Friday, March 25, 2011

Freebie Art


James Steidl-Fotolia.com
 I love from time to time to be creative.  And, I adore watching my children be creative.  They love playing with clay, play-doh, paints, colors, and all sorts of artsy things.  But, admittedly, for a variety of reasons Art has been missing from our weekly educational banquet. 

Sometimes its a time restraint.  Sometimes its just that I don't have anything in mind.  But, yes, Art is the neglected subject here.  Luckily, there are a number of free resources online to help me out with this subject. 

I think it would be fabulous to visit a wonderful art museum.

Wait....scratch that.  It would be a nightmare!  My kids who don't know how to NOT touch something would touch everything.  And, there's three of them - I'm outnumbered!  My accident prone daughter would surely knock over something that was highly expensive and irreplaceable.  My son, seeing that there were no paintings related to Star Wars or statues of Sonic the hedgehog, would get bored quickly.  There would be no peaceful, introspective atmosphere at the museum where my loud, I-like-to-scream toddler was located.

Visit a museum....what a horrid idea!

Thankfully, there are ways to visit art museums without visiting an art museum.  Welcome to the age of the virtual tour.  Very cool!

The National Gallery of Art is just one place where you can go on a virtual tour.  In fact, you can go on several different types of tours.  Just click on the "Online Tours" link and you're off.  The NGA Classroom has some lesson plans already planned for you if you like.   There is even the NGA Kids site which has games and interactive art to play with.  And don't forget the Children's Video Tour where you can learn about the different paintings displayed through a video.  There really is a lot to discover on this site.  I imagine I'll be visiting this one a lot.  And, they don't mind PB&J on our fingers when we go!

Many museums offer virtual tours these days - you only have to look for them.  But, let me offer one other - The Louvre.   Now, I didn't like their virtual tour as well as the National Gallery of Art but, you can still look at some really fabulous art. 

Well, what about doing art at home? 

Here are a few resources I found.  First, Teach Art at Home can guide you through several free lessons.  These are not cutesy, cut and paste projects, either.  These are decent and true art lessons probably better suited for kids in the later elementary years and older.  Then, if you like what you're learning, online classes for jr. high, high school, and adults are offered.

Kinderart is better suited for the younger set.  There are tons of ideas here.  Offerings include seasonal projects, coloring pages, lessons on architecture, and cultures and more. 

The Homeschool Arts site is a good mix of the two age groups.  Here you can find projects for the younger kids as well as decent, well instructed lessons for older kids.

Finally, my son's favorite site, Mark Kistler's Online Art Lessons.  On the site MK offers 50 free lessons.  Then, there are offers for more lessons for a fee.  We've also found free video lessons on YouTube by plugging in his name.   His main site has more information if you need it.  If you're really interested in pursuing more of his classes, The Homeschool Buyers Co-op sometimes offers discounted rates.  Mark Kistler's lessons are fun and teach basic drawing techniques.  My son doesn't really enjoy art but, he loves these lessons.

I hope you had a great week and have a relaxing weekend.  Come back next week as I try to find some resources to use for Easter and Passover lessons.

Till then,
-A

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