Art Lab for Kids offers 52 projects in drawing, painting, printmaking, paper and mixed media. It is the perfect book for your own homeschool or in a co-op setting.
Art Lab for Kids by Susan Schwake is the book that many of you have been searching for. It is a book of easy to implement art projects that use common art supplies and can be adapted to children of all ages. It is perfect for families with multiple age groups who are looking to add in a little bit of artwork without a lot of preparation.
The projects are grouped by medium into units: drawing, painting, printmaking, paper, mixed media. I appreciate that after many years of teaching art that I still found lots of projects that we have never tried before.
Each lesson features and relates to the work and style of a contemporary artist and their unique style. The labs can be used as singular projects or to build up to a year of hands-on fine art experiences. Grouped by medium, the labs are set up loosely to build skills upon the previous ones; however, you can begin anywhere.
Have fun exploring:
- drawing by creating a whimsical scene on a handmade crayon scratchboard.
- painting by using watercolors and salt to create a textured landscape.
- printmaking by using lemons, celery, mushrooms, and other produce to make colorful prints.
- paper by creating an expressive self-portrait using pieces of colored tissue paper.
- mixed media by making insects from patterned contact paper and watercolor pencils.
Color photos illustrate how different people using the same lesson will yield different results, exemplifying the way the lesson brings out each artist’s personal style.
Using Art Lab for Kids in our Co-op
I am using this book as part of our monthly art co-op where I have children from age five all the way up to age seventeen. We all are enjoying the easy instructions that allow for creativity on whatever level we are working at.
Each project is just a beginning point and there are “Go Further” suggestions that have helped the older kids take the project to a higher level.
You can use the same lesson for younger students and older students and have their own personal style shine through. These are not “cookie cutter” projects.
See an example of our Scribble Drawings in the photo below:
Using Art Lab for Kids in Our Homeschool
In our homeschool, we have been using this book since August, enjoying one project each week. There are 52 projects in the book so we have enough ideas to last the complete school year even if we decide to skip around a bit.
The clear images of the projects, specific instructions, and then follow-up artist information and project suggestions make this the perfect book for parents who are not confident about teaching art.
Art Lab for Kids shows you how to offer fun and interesting projects with little preparation and with excellent results.
I also appreciate that the book uses many materials that we have not worked with before like vellum paper, painting on wood, old maps for collage, and brayers and ink. For my children it is exciting to try new ways of creating artwork and I see a renewed interest in our Friday afternoon art sessions.
As Part of Artist Study
One thing that I am noticing about using this book is that I can easily correlate our current artist study with a few projects in the book. For instance: When we are studying Matisse, I can complete the torn paper project. There are projects for many other artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Paul Klee.
It is also used as a resource our sister sites 2nd Grade Homeschool Fine Arts Curriculum
I can’t think of a single negative aspect of this book….I love everything about it. Thanks Susan Schwake for creating such a fabulous resource for families and art teachers.
- Comes in both Flexibound and Kindle editions on Amazon.com
- 144 pages with 52 projects.
- Easily used over multiple years for even more value.
- Master list of supplies is listed in the front of the book.
- Suggestions for setting up your work area are outlined in the introductory pages.
- Appropriate for children of all ages, suggestions for taking each project further are included.
- Easy to understand instructions and common supplies.
- Includes artist information and tie-ins to most of the art lessons.
- Emphasis is on being creative, having fun, and becoming confident with a variety of art medium.
More Art Resources
- Child Size Masterpieces Art Appreciation for Homeschoolers
- Ancient Art and the Orchestra
- You ARE An ARTist Fine Art Curriculum
- Discovering Great Artists
Originally posted December 2012, written by Barb-Harmony Art Mom.
We do artist studies, art appreciation, visits to museums and we have regular arts and crafts time.
Angie Wright says
I just checked this book out from our library this week. It is on my tabl to read today, but I have not even looked inside. That’s funny! Now I’m excited!
Angie Wright says
We add art through Harmony Art Mom’s curriculum. So simple, week by week. Easy to implement. Artistic Pursuits, Draw Write Now, Nana’s instructions – help us always have a topic to answer the never ending question in our home – what should I draw now?
currently we do crafts and study an artist monthly…we do a lot of copy art
Right now we just do craft projects throughout the week based on the theme or topic we are studying.
We haven’t done art yet. My son will be starting first grade next year. I am hoping to add in art. This book looks like it would be great!
We do a lot of free hand drawing and observing popular artist’s work. My desire is to add more variety to our creative time – this book would be great to make that happen!
Julie Campbell says
We do not have a strict schedule for art. We add it in here and there.
I enjoy art personally, and the kids love experimenting with all the materials, so we get quite a bit in various ways. We also do art at our co-op and my older daughter is working through one of the Artistic Pursuits books this year on her own.
We try to do something artsy each week. Usually I pull for whatever we are studying at the time.
Lisa G says
We study art by artist, art period, and/or concept/technique. We usually create art in spurts as it relates to our studies and/or life experience. We use nature journals, index-card-a-days, and books (such as Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists by Carla Sondheim) to keep us motivated. If all else fails, an occasional trip to the local art museums can inspire us for weeks!
Lately, our art has been limited…but we usually try to do weekly projects. I’m hoping to do more in the coming months, however, as our homeschool setting is changing.
So funny.. I was just looking at this book today & thinking about getting it. This book definitely looks like it would help to get art done in our house.
Our art consists of basic things linked to our particular study. Like mapping ourselves and our surroundings which went along with A Child’s Geography. The boys used watercolors for that. This is an area where I want to be more proactive because my youngest especially loves to draw and he is also the one who needs something extra while waiting for his brother to complete a task.
This would be fun art projects to do with my kids.
Susan Schwake says
My Google alerts brought me here and I just want to say thank you for such a lovely review! I would invite everyone to post their photos of their kid’s art at our FB pages or comment with links to the photos on the book’s blog.
It is my greatest hope that Art Lab for Kids will inspire you to make more art with your children! Thank you again!
I aim to integrate art into as many aspects of our home school curriculum as I can. Sometimes it is through illustrating books we have written or nature journals, or even drawing in math. We also attend a free museum program once a week. We are yet to do studies on particular artist or techniques at home. This book looks like a great resource.
With 3 k-2nd graders we do a mix of seasonal crafts and basic drawing and mixed media projects every week. Have been looking at curr. As potential Christmas gifts! Thanks for the suggestion:)
We’ve been using an Art Lesson DVD this semester, but the lessons on it are almost finished. I have 4 kids ranging from 2nd grade to 7th grade and finding something that would work for all 4 of them is difficult at times. This looks like it could work well!
We usually correlate our artist study with whatever we’re talking about in history. However, this is not an area that I’m very good with
I don’t do a lot of art and would love this resource to add it in to our schedule weekly. My kids would love that!
Art classes at local library, lapbooks, pastel drawings
Quite often, our art gets added in as occupational therapy.
I try and just have art supplies available with the occasional class thrown in at the art center. This book looks like fun though!
Karen S. says
Im not very good at art so I have been struggling with this area. This book looks great!
Susan P says
I let them do something out of the craft area every day. They love it!
Becky M says
My oldest was part of an art class with our homeschool co-op but I’ve been looking for something that both of my kids could do together at home.
Honestly, we don’t do enough art and I have been wanting to change that. We use Deep Space Sparkle pdf files for what art we do incorporate though.
This sounds perfect to use not only with my three kids, but also with our homeschool co-op!
christine adams says
art books and the comp
This would be an awesome addition to our art studies!
I really enjoy completing art projects with my kids and this book looks like a great resource!
Tabitha Zehner says
We add art whenever we can. Often, I’ll have the kids do something artsy in response to history or science lessons. Or favorite is painting. We also use a book to do various works of art by different artists.
We are always doing something artsy.I (the Mom) have always done arts and crafts and I love that I have passed that onto my kids. The “Lab” books are awesome.Thanks for the chance to win one!
I don’t have a good foundation in art history or technique, so I struggle with incorporating it. Usually I just try to do a simple literature tie-in, because my son loves art and begs for it.
My son LOVES art, he can’t get enough of it. I use art as a way of practicing his less enjoyable subjects. This week we baked salt dough ornaments, he didn’t even realize I was teaching him about measuring and following recipe directions. We practice geometry and measurements while drawing, I give him a ruler and ask him to draw shapes like a hexagon with 5mm sides and such, afterwards he gets to fill in the rest with lines and color each piece in to make a colorful abstract piece.