Posts Tagged ‘guest post’

inviting kids to create art

allstate’s good hands community approached me about writing a brief and simple guest post on the importance of artistic expression for children and how to create positive art experiences for them. hop on over to their site to read my reminders and tips.

i’d love to hear from you all:

why is art important to your children?


what tips might you offer about inviting children into an art experience?


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guest post: sweet dream mobile

i’m so very excited to have a dear friend and one of the most laugh-out-loud funny mom bloggers out there guest blogging here today — the awesome ms. hannah, from to the moon and back, writes here about creating a totally inspiring, whimsical, and heartful piece of art for her son:

sleep has always been a place of hardship, terrible stress and many tears for our almost three year old, j. and quite frankly, for his mom, dad and often little sister, h. it’s just oh-so-hard when your child is struggling with something out of their control; everyone’s control. we’ve been working through and around and in this place for a long time and {hopefully} have learned a bit about how to move forward and beyond. i’ve been visualizing a dream catcher or mobile of sorts that would symbolize the love, strength, and optimism we want to fill our son’s room and his sleepy little head with. i started by explaining my vision to j – a piece of art we could make together to hang in his room that would make him feel safe, remind him how much he is loved and help him through his trying nights. he was beyond excited. it was a rainy day so we geared up and headed out to find inspiration.

we found the perfect sized stick; and with just enough bend in just the right places for the base of a wall hanging. we headed inside to create the artwork and inspiration. without any specific pre-conceived thoughts I dug through our arts and crafts closet and came up with some materials: shrink film, ribbons, watercolors, finger paint, colored pencils.

h is a watercolor girl. she could play among their liquidy goodness for hours. ok, let’s be honest, minutes. like 32 of them, maybe. while she painted, I cut two sheets of the shrink film into smaller pieces to decorate. *the instructions on the shrink film are to use permanent markers – which can be a daunting thought with a 19 m.o. and an almost 3 y.o. but hey, what’s the worst that can happen?

before baking our shrink film I punched a hole in the top of each piece so they would be hang-able later.

watching shrink film bake and contort and form in the oven is just oh so cool. and voila!

h’s water color was just so vivid and great that we decided it should be our focal point. to add some texture I cut the paper into four pieces, punched holes in each and threaded with ribbon. (the ribbons re-used from a friend’s baby shower last weekend.)

j decided he’d like to hang h’s watercolor from the center of the stick and from there we choose ribbons to tie and hang in random order along both sides. (these iridescent ribbons, symbolizing the love and bond our family shares, are from our wedding in 2006 where they were hung all over an apple tree to shimmer and blow in the breeze.)

next we hung our shrink film creations. for this I opted to use fishing line to keep things airy and light. from the baby shower gift I re-used  two leaf shaped pieces of paper; punched holes in them and cut a few more to add.

we simply threaded the large ribbons through the holes in the leaves  to add a “feather” dream catcher effect – but in keeping with our nature theme, of course.

and there you have it. our whimsical, colorful, bad dream squashing, peaceful night evoking, sweet dream mobile.

and so far, so good. j went to sleep with a smile on his face and excitement in his eyes. the journey through parenthood and childhood is so challenging.  in so many ways. acknowledging j’s fears and angst around his sleep and showing him, in this way, that we are here for him and love him and will help him through this {I hope} will be just the boost his little body needs. and a little help from the best sweet dream mobile ever has got to sweeten the pot, no?

thanks for the opportunity to share with you, paintcutpaste fans!


thank YOU, hannah, for sharing such a beautiful and meaningful project with all of us! hop on over to hannah’s honest and hilarious blog on motherhood, to the moon and back, to read more from her and “like” her blog on facebook, too!


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guest post: open studio with 2-year-old

one of my dearest friends and among the shiniest people i know, my brilliant art therapy colleague, sabrina bajakian, was kind enough to offer us a peek into her amazing art studio in bozeman, montana, where she engages in art-making with her 2-year-old daughter, who we’ll call S. i am always inspired by the mindful way sabrina approaches her own art process, and the thoughtfulness she puts into creating/holding an inviting and safe space in which S can begin to engage with materials. through sabrina’s lens and in her own words, she captures such pure creativity, beauty, and wisdom. let’s visit sabrina’s studio and her precious little artist. take it away, sabrina:

"I follow"

25-month-old S has been coming to my art therapy studio since she was in my belly. As you’ll see she’s got an affinity for the color blue. Today S suggested I make a snowman. I followed her lead. She then decided to add details & fill in the snowman.

"New Beginning"

After warming up with the snowman painting, I wanted to give her a clean slate that would be her imagery alone.

"Free Space"

I’m amazed, and as a parent, relieved, that S is beginning to work all on her own without assistance for a few minutes at a time.


I’ve titled the photo above after Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book. As an art therapist, I am very interested in how we might achieve optimal experience. This is the state of mind – state of being that we are all after – being immersed in an activity that we enjoy and is just the right combination of challenge and mastery.


Age 2 is prime time for a kiddo to say, “I made that!”.


After she decided she had enough time at her big page on the wall, S continued her free play in the studio. She loves to make sense of things in her world and sort them by color. In the photo above, S is selecting blue chalk pastels, blue oil pastels, blue colored pencils. Clearly, Blue is the Best Color there is!


I offer S a box to paint and decorate. We haven’t ventured into the world of collage or assemblage together yet, so this is truly a first. She builds upon her skills with paint. What you don’t see in this string of images is how and when I am stepping in to give her a hand. As a general rule I wait for her to say, “I need help” or to be invited or directed: “Mama, paint!”

"Selecting Gems"

Again we’re seeing this budding experience of “Flow.” This kind of freedom, I think, builds confidence and imagination.

"Focused Work"

I also think this state of mind (only when we’re older?) is one of divine connection. For anyone who has worked in a creative capacity, we know that some of what we make comes from our preconceived and planned design. And, then there is what comes from our unconscious individual and collective consciousness.

"Gel Medium"

Gel Medium, how I love this stuff. It’s probably like Mod Podge, but I’m personally more familiar with this product. It’s a painting medium for acrylics, is essential clear, glossy paint, that can be used as a fairly strong, flexible, shiny, transparent adhesive. Dries quick, no smell, cleans w/ water.

I simply tell the little one that mama is putting glue on the box and she can stick things in it.

Together we pull out my bins of collage objects. I have one bin that I especially like that has shiny things. S digs around, selects a few things, puts the lid back on the box and carries her 3 selections to the little table. I’m amazed that she didn’t just get overwhelmed and lost in this process. She is a focused person for being so young!  This is definitely more fun for me than for her!!!

Her little fingers are getting some great fine motor training.  She has to practice pinching & picking up small gems & gets a little frustrated with sticky fingers.  I step in and wipe with a warm washcloth.  I ask her where she’d like me to pour out some glitter & she points to a spot on the table, “righdaar (right there)”.


These opportunities to have choices are key for a child S’s age – or any age.  Little ones have to follow suit with the schedules & rules we adults impose so much of the time. From a developmental perspective, allowing a 2 year old to exercise autonomy and control are essential. What a fun way to help a child evolve through their developmental milestones!

"All done"

We both so enjoyed our art time together.  I didn’t have any expectation about how or if this piece would look finished to my adult eye.  S worked on it for as long as she wanted which was until she could no longer fit gems on the box top.  She tried to put heavy, glass beads on the side but learned that woudn’t work.  I let her try this out & before she got too frustrated I explained what I saw, “looks like those are too heavy” and offered her some blue star stickers to try instead.

"Washing up"

Washing up and helping to clean up are fun for S (so far!). These are glory days. Savoring every moment.

thank you, sabrina, for letting us join you and S in your artistic process in the studio! your perspective and offerings are so very inspiring!

if you’d like to learn more about the amazing work sabrina does in the world, visit her web site:


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