There is noticeably a feeling of “slumpiness” in the air. We are tired, sick of this never-ending new normality and, if you’re home schooling or a teacher, preparing classes for the last months of school seems like uphill work.
The three books presented below are a way to call out to the artistic type of kid, but they can also open possibilities in unexpected ways, and I have been busy trying out some of the ideas, some immediately!
Here they are:
Draw Your Day for Kids! How to Sketch and Paint Your Amazing Life by Samantha Dion Baker
Drawing daily is a challenge. There are kids that will do it unassumingly. That is, until they hit the spot where practice and perfectionism start to collide with each other. There is a silly reason for adults to stop putting kids’ drawing on the fridge, and it involves thinking that technique should reflect the subject as if it were a photograph. They couldn’t be more wrong: photographs take the exact likeness of stuff, drawings are meant to convey something else entirely.
Samantha knows this, and has come with an invitation that is both traditional and practical.
Draw what surrounds you, one thing every day, and take note of what you were thinking and feeling in that moment. A visual diary not only will serve you to develop a sense of progression, but will also be a real memory of your life in a specific period of time. We are bored and stuck at home (still) and maybe that can boost your spirit a little bit, looking for a reassuring way to express yourself, to practice observation skills and creativity.
When you are ﬁnished, look at all three drawings and think about which process you enjoyed the most. Which ﬁnished version do you like the best? Which one makes you feel the most proud? -Samantha Dion
These are important questions and are sprinkled throughout the book, inviting young artists to think, to feel and approach art with a different perspective, one not focused solely on technique.
Adapted from the adult book with simplified text, with interesting art and prompts, this built-in journal invites kids to apply what they’ve learned and create their own keepsake. It is profusely illustrated and has all the musts: recommendations for materials, practice exercises, ideas for inspiration… my only caveat is that letter size is too small. I get that that leaves more room for the drawings, but I wish it would had been a little bit on the bigger side for ease of reading.
Publisher Crown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date January 25, 2022
Up next come two books from Karyn Tripp. A former public school teacher turned homeschool mom of four kids, she is behind the online community TeachBesideMe.com. She is also a member of STEAM Kids Books, a group of educational bloggers—engineers, teachers, math nerds, art lovers, and writers—who have thus far co-written and self-published three titles.
I mean, she knows this stuff.
Math Art and Drawing Games for Kids by Karyn Tripp (Author)
I am obsessed with this book. Truly! There is something so calming when you apply math concepts to art. Be it in pattern creation, symmetry exploration, or the simple and extraordinary results you can get with protractor, all the projects and proposed activities surprised me.
The aim of Tripp is to share with teachers and homeschool parents the joy of learning, with engaging proposals (the marble labyrinth inspired in ancient Crete was a winner, definitely, or her edible geometric art!) and the activities proposed just spring from the need of easing burdens when it comes to lesson planning.
Here is a Kirigami sample from the book:
The “Great Resignation” media has been talking about has really impacted caregivers and teachers. The burnout experienced by a constantly shifting world, where you have to deal with mandates that keep constantly changing, has left a mark, and although a book might not help in the bigger scheme of things, a fresh perspective certainly will.
Sometimes, books like these delve in what matters the most when it comes to teaching: experimenting, having fun, creating something memorable, an experience tied to a concept. Tripp aptly lets us explore and has devised a magnificent math-art related book. As she says:
Make Art + Learn Math Concepts = Become a Math Genius! -Karyn Tripp
Publisher Quarry Books
Publish Date November 19th, 2019
Finally, this upcoming book has taken science exploration to an engaging level.
Science Art and Drawing Games for Kids by Karyn Tripp (Author)
With the same premise as the first one, the book is divided into different science activities, all inspired by the likes of Da Vinci, who made experimentation beautiful to watch and make.
The Energy & Motion section helped us to make a recycled helicopter and try out some sculptures that move and spin, made with simple materials (I love posts about craft supplies, you have to be a bit of a hoarder, saving bottle caps, or having in stock colorful cleaning pies, rubber bands, and the like around the house).
The Electricity & Magnetism section does require a bit of more advanced materials, such as copper tape, which I did not know was a thing.
The Living Science section has a ton of good ideas; you can check out below the seed paper you can make at home:
Lastly, I felt that the most known part for me, probably because I obsess over art books, was the Chemical Reactions and Color & Light sections. If there is something my kid keeps doing consistently is color mixing potions, spinning art, and throwing bicarbonate soda over acid whilst adding color, time and around, we love it.
I do want to make spinning sand bottles to create mandalas and exploding paintballs, (and hope for the space someday, as I live in an apartment with no garden or back yard), they are both creative and challenging ideas, you will find many like these in the book.
Publisher Quarry Books
Publish Date February 8, 2022