Summer Break, Day 1 - Messy Art

Someday, I plan to sign my kids up for some sort of actual summer camp.

Someday . . . but not this summer.

We do have one summer camp nearby focused on nature exploration that I had hoped to sign up for this summer, but they've raised their age limits this year, and my youngest still isn't older enough.

A book with two children's drawings

Instead of summer camp this year, I told my kids we could have a morning story time and then spend some time working on a project or activity based on what we're reading. We've done these sorts of activities a couple of times before, using my own highly inventive name for it: "book projects."

I don't have any particular theme for the summer. We're going to read whatever needs to go back to the library next (while also trying to make a dent in my stack of books-to-read as well). 

My plan is really simple: read one book or a section of a longer book, and then come up with a project to go with it.

A children's book about art

DK Books' Art And How It Works needs to go back to the library next week, so that's the one we started with. Today, we read the first 20 pages with information about lines, shapes, colors, and perspective, as well as a brief introduction to cave paintings and the renaissance era. 

My oldest loved the cave painting with all of the hands, so I pulled out the chalk pastels and we started playing around with them.

A book and a drawing showing cave paintings of hands

At first, he wanted to just outline his hand, but I showed him how to lay the chalk flat on the paper, instead of just using the edge. This creates a much broader stroke that makes it easier to fill in a large area. 

Then both kids started smudge the chalk with their hands.

They might have gotten a bit carried away with it!

A chalk drawing with chalk powder smudged everywhere

I don't know what we're going to read about this summer, but next week's theme will probably be volcanoes. We borrowed Lori Griffin Burns's Life on Surtsey from the library a couple weeks ago, so it's going to need to go back soon, and we've been learning a lot about rocks this spring, so volcanoes and island formations will fit in well with that.

I don't know how long we'll keep this up, but today we're off to a fun (and messy start)!

What are your plans for summer break? If you are already signed up for a summer program, this might be a fun idea to add art and science projects into your week. 

And if you need ideas for finding a theme for this summer's reading program, check out this STEAM bingo challenge with a list of science, technology, engineering, art, and math topics to help you build your book list for the summer.