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The Dowse Art Challenge: A weekly activity for kids & their parents

Author: Steph McDonald, Communications Manager

Being stuck at home is the best time to unleash your creativity. The Dowse wants to challenge you and your kids to blow away those boredom cobwebs and get creating and making!

Every Thursday, we'll be sharing two new art activities - one to do together, and one that kids can create on their own. Scroll through the images to find the latest challenges. 

Challenge 1: Do together - Victorian Peg Dolls

Challenge 1: Do together - Victorian Peg Dolls

Challenge 2: Do independently - Hut Building

Challenge 2: Do independently - Hut Building

Challenge 3: Do independently - Nature Art

Challenge 3: Do independently - Nature Art

Challenge 4: Do together - Wilderness Water Colours

Challenge 4: Do together - Wilderness Water Colours

Challenge 5: Do independently - Teddy Bear Photography

Challenge 5: Do independently - Teddy Bear Photography

Challenge 6: Do together - Puppet theatre show

Challenge 6: Do together - Puppet theatre show

Challenge 7: Do together - family time capsule

Challenge 7: Do together - family time capsule

Challenge 8: Do independently - make a sculpture

Challenge 8: Do independently - make a sculpture

Challenge 9: Do together - make your own musical instruments

Challenge 9: Do together - make your own musical instruments

Challenge 10: Do independently - make a trophy for a lockdown hero

Challenge 10: Do independently - make a trophy for a lockdown hero

Challenge 11: Do independently - nature weaving loom

Challenge 11: Do independently - nature weaving loom

You don’t need fancy equipment to make art. Look around your home, your garden and your recycling bin to find materials. 

We'd love to see your art creations  - you can tag us on social media (@thedowse) or email your pics to education@dowse.org.nz so we can share them with our Hutt community and bring a smile to our neighbours’ faces. 

Stay tuned to find your next challenge here!

THE DOWSE ART CHALLENGE:

1) Victorian Peg Dolls - do together

Children a long time ago didn't have many toys. So they were creative and made their own. One of the most beloved toys in the Victorian times was the peg doll. 

Do you have a wooden peg or spoon floating around home? Find some scrap material, lace, glitter, paper, or pens and decorate the peg or spoon to look like a person. 

Will your person have a bag? A cape? Glasses? Once you have made your peg person, create an environment for them to live in. 

2) Hut building - do independently

Huts can come in many different shapes and sizes. They can be indoors or outdoors! Perfect for hiding, playing or curling up in to read a book. Let your imagination run wild as you build your very own special place.

Can you build your own hut? Make a sign or a flag for your hut. Make up a rule for entering your hut. Decorate inside your hut. At night, use a torch and see how different it feels to be inside your hutt!

3) Nature art – do independently

Explore making art using materials you can find in nature, such as leaves, sticks, shells, mud, pinecones, pebbles and flowers. Create a picture, pattern or sculpture with them.

The best thing about nature art is that it leaves no mark and nature will take it back, so it is like a gift to the environment. Watch how your art work changes over the next few days as it gets blown away by the wind, washed away by the waves, or erased by the rain.

Try sorting your gathered nature materials into groups of colours, shapes, sizes and textures. See what effect this might have! For even more inspiration, take a look at the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy.

4) Wilderness water colours – do together

Create your own water colour paint using natural materials from the garden and compost waste.

Step 1: Collect crumbly rocks, fallen leaves, flower petals, food waste like avocado stones, ends of red cabbage, and colourful spices like turmeric.

Step 2: Crush each one up with a pestle and mortar or with a rock and a bowl.

Step 3: Put the crushed up pieces into a small piece of muslin or cotton cloth. Tie at the top like a teabag and soak in 2 tablespoons of warm water. Wait until the water changes colour.

Step 4: Begin painting!

5) Teddy bear photography - do independently

Take a picture of your teddy bear in a pose that shows their personality. Do they like to have picnics, go on adventures, play hide and seek, or something totally different?

You could use props to show your teddy doing different things. Or you could dress them up in a costume – try out adding glasses, moustache or a bowtie to your teddy.

Perhaps you could photograph what your teddy sees out your window.

6) Puppet theatre show – do together

Put on a show in your own puppet theatre!

Step 1: Fold an A4 piece of paper so that the two ends meet to create wings
Step 2: Cut a hole for the puppet show window
Step 3: Draw a puppet or three to fit your scene. Attach a skewer, stick or popsicle stick to the back.
Step 4: Put on a show!

7) Time capsule - do together

Create a family time capsule to open together in the future. What do you want your future selves to know about this moment in time?

First, choose a container for your time capsule that will protect the items inside.

In your time capsule, put in things that tell a story about you. Perhaps you could write a letter to your self, or include photos, newspaper clippings, artworks, music and special objects.

Think about when you’d like to reopen it, and hide it somewhere safe until then – perhaps in the garden, under the house, or in the wardrobe?

8) Make a sculpture – do independently

Make a sculpture from any material – playdough, sand, dirt, paper…

A sculpture is a 3D artwork you can make using your hands or tools to shape materials to look like something else.

The limit is your imagination! You could make an animal, a monster, a flower, or something completely different. What will you make?

9) Musical instruments – to do together

Make your own instruments using materials you can find in your recycling bin.

Try out string, percussion, or wind instruments. You could make shakers out of boxes or jars filled with dry rice, drums from plastic containers and tin foil or material, or trumpets out of cardboard rolls. The options are endless!

10) Trophy for a lockdown hero – do independently

Know someone who’s been a superstar during the lockdown? Create a special trophy to say thank you.

How can you make the trophy represent them? Should it look like them? If they love nature, would you make it from nature materials? Would it have all of their favourite colours? Would it be soft and fluffy, or tough and spiky?

Perhaps you could present your person or pet with their trophy in a special way?

11) Nature Weaving Loom – do independently

Make a weaving loom outside in nature. Weave leaves, grasses, and flowers through fences, string, or between branches.

Use twigs to make a frame and zig zag string back and forth between the twigs to make your own loom. Weave in treasures you find from a nature walk or in your garden.

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Don't forget to share your amazing creations with us! Tag us on social media, @TheDowse,  or email photos to education@dowse.org.nz

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