hello glitter goop!

best art class new jerseyThis is an exciting twist on our ever-popular goop, beloved by kids in our classes, parties and camps. It’s a tactile, open ended play experience that immediately engages kids of all ages (and often, their caregivers, too).the messy artist fine art classes for kids the messy artist sensory play

Our regular goop recipe is very simple, calling for white glue, laundry starch and liquid watercolor paint. We tweaked it a little for this version and use clear glue, laundry starch and lots of glitter. This large amount of glitter is the key to giving it great depth and texture.

Finally, adding some googly eyes takes it to another level of imaginative play. We only use the googly eyes however for kids over the age of 3 years, just in case the temptation to put them in their mouth is too much for the youngest kiddos.

childrens art class morris county new jerseyThe inspiration for the googly eyes came from one of our students. One day, a boy came to class with a stuffed animal, and while there, its googly eyes popped off. He put them into the goop and started playing, and voila! We recognized the great idea and incorporated it into our activities.

Here’s our recipe so you can make it yourself: enjoy!glitter goop recipe with logo sm

hello initial stamping projects!

Here’s a project that combines pre-reading skills and stamping. Letting kids create prints with plastic cookie cutters and foam letters gives them a fun and low-pressure way to reinforce their letter recognition skills. Kids this age love anything with their own names or initials and always enjoy this project.fine art classes for children

Age Level: 2.5 – 5 years


  • Learning about stamping/printmaking
  • Learning color mixing
  • Learning and reinforcing and letter recognition and pre-reading skills


  • Plastic letter cookie cutters
  • Foam letters
  • White 8.5 x 11” paper
  • Tempera paints in coordinating colors (we used orange, yellow and red for this project)
  • Paper plates

Teacher Preparation:

  • Put paint on paper plates in a thin layer for stamping (one per every 2 students)
  • Place all letters on large tray or lay out on supply table
  • Create 1-2 labels with each child’s name to put on the back of their artwork to label

the messy artist studio for kidsProcedures:

Explain to the students that they will be making art with special shapes today: letters! Everyone has a special letter that their name starts with called an initial.

Show the students how they will be dipping a letter into the paint and pushing it onto the paper – no rubbing or moving – and then lifting it straight off.       Hold up the paper with the stamp that has been created to show them.

Have the kids go to the supply table to pick out one of two letters to start with (depending upon your supply) and to look for their initial. We have a teacher there to help any kids that need some in finding their initial.

art project lesson plan for kidsWhile the kids are selecting letters, place paper at each child’s seat and put a paper plate with paint between each two students

As they start stamping, ask the students to notice how the paint is mixing together to create new colors.

art project lesson plan for childrenOnce the page is mostly full of letters, encourage the children to start a new page so the prints don’t get too muddy.

art parties for kids morris county nj best art classes for toddlers new jerseyThese will take some time to dry, so we send them home the next week.

21 things your child is learning while creating art

Creating art is a complex process, involving many areas of the brain. While it may look like kids are having fun (and they are!) they are also learning important cognitive skills.Artist Harvest Messy Artist #letsmove morris county kids art class

Even the youngest students are introduced to important concepts as they play and create art in a class. In our studios, we see this as kids learn and grow throughout a session, building each week upon what they have learned before.

Here are some of the cognitive skills children develop as they refine their artistic skills.

  1. Colors. For classes for the very young, colors are prominently displayed, and are used in numerous places in the classroom: in the play dough, as part of the project, in artwork on the walls.best art class camp parties new jersey
  1. Shapes. Learning to identify shapes leads into kids using them in their artworks.

    Circle art project - using oranges to print circles on circle shaped paper

    Circle art project – using oranges to print circles on circle shaped paper

  1. Letters. These can be incorporated into art to boost letter recognition and pre-reading skills.the messy artist art studio for kids

4. Texture. Is it bumpy? smooth? sticky? Kids learn the idea of texture and the words to label it.art class for toddlers new jersey

  1. Size. Small, medium, large, EXTRA LARGE!
  2. Quantity. One, a couple, few, many, a lot.kids art pary nj
  3. Patterns.

Social emotional development:

  1. Self-esteem. The look on a childʼs face when they have completed some art they are proud of is priceless.art studio for kids nj
  1. Play skills.
  2. Negotiating with their peers. Kids learn a lot in the sandbox about sharing, asking for what they want, and stating what they donʼt like.cognitve develpments children
  1. Navigating new relationships. At the beginning of each session, many times students do not know each other, but by the end, they have developed a relationship with each. They may not be best friends, but they have gotten to know someone and share thoughts and experience with them.
  1. Fine and gross motor skills.childrens art party nj
  2. Eye-hand coordination.

Older children are also learning:

  1. Decision making and consequences. What happens if I cut this paper here and glue it there? These are safe places to discover that your actions have consequences, both in art and socially.
  1. Expressing thoughts and emotions in symbolic ways.

    ”Feelings War” a painting by student Charley. “The red is angry, the black is unhappy/darkness, the blue is joy and the yellow is happiness. The angry colors are rough and sharp and the yellow is smooth and pleasant.”

    ”Feelings War” a painting by student Charley. “The red is angry, the black is unhappy/darkness, the blue is joy and the yellow is happiness. The angry colors are rough and sharp and the yellow is smooth and pleasant.”

  1. Color Theory. Primary, secondary and tertiary colors, how to use a color wheel, complimentary colors, color mixing.studio art for children
  1. Perspective.art classes for kids party camp new jersey
  2. Concepts in Design. Cartooning students learning about car and other designs.childrens art party new jersey
  1. Art History. Looking at noted artists as examples of different type of art gives kids a view of art history. For this pointillism project, the students first learned about Georges Seurat and La Grande Jatte.the messy artist
  1. Math. Geometry gets more complex in mandalas and other projects.process orineted art new jersey
  2. Science. Using nature as an inspiration or even as part of the artistic process gets the kids learning about the natural world. This bird print is made from leaves.the messy artist fine art for kids

These are 21 ways that kids are learning while making art, but there are still more. What would you add to the list?

Hello rectangle collages!

nj kids art class party campThese bright projects focus on our featured shape of the week: the rectangle.  Adding fun touches like purple glue and using silicone brushes introduce some unexpected touches to the collage.

Click here to download  Rectangle Collage Lesson Plan.

Age Level: 3-5


  • Learn about rectangles
  • Develop cutting skills
  • Follow directions
  • Develop gluing skills

north nj art class for children


  • Construction paper of different coordinating colors (we used orange, green,
  • purple and yellow)
  • White glue
  • Liquid watercolor paint
  • White paper
  • Scissors
  • Brushes for glue (we have some fun green silicone ones)
  • Containers for glue (we use takeout containers, and if there is leftover glue, snap the lid on to save for another class)

art lesson plan for kids presechool

Teacher Preparation:

  • Cut construction paper into 1/2″ strips, making at least 3 per student
  • Cut white paper in half length-wise (4 1/2” x 11”) and write each studentʼs name on
  • the back. Write the word “Rectangle” on the front
  • Mix liquid watercolor paint into glue to create a complimentary color to
  • construction paper (we chose purple) and put into containers, one per every 2 kids

art lesson plan for kidsProcedures:

Show the kids an example of the finished project. Explain that today they will be working with rectangles: a box shape with 4 sides, with 2 longer than the others.

They will have rectangle paper and be gluing rectangles – that they create! –onto it.

fine art class for kids toddlers preschool elementary schoolA big part of this lesson is helping to get the kids comfortable in their scissor skills. First we show them how to keep their “thumbs up” when putting their fingers into the scissors. Then we show them how to “take a bite of the paper” with their scissors. It really helps beginning cutters to have their caregiver hold the strip of paper for them. As they get more advanced, they can hold it themselves in the other hand.

Have the children head to the supply table to pick up two strips of paper.

Pass out the scissors and help the children cut the strips of paper into rectangles.

best art class for kids njOnce most kids have a pile of about 20 or so, show them how they will be brushing the glue onto their paper and “tap, tap, tapping” their rectangles on to get them to stick.

Pass out the white papers with their names on them.

Have them walk to the supply table to get a brush, and hand out the glue containers while they are up.

children art amp class party nre jerseyEncourage them to brush on lots of glue and stick on their cut rectangles.

the messy artistThese projects take a while to dry and can go home the next class session.

lesson plan kids art collage

hello tape collages!

art  class for children new jerseyTape collages are a great project for a one day workshop, or in this case, mini-camp. These are no-mess, no-drying artworks that can go home the same day with the students. But don’t let the relative simplicity be deceiving; there is still a lot of learning, planning and adaptability for different ages packed into this project.

Click here for Tape Collage Lesson Plan.

Age Level: 3- 5 years


  • Fine motor skills
  • Planning artwork
  • Following directions

prep for tape collage projectMaterials:

  • Paper tape of many colors
  • White paper (6”x 9”)
  • Glue stick
  • Black paper (8” x 10”)
  • Labels

Teacher Preparation:

  • Rip off tape and place onto back of plastic containers. This makes it easy for the kids to grab – and we love how festive it looks. We prepared one for every two students to share.taple collage kids lesson plan
  • Also set up some extra ripped pieces of tape, maybe on the edge of a counter or on extra containers, so that you will have some readily available when you need more. Once the kids get going, they can quickly go through tape.
  • Write each student’s name on a label (to go on back of projects when complete).


Show the students an example of a finished project. Explain that they will be making their artwork today by ripping different colors of tape into smaller pieces, and then sticking them to their paper.

new jersey art class and partyWe discussed choosing between two different subject types for their project: representational (representing something in the real world, like a beach or flowers) and abstract (a picture that does not look like something, like a pattern).

Next, demonstrate to the students how to rip the tape: hold the piece with their two hands close together, and then move them in opposite directions.

Show the students how to use the tape to create their artworks. Our instructor made both a pattern for an abstract example and a flower for a representational example.

art lesson plan for childrenHand out the white papers and the containers with tape, and have the students get started. Encourage them to rip the larger pieces of tape into smaller ones.

Some of the younger children will need help with grasping the skill of ripping the tape.

best nj kids party art lesson plan for kidsWhen they have completed their artworks, have the students go to the supply table to pick up a glue stick. Hand out the black papers and have them them glue the tape projects onto them, creating a contrasting matt.

nj kids art classPut the name stickers on the back of the projects.

Our students were really proud of the collages they created!the messy artist fine art classes morris county art class for children art class party and camp


hello Violet – update

This Wednesday afternoon, Alidis Vicente came to our studios and read her latest book Violet to an enthralled group of children. Followed by an art project, this special event concluded with each family taking home a signed copy of the book.

the messy artist alidis vicenteViolet is a brightly illustrated tale featuring a young bird of the same name. Violet is the only Purple-Footed Booby, living on the Galapagos Islands with her parents. Her unique appearance creates dissension between the Blue-Footed Boobies of her father’s side and the Red-Footed Boobies of her mother’s side. Violet’s path to acceptance is an entertaining and thoughtful story of learning to see and embrace similarities rather than differences.

Violet at The Messy ArtistWe created templates using the Booby bird illustrations for the kids to paint. We encouraged them to name their birds and add an initial or design to the chests.

the messy artist art project for kids violet by alidis vicente art project the messy artistViolet is available through Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Violet-Alidis-Vicente/dp/0979214491

Alidis Vicente Messy Artist copyThanks to Alidis and all the families who joined us for this special event!

hello hearts!

process oriented art for childrenThis is a sweet and fun project for kids to do around Valentine’s Day. Every time we do this symmetry painting project, the kids get very excited as they unfold their hearts. They love discovering how the paint has transferred and mixed into a new design.

Click here to download a lesson plan of Heart Symmetry Painting Lesson Plan.

Age Level:  3-5 years


  • To learn about symmetry
  • To explore painting with unusual tools and methods (sticks instead of paintbrushes, and folding an rubbing to create painting)
  • To talk about Valentine’s Day and making things for people we love

the messy artist fine art classes for kidsMaterials:

  • Construction paper
  • Tempera paint in coordinating colors/shades (we used pink, purple and white)
  • Small plastic cups for paint
  • Small wooden craft sticks
  • Plastic tray (we use take out container lids) to keep the paint in place

valentine project for kidsTeacher Preparation:

  • Fold paper in half, then cut hearts out. We use a template to make sure all are the same.
  • Put paint into cups, one set per every two children
  • Put craft sticks out, one per color per child


Show the students an example of a finished project. Tell them briefly about Valentine’s Day (“we like to show the people we love that we care in special ways on this holiday”). Also explain that we will be painting not with brushes, not with our fingers, but with sticks and by rubbing today.

Show the students a folded heart, then open it. Explain that it is symmetrical – the same on both sides. See if they can think of any other symmetrical things (our bodies, a square, an apple).

Next demonstrate dipping a stick into paint and then tap, tap, tapping it onto one side of the heart.   Put a few colors on and then fold the heart in half. Rub it and ask for some special magic words. (Kids usually come up with “Abracadabra” or “Shazam”. Sometimes someone says “Please”.)heart painting project for children

Open the heart to reveal how the paint is now on both sides, in a symmetrical pattern.

Have the children go pick out their paper hearts from a nearby supply table.

art class party and camp north jeerseyWhile they are doing this, place the paints on the table.

art class for toddlers new jersey fine art class for kids morris county nj the messy artist art class njWalk around encouraging the kids to tap their paint onto the hearts. The more paint they use, the more dramatic the reveal after they fold and rub.

The kids can add more paint and fold again and again if they wish.

north nj fine art class for tweensMake sure to unfold all hearts so that the paint will cry – otherwise they will stick together. As these usually take some time to dry, we send them home the next class session.

heart art project with symmetry for kidsHappy Valentine’s Day!