RSS feed

 ISSUE 52   •   1 JUNE 2008 
   This issue: the creative experience


1. Editorial
3. Contrasting chalk artwork
4. Fabric and glue quilt

5. Observational drawing and painting
6. Bookmaking
7. Displaying artwork
8. Featured subscriber blog

1. Editorial - How to Raise an Amazing Child

Welcome to another Kids Craft Weekly newsletter.

Long-time subscribers may have sussed out that my parenting style, and many of the activities that I do with my children, have been influenced by Montessori methods. We are lucky to have a wonderful Montessori preschool only a few suburbs away that my daughter attended for several years and where my son is due to start shortly.

The Montessori method has always been very appealing to me – particularly the emphasis on independence and self-directed activity. But I've found that in this gap where I have had no children at the school I've really lost my way with practising these principles at home.

I recently read the glowing reviews of How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way on Amazon and was inspired to buy a copy. I am thrilled to report that I have not been disappointed.

This book is full of wonderful and practical ideas for creating a child-friendly environment in your home. I love that the ideas are really simple and don't depend on those lovely but oh so expensive Montessori materials.

One of the ideas from the book that we have initiated in our house is to dedicate the bottom shelf of the fridge to healthy snacks/drinks and allowing the children to help themselves when they are hungry/thirsty. We have also set up a backyard clothesline at child's height where the kids can wash, rinse, wring and hang out socks.

The book has some great ideas for nature-based party games, conflict-resolution via a 'peace table' and raising your child as 'steward' of the earth. Nice stuff.

How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way is super easy to read and has heaps of inspiring photos – it's not dense like so many of the other Montessori books out there. In fact I'm going to donate a copy to our Montessori preschool's parent library!

If you're at all interested in Montessori this book is a must-have.

I've added this book to my list of favourites that you can see on the front page of the Kids Craft Weekly website. Every month I am giving away a copy of the book of your choice from my favourites list. All you have to do is upload a photo to the Kids Craft Weekly group photo pool on Flickr.

The winning photo for May is Rowena's photo of Isabelle and Charlie's bouquets which you can see below.

Rowena has chosen to receive a copy of Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots for her prize. If you'd like be in the running next month, simply add your photos to the pool!

Happy crafting and I'll see you next time!

Amber Carvan

Buy the Kids Craft Weekly book

2. Introduction

This newsletter is full of 'show me how to do it myself' craft ideas that childen can work on independently. These are all unstructured, open-ended activities that emphasise the creative process as well as the outcome. I should probably point out that these are not 'Montessori' craft ideas but rather ideas that enable children to direct their own creative experience.

All these activities have been designed so that you can leave the supplies out for children to access whenever they wish. The age of your children will determine whether or not a particular activity is suitable for your household.

3. Contrasting chalk artwork

The bold effect of the chalk on black paper makes this craft very appealing. This very simple activity can be enjoyed by kids as young as two.

You will need

• coloured chalk
• black paper


1. Provide your children with a small basket or caddy for the chalk and a good stack of black paper.

2.  Let them go for it.

You can see that both my children love this activity.

Children can be encouraged to return the chalk to it's box when they've finished drawing, and to stack up the paper and put the materials away for next time.
4. Fabric and glue quilt

Working with fabric and glue is a great sensory experience for children. Children aged three and up will relish the opportunity to experiment with different coloured and textured material.

You will need

• fabric scraps
• paper
• paste


1. Cut up fabric scraps into geometric pieces. Place fabric in a basket or other container and also provide a small sheet of rice paper or interfacing that can be used as the foundation for the quilt.

2. Allow your little one to construct to construct their own quilt using the fabric pieces and some paste.

3. When the quilt is finished let it dry before cutting it out. Finished quilts look lovely when they're framed.

5. Observational drawing and painting

Taking the time to sit down and reflect on the form and colour of objects from the natural world is a real pleasure. If you haven't done it for a while, take the time to sit down with your little one and try to draw or paint what is in front of you.

You will need

• nature items
• an art journal
• drawing/painting supplies


1. Select some nature items (leaves, rocks, shells, feathers, seedpods) and have these on display, at your child's level, in your home.

2. Place a dedicated art journal alongside these items along with some art supplies. If you have young children crayons and oil pastels might be a good choice. Older children may wish to use marker pens, coloured pencils and watercolours. 

Encourage your children to sit down whenever they wish and to draw pictures inspired by the nature items.

6. Bookmaking

Children aged four and up will enjoy folding and stapling their own books. Younger children will have as much fun filling up the pages of books that you have made for them.

You will need

• blank paper
• stapler (or sewing machine)
• magazines
• scissors


1. Make some small books by cutting, folding and binding pieces of blank paper. To bind you can simply staple down the spine of the book or sew quickly down the centre with a sewing machine.

2. Make these blank books available to your little one, along with some old magazines, a pair of children's scissors, some markers and glue.

Use your imagination to make a book. Cut pictures from magazines and stick them in. Maybe use some old photos or draw your own images. Possible themes include zoo animals, pets, people, places and food.

3. Add some descriptive words or a simple story and there you have it!

7. Displaying artwork

When your children are working indepently on their creative projects it's nice for them to be able to display their finished work themselves. You can easily set up a low-hanging wire on which your children can peg their own artwork.

Hammer two nails (or screws) into the wall and wind thin wire around each of them. Make sure the wire is pulled tight and that it is low enough for your child to attach their own picture to the wire using pegs.

Alternatively, consider purchasing an inexpensive pinboard and hanging it at your child's level.

Buy the Kids Craft Weekly book

8. Featured subscriber blog

Life in the Green Mountains

To have your blog featured in this section just send in your web address and I'll add you to the list. But be warned, the waiting list is currently very long. 


For a regular dose of inspiring craft ideas and fun activities subscribe to my free email newsletter. Please note that my privacy policy ensures that your email address will not be given to anyone, ever.

Email address:   

Please double check that you have entered your email address correctly. 


items in Kids Craft Weekly More in Kids Craft Weekly pool

All contents © copyright Kids Craft Weekly 2008. All rights reserved.