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Book Reviews

Art With Anything

52 Weeks of Fun Using Everyday Stuff

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Fancy brushes, paints, and papers aren’t needed to make art memorable. Stressing “the process of art” rather than the product, Kohl gives teachers, parents, day care providers, and others who work with children ages 4-10 fabulous and fun ideas for creating art with everyday items, from buttons, yarn, and jars to duct tape, bubble wrap, and sandpaper. Art with Anything offers fifty-two weeks of art projects, with each week focusing on a specific everyday material. Each week is further divided into five art activities, featuring one activity per day.

A list of additional supplies needed (such as glue, crayons, or scissors) begins each week’s double-page spread. Day One introduces the week’s material with the simplest art activity. Subsequent days build upon the first, culminating with the most challenging art activity on Day Five. Although arranged alphabetically by the everyday material, the weeks and projects may be handled in any order.

The author intentionally includes an element of aggregation, such as collage and mobiles, to allow children to build their artistic skill, understanding, and creativity. Some weeks she suggests bonus ideas for more variations with the material. She also adds notes about availability and safety when needed. If blue skies shine during the week featuring rain art, for example, a spray bottle with water can be substituted for the real thing. And for adults who worry about the cleanliness of sand or egg cartons, the author gives instructions on how to sanitize each.

Kohl is the author of dozens of art-related books for young children, including Cooking Art, Science Arts, Global Art, and Great American Artists for Kids. Her books have won the Parent’s Guide to Children’s Media Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, and the iParenting Media Award, among others. MaryAnn Kohl has been a consultant for Fisher-Price as well as a contributor to Family Fun, Parenting, Scholastic, Early Childhood News, and other publications. She gives numerous presentations and workshops to educators and librarians across the country.

Colorful and with clear and simple instructions, Art with Anything makes it easy enough for even artistically challenged adults to bring art into children’s lives. Packed with projects that allow creative expression to flourish, it’s perfect for school days, rainy days, and any day in between.

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