Friday, July 31, 2009

Competition of the month

At Swings and Roundabouts we’re all about promoting play outside, but feel strongly that the play doesn’t stop there. Any parent knows how quickly their little one moves from one activity to the next and there are times when trying to think of the next thing to do is exhausting- especially when it’s being juggled with doing the laundry, making dinner or trying to keep relationships with friends and family up. I’m sure there isn’t a parent reading this who doesn’t do some kind of creative play with their children (not only on rainy days) and if there is any BC organization who can provide inspiration and resources for kids and parents alike, it’s Opus Framing & Art Supplies. Opus has paired up with Swings and Roundabouts for the month of August and has generously donated a gift certificate for our August competition. Opus has a long, rich history in the BC arts community and to find out more about their story click here and to enter our competition click here.

I am a huge fan of Opus especially now that I am a mum. I go there for kids supplies- my little boy likes to pick his own tempera blocks and paint brush, then carry his newsprint pad to the till himself- which makes the whole experience better than if we picked up a shrink-wrapped set from a big box store. But most importantly for me, I choose supplies for myself. I need an outlet to keep me sane and for me it’s by being creative- the two things I love to do are to paint and to write. I am a huge believer in parents maintaining their own identity throughout the early child rearing years- something that I believe makes them the best parent that they can be. I often hear friends with young children saying that they feel lost, have no creative outlet, or feel like they eat, drink, sleep their kids with no idea who they are anymore. So in pairing up with Opus for August I’d like to offer the chance to win a gift certificate that can contribute towards the creative health of your whole family.

Opus aims to be a local resource and to support this they have cultivated a large and welcoming presence in the creative community. They provide free drop-in product demonstrations, host local artist demos, provide free handouts on a huge range of activities, and their website provides all kinds of links and resources on what is happening in the arts. Plus, their knowledgeable staff can provide help, advice and tips for all levels. Don’t be overwhelmed by the vast range of supplies – anyone who works in an Opus store can point you in the right direction. Most employees are artists themselves, and regardless of their medium, training or experience, they all know that everyone starts somewhere. Helping to nurture the next generation of Picasso’s, Van Gogh’s or Emily Carr’s seems to be of great importance to them.
Opus also has an amazingly wide range of supplies in their six stores (plus you can also browse/buy their products online) that range from beginner supplies for all ages to fine art, graphic design, craft supplies, printmaking equipment, DIY framing and much more.

So here are my own personal top ten art projects for kids- for fun filled days- sunny or rainy! You can also check out our on-going list of 101 things to do on a rainy day here.

• Finger painting on over-sized newsprint
• Making Fimo monsters, bugs, animals or jewellery
• Drawing/colouring with water-soluble pencil crayons then taking the picture outside and getting it wet
• Customizing mugs with ceramic paint
• Printing on blank cards then sending them out to friends (depending on the age of your child you could use proper printing supplies, stamps or potatoes and tempera paint- plus you can add on the post office trip for a learning experience)
• Make and paint Model Magic animals
• Paint t-shirts with fabric paint
• Face painting
• Marble some paper, then cut out shapes to make mobiles
• Make a floor mat by painting onto heavy duty canvas. You can design a town with roads to push cars along, paint dance steps, draw around each other and so on then after it is dry it will be a permanent mat-toy

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