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Handicrafts, Projects, and Resources For Creative Kids

Do you have artistic and crafty children? Many children have a natural desire to create. I know mine do. I always try to keep a generous supply of craft materials around the house so they can use them when they want to. Over the years, our selection has changed as interests have changed and children have grown. We've moved from stickers and pom poms to needle and thread, calligraphy, scrap booking, and photography. My son (and my daughters too for that matter) really enjoy building and creating things with LEGO bricks. Creativity comes in many forms, not just art. I've realized over the years that my kids learn something much easier when I attach a creative goal to their learning. They would much rather draw and doodle than write a 5 paragraph essay. There is definitely a time and a place for writing that essay, but sometimes it's just much more fun to learn when there is a creative aspect involved. I have compiled here a list of my favorite resources and even some projects for creative kids of all ages.
(Some links that I use in this post are affiliate links. When you purchase something through my links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. But truthfully, I 'm sharing these links because I really love the products and want to share my experience with you. Thank you for supporting my creative efforts!)

Picture Study Portfolios
The full color and quality art work included in these Picture Study Portfolios is incredible. Also included is a booklet that tells how to hold a Charlotte Mason directed conversation about the artist and the artwork. This is my favorite way to do picture study as it forces the children to really look at the art and notice the fine details. While this available in a large printed portfolio packet, I actually prefer to buy the download version so I can print the artwork in any size. My kids especially like the 4X6 size printed on photo paper. Then they are able to decorate their room or notebook pages with famous works of art. Each artist that you choose to study has reproductions of several famous works of art. So far vanGogh has been our favorite, but we would also love to learn about Monet, Turner, and Giotto.

Handicrafts Made Simple
I can appreciate the simple and concise instructions along with video directions that are easy to follow in the Handicrafts Made Simple by Simply Charlotte Mason. I purchased the knitting one for myself because I wanted to learn how to knit, and I thought maybe, just maybe a kid or two would join me. There are 5 handicraft DVDs available: cardboard and paper, knitting, crochet, woodworking, and hand sewing. Each DVD includes a booklet with written instructions for projects while the DVD includes the step by step video demonstrations.

Craftsy hosts a wealth of creative products and classes that you can take at any time. You can even download the classes to your device and take them on your next road trip. There are so many classes to choose from, that the hard part is choosing which one to purchase first! My daughters have chosen classes in photography, cake and cookie making and decorating, and paper crafts. I prefer the crochet, sewing, and quilting classes. Don't want to go to the store for supplies? No problem. Craftsy also sells many of the supplies you might need for your next project. While you're there, check out the many free classes!
I watched a few sessions of a learn to crochet class and practiced my single, double, and treble crochet in these projects. I need to keep practicing though because I really want to make a granny square afghan. That would be a nice cozy project for the winter time.

See the Light Art Projects
We have been working through the See the Light Art Projects for two years now. Really you could finish the entire set in one school year, but since we often have a busy schedule and do many other art related projects, we decided to complete the 9 lessons over the course of 2 school years. Each DVD is one complete project. The projects are broken down into 4 lessons--one lesson per week. The students will be introduced to 9 famous artists and will make an artwork in the style of that artist. 
The artwork they create while using these DVD is definitely something they can be proud of. We hang each piece of artwork on the walls in our kitchen. Anyone who visits our home comments on the artwork hanging up. It gets noticed because the finished projects are just that awesome! Anyone can be successful at these projects with their easy to follow and step-by-step instructions. Several times, I have even picked up the art supplies and joined my kids, so be sure to include extra supplies if mom is going to do art right along with the kids. I also like that they don't always work in just one medium. Kids get to experience several different real art materials, experiment with them, and learn how to use them. 
We have really enjoyed them all, but our favorite one so far has been Sunflowers. We also completed a 4 week unit study on Vincent vanGogh and incorporated a Picture Study Portfolio in our study. In addition to making the art project, we also studied about different countries, learned some foreign language, learned about letter writing, wrote poetry, and a whole bunch of other fun topics. My kids still talk about how much fun that school study was and how proud they are of their journals they are.

Looking for some variety for your creative kids? Don't forget to look at the wealth of resources available here. My favorite way to access all of the art lessons is through the main menu. First click on courses, then click on the courses by subject button. This will bring up a menu with all of the subjects available. The art one is right at the top. When you click on it, you will be able to access a listing of all the art courses divided into grade levels. There is truly something for all ages: art appreciation, art techniques, drawing, studio art for teens, and more. You can read more of my thoughts on this fabulous resource also on my blog.

The Thinking Tree
The Thinking Tree journals make learning fun! It's called fun schooling and it is truly just that. These are perfect for creative kids because they appeal to their creative nature. I think even kids who aren't all that interested in art and being creative would enjoy learning this way. It's because they are in charge of their education and the journals provide just enough guidance to nudge them on their way. At the beginning of each journal the student chooses several subjects that they would like to learn about. Then you simply choose books from your own personal bookshelves, go to the library or the bookstore, and start learning. The Thinking Tree isn't just about homeschool journals though. Be sure to check out their top quality coloring books, mom journals, DIY books, and even a few chapter books. 
I have personally been impressed with the coloring books and how inviting they are. Just leave them out on the table with a handful of colored pencils and see what happens. Maybe play some soft music or an audio book in the background and children are sure to enjoy this relaxing and creative activity. You can read more about our experience with these amazing materials here.

Teach Yourself to Draw
Sneak in some science learning while your students are learning to draw. They will think they are not even learning, but using the Teach Yourself to Draw books in conjunction with the research journals makes a powerful and effective science, art, and creative writing activity for your creative students. 
Have you ever seen those drawing books where you have to draw several different sized circles and ovals and then connect them together to make a dog or a horse? Those always kind of bugged me because I hated having to erase the lines and then my drawings always looked wonky and not quite right. You know what I'm talking about, right? These drawing books are different. Instead of drawing circles and erasing lines, they actually SHOW you how to make small strokes and how to actually draw a realistic looking animal. The student then practices their drawing in bits and pieces until they are able to draw the entire animal. Each drawing book has 5 lessons in it. The research journals are then used to research and learn about the different animals that you have just learned how to draw.

Mike's Inspiration Station
I bought this entire 12 disc set last year. The drawing portions of the lessons are really fun. Mike teaches the kids to draw in a whimsical way. The steps are broken down into manageable and easy to follow steps. He encourages the kids to keep practicing. The more they practice, the better they will become. I love seeing the fun and creative things my kids draw, not only while watching the DVDs, but also when they are drawing something for an assignment or even just for fun!

Grapevine Bible Study
This one has to be my favorite on this list! Grapevine Studies uses stick figure drawing to teach important and relevant Bible lessons. The lessons incorporate Bible reading and Bible memory with colorful stick figure drawing that is easy to teach and easy to complete. My kids have enjoyed learning about the resurrection with Easter just around the corner. It has been a fun and relaxing way to incorporate creativity into their Bible study. I also love that it's multi-age so that my 5th, 7th, and 8th grader can all learn together in a way that they all enjoy. A complete review is coming to my blog next week so be sure to stop back by and read about what we learned.

Art Lab
Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media-For Budding Artists of All Ages (Lab Series) I love this open ended resource. Just enough instructions to get started and discussions on different techniques. This could be a valuable resource for kids to flip through and get some inspiration as well as a good way for them to dabble in a wide variety of art mediums before deciding which one they like best. There are several books available by the same authors--drawing lab, paint lab, 3-D art lab--but this is the copy that we own and enjoy. We own the kindle version and I highly recommend the print version only because I really don't want to have my iPad on the table while working with art supplies. A print book seems like it would be much easier to page through.

What resources do your creative children enjoy using?

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