Mar 11, 2014

March is Youth Art Month!

Every year in March, we celebrate Youth Arts Month to celebrate art and raise awareness of the importance of art education.  The Arts and Crafts Materials Institute began Youth Arts Month in 1961 in the hopes that more and more children will be exposed to arts education and support for school art programs would continue to grow.
In 1984 the Arts and Crafts Materials Institute began the Council for Art Education to help advocate for Youth Arts Month and help provide funding for programs.  According to, the council currently includes The Arts and Crafts Materials Institute, National Art Education Association, the SHIP (a group of art materials exhibitors at the annual NAEA convention), and the General Foundation of Women's Clubs.

Why is art education important, you ask?  Art helps develop critical thinking, self-expression, problem solving, develops fine motor skills, tolerance, cultural awareness, creativity, and many more important skills.

If you're looking for arts and crafts ideas to do with your little ones, you have come to the right place!  We can't wait to share some of our favorite go-to sites and fun, artsy books with you.

  • Mamas Like Me has a special post for 31 days of art activities for March, but the site has an entire tab devoted to kids' crafts.
  • Spoonful, a Disney site, has craft ideas you can search by material used, age range, and type of craft.  
  • Hands On As We Grow has a wide variety of craft activities you can check out.  There is even a handy search tool on the right side of the web page that helps you filter ideas by topic and age.
  • Besides sharing a ton of art project ideas, TinkerLab has ideas for making a creative space and posts group challenges you can participate in from home. 
  • Growing a Jeweled Rose has a crazy amount of hands-on art activities that help develop sensory skills through open play and exploration.
  • Modern Parents Messy Kids' Make and Play Vault is a great resource for finding activities.  You can narrow down by outdoor play, sensory play, holidays, and more. 
  • MiniEco's crafty tutorials will leave you drooling!  These geometric crafts are simple, fun, and stunning. 
  • Venture over to MerMag to see crafts and creative projects that are sure to inspire you and your young ones.  We can't wait for her book, PLAYFUL: Toys and Crafts Made By Hand, to be released this fall!
  • Imagination Soup is one of my favorite resources for literacy and learning.  So many important skills can be learned through arts and crafts, so keep your eyes peeled for great ideas.
  • Library Makers shares creative ideas for learning through their CraftLab, NeedleReads, WonderWorks, and Toddler Art classes.  I love the book and music suggestions that pair really nicely with their art activities.
  • Handmade Charlotte shares DIY projects, ideas for family spaces, and yummy recipes. Don't forget that getting creative in the kitchen can provide some great art experiences.
  • Imagine Our Life inspires me so much!  Even though I won't be able to create half (okay, three-quarters) of the projects shared here, I still love to check them out.  If you like to create with felt, Stephanie is kind enough to share a lot of her patterns with you.
  • Sometimes I think I talk about No Time For Flashcards too much, but then I realize that's not possible.  You'll find book suggestions, activity ideas, as well as crafts for little learners.
  • Finally, Kiwi Crate offers monthly subscription that will bring a box of art and learning activities right to your door!  They are a huge hit in my family and I love to give them as gifts.  Kiwi Crate also shares great ideas for activities and learning experiences on their DIY Ideas page. 

Onto the books!

Since we shared so many resources with you we will highlight only three of our favorite books from our collection.  Keep in mind that we have many, many more that we would be glad to recommend.
  • A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin (2013, Knopf)is a biography of the artist.  Written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by the fabulous Melissa Sweet, this book follows Horace throughout his life and shows how he used art to break down barriers and heal himself after a war injury.  You may not usually think of art as therapy, but it is a powerful and personal way to help express your inner self.

  • Todd Oldham's book, Kid Made Modern (2009, AMMO Books), is chock-full of ideas to fill your year with art.  I am in love with the ideas shared in this book, but I also appreciate the summaries of supplies and the bits of history included.  

  • Another fantastic book of art is Margaret Peot's Inkblot: Drip, Splat, and Squish Your Way to Creativity (2011, Boyds Mills Press, Inc.).  Peot goes through the supplies you'll need to get creative and make your own inkblot art.  The book includes real-life 'Inkblot Heroes' and includes helpful tips to manipulate your projects. 

How can you get your kids involved in art education?  

  • The Firelands Association for the Visual Arts, or FAVA, is located in Oberlin. They have rotating displays and art classes for all age groups.  Keep your eye out for their special events as well.
  • The Stocker Arts Center at the Lorain County Community College has a great calendar of events to enjoy the arts through performances and educational activities. 
  • Don't forget the Lorain County Metroparks!  They offer events for kids to expand their knowledge of nature and science, and these events are sure to spark some creativity.
  • Take a field trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art! Admission is free and the experience of seeing such amazing art firsthand is priceless.  

We hope you are as inspired as we are to get today's youth engaged in art education.  What will you do to celebrate Youth Art Month?  We would love to see any projects.