laugh, explore, create!

Looking for a new direction for 2014? Join the ARTventurers Team!

Is one of your New Years Resolutions to finally realise your dream of running your own business? Are you looking for a career that’s flexible, creative and lots of fun?

2013 saw the launch of ARTventurers classes in York, Liverpool and Tees Valley and we’re looking for more of the right people to join us, growing your own business running art classes for babies, toddlers and children.

Pop over to our Join our Team page to find out more – if you’re confident, great with people big and small and you’d love to get involved in our unique brand of colourful, creative (often messy!) fun then we’d love to hear from you!

Happy New Year – here’s to a fun filled 2014 for all of us!

run a childrens art business

Salad spinner painting!

Who remembers the salad spinners of the 1970s? Usually brown or orange plastic….and in my mind inextricably linked with Saturday afternoons for tea at Grandma’s and watching Pink Panther on the tv….

Well, it’s time to reach to the back of the cupboard and dust off the salad spinner – or pop out and buy yourself a new one! – as they are fab for a spin painting project which is great for toddlers and older children too. It’s an activity we do normally once a term or so at our ARTventurers classes and is always a massive hit with tons of “Wow”s! As well as being great fun it’s also great for improving motor skills, coordination, learning about colour mixing and cause and effect too.

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A year or so ago I was really thrilled when the Tate Gallery asked me to write a blog post for them for their Tate Kids website all about our salad spinner painting fun – so rather than repeat it all here, this is the link where you can find out how to do it!

And here’s a few pictures of our fabulous spin paintings too! (these were from a fireworks themed session – with some glitter sprinkled in for good measure!)

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The big question – what to do with all of my children’s artwork?

Having a clearout? Struggling to find places to pin up all of your little people’s works of art?

If your children are anything like mine (or if you bring them along to one of the Little ARTventurers classes!) then your home will be overflowing with masterpieces and creations and you’ll be struggling to find places to stick them all (a fridge door and kitchen wall is only so big!)

  emily picture

What we do in our house is have a “gallery” in the kitchen where we display the most recent or favourite creations – these are replaced with each fresh batch from my little artists and then the favourite pieces are labelled and dated by me and go upstairs into their big art folders (the portfolio type that students have) to be kept until they’re bigger. There are also some paintings and drawings which (dare I say it) do go into the recycling bin – the children know we simply can’t keep each and every piece that they’ve created!

Sounds good and organised in theory – but there are still times when you don’t want to hide a favourite painting away, or you want to do something creative with their artwork or simply share it! Here’s some of my favourite ideas…..

1. Create a gallery

Easy – choose a space in your home and make it into the children’s own gallery –  a wall in their bedroom or a pinboard, a kitchen wall, somewhere in the hall…..children love to see their artwork proudly displayed and it really does help their confidence and self esteem. We use simple old blu tac for our gallery hangings! But I really like this idea from Ikea, using wire curtain rods and clips

ikea gallery

2. Frame it!

Some of my very favourite drawings and paintings that Erin and Isaac have produced over the years I have had framed and they’re hung around the house in various places. Personally I think they are a lot cuter and much more personal that an Ikea print! I’m also just about to frame a lovely “letter to mummy” that Erin did at school for Mothers Day. I like simple clip frames for kids art – they are easy to open and replace with a new painting whenever you want. Or the freestanding arylic blocks are also great.


 3. Scan it

If you can’t or don’t want to store bits of paper forever and a day then scan and save the artwork so you’ve still got a permanent reminder of it. At the end of each year you could make a photobook or a calender with your favourite pieces – and great for including pictures of models, clay creations etc which you simply can’t keep!

3. Use it for wrapping paper!

We do this a lot with paintings which come home from school and nursery – I save them up and we use them to wrap up presents for their friends and for family. A bit more personal that wrapping paper from Morrisons!

4. Display artwork on a digital frame

I stole this idea from a friend and think it’s a really great space saving idea – she scans or photographs her favourite pictures and drawings, and uploads them (is that the right technical term??) onto a digital photo frame! The children love seeing their pictures and drawings appearing on the frame

5. Give it away as gifts

My childrens auntie and cousin and one of their granny’s don’t live nearby so we save special artwork for the children to take as presents when they go to visit or send it in the post

6. Make jigsaw puzzles!

Of course it depends on the type of artwork but if it’s a drawing then mount on a piece of card and then cut into jigsaw pieces for your child to play with! Don’t forget to take a photo of the complete picture first before you start chopping it up!

7. Make greetings cards (or other gifts)

Again I put aside some paintings and drawings to make into cards – for thank you cards after their birthdays etc. I just chop the artwork to size (you do have to be a bit brutal!), mount on a piece of folded A4 card and hey presto! If you don’t want to do this yourself  there are also all sorts of sites nowadays where you can have artwork made into professionally printed cards – My Design Made  is one local business that does a great job of gently enhancing your childrens creations (if it needs it!) before printing it onto stationary (and other gifts too!). There are sites where you can have scanned artwork printed onto canvas bags, tea towels, teddies… you name it!

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8. Laminate it

Love this idea and have two paintings set aside to try it with – I’m going to laminate them and let Erin and Isaac use them as placemats. I think they’ll love the idea!

Hope some of these ideas are hepful and might have given you some inspiration on what to do with your own little ARTventurers artwork – remember children do love to see their own artwork proudly on display so save, use and display your favourites but  please don’t feel guilty about having to send some on their recycling journey! And if you have any other ideas please share!



At Little ARTventurers at Ashbrooke this morning we broke out the bubbles – popped some music on and the children had a whale of a time chasing them, popping them, dancing and trying to catch them! Any kind of activity involving bubbles is always a huge hit, from babies through to big kids (and grown ups too – don’t try and deny it!), and it got me thinking about the benefits of bubble play for babies and young children………

bubbles ashbrooke

1. Bubbles can help to develop visual tracking skills

Watch where the bubbles are coming from and where they’re going – follow the bubbles with your eyes! Are they going fast or are they floating slowly?

2. Bubbles aid sensory development

How do they feel? Wet and slimy? A bit sticky? Soft?

3. Bubbles can help develop social and communication skills

Asking for more bubbles, developing eye contact, turn taking, developing awareness of other children in a group and not knocking into each other or puching!

4. Bubbles can help develop gross motor skills

Moving, stamping, jumping, reaching, stretching, popping…..

5. Bubbles can help develop fine motor skills

For slightly older children – the dexterity needed to grasp the bubble wand and place it into the bubble container and then pull it out again – tricky! For littlies – popping bubbles, clapping bubbles, catching bubbles…..

6. Bubbles can help develop oral motor skills

Huff and puff and blow the bubbles as they float down. Blow the bubbles using the bubble wand – great exercise for little mouths!

7. Bubbles can help develop hand eye coordination

Link up what the hands and eyes are doing – see the bubble, track, move hand and pop! Or watching carefully while trying to get the bubble wand covered in mixture – not an easy thing to do!

8. Bubbles can help develop language and cognitive skills

Where are the bubbles coming from? Are they big or small? Slow or fast? Pop, clap, in front, behind, up and down……where have the bubbles gone?

9. Bubbles can help develop mathematical skills

Simple counting – 1, 2, 3…..what shape are they?

10. Bubbles can help to calm and relax

The deep breathing needed to blow the bubbles. And simply watching the bubbles floating overhead and down to the ground – never fails to bring out the smiles!