Atlanta-based youth arts program to serve hurricane victims in Houston


Atlanta based non-profit, Paint Love, is traveling to Houston to support local artists and volunteers who are currently serving families at the NRG Center shelter. Paint Love will also be working with this community to plan for long term service strategies for the Houston area.

Paint Love was established in 2013 by Aaron and Julie McKevitt in response to the lack of artistic resources for youth in the Atlanta area. The McKevitts recognized the strong therapeutic benefits art can have on children, and they set out to connect local artists and non-profits for a positive impact on youth. The organization has steadily grown its mission by focusing on the power of art to spread love as they bring transformational art workshops to Atlanta area youth who face or are at risk of facing poverty or trauma.

As they prepare to bring their services across state lines, Paint Love is raising funds to purchase supplies to complete two art workshops with Houston area youth. These projects include a portrait project and a Houston Strong mural. Research has shown that “creating art after a disaster offers a way for children to make sense of their experiences, to express grief and loss, and to become active participants in their own process of healing, beginning the process of seeing themselves as ‘survivors’ rather than as ‘victims'” (Orr, 2007). Paint Love’s latest venture taps into the power of art to provide healing for children who have experienced natural disaster.

For more information about how you can donate or volunteer to serve, visit the Paint Love website.

Art therapy with children after a disaster: A content analysis (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Sep 11, 2017].









How to get Creative with Fidget Spinners

Yeah, yeah, yeah…we’ve all heard the complaints. Fidget spinners might have been designed to help kids with attention and anxiety disorders release energy and focus their minds, but they’ve become a major disruption in classrooms across the country. As with most modern “kid fads”, a simple youtube search shows us there’s more to these little gadgets than the annoying classroom competitions over who has the coolest colors or the largest collection.

Actually, kids are doing some super creative and innovative stuff with these mass-marketed “toys.” Below, you’ll find a few of our favorites that prove that even the most annoying trends can provide kids with opportunities to tinker and experiment.

  1. Check out what they can learn about balance and momentum when they tinker with a pen and a fidget spinner:

2. Check out what they find when they look inside a fidget spinner:

3. Check out what happens when they use Legos to make their own fidget spinners:

Do you live in Georgia? Then, you get FREE books!!

Summer is a time to slow down the clock and reset our minds. This is especially important for kids who are shuffled back and forth from school to activities seven days a week. While many schools require summer reading, it’s the perfect time to grab a book and READ!

According to Get Georgia Reading, Georgia students read 248,901 books and spent 55,831 hours reading last summer. This year, they are challenging Georgia kids to read 250,000 books and spend over 60,000 hours reading! That might sound like a lofty goal, but with the help of their partner myON, Georgians will have access to thousands of free digital books from May 3 through Aug. 31. As students log their reading hours, Get Georgia Reading will be keeping track on a reading “heat” map that shows which counties are reading the most.

For directions about logging into the myON network, check out this story by Get Georgia Reading.

Want to check out what’s available in the FREE digital library? Check out this video from myON:

myON for Students with a Shared Account from myON Fanclub on Vimeo.

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.

Mail order subscription boxes have become the hottest trend in online business models. Looking for cosmetics, hip clothing, or jewelry? There’s a subscription for that. Want to sample healthy snacks or have meals prepped and ready to cook waiting on your doorstep? There’s a subscription for that, too.

Do you need to stock up on fresh razors or pet supplies? Well, of course, there’s a subscription for that. If you’re willing to hand over your credit card information, you can subscribe to anything and everything under the sun. For a fee, you can have anything delivered to your door once a month.

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:

  1. BITSBOX. The creators behind Bitsbox believe that the younger kids start learning to code, the better. Like any language, it’s easier for kids to acquire it if they learn a little bit at time by immersing themselves in the language. Each Bitsbox includes interactive instructions with simple coding commands that allow kids to build cool apps that really work!
  2. TINKERCRATE & DODDLECRATE. Tinkercrate and Doodlecrate are designed for kids ages 9-16 and deliver STEAM experiences each month. Tinkercrate is focused on science and engineering activities, while Doodlecrate is focused on art and design activities. Created by the parent company, Kiwi Crate, their mission is to make STEAM accessible, engaging and fun for kids ages 3-16.
  3. SURPRISE RIDE. To help curve the screen time epidemic, the Surprise Ride box is created to be a monthly learning course delivered to your home. There are a variety of courses like art, science, and geography and each thematic box contains two hands activities, a book, one snack, and extras that help get kids exploring the world around them.

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

Can kids learn art and innovation skills online?


Did you know that online learning isn’t just for homeschoolers and college students? Most of us have seen online courses designed to deliver content via video lectures, assignments, and digital assessments. But, can creative skills like drawing, illustration, problem-solving, and invention strategies be taught online? Several new companies are on a mission to bring creative learning experiences to the e-course market.

Businesses like JAM Online Courses For Kids, Sparketh, and Thrive are designing and distributing courses that teach creative skills through video instruction, interactive discussions, and some even offer support from online mentors or teachers.

If you’re interested in online courses for your children, here’s the scoop on these three companies:

  1. Thrive.  With video art lessons designed to be part of their three-level program, Thrive lessons are created for kids aged 6-12 to allow them to develop their creative muscles at home. Thrive also explains that they offer parent guidance videos that provide parents with the information they need to support their children as they engage with the course content.
  2. Sparketh. Providing over 500 videos that teach visual art and design skills, Sparketh is on a mission to make learning art online “fun and effective.” The videos are divided into three categories: beginner, intermediate, and advanced, and users are encouraged to select videos that are appropriate for their skill levels. Many video courses also include printable content that kids can use to follow along.
  3. JAM. Jam Online Courses For Kids are designed to teach visual art skills as well as innovation and technological skills. Their mission is to “making magical learning experiences to help kids build confidence, creativity and talent that will last their lifetimes.” JAM courses are unique in that they are designed to provide children with an online mentor that will provide feedback and support as they engage with the course content.

Like most web-based content, each company offers free trials for their content–so, go on and give it a try.




Here’s the Scoop on the Maker Movement

*This article was contributed by Courtney Hartnett*

Makerspace? Maker? Maker Movement? Huh?

Heard these words and don’t quite understand what this whole “make” thing is? If you’re behind the curve with the Maker Movement, here’s a quick rundown so you can join in on conversations about one of the hippest creative movements spreading across the nation.

Maker Movement: In January 2005, Dale Dougherty published the first Make magazine— a bimonthly magazine focusing on DIY projects ranging from traditional arts and crafts to furniture building to complex advanced robotics. The readership quickly grew into a community that valued “making” over buying, with an emphasis on creative exploration, learning through doing, and collaboration. One year later, the first Maker Faire was held to showcase the variety of projects created and to celebrate the Do-It-Yourself spirit. Each year, this grassroots movement has gained more and more momentum, spurring the opening of makerspaces and Maker Faires in many communities.

Makerspace: Sometimes referred to as design labs, hackerspaces, and tech shops, makerspaces, as the name suggests, are spaces people gather to make things. Make culture is all about the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and tools, and makerspaces, which are usually community-run, nonprofit organizations, embody these principles. A membership to a makerspace grants one access to usually an extensive (and expensive!) collection of tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and welders as well as fellow DIYers that share ideas, skill sets, and a passion for creative construction. Schools, museums, and libraries are opening up their own makerspaces in recognition of the value of learning through creative, exploratory making— the lingo is tinkering— and opening up accessibility to the materials and skills for a range of people that may otherwise not have the opportunity.

Maker: That can be you. Find a makerspace in your community at, or check out the The Technology Innovation Learning Environment at Georgia State University’s College of Education and Human Development. Learn more about the Maker community at