The ARTful Parent book



When doing research for the curriculum for our Summer Camps, I spent a lot of time reading Jean Van't Hul's book, The ARTful Parent, simple ways to fill your family's life with art and creativity. She just published a revised version of this fantastic book. The first version has been in my library since it came out in 2013. It has been a staple for both curriculum in the studio and for projects at home with my family. The new version has wonderful updated ideas  for creating thoughtful, process oriented projects with your kids, or in my case for my students. It talks about how to set up simple invitations for you child, how to start a play group and lots of recipes to make materials for your kids. It is full of inspiration.

You know how sometimes you look through a book and you see a project that you have known about for years, but something about the way it's presented, it's like a brand new project. This happened to me when looking through the Artful Parent, I came across a recipe for making your own finger paint. Finger painting is mainly thought of an activity for under the age of 4, but what if we presented it to our campers age 5-10? I did! And they loved it.



RECIPE FOR FINGER PAINT: From the ARTFUL PARENT

3 cups water
1 cup cornstarch
food coloring of your choice

1. Place water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. 
2. Whisk in cornstarch until the mixture thickens.
3. Remove from heat and let cool.
4. Divide mixture into individual bowls and add a few drops of desired food coloring.
5. Store paint in airtight containers

An alternative mixture recipe:
Jean also writes about alternative recipes and projects to do with the paint. 

We made ours by adding liquid cornstarch to tempera paint, so that it would have that slick sensory feeling. 



We used some tools with our younger students ages 2-4, bubble wrap on rolling pins, foam brushes for those children who didn't like the feel of the paint. We also offered chopsticks for drawing and corks for drawing and printing. 

I offered finger painting for our campers ages 5-10 and they were so excited.  We lay a big sheet of paper onto the table, covering the entire thing. Knowing that the kids would be interested in mixing all the colors together, working together, we gave them yellow, green and blue paints. They used big movements and facial expressions and laughter to move the paint around the table. Our hands are such important tools. Learning to use them and becoming confident in using them is essential. 







Finger painting is not just for little ones. Please do try this with older children. They need sensory play too.

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