Handmade Cards by Nicholas

I had mentioned to Nicholas that when Daddy left for New York recently, I snuck a card in his suitcase so that he would be surprised when he opened his suitcase in New York. I told him it was a congratulations card so it would be like we were there with him telling him "Congratulations!" Nicholas loved that idea and wanted to make a card for Daddy since he's going to Montreal this week for a new project at work.

On the cover, he wrote, "To Dad, From the rest of the family". Cute!

Then he opened it and wrote "I U, Nicholas" and there are lots of stickers of cool hot rods. He asked me to also sign it from Rachel and myself since it's a card from the whole family. Then we also wrote, "Have a safe trip!"

Nicholas was so excited about his card creation that he couldn't bear to sneak it into Daddy's suitcase. He went ahead and gave it to Daddy as soon as it was completed tonight. It turned out to be a great idea since he got to watch Daddy open it and he told Stuart all about making it.

Nicholas loves to make handmade cards. He makes them for anyone, for any occasion. He often makes quick little cards for us and leaves them around the house for us to find. He also loves to make bigger, fancier cards for birthdays and other special occasions.

Making cards is a great way to encourage children to be creative, practice handwriting, show love and appreciation to those around them, and to experiment with different art mediums. Plus it's just a fun way to spend some time with your child!

To encourage his creativity, I keep a well-stocked art cart available. When Nicholas was little, it was a small little art cart. But as he got older and more creative with supplies, we got more supplies and had to get a bigger art cart. You can often find these on sale at Michael's or Joann's craft stores or get on the mailing lists for either of these stores and receive frequent coupons for 20% off one item.

Before Nicholas could read, he could tell which supplies were in each drawer because of the see-through drawers (I love this feature!). Now that he's older, he can read the labels. Each drawer has a specific type of art supply in it. Here is how ours is divided up:

1. Markers, crayons, colored pencils
2. Stickers, rubber and foam stamps, stencils - all stored separately in the drawer in their own zip top bags.
3. Miscellaneous craft supplies such as popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, glue, paper plates, brown paper bags, beads, buttons, string, pictures cut out from magazines, etc.
4. Painting supplies such as smocks, tempera paint, watercolors, and lots of brushes.
5. Play-doh and clay. We have lots of Play-Doh tools so this drawer has actually overflowed some into the tray on top of the cart!

I also keep a stash of white drawing paper, colored cardstock and construction paper, as well as coloring books. These are stored in a portable file case.

It's so much fun to have an arts and craft day because we just roll out the art cart (it's on wheels!) and pull out the paper storage file and go to it. Everything is right where you need it and by having it all right there by the table you can easily see all the materials you have to work with. It just seems to make the creative process easier and more enriching.

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when he grows up."
- Pablo Picasso

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