hello murals!

This summer we introduced a new fine art weekly camp theme: mural making. We selected a variety of projects that let the kids work with many different mediums, as well as projects that offered the opportunity to work together as well as on their own.

Here are some of the individual landscape murals that were done early in the week.

the messy artist murals by kids nj summer art camp nj art classThe culmination of the session was this collaborative mural, done on the last day of camp. Our 1st-2nd grade section kids all worked on it as a team.

the messy artist mural campFirst they had to brainstorm to come up with a theme. Outer space won out, and the challenge was on.fine art classes for kids nj

This project was a great lesson in procedural thinking, with the kids needing to figure out how to build the image from the background out.

They decided to paint the background first, and then glue on images they created and cut from colorful construction paper.

new jersey art class for kids nj art class camp and party new jersey art campOnce again they brainstormed, coming up with images that would work for the mural’s theme.

mural camp in nj kids mural project by childrenThe kids had to determine what colors and designs would be used to give the mural a cohesive outer-spacey look. A big discussion centered on how many rocket ships would be appropriate to have. Answer: 2.


This mural will remain at The Messy Artist until we need the wall space, a lasting reminder of summer, and kids creating art together!

the messy artist mural camp


Artist Harvest update – August 2015

art class camp and workshops for kids njIn May we were part of Livingston Family Fun Day, a fantastic town wide event. Our Artist Harvest large-scale installation project was part of the Food Day area, encouraging the appreciation of healthy fruits and vegetables – and art.   Thanks to Stacey Rubinstein, Alan Karpas and the Livingston DPW for making everything happen and run so smoothly.the messy artist artist harvest

the artist harvest sculptures new jersey art classes for kidsThe DPW helped us get our giant fruit and vegetable sculptures to the event in the Livingston Oval, and treated our cargo preciously!

fine art class camp amd parties new jersey large fruit and vegetable sculptures the artist harvestOver 100 children stopped by our booth that day to help us paint our giant pepper, “Peppered Pollock,” inspired by Jackson Pollock’s Number 8 painting. Splattering many colors of paint on the pepper on a perfect spring day brought smiles to everyone who did it. We were overjoyed at how receptive the town and families were to our project.

livingston at 200Livingston is continuing to show the love for the Artist Harvest: we’ve recently received confirmation that the sculptures will be on long-term public exhibition in front of three Livingston Town Buildings. Starting in September, Livingston Town Hall, Livingston Library, and Livingston Community Center will be the display locations.

sculpture of fruits and vegetablesMeanwhile – when we are not holding camp or class sessions this summer – we are finishing up work on the remaining 3 sculptures: the Pear-casso (inspired by Pablo Picasso), Georgia OʼPeach (inspired by Georgia OʼKeeffe) and Vincent Van Gogh Bananas (inspired by Vincent Van Gogh). Vincent Van Gogh Bananas is almost finished, and the peach and pear are up next. Stay tuned for more updates and information on the exhibition!nj best kids art class nj kids art class art classes for children new jersey

hello water beads!

water bead sensory playWhat are water beads? They are small pellets, made of a super absorbent polymer. After soaking them in water for 6-8 hours, they are about 30x bigger than their original size, and are squishy, wet fun. Although they look like bubbles, they are a solid gel all the way through, and crumble if they are smashed. Eventually the beads release the water again, which is why florists use them for flowers and plants. In fact, polymer is what is used in diapers for absorbency. It is also non-toxic.

best art classes for children njItʼs always fun to try something for the first time, and we were curious how these would work out. Using one full bag of the beads (we got ours from Amazon) seemed like a good way to start, so we enlisted several large bowls to start the experiment. We added a layer of beads and covered them with lots of water.

water beadsThe one bag made enough beads to use in our 2ʼ x 3ʼ water play sensory bin! When we introduced them to the children, they were an immediate hit. The children enjoyed running their hands through them, collecting different colors and scooping them up in cups and bowls we had added to the mix.

art classes for kids nj the messy artist fine art class for kids njWe brought them out during a staff meeting to introduce everyone to them, and couldnʼt keep our hands out of them. The adults appreciated the soothing feel, a calming experience.

The next question was how to store them, and for how long. After a few different attempts, we ended up keeping them in large plastic storage bins, loosely covered. They lasted for 4-5 days, then started dissolving. We let them dry out and then disposed of them.

imgresWe are definitely going to add them to our sensory bin and birthday party activity rotation, and are looking forward to trying some fun activities with them. Two in particular that are simple and fit in well with what we already do are:

  • Adding them to shaving cream
  • Freezing them

There are also completely natural and edible versions of water beads, created by using different types of seeds or tapioca pearls. They also absorb water, and can be colored with food color for a more homemade version. Here are links toarticles about using them:

Have you tried any of these types of water beads – manufactured or natural? Which are your favorites?nj art class and camp for kids