World Culture for Kids: Chicago Skyline Art for Kids

exploring geography at mama smiles

Today’s Exploring Geography post is an introduction to the Chicago skyline via a very cool little art project for kids! Jeanette Nyberg is a creative mom living with her 2 kids, 2 step kids, and 1 husband in a suburb of Chicago. She tries to incorporate art-making into every day of her kids’ lives, and strives to provide the same for others through her blog, Craftwhack

Chicagoskyline

Even though we live just west of Chicago, we don’t get into the city allll that often. Life with young kids will do that to a family, and since my husband is in the city all week, he’s not excited to go back in on the weekends.

When I do take the kids in, I make sure to give them an eyeful of downtown, so they can marvel at the skyscrapers, but we also like to check out the architecture in different neighborhoods in the Chicago. I make sure to point out little details about buildings we see, and have the kids show me what catches their eyes.

I think a great way to learn about a new place is by discussing its architecture with kids, and it gives them a good foundation for learning about differences in architecture in different parts of the world. In any event, it gets them LOOKING. That’s always a good thing.

Recently, we took a trip to the Chicago aquarium, and I drove around to give the kids great views of the Chicago skyline. Fen had her camera and was wildly taking photos, so I decided to reinforce what she was seeing with a painting project.

chicago-skyline-art-for-kids

With her photo as a starting point, I had her draw out whatever part of the skyline she wanted with pencil. She went over that with Sharpie, and then we had a little watercolor lesson. I showed her some watercolor techniques, and she experimented with some of them in a very colorful way.

We looked up the different buildings she had painted so she could put names to what she had drawn, and then we looked at some skyline photos on the computer. Then she got bored and skipped away, but I think we got in a pretty good amount of Chicago-learning.

Thank you, Jeanette for this post! I know what we’ll be doing the next time we go into Boston – and, hopefully, Chicago some day!

Exploring Geography is a weekly series introducing families to places all around the world! You can see all the posts written for this series thus far at my World Culture for Kids page. Interested in contributing to the series? Email mamasmilesblog at gmail dot com!

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

23 thoughts on “World Culture for Kids: Chicago Skyline Art for Kids”

  1. I love skyline collages and paintings and when I did one with a group of kids a couple of years ago I remember teaching them about background/foreground and horizontal lines. When one of the little girls went into the city one day (NY) she came back and told me what she observed about the skyline base on her previous art experience.

    1. Jeanette Nyberg

      That’s so awesome that you got that kind of feedback from a kid. She had taken something she learned with you and used it, and you got to see that the idea stayed with her!

  2. What a great idea…we can see the Toronto skyline from my daughter’s bedroom window. I have been trying to find a way to capture it for posterity…this might be the perfect way!

    1. Jeanette Nyberg

      Jen- I still have a framed painting I did of the NYC skyline when I was a kid. In fact I can remember sitting in our hotel room when I was probably 10 or so and painting it! I think it’s a great way for kids to experience travel.

  3. That is such a sweet watercolor. In my guest room I have a whole wall devoted to my kids artwork, it makes me smile every time I go in there.

  4. Well that’s a nice idea! It would be fun to then identify the Landmarks. I love the colors your daughter used. It looks like the sunset reflecting on the buildings.

  5. Great project. Many years ago, I traveled with my kids to Europe. We were on a cruise that did a different city everyday. I brought paints, and when we got back to the cabin, I had them paint a site they liked or remembered best. They results were amazing, and 19 years later, they still decorate my home.

  6. Oooohhh, I love that watercolor skyline, it looks so pretty.

    Jeff and I went to Chicago for our 1 year anniversary, and then took the train back, it was a lot of fun.

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