The Perfect Summer Art Project


Have you ever wondered why blue prints are blue? Well, it’s because in the mid-1800’s an astronomer named John Herschel developed a printing process for copying his notes. He discovered that mixing ammonium iron citrate and potassium ferrocyanide created a photosensitive solution that has come to be known as blue ferric ferrocyanide. When this solution is applied to paper and dried in the dark, it can be activated when it’s exposed to UV light. Any portion of the dried solution that is covered from the light will remain white, and when the paper is rinsed in water the blue ferric ferrocyanide will change from green to “Prussian Blue.” This process creates the blueprint effect.

Summer is the perfect season for creating cyanotype prints and nature can provide the most unique objects to use as negatives. If you’d like to give the process a try, you can purchase the chemicals and mix your own blue ferric ferrocyanide or you can purchase pre-treated papers and fabrics. When working with children, adults must supervise the use of chemicals to ensure they are used safely. If you have any safety concerns, you might choose to use pretreated papers. You can purchase these papers HERE.

Check out this youtube video for instructions:

Do Millennials Have What It Takes To Be Entrepreneurs?


If you’ve listened to news bites this week, you’ve likely heard the buzz about the majority of Millennials living with their parents. According to a recent study, more Millennials are living with their parents than with a significant other or on their own. These stats are a modern phenomenon because dating back to the 1880’s, 18- to 34-year-olds have always been most likely to live on their own or with a romantic partner. Although this isn’t shocking in light of many characterizations of Millennials, it does raise questions about how we are preparing this highly creative and innovative generation to pursue their dreams. Very few critics dispute the fact that today’s young people are perhaps the most creative and inspired generation in recent history, but Millennials have earned a bad rap when it comes to self-motivation, determination, and grit.

Those who’ve studied entrepreneurs have identified specific characteristics that risk-takers apply to reach their goals. For example, successful entrepreneurs do what they love, but they are also disciplined, organized, ready to compete, financially savvy, and strategic about how they will execute their plans. As educators, we must ask ourselves if we’re equipping our highly creative and innovative students with the skills they need to turn their ideas into action.

We designed the MACIE program to support our students’ individual goals. Those who come to our program seeking to do creative and innovative work with children have the opportunity to select a learning pathway that prepares them to execute their plans. Students with entrepreneurial goals can choose a business path that provides courses about topics like financing, management, and marketing. Some students come to our program to refine their artistic medium and learn how to share their process with children. These students might select a pathway of studio courses through the Fine Arts Department. Those students who seek to enter other fields like education and non-profits also have opportunities to craft pathways that will prepare them to do this work.

When the media is buzzing about Millennials, we should take the opportunity to consider how we’re equipping these 18- to 34-year-olds to take action on their world-changing ideas. If recent data is true, 60% of Millennials consider themselves to be entrepreneurs, but in reality, they’re starting companies at the lowest rate in 25 years. Perhaps we should not only be asking how we can support creative and innovative thinking, but also, how can we prepare students to take action?

If you’re ready to put your plans into action, join us.





How Theory & Beliefs Shape Your Thinking About Childhood

When you work with children, you’re not working in a vacuum. Our work is constructed within the context of our experiences and the beliefs we develop from these experiences. Our lives are affected by our families, friends, and coworkers, but also, the larger social worlds in which we live.

It’s next to impossible to experience life in a social bubble, as our lives are increasingly connected not only by physical location, but through the virtual connections of the Internet, television, and online media. Therefore, as we think critically about the work we do with children, we must consider the connections between our personal experiences, our beliefs, the theoretical context, and the work being done by others in the field.

These connections require us to consider how our work is informed by important questions:

  • How do you define childhood? How do you believe children should be treated in society?
  • How do your beliefs about what it means to be a child relate to sociological theories about childhood?
  • What theories/beliefs do you notice being taken up in your field? How do your theories/beliefs compare?
  • How will your beliefs about childhood affect the work you do with children?



What is childhood?


When we are working with children, sometimes our work distracts us and we and don’t take time to think about what it really means to be a child. Being a child is something we all experience, but what is childhood?

Is it a period of time that begins at birth and magically ends when we turn eighteen? (That’d be 6,570 days to be precise)

Is it a developmental phase we must complete before passing into adulthood? (That’d be four phases if we’re following Piaget)

Is it a social construct that we create and enact as a society?

Or maybe it’s a social construction that shifts and changes from generation to generation?

Our beliefs about childhood are shaped by the history before us, the world around us, and our own experiences as children and with children. Our conceptions of childhood change as major scientific paradigms shift. For example, when our views about human behavior are dominated by behaviorist theories, then we tend to view children as passive agents who learn through series of actions and reactions.

Over the past one hundred years, our ideas about childhood have been impacted by shifts in social science theory. As with any theory, a particular theory might give us insights into certain aspects of a concept or phenomenon, but that same theoretical perspective will fail to explain other aspects. We have more diverse understandings of childhood when we consider the possibilities of multiple theoretical perspectives.

Have you ever taken time to articulate exactly what being a child means to you? If not, we invite you to consider how your ideas about childhood inform the work you do or want to do with kids.

If you’re interested in learning more about these theoretical shifts, check out this awesome slideshare presentation created by Daniel Bigler:


Wondering how to create and innovate? There’s a subscription for that.

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For those of us who are interesting in cultivating children’s creative lives, we’re constantly searching for new ideas and activities to engage kids in creative and innovative thinking. In fact, there are a few businesses that are on a mission to send children inspiring activities each month.

Here are a few subscription boxes that are delivering creativity:

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So, if you’re looking for something creative, but are feeling a bit uninspired–subscribe!