Discover & explore for grade schoolers: Hands-on art

By Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris

There are so many reasons art is important, including that it can reduce stress and anxiety. What child or adult doesn’t need that during this pandemic? This article from NPR goes into the details, joys, and benefits of creating—knitting, writing, baking, collaging, and more.

What will your family create this fall and winter? Here are a few suggestions, but the possibilities are endless!

Explore these resources

  • Take a virtual tour of Chicago’s own Art Institute for inspiration. There are videos, audio tours of the exhibits, and fun activities. Take photos, color in some pictures, make your own art, and more.
  • We are lucky to have many art museums in Chicago! For example, you can explore Ukranian art and immigrant experiences, and download coloring sheets at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art and explore many activities including puzzles and zines at the National Museum of Mexican Art.
  • Knitting and crocheting are a great way to build fine motor skills and create beautiful and useful things for our long winters. Intimidated by where to start with needles and hooks? Try finger knitting first! Knitty is a wonderful free resource for patterns, and they have this introduction to finger knitting, which can create friendship bracelets, scarves and yes, even blankets. Marbles Kids Museum also has ideas and vocabulary to share, as well as how to tie it to educational goals. Miss Shelley, Miss Genevieve, and Miss Jennifer all love knitting. 
  • Miss Margaret loves to do origami with the kids and made these videos to show how to make a butterfly and a box. Her favorite websites to learn more are Paper Kawaii and Origami Instructions.
  • Picture book artist Christian Robinson has wonderful tutorials on his YouTube page that come with discussions around tough emotions and other prompts.
  • Left Brain Craft Brain has some great process and sensory art projects for all elementary ages, including ideas with magnets, fizz, geometry, and prisms.

Check out these Discovery Kits

And of course, you can get started with some of our Discovery Kits!

About Discovery Kits

More than 50 Discovery Kits with play-and-learn activities that encourage kids to explore nature, make art, practice coding, and even learn to play the ukulele are available for checkout at the Main Library.

To check out

  1. Place a hold on a Discovery Kit in the library’s catalog or browse the available kits at the Main Library in the Children’s Services Area.
  2. If you’ve placed a hold, wait until you receive notification that your hold is ready for pickup at the Main Library.
  3. Use the self-checkouts available on all three floors of the Main Library (but not in the lobby) to check out your kit.
  4. Enjoy the kit for up to three weeks!

To return

  1. When you are done with the kit or the due date has arrived, return your kit to the Main Library.
  2. Kits can be returned inside the Main Library vestibule and lobby.
Shelley Harris

About Shelley

Shelley is a children’s librarian with a passion for early literacy, serving and celebrating the disability community, and exploring technology. She can often be found practicing storytime songs with her black lab, Bingo.

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