Summer Art~ Fun projects for kids of different ages

By Connie Goldin, MA, MFT

 Projects, Steps, & Supplies

Even though summer is not official until Saturday, June 21st, we are geared up and ready to go with our Summer Family Literacy Parties. Our theme this month is “The Sea.” Living in San Diego, everyone has a great chance to visit the beach and bay. Kids experience the feel of sand on their feet–and everywhere else as well!–and the joy of wading in the surf. To get everyone revved up for family beach excursions, we are featuring two children’s books– with beach and ocean themes– that are new and unique.

“Hearts & Hands” by Donna Jo Napoli is about a day at the beach with a mom and daughter who use sign language. Each adventure is accompanied by panel of illustrated hand movements in American Sign Language. The art work by Amy Bates is exquisite and inspired the color palette of our summer art projects. It is a lovely story with a happy text that teaches fifteen word signs in ASL.



Our art projects begin with primary paint colors that become transformed into a similar palette used in “Hands & Heart.” By mixing the primary paint colors into lots of white paint and adding little dabs of other colors it is possible to approximate the lovely sea colors used by artist, Amy Bates. The painted aluminum foil with the pastels in stripes make a nice shiny underwater effect, which can be cut in different ways and glued onto construction paper.

The palette was again used to make a special “sand-covered” plate to feature a child’s special collection of small shells gathered from the beach. By rubbing salt with sidewalk chalk, you can make lovely sand without leaving home! If you don’t have shells, draw shells and cut them out, or use flowers or buttons.

Tempera paint from the existing paint palette, mixed with small amounts of water, makes nice watercolors. Dip the brush in a bit of water, then dip in the paint, and voila–you have homemade watercolors. This painting is our sample from a page of “Hands & Hearts” and is painted on watercolor paper.

“Breathe” by Scott Magoon is a beautiful story about a mama Beluga and her baby, as they swim through the wonderful illustrations by the author. The magical effect of the white whales swimming through black sea with the stars and Arctic lights overhead is breath-taking. In fact, Mama Beluga has to remind her baby to breathe. “Breathe” is our inspiration for using chalk and oil pastels on black construction paper. Children of all ages will enjoy it.

Young children can use big pieces of sidewalk chalk on black construction paper. Scribbles, lines, stripes, circles, etc. are all great for beginning writers and artists!

The last page of “Breathe” is a beautiful underwater, night scene. Above is our version of the author’s wonderful illustration. School-age kids always like using oil pastels!



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