I read Jean Van't Hul's The Artful Parent several months ago (mentioned here in my post about finger painting for babies). I liked it a lot, so when I stumbled across her forthcoming The Artful Year, I immediately pre-ordered it. I thought it would make a great resource to have around as we venture further into toddlerhood and E is interested in and capable of doing art projects, and it so is.
The book is 350 pages and there's so much goodness packed in it's almost hard to adequately describe. Van't Hul opens with activities for all seasons, with suggestions for variations based on the season. The rest of the book is divided into Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.
Each chapter has numerous craft ideas, largely inspired by the season. Spring, for example, has several different ideas for dying and decorating Easter eggs, while Summer has pinwheels and picnic napkins. The major holidays (Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day) also get their due.
Some of my favorite ideas include:
- Easter egg suncatchers
- leaf stickers
- melted-bead suncatchers
- mixed-media Autumn trees
- boo-boo hearts
The recipe portion of each chapter surpasses expectations. Van't Hul has included a variety of dishes (I'm anxious to try to the Cranberry Granola Bars); many are fairly simple, making them perfect for helping hands.
Spring and Summer each have sections with outdoor-specific crafts, such as assembling a quick teepee.
The back matter is worth checking out; included are suggested children's book and a list of resources for craft supplies (though most of the supplies for the projects in the book are things you probably already have on hand).
All-in-all this is a book worth having on hand. It's guaranteed to inspire you and your kiddos, and could be your saving grace on a day when everyone is cooped up at home.
PS: Van't Hul blogs over at The Artful Parent with more ideas for "simple ways to fill your family's life with art and creativity."
Reviewed from personal copy.