta!

First, you’ll need to pre-cut tissue paper in rectangles about 10″ x 6″. Doesn’t have to be precisely those dimensions. I usually eyeball it, so there’s no waste from my big pieces of tissue paper.

IMAG0794 IMAG0795Fold the top of the paper the long way (that is how you will hang it on the yarn.

IMAG0796 Fold the piece of tissue paper in half and again in half, always keeping the top folded piece in view, to make sure you don’t cut it off. I usually tell the students to hold that part in their hand when they cut, to remind them not to cut it.

You can fold it again and in any direction you’d like.

IMAG0800Cut through all the layers of the folded paper.



IMAG0802Once done, open it up and see the the design you’ve created.






Glue each one on a string or piece of yarn. you can make it as long as you’d like.

I made one for our Halloween display, creating pumpkins and bats and hung it on top of our reference desk in the children’s department.

I’m adding more pictures of different ways that you can fold the paper to give you different results.


Body lines

This week’s theme is “the body”.  I was trying to find something fun to do that would broaden our usual exploration in art.

found this image on pinterest a while back.

found this image on pinterest a while back.

I remembered a project I came across (done with older children), where kids drew many outlines of themselves on a long piece of butcher paper, then they painted the different shapes. This particular project was done to teach how artists sometimes will start from figuration and move to abstraction. I always wanted to use this idea, but in a library setting, it is not always easy. I don’t always see the same sudents and I really only get 15-20 minutes with the toddlers.

I decided to try it with our toddler art group on Wednesday morning. I had a bunch of old posters that I lay on the floor of the art room. I asked toddlers to sit or stand on a piece of paper and for parents to trace them in many different positions (laying down, sitting, standing, side ways…). Once done, they took their drawings home with the instruction to color it.



body  tracing

On Friday and Saturday, I have a Toddler Art class at 10:30 and a Family Art Time at 11:30. I intend to change it up a little. I will have 1 long piece of paper and ask for the toddlers & parents to draw their outlines. Then in Family Art Time, They will paint between the lines kind of how the first image project went.  I may have the Saturday crowd work on the same paper, or I may put  new one on. Not sure yet.

Finally… Friday was a big experimental day. I lined up the paper on the floor, all in one big line. Mr. Josh was playing his guitar and each time he stopped, the toddlers laid on the paper for their parents to trace them. After a few outlines we were done! Some were having fun and dancing with the guitar sound, others didn’t like it at all. For Family Art time, we did the same. except at the end, they all painted on the paper. I was hoping that they would stay within the lines, but that’s hard to ask a toddler to do… or a preschooler.

mural painting

I’m going to cut some of the interesting parts and finish painting them as well as paint an outline. I will display them in the library for kids to see next week. I may just keep the parts that were painted  or a mix of lines and paint.

I’ll post pictures