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Printing with Kids

One of my favorite things to do in high school art class and later as an adult, was to use lino blocks and stencils to print. Lotta Prints is a great place to start with this as she explains all of the most common ways to do it, and has big chunky graphics to entice even the most modest of creative souls. My kids often see me flip through my printing utensils when I'm looking for something else, or they see me making greeting cards, whatever, and they always ask to do it.
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I am not always in the mood to generate crafts with my kids because in case you haven't noticed, it's a BIG mess for a little amount of time (or rather, time they are into it, time you put into it can also be in the BIG category). By reading amazing kid art blogs like The Artful Parent and The Crafty Crow, among others, I began to think about how much I loved crafts when I was little. Then I began observing the kids, they were so into painting/modeling/what have you that when doing these things they were often silent because they were so focused.
I needed to get back on the wagon of sucking it up, setting out the supplies, letting the chaos ensue, and allow my kids to be creative.
This was and is a great 'starter' project for crafting with kids because it is an idea they've never executed before, and the end result is actually pretty true to the stencil. I don't like to help my own kids with their ideas or work because I have a tendency to (ahem) be a perfectionist when it comes to things like this. They generally feel better about their work when they are doing it themselves and only want me involved if they ask me. I get materials and smocks out, explain the general idea, grab a book and join them at the table while they go to town. It has worked for us.

Needed Items:
Construction paper
scissors
paint + brushes
tape
Smocks/Old T

Ask the children what type of object they'd like to paint and cut out a very basic outline. Tape the piece of paper that you originally had to cut through to make the outline. Tape the stencil over top of the chosen construction paper, preferably just onto the table, rather than the paper itself (so as to not rip it when you take it off at the end) and show children how to 'fill in a stencil'. Use a bigger brush and "pop" up and down within the stencil with the paint. Slower around corners so there is minimal seeping of paint (why the tape is handy). Set out to dry and viola!

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