I came across this gorgeous poem written by Gemma Peacock, a mum who wanted to remind her own children that although we are missing out on so much there is still much to be hopeful for. She records the children of this generation as the “Rainbow Children” where the world had time to heal and children had time to dream and create. Thanks to a friend of mine who introduced me to the poem, I was inspired to create a Lockdown Keepsake to keep in our family memory box. Gemma has very kindly agreed for it to be shared for all the children.
The poem is gorgeous and reminds us of all the hope we see reflected in our children and to look to the positives of our current situation. Izzy has added her rainbow handprints to our copy, so we can look back on how she has grown.
I have also created a little Lockdown Thank You Certificate for our memory box. It is getting to the end of the school year and the time when awards and recognition are handed out for all the kids hard work throughout the year. It is also the time of year when I would be starting to prepare our class of 2020 Graduation Party to mark all our ARTY achievements, but sadly we will not be able to celebrate together this year. I am so sad that many of my current ARTventurers will be heading on to big school by the time we are able to resume our classes.
With the news that in Scotland, our children will not be back to school until our next academic year, it is hard to know exactly when our classes will be able to safely resume.
It is not just the children in our classes though. Every child in Scotland is going to lose all their end of year ceremonies. So I have created my own certificate version, inspired by this weeks Thank You to our children by Nicola Sturgeon, in the Scottish Governments Statement.
Please feel free to download a copy of both the poem and the certificate below for your own memory keepsake boxes and to thank our kids for being the superstars that they all are.
So many arty activities use paint, and whilst an ARTventurer household is never without such a staple. I know many of you may not have quite as much me! With that in mind, here are some simple paint recipes for you to create your own paint at home.
These are just some of our favourite painting recipes. Give them a go and send me over a picture if you do. Please don’t make any unnecessary journies for supplies, Stay home and keep safe.
We are three weeks into lockdown now. Can you believe it?! It has been a full four weeks at home in the ARTventurers Inverness Household. I am missing all of you so SO much. But, it has been amazing to see all the pictures of you embracing art at home.
Thank you all so much for your kind messages of support and pictures of our fab ARTventurers getting creative at home.
They really do make all the difference. None of us knows exactly when we will be able to get back together for ARTY fun but until then I wanted to share some arty ideas I have had to keep our community connected. At a time when we have to stay physically apart. It is more important than ever to show each other a little kindness and to stay connected.
As soon as Lockdown happened, a whole host of art-related resources started to appear – all over the place. Which just backs up what we have always known at ARTventurers, that is art is wonderful for SO so, many reasons. It uses all parts of our brain, it is a great emotional release, it leaves us with a lasting memory and memento and it is accessible for ALL AGES! Something for the whole family! Our daily dose of creativity is definitely helping us through this crisis together!
Which is when our free community groups were born. Definitely join through our Facebook page, if you haven’t already! We needed to be able to support you all through this time of crisis as best we could. With everyone looking for activities and ways to occupy the kids we knew we could help (and it helps us occupy our kids too). So Team ARTventurers got busy! Giving you all lots of ideas and ways to keep kids of all ages busy.
We keep each other going and are pooling our resources. Everyone in the team has kids at home too, so it is great to be able to work collaboratively to share ideas and content. So, we have all been working on creating how-to videos and posts to share with each other and all of you up and down the country, of some of our ARTventurers Classics and Faves! You will find lots of ideas in our community group, including our 30-day drawing which has been a big hit with all ages right across the country too.
Lots of incredible ideas on the go but I wanted to share my favourite community art ideas. Here are my top three ARTY activities to promote Kindness and community spirit, during the lockdown. Loads more art and craft ideas can be found in our community groups.
Updating our window with bright designs has really helped keep my girls occupied and is constantly making us smile. First, we had rainbows to spread joy and in thanks to the NHS and our keyworkers. Then it became a bit of a trail, for kids to spot whilst out for their daily exercise. Adding Teddies, made it a Rainbow Bear Hunt. And now, we are designing Easter Eggs and leaving a trail for the Easter Bunny! Have you seen our Big Neighbourhood Easter Egg Hunt – join the group and share your designs!? https://www.facebook.com/groups/695682491244696
This idea is so simple but it is bringing so much joy. Not only to children as they are creating them and then spotting them. But also, to our elderly neighbours and our friends too. We have laminated (for hygiene) and posted rainbows and pictures through the doors of those around us and it is wonderful to see them up in the windows as we go for our walk. Reminding us that we are all in this together. Staying home to keep each other safe. Have you joined in?
It’s very simple to do – just create your picture and stick it to your window. Or get the paint out and let the kids paint straight onto the window. If you water it down a little it goes on easily and should clean off with a wipe.
What reminds you of your childhood more than being out on the street with your chalk? I used to love it. We can’t catch up face to face with our neighbours at the moment. But we can get outside in the garden and leave some colourful chalk drawings and messages. My girls stayed up late one evening and snuck out in the dark to chalk some positive messages on the road. Bringing a little thanks and positivity for the keyworkers in our street heading off to help. They got some gorgeous messages of appreciation back. We have also chalked up our front porch to brighten it up. As well as doing some colourful chalk tape resist on the fence. A simple, cheap and entertaining way to bring a smile or two to your street.
Creating kindness rocks has long been a favourite of mine and something I do often at summer events. The kids really get involved in the idea of creating and leaving a piece of art for the community to make someone smile. The how to couldn’t be easier either – find a nice smooth flat stone when you are out (this makes for a fab hunt to see who can find the smoothest, coolest shape, unique design), get out your art supplies at home and paint, or colour your picture or design and then seal it with a clear varnish. Pop it back in your pocket for your next walk and leave it somewhere to be found.
At the moment it may be safer to build up a collection of finished stones and then do a KINDNESS DROP all at once when Lockdown is over. How amazing would it be to get the kids to record their lockdown as kindness art and then distribute joy to others when this is all over. You can add a #hashtag to the back connected to your nearest rocks group so that if they are found you may get to see the joy they have brought somebody. I use #artventurersrocks but mainly #duncanforbesrocks on mine as that connects back to the group I set up for the girl’s primary school.
We have seen rocks travel all over the world it is just incredible. So get creative, find the group closest to you or come and join mine and start creating art to spread kindness, hope and love once this is all over one rock at a time.
I just wanted to end with a fab little app that I have been using to send out postcards of the girl’s artwork to family and friends to send a smile. This week we worked on some BIG ART. I had some canvas roll left from an event, that I used to draw around the girls with their arms open wide. As if they were about to give a giant bear hug. They then spent the rest of the day designing their outfits and painting self-portraits of themselves.
When it was done we took a picture of them with it, in the garden and uploaded it to Touchnote. You can then send it as a postcard and leave a little message and they print and post it out for you. I got a discount with a referral code from a friend but it is a subscription service so not for everyone but it really helped us stay connected this week and the girls have been loving all the calls and messages of thanks they received. A great way to share your Easter Art with your family too!
I have so many ideas to share with you for activities to keep your little ones occupied during this super strange time. So keep your eyes peeled for another blog soon.
Stay safe, keep getting creative and sending me your pics and definitely SHARE the Big Neighbourhood Easter Trail with ALL your friends and family so there are loads of eggs out there for all the kids to find!
This weekend we are told by Social Media, that we are celebrating International Women’s Day – initially, I felt it was a little bit of another Hallmark Holiday – a day with little meaning behind it. Then I spent the weekend at our ARTventurers Team Conference in Leeds and I thought about it some more. On reflection, I realised that actually we should be shouting about it LOUDLY and unifying our tribe. As when we truly support the women around us our collective strength grows.
Before I travelled to Leeds, I was incredibly nervous about meeting this team of ladies (and one very lovely man) I admire so much. The journey from Inverness to Leeds is a whole day affair, and I can be quite an anxious solo traveller, so I was on edge all week in the run-up to going. I need not have worried. A number of our team messaged me on route – how was I getting on, was I close, is everything ok? That made a huge difference to how I felt when I arrived in Leeds Station, some of the apprehension had gone. I walked through the door to our hotel and a number of the ladies were in the lounge having drinks – they saw me heading in and were instantly full of welcoming smiles, hugs and opened up their world to me. I exhaled. It was going to be ok. Because this group of incredible women had my back, they acknowledged my mammoth journey and they celebrated my achievement in getting there – with a large gin and a lot of smiles – and I was safe.
Women celebrating women, welcoming them in and cheering them on – I saw this continue to happen over and over again at the Team Conference. There were awards and celebration for achievements made, celebrations over those achievements and information sharing on how those achievements came together, so we could go on to achieve them too. Even down to the counting back into the hotel at night after we had our farewell dinner. A little family group making sure everyone was home safely.
The TEAM ethos is one of the reasons I joined this glitter gang in a sea of red t-shirts, paint and sparkle. I had read of many horror stories of Franchised businesses where the ethos was about making the branches compete against each other, I knew I could not survive in that world. Then I happened across ARTventurers and fell in the love with the Team Ethos. It was clear from what I could see online that this was a close-knit bunch who thrived by helping each other. And so, my journey began.
From talking with all of you, I have learnt just how important the support you get from weekly classes is to you. You choose to go to classes for some of the reasons the Team Conference was important to me.
To not only have a space where you can have fun and make memories with your child but also to have somewhere where you able to make those all-important social connections with other parents and families. We all need some social interaction in our week, otherwise, those walls can close in incredibly quickly. I love finding out, all about the lovely mums, grannies and dads at our classes, to chat about your interests and your previous jobs – it is as much social interaction for me as it is for you. One of the many, many things I love about our classes is that you all get to sit and chat to each other – to reconnect and share our creative play with your friends as much as with your little ones. Similar to our team-building exercises at the conference – (anyone got a sturdy design plan for spaghetti towers made only with masking tape, string and a solitary marshmallow, I can use next year?) you have these experiences in class which are these incredibly precious shared moments.
How can we not share a laugh when you have been covered in foam from a foam covered child, or have a go-faster stripe added to your jeans with one of the painty rollers, or even turned into the incredible hulk as the pot of green glitter is tipped over your head!!. What could be more bonding!!! These are the moments that imprint on not just our minds but your little ones too. The fun and laughter, memories made and captured are why I wanted to run ARTventurers in the first place.
The conference was an incredible learning tool, to be able to draw on the wealth of experience the other branches all have. We all had something to share that was helpful to someone else. Our classes are a great place to share advice too, I hear lots of you getting the chance to chat about teething and sleepless nights, weaning and toilet training. We celebrate and mark these milestones together. We have all been there at some point and sometimes all we need is someone to say “we understand” or “me too”. These are the important moments of social connection that we all need to thrive. Parenting, like being in business for yourself, can be lonely, none of us has all the answers, as each child is so different and really, we are all just winging it the best we can. But maybe collectively we can suss it out a little along the way, from our shared experiences.
In order to thrive, we need to connect. This is as true for parents as it is for our children. We choose to bring them to classes such as ARTventurers to broaden their learning, to aid their socialisation skills and to introduce them to new experiences. This is also true for me – I learnt SO much from the conference and continue to learn something new every class, my confidence grows a little more and it can be the same for you as parents too. Many of you have come back to me after attending classes to say you are more confident now at introducing creative learning at home, or that suddenly your child is showing more interest in creative experiences at home and this is the essence of why I LOVE what I do. To have shared a little bit of knowledge that has gone on to help you at home, or made an impact no matter how small to your lives.
I am often told that to be in business you need to be competitive and self-focused and I just don’t believe that, and it was refreshing to find the conference also highlighted the benefits of collaborative working.
It goes against all of the GIRL POWER learning the Spice Girls gave us in the nineties. Yes, we are in business to make a living but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be supportive of each other’s journeys.
There are so many local business women that I admire and I have tried to make 2020 the year of letting them know – I have started tagging one business a month as my #artventurersfollowfriday to highlight the incredible work that goes on all around us. I believe that like in all avenues of life kindness and respect goes an incredibly long way in the business world. If we all strive to be the best versions of ourselves then I believe we can all succeed.
This weekend has reminded me again that I am incredibly lucky to have the ARTventurers Team, who despite being scattered all across the country have been the most welcoming and supportive bunch. Without them, at my back, this journey would be completely different.
So, I don’t think there could have been a more fitting way to celebrate International Women’s Day than to have spent the weekend with all of them. I am in awe of these amazing women who inspire me to be the best version of me that there is. I can’t wait to see where this journey continues to, as the team continues to grow and ARTventurers enters its 10th year. I am honoured to wear my red t-shirt. We are most definitely at our “Strongest Together” Take a chance, live your dream and reach for those stars – you never know what might be possible. I never thought that this could be my world but here I am. Living it, being brave and having the most fun of my entire career.
Here’s to all the inspirational women – leading the way and helping us believe in and realise our dreams!
It is getting to that point in the kids holidays now, where we are past the bliss of having lazy days and no structure. The sniping and bickering has definitely begun. If your kids are like mine and need to have some structure to keep them grounded – here is a handy wee Summer Checklist Hack to help keep them amused.
I have set a summer challenge for my girls to try and complete as many of these as they can – BUT – with the stipulation that they have to do them TOGETHER. Today they are off baking cakes with Grannie, while I have an office day.
Let me know how you get on and how many you can tick off.
If you have any other holiday hacks to keep the kids amused let me know!!
If you are looking for something to do and are in town tomorrow, pop into the Eastgate Centre and join us as we make some unique Lego Model Figures as a part of their Summer of Fun.
What a Busy July!
WOW! How are we just about half way through the summer holidays already?!
It has been an INCREDIBLY busy month for us here at ARTventurers Inverness. We had an absolutely brilliant time at KIDSFEST raising much needed money for kids in the area with MFR Cash for Kids. Along with the amazing Allana and Lynsey, who organise the whole event and LOADS of other fabulous local entertainers.
We have also been running a variety of SOLD OUT workshops, which have been incredible for our First Summer – Thank you so much for coming along and getting painty and sparkly with us it has been SO MUCH FUN!. We also had birthday parties, home school workshops and planning for next term. It has been genuinely been AMAZING!! Not to mention Proud Ness and the Highland Games this weekend which just had THE best atmosphere.
Here is a wee gallery of highlights from the last few weeks 😀
Enjoy the rest of your holidays. Hopefully we will see some of you next week at BELLADRUM and the Bright Beauly Fair – where we will be doing our best to spread a little smile with kindness rocks.
WOW, what a rollercoaster of a month I have had. I just want to thank all the babies, toddlers and mums who have joined me on my first ARTventure journey. I have loved meeting you all and getting to know such sweet little people and watching the delight and curiosity and sometimes uncertainty on their faces, as they try out new experiences for the very first time.
Our first few weeks in Balloch are over and it has been such an adventure. What an adventure it has been raising awareness for the fabulous Caudwell Children with our themed sessions, as well as a Royal endorsement as to how awesome our classes are by OK magazine.
It hasn’t been easy, I have had sleepless nights and agonised everything from my set up time, the preparation, the activities, if you have enjoyed yourselves, if I locked the hall door, if I sang in tune, if that even mattered, how was it affecting the family…my list was endless at 3am, 4 am. 6am.. BUT I DID IT! The delight on these wee faces just means so much to me, and I am slowly beginning to realise that I can overcome these anxieties and face those fears.
I started this journey to challenge myself and to offer something amazing for our community and young people. I believe in the benefits of this class for your little people and desperately wish I had been able to take my children when they were little.
I have mentioned many times, the benefits of our class for development. Physical skills such as mark making, muscle strengthening in babies, and coordination. As well as the social benefits of learning to interact with peers, sharing of equipment and props, imaginative play and creativity and social expectations during circle time. All of which help to prepare for nursery and school.
Art, in its many forms, also provides many tools for learning to cope with our mental health such as Self Expression, Self Awareness, Emotional Release, Perseverance and Confidence.
This is Mental Health Awareness week and something that matters a great deal to me is the growing demands and pressures of society on our children’s mental health. We are beginning to see these pressures taking their toll at a very young age. There are a number of reasons for this one being that world is more connected than ever before. I am honoured to give an introduction to skills that will in the future help children process these emotions and pressures.
I am looking at running a number of expressive workshops over the summer months, where children will be able to come together and work on collaborative art projects as well as creating some unique art pieces using their own self-expression skills with process art techniques to explore a variety of different ways to create art.
I hope those of you who were with us for our very first classes are still able to join us again as we start our next term, but if not I am honoured that ARTventurers and I are a part of your story. We have raised awareness during our Watch Me Fly sessions for the charity Caudwell Children, which is doing fantastic things for families with Autism. We have discovered a variety of textures, and techniques, developed muscles, learnt some core mark making skills and made some fabulous keepsakes to remind you just how little those hands and feet once were.
How awesome will it be to look back on those in a few years and see how much they have grown. 😍
Rebooking for our summer term is open now www.artventurers.co.uk/inverness/book-a-class-2 Come along and join in the fun and give your child a basis to build vital skills that will have long lasting benefits.
Small changes made every day, become a catalyst for something bigger.
As a busy, working mum of two awesome girls. I have had to make a number of life changes to bring ARTventurers to Inverness.
When I saw the post above, it made me stop and realise just how far I have come in my ARTventurers journey. As soon as I came across the website for ARTventurers. I knew it was something I needed to be involved in. Since then, I have tried to do something every day to reach that goal. Now we are only a few short weeks away from our very FIRST ARTventurers class in the Highlands. It proves the theory that everything is achievable, just one step a time.
Feeling overwhelmed is a natural response when we are faced with a new challenge. I use a number of techniques to help me cope with that feeling. Other than breaking things into lists! My favourite technique is designed to make you pause and take stock of what is going on around you. I am sure it has an official name – but for now, we will go with ‘Take 5’.
Stop. Think of 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. This not only forces you to take a pause, but it also forces you to reconnect with your immediate surroundings. It also works well for both adults and children alike. It is something I often use when my own kids are obviously struggling in a moment. Give it a try and let me know if it works for you. During our Baby, Toddler and FAmily ARTventurers classes, our senses are hard at work exploring all the time – although we don’t recommend exploring taste – unless you count the yummy biscuits and juice at the end!
On the subject of kids emotions and feelings. I recently found a great book for helping young children understand emotions and that sometimes we all feel a little blue and that is ok. Hopefully, we will be able to bring some book-related art activities to our Family ARTventurers and Little ARTventurers classes in Dingwall and Balloch sometime soon. It’s important to help kids understand from a young age that we all feel blue sometimes, and that’s ok. In the meantime check out www.lucysblueday.com. It is such an inspirational site. I have bought two books already one for the girls and one for their school!
Hello!!! This week, I launched my branch of ARTventurers, in the Highlands of Scotland – ARTventurers Inverness.
I am learning and developing something new everyday to prepare for our first term of classes in May. I just can’t wait to get going. This is the first time that I have ever worked for myself, and it is new and exciting and let’s be honest a little bit scary..! However, I have not only joined a fantastic business model, I have joined an amazing team of hardworking ‘MUMPRENEURS’!
What? Why? When?
Based in Culloden, we will be starting classes just after the Easter Break, across Inverness. I will initially be running Baby ARTventurers classes from 6 – 18 months. As well as our toddler class, Little ARTventurers which is suitable from 18 months -4 years .
Our award-winning sessions are designed to nurture and develop every child’s individual creativity. Art has SO many benefits – from squishing and squidging in paint to exploring colours and textures, learning about the world around us, developing fine and gross motor skills, making friends and building confidence.
As a mum of two girls, who LOVE to get creative and explore, I am looking forward to guiding all your little people to explore their own creativity. Whilst providing them with the perfect opportunity to get messy and really develop their imaginative side. Without you having to worry about the mess!
Art is incredibly important to me, and has been something I have always gone back to in a variety of mediums throughout my life. It provides an escapism from reality whilst at the same time, that feeling of exhilaration when something you create brings joy to someone else is incredible. Everyone experiences art differently and unlike the competitive nature of sports, it is something that is accessible to everyone. There are no winners and losers, only artists and creators.
This is especially true for children. Watch the joy on a childs face when they hand over a creation to their mum, dad, grannie, granddad, sister, brother….class leader..:D I can guarantee the feeling will be infectious. The sense of achievement and accomplishment for every mark they have made, is pure joy. In the words of Picasso – “Every child is an artist” – We just need to help them discover it for themselves.
At ARTventurers we aim to develop and nurture that natural, inquisitive creativity and really let your child find their own way in their own time. Based around the Early Years Framework, our sessions really help children to experiment and express themselves through a range of colourful, creative and sensory activities.
Favourite Characters and Stories.
We look forward to welcoming you all along to ARTventurers Inverness and growing alongside you all. As I build the framework and lesson plan for our first session block, I would love to know what stories, colours and characters your little ones love the best. Each week, I will try to build our session around topics your children can engage and relate to. Let me know their favourites.
See you all very soon, keep checking in here and on Facebook for class updates and booking information!