Category Archives: Imagination

Engaged and Educated: Affordable Hobby Ideas for Children

Engaged and Educated: Affordable Hobby Ideas for Children by guest blogger  Emily Graham  of  Mighty Moms. 

It can be hard to find fun, affordable, and beneficial ways to keep your child engaged. Video games, chat rooms, and cartoons are fun, but they don’t promise much in the way of learning or developing wholesome interests. Consider getting your child started in a hobby that could lead to an abiding interest, an activity that can provide an engaging cognitive challenge and produce a strong sense of accomplishment and self-pride. Sometimes, a hobby can be a heaven-sent means of keeping a young person out of trouble. Whatever the reason for starting one, a hobby can even change a young person’s life for the better. Here are some suggestions.

Starter Kits

If you’re unsure of where to start in your search for a hobby, check online retailers for starter kits and hobby essentials. When you’re operating on a budget, you can save money by doing extensive online research and watching for sales and discounts from retailers like Walmart.

Knitting/Crocheting

This is one of the most affordable and enjoyable hobbies for any child, and it can be a great way for young and old to spend time and learn together. All you need is a crochet hook and some yarn to get started. Look for savings and promo codes from Target as you gather materials. No need to spend money on patterns, many of which can be found for free on the internet. Your child will enjoy making items that can be given as birthday or Christmas gifts to friends and family.

Solve a Puzzle

Puzzles are just the thing to keep a young person occupied and learn problem-solving strategies, particularly through crossword puzzles or Sudoku, collections of which can be purchased for no more than $3. Jigsaw puzzles (which usually run around $20) provide tangible evidence of a child’s skill and determination. Once it’s put together, simply apply a little puzzle glue, mount your child’s handiwork and have it framed as a trophy that will elicit proud memories.

Painting and Drawing

Children love to express themselves creatively by drawing and painting, both of which are excellent ways for youngsters to pass their time. It can be a therapeutic means of self-expression, a medium for working out frustrations and anxieties, and an enjoyable way for a child to develop hand-eye and fine motor skills. And it’s an inexpensive hobby — pencils, brushes, paints, and paper are generally inexpensive materials. Check for daily offers and coupons for stores like Amazon on paint supplies and other items that can help a child get started with a hobby.

Music

Musical ability can open up a new world of creative endeavor for a child. Learning to play an instrument is an excellent hobby that boosts cognitive functioning, improves mathematical abilities, and sharpens motor skills. Finding an instrument at affordable prices can be difficult, so watch for online savings options through websites like Honey.

Experimentation

Most children enjoy hobbies that show them how to create things like “edible glass.” What’s more, all your child requires is vegetable oil, food coloring, salt, and water to create globs of lava that move up and down in a glass beaker. Beginner science is an educational and inexpensive hobby, especially if you can use items that you already have lying around the house.

Hobbies are healthy ways for children to use their time and discover fascinating new worlds of discovery. The best part: They don’t need to be expensive endeavors; indeed, many can be enjoyed for under $20. You never know — you might set your child on a life-changing path.

Thanks to Emily for sharing her ideas!

10 creative ways to celebrate “MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU.”

Guest-blogger, Art Truck Creativity Coach, and mom, Monique Sanders, shares ideas for “MAY the 4th Be With You” celebrations guaranteed to be out of this world.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Star Wars fans started celebrating. Today, fans are celebrating new movie releases and getting ready for the galactic celebration of “MAY the 4th Be With You.”  Meanwhile, here at The Art Truck, we’ve been searching the galaxy for some out of this world arts and crafts to entertain Star Wars fans of all ages.

Build a Droid Robot

1. “These aren’t the Droids your looking for… ” Does your youngling enjoy building robots just like Anakin Skywalker? Well, we love to Party like Robots, too, so contact us if you’d like to throw a droid-building party for your creative young Padawan.

2. Edible art is delicious. Host a DIY cupcake party and have kids make storm trooper helmets using marshmallows and food markers. Or try these adorable Star Wars Character cupcakes from Betty Crocker Website. Simple, tasty and fun! Or contact us to plan your Party like a Cupcake Chef celebration with a Star Wars theme with no stress or mess for you.

3. These pencil holders are adorable, easy to make and useful. The Chewbacca pencil holder is made out of fake fur, felt, googly eyes and a pom pom nose. R2D2 is made entirely out of felt (Blue, Black, Red, Silver and White). So simple!

4. We just love using self-adhesive art supplies during Art Truck parties. So, we’re really excited about peel-and-stick moss. It’s perfect for making this Dagobah inspired magnetic chalkboard. In addition to the moss, I attached used sticks, a wooden peg, felt  and googley eyes to a small wooden magnetic chalkboard. Kids will especially love the adorable mini-Yoda.

 

4. While you have the peel and stick moss out you can create an Ewok frame to remember your favorite moment from your Star Wars celebration.  The materials you will need are: assorted brown buttons, felt for Ewok’s hood, peel n’ stick moss, sticks, rocks, a  wood frame and a glue gun to put it all together.

6. Create your own little Star Wars world in a terrarium inspired by the dessert planet of Tatooine, the forests of Endor or the frozen planet of Hoth. Upcycle glass jars and have kids find materials to fill their worlds.

7. Do you need a Costume for your Star Wars celebration? These Princess Leia and Yoda headbands are super easy to make.
8. Every Jedi needs a lightsaber.  Make your own pool noodle lightsaber with a pool noodle and duct tape. Your young Padawans will love using them during their own Star Wars games.

9. These Jawa Candle Holder with light up eyes are super cute. You’ll need felt, paint, a battery candle, cooking paper and a glass votive candle holder. You can find the instructions at Big Kid Little Kid Web Site.

10. These galaxy tie-dye shirts are out of this world! Materials are simple: a black t-shirt, bleach, a spray bottle, white, purple and blue fabric paint. Just spray the bleach on the shirt and splatter with paint.

In the words of Master Yoda “Do. Or do Not. There is no Try.” We at The Art Truck hope these ideas have inspired you to do something creative during your ‘MAY THE 4th BE WITH YOU’ celebration. May the creative force be with you!

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7 Creative Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Here are 7  Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day from our guest blogger Sarah Lockwood. Thanks, Sarah!

Like many holidays, St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. has morphed into “just another big party” for a lot of people—which is unfortunate, because there are so many more exciting ways to celebrate. If you’d rather spend the holiday weekend immersing yourself in a more artful and memorable experience, you’re not alone. Plenty of people are finding creative ways to take part in one of spring’s biggest events.

Whether you want to give a nod to the real traditions of the holiday or prefer to instill your St. Paddy’s Day with art and culture, consider these avenues for designing a one-of-a-kind March 17th:

1. Visit the Irish or British portion of your local museum. Sadly, most city dwellers or those within easy driving distance don’t regularly visit their local museums. Choose your poison, whether it’s a traditional art museum, peculiarium (an oddities museum/gallery), or niche museum specializing in a particular art or practice you adore, and then see if they have any special St. Patrick’s Day exhibits or Irish collections. Some museums even offer discount days and times, so check ahead, and see what part of the weekend is the best time to visit. We suggest the Irish Famine Museum on the campus on Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT.

2. Face a fear and visit a snake. It’s a myth that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, but as a patron Catholic saint, it’s not a surprising fable. Snakes have long symbolized evil in the faith, and the ability to supposedly remove them from an entire country makes for a nice story. However, historians claim that there weren’t many snakes in Ireland at all during that time. Still, if you like the snake tie-in to the holiday, why not visit one yourself? Check out your local zoo or science center and face your fears (or simply visit what you consider a cute and slithering friend).

3. Go green in every which way. From taking a bubble bath with green food coloring (don’t worry, it won’t stain your skin if used in moderation) to eating only green goodies all day long, who says you only have to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? Green wigs, makeup, scores of green veggies, green tea ice cream and more are all up for grabs on St. Patrick’s Day. (Plus, if you have kids, it’s an excellent challenge to get them to really eat their greens!)

4. Join a holiday fun run or walk. All over the country there are St. Paddy-themed fun runs and walks, often with shamrock- or luck-infused themes tied into them. St. Patrick’s Day is a Friday this year, meaning there are even more options to squeeze in a workout and start the weekend off right. Costumes are often encouraged.

5. Learn some Irish slang. For many Americans, Irish accents are one of the toughest to understand, and it doesn’t help that the language is full of slang terms we’re unfamiliar with. Spend some time educating yourself on the more confusing phrases, like “craic” (a good time), “olagonin’” (complaining), or “noodle” (a person’s head).

6. Learn a traditional Irish dance. At many parades and family-friendly events, there are complimentary lessons for traditional Irish dancing. Alternatively, you can look around at dance studios and see if anyone is hosting a special themed event. Still no luck? Hunt down a four-leaf clover and check out a YouTube instructional video! There are both performance and traditional dances to test out.

7. Go to an Irish poetry reading. Ireland has produced a number of renowned poets and authors, and on St. Patrick’s Day many bookstores will host readings of Patrick Kavanagh, John Montague, W.B. Yeats and more. You can even try your hand at whipping up a limerick.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your unique style, and look at all the options available in your town. You’ll be surprised by how many family-friendly opportunities there are, as well as delectable traditional Irish dinners all around town.