Family Activities for Summer’s Where You’ll Find Me
By Courtney Klemens, Manager of Family Programs
Spray painting. What better way to spend a hot summer day than painting outside? You can create your own large mural using paint-spraying techniques and an old sheet or piece of fabric. First, lay your fabric on the ground and use painters’ tape to mark off patterns or designs that interest you. Hang a piece of string or rope between two trees or posts, and clip your fabric in place with clothespins. In a few spray bottles, mix tempera paint with enough water to make it more liquid, but still pigmented. Then, spray away! Remove the tape when the paint is dry to reveal the patterns you created.
Filter flowers. Just as Louise Jones builds images of flowers from layers of paint, you can create a layered flower of your own using a simple material: coffee filters! Start with at least three filters to give your flower dimension. You’ll want to cut the filters into three sizes—small, medium, and large—by trimming their edges into petals. Then, paint on each filter using watercolors, and watch the colors blend. Will you use warm or cool colors? Colors you can find in nature, or details and patterns you imagine? When your filters are dry, layer them on top of one another, and staple or glue to hold in place. Curl the painted petals around a marker to give extra shape.
Flower mandalas. To create Summer’s Where You’ll Find Me, Louise Jones first collected flowers from around the Museum Park to make a bouquet. Arranging and photographing a composition is important to her painting process. Make your own composition using natural materials you find outside to create a fragrant, floral mandala (a geometric pattern that has spiritual meaning in Hindu and Buddhist traditions). Gather flowers, leaves, stones, sticks, and more to arrange concentric circles. Don’t forget to take a photograph when it’s complete!
Celebrate all the ways a mural can bring joy and vibrance to our neighborhoods with these great books for kids.
- Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael López. Young artist Mira uses her paintbrush to transform her city from everyday buildings into a colorful canvas for murals. This book tells the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego. See behind-the-scenes sketches from illustrator López here.
- Murals: Walls That Sing by George Ancona. This nonfiction book uses captivating photos to tell the story of murals, from ancient cave paintings to modern murals celebrating social justice and community. Inspired by the murals by Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco that the author encountered as a young boy, the murals pictured here will awe and amaze you!
- Nora and the Little Blue Rabbit by Martin Berdahl Aamundsen and TSM Crew. A sweet story about imagination and friendship. The authors use photographs of walls to tell this story with street-art-style illustrations. This book even includes stencils so you can re-create some of the characters on your own walls!