Have you and your kiddos ever made spore prints? It’s easy to do and so fun — not to mention a bit educational!
Miss Fiona and I made some spore prints this month from wild mushrooms that big sister Rhiannon (Anna to you old time readers) found while hiking in the woods with our dog, Moose. The oyster mushrooms made white spore prints that looked beautiful on black construction paper, while the mysterious others (tentatively identified by hubby but I forgot what he thought they were) gave us some brown and grayish ones.
Spore prints from other mushrooms can be green, pink and more!
Mushroom hunters use spore prints to identify mushrooms, but they’re also just really fun to make.
I put instructions on how to make them in this month’s Wild Kids Magazine, a free nature magazine that I’ve been putting out this year. You can read it and find out more about spore prints there. Make sure to talk to kids about mushroom safety, and wash hands afterwards.
Have a magical week!
A few days ago, I got a comment on a new post asking how I made some plastic bag flowers back in 2010. I didn’t even remember making plastic bag flowers, but a quick blog search showed this post where I linked to a fabulous blog with instructions.
It turns out that the original blog is down, but thanks to the amazing Wayback Machine, you can still read the post and get the directions here. I also found the original author’s current blog, which has some neat community art projects to check out. For instance, this is an art installation called “the tent” that community members created out of scrap fabric from a nearby factory.
And this amazing community art installation is created out of recycled plastic bags, just like those flowers. Isn’t it amazing?
Now I’m wishing we had plastic bags in colors other than boring white, and looking at all of our recycling with new eyes again. 🙂
Those who have been reading Magical Childhood for a while know that I often recommend sheet painting. It’s even one of the first crafts I put up on the original Magical Childhood site.
We have been using an old white bed sheet for crafts and sheet painting for over a dozen years now.
In the summer time, we hang it on the clothes line and the kids use paint to decorate it.
Sometimes we put it on the ground and they decorate it with their feet.
Sometimes it’s washable paint, sometimes not.
The sheet looks different every year and every project.
In the winter time and on rainy days, the sheet is our art tablecloth. It doesn’t matter how messy or staining an activity is, because if it stains the craft sheet it just adds more character and another memory.
I love my craft sheet and it makes me smile every time I spread it on the table or hang it on the line for another round of staining.
It’s so amazing to look at little one year old Fiona using it now and remembering when her teenage sisters were making those stains.
You can use any old flat bed sheet for an art cloth or pick one up for a dollar or two from a thrift store.
I highly recommend starting your own.
You’ll never find another bunch of stains to make you smile more. 🙂
Here’s a fun project to do for your next art adventure. Alter some artwork! Twisted Sifter posted the altered thrift store masterpieces by artists Chris McMahon and Thryza Segal, and the results are so fun!
You can generally pick up oil and acrylic paintings at thrift stores for next to nothing, and then assign the kids the task of adding in a magical creature or two.
My late father was an artist and he often bought thrift store paintings and just painted over them completely since it was much cheaper than buying new canvases. I’ve planned for a long time to take some paintings and have the kids just add on to them, but I like this idea even better. We recently bought a bucketload of framed art and pictures for Victoria’s photography, and now I think we need to go back and get another stash for this project.
Have you tried Brushster with your kids yet? This free painting program from the National Gallery of Art lets kids paint with a variety of “brushes” online, or they can click a button to watch the program create art on its own.
NGA has tons of other cool art programs too. Check out the list here!
I love this idea for homemade do-a-dot markers from Counting Coconuts!
I think I’ve seen it before but my brain is a bit like a collander these days and things are constantly new to me again. 😉
These work a little differently than the store-bought kind, but I’m guessing that kids will have at least as much fun if not more with this design.
What a fun craft to do on a lazy winter day!
Would your kids be interested in making some art for a little boy who could use some smiles? Friends of seven year-old Joey are trying to get lots of cards and pictures for his hospital room.
Note: The following letter is from the family organizing this card drive. While I do not know Joey’s family, I have known the mother who wrote this letter for many years through an online homeschooling group. You can follow Joey’s progress online here.
Attached is a picture of Joey pre-diagnosis and then after his surgery. He is 7 years old. Three weeks ago he was able to fully participate in an one hour gym class. He started experiencing some vomiting and a couple of other symptoms. His mom and dad took him to the doctor, they thought it was a virus going around. He didn’t get better, then he couldn’t walk. Fast forward three weeks, and they found out he has a brain tumor on his brain stem and going down his spine. The cancer he has is so aggressive it can double in size in 24 hours. He has emergency surgery. The doctors are able to remove 98% from his brain stem, but the masses going down his spine are inoperable. He is scheduled for radiation for 5x a week for the next 6 weeks, with chemo. Joey is fighting for his life. He has a long road ahead of him. His family’s only request has been prayers for Joey.
My children are friends of Joey. They are wanting to do something that will help Joey through this time. That is where TEAM JOEY has come from. Together we can let Joey and his parents know that Joey is NOT ALONE, that there are people everyday praying for Joey, that people are thinking about Joey and that Joey has a TEAM of people supporting him and his recovery.
So here is the request. Will you please consider sending a card or a quick note to Joey with get well wishes? Do you have children who enjoy drawing? Will you have them make Joey a card. Will you ask your family, friends, neighbors, churches, etc and collect the cards to mail for Joey? If you would like please include a 4 x 6 photo of yourself, family, and/or children. We will be putting together a scrapbook for Joey so that he can look at the pictures of all the people are thinking and praying for him. On the back of your cards, please put your city and state. If your children are drawing pictures please put your children’s names and ages too.
Please consider this request, it would mean alot to my children, but it would mean the world to Joey and his family. Please mail your cards, notes, postcards, drawings, pictures, etc to:
11715 Fox Road, STE 400-124
Indianapolis, IN. 46236
I happened upon this delightful free coloring page (art really!) at Beauty that Moves and instantly fell in love with it. Isn’t it wonderful? Head over for your free download to do one with your kiddos (or yourself!).
Here’s a simple, fun and nearly free craft that’s really fun for kiddos of all ages.
Colored Salt Paintings!
- Sturdy cardboard (cut up cereal boxes and cardboard boxes are ideal)
- Small bowls
- Food coloring
- Pen or pencil (optional)
- Small spoons or scoops (baby spoons or souvenir spoons work well)
- In the small bowls, pour several spoonfuls of salt and add a few drops of food coloring to each. Stir well and add more to get desired color. We used paste food coloring, which is very intense and requires very little. If your salt ends up too wet from the coloring, you can microwave it very briefly or put it in a hot oven for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, give the kids each a piece of cardboard (blank side up, or vice versa if they want to do the art over a pattern) and ask them to draw a simple design on it. It should be big, without tiny areas. Flowers, fish, designs and patterns work well. Little ones can skip this step.
- Have the kids paint sections of their designs with the glue, and then scoop the colored salt onto the sections. They can then pour the extra salt back into the bowl.
- They can then paint the next section with glue and sprinkle a new color, repeating until the picture is finished.
- Allow to dry.
Our kids all loved doing these, from 3 year-old Alex to 12 year-old Victoria.
Be sure to take pictures, as they can be a bit delicate! 🙂