Sunday, June 12, 2011

Awesome, Artsy, & Active Fun: Structures Project!

When you read my post, you are not going to see a nice art project that you can knock out in a few hours, a day, or even a weekend...this most likely will be an ongoing project that you start and that morphs into something new every few days, once you have the essential project components ready to go...
This is an awesome art project about structures. It involves practical life - sewing, painting, dying fabric, woodworking, and construction. Hopefully, you and your family will enjoy the process of creating as much as they do making the product, but even that can change as your children see fit...
The coolest thing is that the end product is very open ended so the boys can use it and rebuild it again and again into really any sort of structure they wish to create.

Our family structure project started after Thanksgiving of this year and has pretty much carried on in one way or another since then...
We had seen an awesome exhibit all about structure called Skyline at
The Chicago Children's Museum.
What a wonderful museum!
You can find the Chicago Children's Museum on Twitter too!
We were so inspired!
The boys had an absolute blast and did not want to leave!!!

Here are some photos of the boys playing at The Chicago Children's Museum Skyline exhibit:

The boys just loved this exhibit so much, so we set out to make our own version of it at our home.
Dear Hubby and the boys selected the wood, the fabric, and the tools...
Tip: You can usually find child sized tools at local hardware stores. 
We found and purchased our tools at Lowes.  
Before your child uses the tool, check to see that it fits properly in their hands and is safe and in good working order.

Dear Hubby and the boys worked on creating the wooden building pieces...with Dear Hubby doing most of the labor intensive drilling of the holes and the sanding.
Tip: Always have your child wear goggles when doing woodworking projects. Both boys and Dear Hubby wore them while doing the woodworking, cutting, drilling, and sanding for this project.
Now originally, we thought it would be a nice present for Christmas but it has morphed into an ongoing project and now, the boys help with doing some drilling, sanding, and constructing of the structures.
We all painted the muslin panels to be the "walls for this project".
We did the painting outside on our driveway and used Kool-Aid as the dye.
Tip: Kool-Aid works great as fabric dye!
If you are doing a project that requires dye and you wish to give your children a multi-sensory experience, powdered Kool-Aid packets added to plain water work great!!! Plus, it makes your fabric smell nice as you work! 


After working on the wall panels and the beams, the boys were then able to make all kinds of structures, but their favorite seems to be a Vet Clinic and Grooming Station:
Here is the Vet Clinic without the boys inside, so that you can see a bit more of the structure, plus then, a photo of the boys working with one of their friends to build a wall...the structure changes each time they put it together...so it is a very open ended play space...
 Well, we put also put a little slide show together showing the boys using the structure as a Vet Clinic and Grooming Station.
Tip: You can do add-ons to the structures, such as pulleys, gears, etc. We added a simple pulley system to ours. You can see it in the slide show clip...
So without further ado...
 The stuffed animals were presents from our friends at Melissa & Doug!
Here is a link in case you would like a precious pup for one of your little ones.
They have several breeds of doggies, plus a neat Vet Role play outfit like the one Little Bro is wearing. The boys adore their pups!
Little Bro named his doggie New York (it is a Yorkie).
Big Bro named his doggie Jack, as it is a Jack Russell Terrier.
Their poor little pups always seem to be in need of casts and surgeries, as well as grooming and check ups. The boys are very happy to provide veterinary and grooming care to their canine pals.
Here is a little tip, for those with children who like to put pretend casts on stuffed animals, dolls, or each other:
Mesh shelf liner works great as a cast for role play!
But a pack of the white and cut into strips. Then, show your child how to wrap and then tuck the liner around the patient. It is breathable, so you don't have to worry if they put it on each other...it is easy, as it kind of clings onto itself when you wrap and fold it. You can see the boys using this liner as casts in the slide show...

Well, hope that you will enjoy this post...has lots of arts and crafts elements to it, just not a do-in-a-day project...but if you have little ones who love to do woodworking, painting, and building, plus creative playing, this might be a fun one for your family to try too!

We have had a blast!

Thanks to Bern at Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas and her friends for setting up the neat Sunday Showcase Link-ups. I have included a little write up and links to these lovely blogs in my right side bar under the Sunday Showcase Button...I look forward to getting to know some new bloggers and to see their cool ideas for arts and crafts. How fun!
Plus, if you like this post, please feel free to RT on Twitter or to link to Facebook.

Disclaimer: I was not asked to do any marketing or review of any of the above mentioned places or companies. All opinions are my own. I did choose to provide links though, along with tips, in case anyone else wants to try to do a structures project with their family. 

5 comments:

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas said...

Oh, My! What a project! The boys look so happy, involved and proud - all the markings of wonderful creative hands-on explorations and FUN.

I need to try the kool-aid painting just for fun. I know the girls would love that too.

Thanks so much for sharing, this was amazing

Aimee from Classified: Mom said...

It reminds me of Jackson Pollock- did you play some Jazz music? I never tried painting with Kool Aid- will be doing so soon!

Thanks for sharing our Hop info! You're the best ;-)

The Sunshine Crew said...

To make this project, you need roughly: 12 furring strips to be able to make 36 2 ft. beams.
You will also need 12 4 ft. beams to make a cube, so 1 furring strip will get you two of these.
You need 3 1/2 inch long, 3/8 inch bolts plus washers and nuts.
Get a box of each of these.
Nuts, bolts, and washers are so big that a child can do by hand or you can use a 14 mm ratchet and a 14 mm wrench.
Also need drill press, sandpaper, safety goggles, 2 muslin tarps cut into smaller pieces, tools for you and kids, grommets to go on the muslin, sewing kit / or else no-sew glue to smooth out edges of the muslin that you have cut into pieces, Kool-Aid packets and water, paint brushes.
There isn't a green Kool-Aid, so if you want green, add green food coloring and water to the lemonade flavored packet.
You use a very small amount of water to the Kool-Aid, as you need the colors to be very intense.
They will look much more vibrant when wet than when you dry the fabric, but it still looks pretty when the colors are a little more muted.
We did the Kool-Aid paint in our drive way. Cover your driveway with plastic before putting down the tarp.
That's it, in a nutshell!

learning table said...

What a neat project--perfect for little builders (mine always have a lego creation going.) And who doesn't love blanket forts? I also love the vivid colors you created from koolaid!
Thanks for stopping by my blog--I'm following you now too :)

Aimee from Classified: Mom said...

This, again is great- let us know how it morphs! Thanks for sharing it on The Sunday Showcase!

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