Category Archives: Art Projects for Kids

Simon Sparrow

r_m1985_49SAAM-2016.38.69_1Simon Sparrow (1925-2000) was a self-taught artist who was born in West Africa and raised in North Carolina. Sparrow moved to Madison, Wisconsin in the 1970s where he was known as a street preacher. Sparrow’s spiritual beliefs crossed over into his artwork. He believed he was guided by “spirit” to create. 

Sparrow used unusual materials to create his mosaic-like art, including: jewelry, plastic figurines (like Star Wars figures), beads, pine cones, glitter, and other found object materials. He even covered his car in glitter and found objects.

Sparrow passed away in 2000. In 2012, he was the recipient of a Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award. His work has been included in several exhibitions and was featured on a 2009 episode of Antiques Roadshow.


We recently worked on a project for kids based on the art of Simon Sparrow. As you can imagine, the kids were excited about using the recycled materials to create their work. We did this project with 6 to 8 year old children, but it can be taught to a range of ages, and the materials can be varied based on skill level. For example, older kids can use hot glue guns. With the younger kids, we used a non-toxic glue, Aleene’s Clear School Tacky Glue. Also, in order to prevent a disastrous glitter mess but still pay tribute to Sparrow’s love of glitter, we used washable glitter pens.

For a full project plan, please click here.

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Toothpick Arts & Crafts for Kids

To go along with my recent post about toothpick art, I have found some fun projects for kids.  I love the idea of working with nontraditional art supplies that are either lying around the house or affordable to buy. Toothpicks are definitely easy to come across.  Loosely inspired by the work of artists Scott Weaver and Wayne Kusy, here are a few ideas I came across. (The project credit goes to the links under each photo.)

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Toothpick cacti from Mod Podge Rocks

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Toothpick Toadstools for a fairy garden from Magic Onions

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Cute hedgehog project from Crafts N Coffee

 

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Michelle Stitzlein’s Butterflies & Moths

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moth6webMichelle Stitzlein is an artist from Ohio who works with found and recycled objects. She uses unexpected materials to create her artwork, such as bottle caps, garden hoses, shards of china, old piano keys, and license plates. She has a great sense of color and design and knows how to transform the discarded items into intricate details that make her work come alive. Her butterfly and moth series is striking.

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Michelle is also the author of two art books for children, Bottlecap Little Bottle Cap and Cool Caps! Her website has several great examples of bottle cap art projects.