Packing paper is big, easy to clean up, and free. Perfect material for kid art. Now what can you do with it?
1. Cover the table. Put packing paper over a table (it completely covered our kid table) and let them finger paint all over it. Give them some primary colors and let them mix it by hand to make secondary colors. The best way to learn is by doing, so let them get messy. Not feeling the paint? Give them crayons and markers and let them draw on the table while you make dinner.
2. Hang it on the wall. Tape up the packing paper to a long wall and let them create a mural.
3. Lay it out on the floor. The floor is the perfect place for sitting babies that haven’t mastered walking. Plop them in the middle of the packing paper and let them go to town. Have older kids lay down on the paper and trace around them. Then they can color themselves and design an outfit with paint, markers, or chalk.
4. Take it outside. On a nice day, put packing paper down on the driveway, deck, or sidewalk. Take off those shoes and make paint footprints!
What can you on a cold day? Go to a museum! Hopefully you have a free museum in your area. If you don’t, try local galleries, college campuses (especially the art department), or even local art displays in malls. You don’t need to go to a museum for your kids to see some art.
WARNING: Taking toddlers to a museum is not for the faint of heart. I’ve found museum outings work best with babies in carriers, toddlers in strollers, or preschoolers and older kids with good self-control. If they don’t have good self-control….it’s a great opportunity to PRACTICE! On our last outing I took my two-year-old, who was too big for the stroller (in her opinion) but a little too young to understand museum etiquette (in my opinion). But we managed. You can, too. Just go over a few basic museum rules before you get there. No touching or running. Keep it simple. And then leave if they can’t follow the rules. Don’t worry. You’ll be able to stay longer next time.
While my goal with Little Sis (the two-year-old) was just keeping her from licking sculptures, I aimed a little higher with Big Sis (my four-year-old). We made a museum scavenger hunt before we set off on our adventure. Some museums have their own pre-made scavenger hunts for kids and you can also find some online printable worksheets on Pinterest. I liked our DIY version because we could make it up together and tailor it to her age-level. I came up with categories (shapes, colors, materials, feelings), and she brainstormed the ideas. She also colored in the color boxes….
and made a little mistake. Notice the yellow and green boxes. No problem. It was good opportunity to do some problem solving to fix it.
While we walked around the museum, she marked off boxes on her paper. TIP: Use a pencil to mark off boxes since pens/markers aren’t allowed in most museums. The scavenger hunt helped her focus on one piece of art long enough to really look at it. We talked about how we could check off several boxes with one painting.
We chose a few different categories, but you could also focus on only one. Here are some ideas to make your own museum scavenger hunt:
- types of lines
- feelings you get when looking at the artwork
- particular works of art that are in the museum (look up names/pictures before you go)
- subject of the artwork- people, animals, houses, etc.
And a few ideas for older elementary kids:
- painting styles- impressionism, cubism, surrealism, etc.
- mediums- paint, pastel, pencil, etc.
- time periods
- country of origin