Toddler and Mommy Time!

So this is what my youngest and I do while his older brothers are away for a few days at their grandparents! A little painting, and little fun with pipe cleaners and a little, much needed, relaxing for me.

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DSC02850The other day we did some painting with child friendly acrylic paint and I gave him some brushes to use. Of course his first thought was to put the brush in his mouth, but after redirecting him to use it to paint with instead, he had a blast painting! He painted, mixing colours around for quite some time, stopping every now and then to touch the paintbrush and feel the bristles and the paint between his fingers. He marvelled at the colours and the textures. It always surprises me how much focus a 15 month old can have, when they want to.

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DSC03099Then today, I decided to get some things out for him that he usually doesn’t play with. Pipe cleaners, a colander, toilet paper and paper towel tubes, and a pair of tongs. It only took me moments to set up the colander with the pipe cleaners, weaving them in and around the colander (an idea I had seen recently on Pinterest). Then I laid out all the materials and let him have some fun. The first thing he did, so obvious, was pull out the pipe cleaners and toss them away! He was so excited!

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DSC03105Then he found the tubes and tried putting them on his hands and being silly, then trying to fit the pipe cleaners into the tubes and pull them out again. This task took his undivided attention and the focus on his little face was amazing to watch. I didn’t interfere with any of his playing and just sat back taking pictures, marvelling at my little boy who is growing so very quickly.

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It was a nice change of pace for my 15mth old and I to have some quality time together. Him receiving my undivided attention and I being able to enjoy our moments together without any other distractions. I must admit I miss my other 2 boys, but I am enjoying this time my toddler and I have, as come tomorrow my house will be filled again with the love and rambunctious behaviour of my three boys all together.

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Happy March Break!

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The Dot

One of my boys’ favourite books is called The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. It is a fantastic book about being able to go ahead and make your mark in this world. I love when books make it so easy to tie art and reading together making his learning so much fun!

DSC02728So the other day I decided to read it to my now 4 year old. We talked about the different kinds of dots in the book after reading it. We then got out some watercolour and some gauche paints to have a go at making our own marks and creating some dots.

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Of course my sons’ dots quickly turned into full fledged paintings, experimenting with colour, line and even tried mixing the two different kids of paint together.  He was definitely not afraid to make his mark and even took the line out of the book stating “I can do better than that” while staring at his first painting. Then ready to start another.

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Being an artist myself, I of course was playing around with the paint and experimenting with how gauche and watercolour mixed together on the paper. I discovered that you could get some very interesting results by doing so.

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A few of my experiments

DSC02749After seeing my dots, my 4yo quickly wanted to paint on smaller paper like me and tried his hand at a few more smaller dots. Then he got out a yellow feather and decided, since we were in the spirit of experimenting, to use the feather to paint with instead of a brush. It created a different look to the paintings. It was exciting to watch him explore paint and technique  all in his own way. And his paintings turned out very abstract and unique.

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And of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without the silly picture of him behind one of his paintings!

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We also actually got a good one of just the two of us as well!

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Chalk Painting

DSC02033I was reading a blog post about painting with chalk and my 3yo looked over my shoulder and said “I can do that!” So you guessed it! That’s what we did. You can find the post with the instructions here.

It was a lot of fun and reminded me a lot of watercolour painting as you get the paper very wet before you use your chalk.

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My 3yo got really into it and by the end of the 2nd paper he got to be quite a mess. He said he was trying to make different colours….maybe he just like experimenting or maybe he just likes getting messy…I am not sure which but he did have fun and that’s all that mattered to me.

DSC02042 DSC02046I mean look at him! One happy boy. I am a firm believer in the idea that process is everything, especially with kids. It doesn’t matter what the end product looks like, but what they learned and experienced by doing it. Definitely an easy project to have in your back pocket when you are out of ideas, or want something that doesn’t take long to set up. Keep in mind though, it could get messy so be prepared with cloths!

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Potato Printing

DSC01311We were home all day, I was under the weather along with my 4yo, but my 3yo was feeling a little antsy (being the healthy one at the time). I needed something quick, fun and unusual.

Here is a quick and simple fun activity to whip up when you need something exciting to do.

Potato Printing!

I cut a couple of potatoes in half and cut little handles in them so they were easy to use, then set out some paint in trays and let my 3yo go for it and have some fun!

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DSC01319He started out printing with them, then decided he wanted to mix colours together to make some abstract art.  He had a blast and it was minimal work for me. I was able to just sit back and watch while he painted.

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My 6 month old baby and my 4yo were playing trains together nicely, and by nicely I mean my oldest was letting my baby take train tracks to chew on and not get upset with him, even when he ruined the track being built. Ah, it’s nice to see true brother love once in a while.

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Making a House, sort of…

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My 3yo wanted to make a craft and I needed an idea quick. So I went to here and found this make a house craft for our inspiration. I love the Nurture Store website as they constantly have great ideas to play with your kids.

Now of course my 3yo didn’t want to make a house like the one we found

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We found many different kinds of papers to use, got out the scissors and glue and found other random materials in their craft supplies he wanted to add.

DSC01161He went right to work and did not need my help except when too much glue came pouring out of the bottle.

DSC01169When all finished he told me his craft was a “House Rocket Ship, flying to the moon and has a giant engine (the big brown piece of paper)”. I think he took the idea of creating a house to a whole new level and completely made it his own. He was so proud of his “House Rocket Ship” he had to show his brother and Daddy as soon as they came home!

 DSC01170 “House Rocket Ship”

En Plein Air Painting

DSC01087Since the weather was nice last week I wanted to spend as much time outside as possible. With warm sunshine the boys and I could enjoy what Spring has to offer, the playgrounds, our deck, getting the soil ready for planting, etc.

My 3yo wanted to paint one day, so I thought what a perfect day to paint en plein air! I dug up our easel out of the basement (which I am now just planning to leave outside for summer), and went to work helping him set up the paints and paper.

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He seemed invigorated by the warm weather and excited to create something outside!

He went straight to work and mixed colour after colour creating his masterpiece! Once finished I asked him if he would like to try painting on tinfoil, of course he said yes! I found this idea on line here.

DSC01098I first started with an old cereal box, flattened, and then wrapped and taped tinfoil to it. Using a different medium instead of paper created even more excitement and drew up some more creativity. My 3yo had a blast and when finished decided to get a little goofy for the camera. Funny thing is, he didn’t even know he had paint on his nose until I showed him the pictures!DSC01105

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So of course, once my 4yo got home from school, he wanted to paint outside too, he opted for doing two paintings on paper and wasn’t interested in tinfoil, as it seems he had plans for exactly what he was going to paint and was quite serious and methodical about it.

DSC01111While 4yo painted, 3yo used chalk on the chalkboard on the other side, all the while my 5 month old sat watching, intently.

Once the chalk was done my 3yo played in his newly grown “field” in the sandbox with his animals and trucks. So, of course,…..dirt…..DSC01123happens…..all over the 5mth olds body, I had to get a picture of this as the boys thought this was hilarious and my baby didn’t care one bit, ah, he is fitting in nicely already.

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All in all the boys did some pretty awesome art, loved every second being outside and minimal clean-up as the rain will wash most of it away (and the washing machine the rest).

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Creative Freedom

Being an artist myself, I hope that at least one of my boys will truly enjoy making art to some extent, and that all of them will appreciate it and have some love of art.

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4yo tracing different shapes

I sincerely think that art is an important part of growing as a child. So, I created an arts and craft area in our living room. I wanted my boys to have the freedom to be creative whenever they felt the need or want. The moment in which someone is inspired is not always when an activity is planned or the space is cleared. So having an area just for them to be DSC01131creative, at anytime they wish, lets them explore their creativity without asking me or getting my help to get things out. They have complete freedom to go and get whatever they need to create. Sometimes at the funniest moments they decide to go and create, like at 7:30am before breakfast. The space we made for them allows them to create alone or with each other or with me if they wish.

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4yo and 3yo working side by side on their artwork

Giving them their own space has also given me more time so I don’t have to set up, clean up or prepare what they want, or only when I have the time. They can do it themselves now and surprisingly they are very good about cleaning up after themselves, sometimes not right away but they will clean up eventually and since I gave them ownership of their space, they know it is their responsibility to take care of their things and their space. I will help clean up if it is really messy and they are having trouble, but overall, if it is left messy for a couple of days it’s no big deal as it does not impact the rest of the room.

DSC01024You do not need a big space to create an arts and crafts area, as you can see from my pictures, our house is not that big and the area we created for them is just enough for my two boys to sit and create. What I found is important in making a space for them is that the table and chairs be their height and most of the materials they use be in clear and visible containers. The more organized and easy to use it is, the more they will use it and can maintain the area themselves. I opted for a lot of mason jars, not only because I had a lot leftover from canning, but they have lids and are clear. The other containers are from Ikea and are translucent enough for the boys to see what’s inside. The rest of the materials are kept in drawers and are mostly organized.

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As for materials we have all different kinds of paper, foam, stickers, drawing materials, paints, glue, scissors, stamps, craft materials, odds and ends, etc. We also keep our play-do kit in a drawer to use in the craft area, as well we have a few drawers with activity and colouring books and a drawer for dry erase boards and books. So if the boys want to practise writing/tracing they have many options to work with.

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4yo proud of his sticker Robot pattern he made all by himself

So go ahead, give your kids the freedom to create! You’ll be amazed at what they decide to make!

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Earth Day!

Today was Earth Day!

I am usually on the bandwagon to pick up garbage from my community, however this year with a baby in the sling and my 3yo at my side I decided to do something a little more fun that didn’t involve trash and me bending down too much. My 4yo did do his part with his JK class and picked up garbage at his school, so at lest someone from our family did.

So this afternoon, as it was absolutely beautiful outside, my 2 youngest kids and I set out for the forest to find some sticks and stones and go for a hike. We saw some awesome falls and lots of birds. We had a great time!

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 Our found stones and a tiny Cedar branch


When my 4yo came home from school we went to work painting our sticks and stones in the spirit of Earth Day.

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We had read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss not too long ago and have been reading about the earth and the environment for a couple of weeks now, so this was really a culminating activity to enjoy our Earth and pay tribute to all it gives us.

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Our finished painted sticks and stones

As the weather is getting warmer we will start planting our garden in our miniature backyard, the boys cannot wait, they have already been out there digging in the dirt and making a mess…as boys do. We have also planted wheat grass inside and the whole family has been enjoying it in smoothies, it grows so fast so it makes for an excellent project for young kids to learn about plants and enjoy eating it.

Happy Earth Day!