We love books and we love art projects. So books about art that lead to projects are just about the best thing ever.
Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg is a hands-on book full of ripped and bent pages and flaps that show how the artist sees magic in what other people might see as mistakes. The last time the girls painted I took two big sheets of paper and painted random splotches and lines and curlicues. I used different brushes and colors. I then forgot about them for a month. On a fidgety cold afternoon, I pulled them out and we spent some time wondering what the paint splotches looked liked and then adding pencil drawings. The activity was definitely better suited to Alessia than Olivia. The book has a lot of possibilities for other projects as well, and it's something we'll come back to over and over again.
Mimi's Dada Catifesto by Shelley Jackson is a new discovery for us. It explores the dadaist art movement through a cat and the dadaist human she is wooing. The book led to my kids twirling around the living room yelling "salami" and, much to Adam's dismay, the three of us declaring each other's burps "good sound poems." We also made our first word box for writing poems. I cut words out of the newspaper and put them in a box. We take words out randomly (no peeking per the book's instructions) and lay them out. Alessia reads hers and I read Olivia's. Following Mimi the cat's lead, Alessia has been leaving word poems on the floor at the front and back door for Adam when he gets home at night.