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Learning Laboratory: Child-directed crafting

painting pistachio shells with toothpicks

Back in December, Emma asked if she could paint some pistachio shells with toothpicks. So we got the materials together, and (with careful supervision) set to work.

painting pistachio shells with toothpicks

It was a very serious matter for Emma, a learning experience for Johnny, and – for whatever reason – absolutely hilarious for Lily!

the completed pistachio shells

Once the shells were completed, the kids weren’t sure what to do with them, so they moved on to another activity…

emma's painted hands

Painted hands!

johnny's painted hands

Which Johnny chose to display in a most dramatic way!

johnny's painted hands

The shells wound up in the trash, but they learned about texture, practiced fine motor skills, and had a lot of fun experimenting with new artistic media together!

I’m linking this post to Kids Get Crafty at Red Ted Art.

MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

14 thoughts on “Learning Laboratory: Child-directed crafting”

  1. Perfect!I think the kids love it when they can “just do” and “explore”. I am not sure I do it often enough, so thank you, for the reminder!!

    And for linking up to Kids Get Crafty!!


  2. Candace @ NaturallyEducational

    Looks like they had a ton of fun! One of my favorite art experiences this past year was when a friend invited us over to the beach and the kids painted rocks. Afterward they just splashed in the water to clean off!

  3. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog

    What fun!! I love how you let them take the lead. Very cool! And Lilly’s smile — oh my goodness!!!! :-)

  4. Self-directed ideas are the best, and I am impressed that you let them paint their hands :) You are such a cool mom!

  5. Elisa | blissfulE

    I just love seeing the joy exhibited by all three kids during the project… and the handpainting aftermath!

  6. I have a few shots like that of my boys. One in particular from one of their first times painting is one of my favorite pictures of Batman.

    My daughter does a lot of self-directed crafts…….. And then I find confetti.

  7. Two Chicks and a Hen

    This is precisely the kind of project my 4 1/2 comes up with. It’s nice because it’s really just focused on process.

  8. I like how Emma came up with the idea for the art project herself. Those colored hands pictures are really cool!

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