What better time to show off your artistic talents than at Halloween? Halloween is the time to create a funny, scary, silly or weird costume where the only limitation is your imagination! The most memorable and admired costumes are often the homemade ones made with little money and lots of creativity.
 

An inexpensive and easy way to make a Halloween costume is to start by creating a great mask. Kids can get together with friends and have a great time creating their Halloween disguises, which can be anything from monsters to mermaids.
 

Here are some clever mask creation ideas so kids can pretend to be someone or something else:
 

1. Milk Jug Masks- Using a clean, dry gallon milk jug, cut away the handle and opening part of the jug, leaving the base intact. The jug’s base will be the top of the mask and will sit on the child’s head. Cut two openings for the eyes and a hole for the mouth. Decorate with acrylic paint and craft materials to make Frankenstein, an alien or any kind of monster!
 

 

2. A Blank Canvas- Plain white inexpensive plastic masks are available in many shapes and sizes. Use a glue gun to apply feathers, glitter, acrylic paint, buttons, gems, paper scraps, ribbons, felt, etc. After Halloween, use your mask for Mardi Gras or mount it on colored mat board and display it as a wall decoration.
 

3. Animal Nose Mask- Transform pieces of an egg carton into an animal’s snout! Cut out one cup section from an egg carton. Paint it or cover it with felt, fabric, pompoms, to make it look like your chosen animal’s nose. Add pipe cleaners or yarn for whiskers too! Finally poke holes in each side of the snout and string a long piece of elastic through and knot both sides so that the mask fits snug.
 

4. Hand Print Masks- Trace both your left and right hands on heavy construction paper or craft foam. Cut them out and then cut an eye hole in center of each hand. Slightly overlap the palms and glue together (fingers of each hand should be facing out in opposite directions). Embellish with sequins, feathers, buttons, felt, etc. Once it’s dry, attach a craft stick to the back and use as a handle to hold the mask up to your face!



The Art of Zentangle: 50 inspiring drawings, designs & ideas for the meditative artist
by Margaret Bremner, Norma J. Burnell, Penny Raile and Lara Williams
 


 
This is an easy step-by-step book with visual suggestions for creating wonderful artwork. This workbook format with blank pages interspersed allows young (and old!) artists can practice suggested techniques.
 

Modern Art: The Groundbreaking Moments by Brad Finger
 

Why did Claude Monet provoke a scandal? How did all these new ways of making art fit into the context of their time? A very informative book with great illustrations (paperback)
 

At Left Brain Turn Right: An Uncommon Path to Shutting Up Your Inner Critic, Giving Fear the Finger & Having an Amazing Life! by Anthony Mind
 

In an interview on YouTube with Cherry Norris Tony says “It’s about addressing the artist in all of us. Getting out of the left brain dialogues. We have 70,000 thoughts a day and many of our thoughts are fiction.” We see this in KidzArt—people who think they aren’t creative or can’t draw. But as we say “If you can dream you can draw”!
 

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer
 

Did you know that the most creative companies have spaces (like centralized bathrooms and snack areas) that encourage random conversations among disparate departments? That the color blue can help you double your creative output?
 

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle
 

Although a children’s picture book, this story is an inspiration to both adults and children. Carle grew up in Germany during WWII. His art teacher secretly showed him some work by so-called “degenerate artists”, banned by the Nazi regime. Franz Marc, whose work inspired this book, was one of them. In this picture story, a young boy paints a blue horse, a purple fox and a black polar bear. Young students will empathize with the message that there are no “wrong” colors and no mistakes in art.



How many years have you owned a KidzArt franchise?
Just over a year.
 

How many teachers and students do you have?
I have three Certified Instructors and 100+ children in schools, multiple church youth groups, a couple dozen residents at three retirement centers, and numerous adult events including wine glass painting, collages and silk painting.
 


 

How many schools do you serve?
We’ve done classes in three public schools and one private and are actively pursuing new opportunities of both types. We are eager to partner with schools, organizations and businesses in whatever way is needed, whether its providing an art activity, leading a team-building exercise or involving the community in painting a mural.
 


 

What is your franchise’s philosophy?
The Shoreview KidzArt philosophy focuses on building relationships within the community that provide opportunities to experience art, and encouragement in the process of self-discovery. Our strengths are our persistence and patient, and both are being honed to a chisel point daily.
 

What do you believe are the keys to your success?
Significance is my measure of success. My business goal is the same as my personal goal: to make a positive contribution to people’s lives and the community using art which is my passion. This will hopefully be supported by the bottom line but for me it’s about the journey not the destination.
 


 

Do you have any advice and tips on how to foster children’s creativity and artistic nature?
Identify your child’s gifts and make opportunities for them to use them. Be authentic in showing interest, providing encouragement and sharing life experiences. It’s an exercise in valuing the whole child, like a hug.  

Can you offer any other guidance that parent blog readers would enjoy reading and learning from?
Find the joy in every situation, it’s there; if you don’t recognize it just adjust what you’re looking for.  

Do you have any interesting stories about students and how KidzArt has helped/impacted them?
One student needed constant affirmation that she was doing it “right”. When a mistake (which don’t exist in the KidzArt world) found its way into her drawing, we encouraged her to fall back on her creativity and offered help in brainstorming a solution. The outcome had her beaming and the rest of the kids adding the same thing to their drawings.
 


 

Do you offer art camps or birthday parties?
Both. Multiple camp themes target specific age groups to appeal to princesses and pirates as well as Tweenz and Teenz. Mini-camps exercise the right brain during school breaks and birthday parties entertain with creativity.
 

Tell us anything else about you or your franchise.
Running a business is similar to parenting. It stretches you in new ways every day and challenges you to be your best. Every day I learn something new, not always of my choosing, but always valuable.
 

KidzArt Shoreview serves the Shoreview, Roseville, New Brighton, Arden Hills, Mounds View, White Bear, Dellwood, Vadnais Heights, Falcon Heights, and Lauderdale, Minnesota areas. For more information, visit http://shoreview.kidzart.com/.



Starting the new school year can be a time of great excitement… and anxiety. Here are a few tips to help calm your child’s fears:
 


 

Attend Events
Go to orientation or any introductory events created for you and your child. If your school hosts a parent coffee or an open house, be sure to go.
 

Visit the School
Helping your child get familiar with a new school will ease their anxiety. Explore the playground. Establish walking routes or where your child will meet you after school.
 

Nurture Independence
Get your child ready for self-direction. This might include organizing school materials, writing down assignments, and bringing home homework, Even if your child is young, you can instill skills that will build confidence and independence.
 

Connect with Friends
Try calling parents from last year’s class and to find out which children are in your child’s class this year. Knowing that a familiar face will be in class can be a comfort to your child.
 

Re-Establish School Routines
It can be hard breaking summer habits of getting up late and relaxing after breakfast. Plan morning activities outside the house during the week or two before school.
 

Get Ready!
Make procuring supplies a special event with your child. Having the right tools will help him feel prepared. Allow your child a small amount of money to purchase a special notebook or a favorite-colored pen. These simple pleasures make going back to school a lot more fun.
 

Create a Time and Place for Homework and Creative Expression
Even if it is the dining room table, make sure your child has a quiet place to work on homework, school projects or his/her own creative work!



Research and evaluation are critical to understanding, improving and growing a policy, a program or an organization. Federal, state and local government; as well as foundations and other public and private sector funding agencies are increasingly asking for this information that will give them greater insight into outcomes and the impact of their investment.
 

Afterschool Alliance understands the importance of research and evaluation in the afterschool field and “Taking a Deeper Dive into Afterschool: Positive Outcomes and Promising Practices” synthesizes the findings of research covering hundreds of afterschool programs. The report highlights the positive results of these programs on the students who participate in them and outlines the promising practices associated with quality programs.
 

The report is divided into three sections: the first section reviews evaluations that assess outcomes of students who participate in afterschool programs, the second section presents a summary of promising practices of afterschool programs based on a synthesis of existing research, and the third section provides detailed examples of afterschool programs implementing each promising practice.
 

Outcomes reviewed in the first section are:

    1. 1. School engagement, including attendance and likelihood of staying in school;
    2. 2. Student behavior, including participation in at-risk behaviors, such as criminal activity, gang involvement, drug and alcohol use, or sexual activity; and
    3. 3. Academic performance, including test scores, grades, graduation rates and college enrollment.

 

The first section includes evaluations of programs from across the country. From LA’s BEST in California, to Higher Achievement in the Washington, D.C., metro area, these afterschool programs demonstrate the numerous positive benefits associated with participation in afterschool, such as missing fewer days of school, decreased disciplinary incidents, gains in academic performance, and increased likelihood of being promoted to the next grade and graduating from high school.
 

The second section focuses on determining why afterschool programs have a positive impact on children, looking at the following promising practices of effective programs:

     

  • •Intentional programming/strong program design, which includes identifying and targeting specific goals and outcomes, providing variation in activities and using engaging programming to encourage regular attendance;
  • •Staff quality, which includes staff ability to connect positively with children, the program’s professional development efforts and staff experience;
  • •Effective partnerships with schools, community organizations and families; and
  • •Rigorous program evaluation and ongoing program improvement.

 

Also included in the report are detailed examples of promising practices in action. For example, the AfterZone in Providence, Rhode Island, is a citywide afterschool initiative that leverages community partnerships. The program is offered at multiple community facilities within a specified area, allowing students to take part in afterschool activities located at the “anchor” middle school or at libraries, art centers, museums and other community organizations. There are more than 70 community-based organizations that offer students access to free programs that range from building solar-powered go-carts to learning how to play the guitar.
 

To learn more about the positive impact and promising practices of afterschool programs, you can check out the full report.
 

Source: Afterschool Alliance Blog



Looking for a cute and creative homemade Father’s Day gift idea? This project is fun, easy and you’re likely to have all the materials on hand!
 
Father's Day
 

Materials:
 
• 1/4 cup salt
• 1/2 cup flour
• 1/4 cup water
• bowl
• cookie sheet
• 1/2 cup pea gravel
 

Instructions:
 
1. Mix flour, salt and water together in a bowl. If dough is too sticky add small amounts of flour until it is doughy and pliable. Be careful not to add too much as the dough will dry out and your creation will crack.
 

2. Shape a piece of the dough into a ball in your hands. Place the ball on the cookie sheet and flatten to about 1/2″ thickness.
 

3. Select pieces of pea gravel to spell out “DAD ROCKS”. Press them firmly but gently into the salt dough.
 

4. Bake for 2-2.5 hours until completely dry.
 

5. Remove from oven and allow to cool before handling or removing from cookie sheet.
 

6. Optional: Spray your creation with acrylic sealer or paint it with a clear coat sealer.
 

Source: craftsbyamanda.com



 


 

Summer enrichment program are becoming some of the most popular camps for kids who are looking for unique learning opportunities. Whether it’s sleep away or day camp, many kids are enrolling in enrichment camps that allow them to learn something new, discover a hidden talent or tap into their creative side.
 

Children can seek creative or academic opportunities for their summer camp experience that range from dancing, cooking and painting to writing, learning a language or doing science experiments. There are many options, beyond traditional nature camps, that allow kids to explore or experience something new while having a great time.
 

Enrichment camps typically take on an approach to learning that’s different from school. Their interactive, engaging and energetic style keeps kids interested. In addition, they abide by the philosophy that discovery and learning must always be fun!
 

Enrichment camps let children learn and experiment with something new which can be stimulating and beneficial. Even better– camps that keep kids’ brains active can contribute to their success in the coming school year!
 

Find out about camps at your local KidzArt:
http://www.kidzart.com/location.php



Materials:

Egg Cartons
Scissors
Craft Paint
Paint Brushes
Paper Clip (or pencil)
Pipe Cleaners

 

1. Cut up egg cartons to separate the round cups from pyramid-shaped center pieces.
 

2. Create petals. Trim edges of the egg carton cups and then cut notches from the edge of the cup into the center to make the petals. Do the same with the pyramid-shaped pieces (which will be the center of the flower) or you can leave them whole.
 

3. Using varying colors, paint both parts of flower, front and back, and let dry completely.
 

4. Using a paper clip or pencil, poke two holes in center of each piece of the flower. Next, thread the pipe cleaner through the holes to attach the flower center to the petals and to make your stem. Pull the pipe cleaner taut and twist to secure.
 

5. Assemble your bouquet for a beautiful Mother’s Day gift!
 

Source: Scholastic.com




 

Supplies:
 

•Yellow washable paint
•Scissors
•A fork
•2 googly eyes
•Orange construction paper
•Glue
 

Instructions:
 

Have each child dip the back of a fork into yellow paint (spread paint out on a paper plate so it’s not too heavy). Make a circle shape, pulling from center outwards with the fork. The fork’s tong marks will make the feathers!
 

Fold the orange paper in half and cut out a triangle for the beak and two legs.
 

After the yellow paint is dry, glue on the googly eyes, beak and legs to make a little chick! Happy Spring!
 

Source: Sassydealz




 

Supplies:
 

•White and pink washable paint
•Colored construction paper
•Black sharpie
•Paintbrush
 

Instructions:
 

Paint a child’s hand (except the thumb) with white paint. Have him/her squeeze the pinky/ring fingers together and the pointer/middle fingers together when pressing down to make bunny ears.
 

Paint the bunny’s ears and nose with the pink paint. Let the paint dry. Draw the bunny’s eyes, mouth and whiskers with the black sharpie.
 

Adorable!
 

Source: SassyDealz



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