Try This At Home: Everyday Art

At Elements, keeping children happy and busy is what we do, and we know that it’s what a lot of you have to do at home, as well. So here are two of our favourite art activities that are fun, easy to do and always put a smile on little faces.

Magic with little hands and feet

You need:

  1. Sheets of paper
  2. Non-toxic watercolours
  3. A brush
  4. Your little one’s hands and feet

You could either spell a word, like we have – Love – or paint a turkey!

Have your child pick a favourite colour and paint it over a hand, or a foot. Place it on the sheet of paper, to create your desired image.

Butterflies!

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You need:

  1. A sheet of contact paper
  2. Lots of coloured bits of paper
  3. Glue

Draw the outline of a butterfly on the contact paper. Give the child glue, and a pile of coloured bits to choose from. Have them glue the bits into the butterfly.

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15 books for you and your child

We are big fans of the fantastic Brain Pickings, and love their list of 15 illustrated books, which appeal to readers across generations.

Creative Courage for Young Hearts: 15 Emboldening Picture Books Celebrating the Lives of Great Artists, Writers, and Scientists

We’ve shortlisted our favourite 15 images for you to browse through. And would love to have you visit our Facebook page to tell us if any of these 15 are your family favourites, and which others you’d recommend.

 

 

 

Let’s get creative

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At Elements, we consider creativity both a right and a privilege. Our students are encouraged to be creative every moment of the day, whether they are helping prepare a meal, or playing outdoors. But, of course, they have the most fun being creative when we present them with a blank canvas, and ask them to fill it with whatever they would like. They play in the garden, and use mud to decorate the walls. It’s all a bit messy but such fun. Muddy fingers = happy, busy minds.

After all, as Einstein said,
Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.

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We have an exciting project coming up, that we will be introducing to you, each week.

Until then, if you are interested in understanding the connections between creativity, success and happiness, here are resources that we find helpful:

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Lateral Thinking: An Introduction and Teach Your Child How to Think by Edward de Bono

What adults can learn from kids, a TED talk by Adora Svitak

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At Elements, we truly believe that creativity is multi-faceted, and present in every single child. In fact, one of our favourite quotes is:

“When you’re three, you don’t draw what you see—you draw upon your imagination. Nobody tells you to stop putting wings on people, unless you have a most unfortunate preschool teacher. You are intoxicated by your own magic.”
— Kirsten Hubbard, Wanderlove
We also love this video, shared below, which explains why creativity matters in every sphere of life. Did you know that it’s considered one of the key traits of a leader, for example?

 

Why French children eat everything

In France, pleasure, or “plaisir,” is not a dirty word. It’s not considered hedonistic to pursue pleasure. Perhaps a better translation of the word is “enjoyment” or even “delight.” Pleasure, in fact, takes the weight of a moral value, because according to the French, pleasure serves as a compass guiding people in their actions. And parents begin teaching their children from very early childhood in a process called the education of taste, or “l’éducation du gout.”

The education of taste means teaching children to appreciate and savor the wide variety of flavors in the world and to eat properly at the table.

An excellent piece about why taste education matters, and how you can start teaching your children to eat everything, one meal at a time.

If you’re interested in more on this subject, we recommend these books:

French Kids Eat Everything – Karen Le Billon

Bringing Up Bébé – Pamela Druckerman

Everybody’s in the Greenhouse


After a week of exploring the snow – which was so exciting and fun to do! – we retreated indoors for another week of learning and playing. As always at Elements, though, there’s a twist to this story – the indoors were inside our greenhouse.

We built a greenhouse in our landscaped garden, in order to give our students another way to work with nature. Apart from the warmth and cosiness a greenhouse has, it’s also a wonderful lab-like environment in which to encourage children to observe nature. We have exciting plans for our greenhouse, but to start with, we spent this week treating it as our playground.

The children loved how cosy it is, and they spent time doing art projects, or just hanging out. The most fun they had, though, was playing parachute games inside, which are fantastic both as a learning tool and just a great activity.

Because the kids take turns, they learn to share the fun, and play together in a non-competitive, co-operative way. As they make the parachute billow, they develop superior motor skills and coordination, as also a sense of rhythm with their playmates. Plus, parachute games help strengthen shoulder, arm and hand muscles.

After a week spent playing, making art and learning in the greenhouse, we had a pizza party that everyone absolutely loved.