behavior · brain · children · cognition · creativity · culture · happiness · health · mental health · psychology · Social

20+ Drawing Ideas and Activities | picklebums.com

Staying playful and creative sometimes requires going back to your roots, or at least your crayons. Drawing, scribbling, doodling, and coloring have all been found to help with destressing, thinking out ideas and problems, and keep brains active into old age.

Drawing is also a great learning activity with lots of fine motor skill and development, problem solving, language development and social learning opportunities… (Editor’s note: all of which tie into the above-mentioned benefits, and these skills are all useful for both grownups and kids to practice and refresh on a regular basis).

Drawing is a way for children everyone to process their world, to represent and share their ideas and to explore new skills and information.

Drawing with Geometry Tools
Drawing with Geometry Tools
Graph Paper Drawing
Graph Paper Drawing
Collaborative Doodle Drawings
Collaborative Doodle Drawings

see all 20+ Drawing Ideas and Activities at picklebums.com.

If you think this is just “kid’s stuff” I dare you to try some of these, especially the collaborative drawing exercise. It’ll (potentially) expose some growth areas of yourself and/or others very quickly. 😛

creativity · culture · play

Intimate Photos Reveal the Day-to-Day Lives of Stormtroopers | Raw File | WIRED

Perhaps not very scholarly, but I love this growing trend of making “Day in the Life” photos of toys and other objects. It’s a great, playful exploration of space and creativity.

 

In the Star Wars movies, the Imperial Stormtroopers’ activities are pretty limited: Marching. Shooting things. Keeping order. More marching. What do they do the rest of the time? Twerk? Wait for the bus and bully battle droids like the rest of us? (OK, most of us don’t bully battle droids.) Photographer Zahir Batin has a few ideas, and they include feeding baby chickens.

Batin’s still-life photos, created with action figures and largely homemade props, provide a glimpse of Stormtroopers after the big battles—stringing crime scene tape, for example, and doing the splits, Jean-Claude Van Damme-style, on their 74-Z speeder bikes. But the Malaysian photographer’s pictures also reveal a grimmer reality. We see troopers carrying wounded soldiers from the battlefield and mourning fallen comrades. We also see dichotomy of life as a Stormtrooper, roughing up battle droids one moment and feeding chicks the next.

The photo series is “just a hobby to fill free time on the weekends,” Batin says, but it’s blossomed into dozens of pictures. The bulk of the time spent creating each image is spent on preparation. Because “my Photoshop skills have a limit,” Batin tries to make each scene as realistic as possible before snapping the frame. The resulting pictures are as gorgeous as they are humorous (or, of course, tragic).

Check out some of the photographer’s best Stormtrooper still-life photos in the gallery above, then check out even more on deviantArt and 500px.

 

via Intimate Photos Reveal the Day-to-Day Lives of Stormtroopers | Raw File | WIRED.

behavior · community · creativity · culture · environment · happiness · play

An Artist’s Quest: To Force Strangers In Cities To Talk To One Another | Co.Exist

Sometimes all it takes is one person to start a neighborhood to start talking and engaging with one another. Someone moves in and throws an open house. Or even a garage sale. So how can art, or an artist, inject “love and play” into a community, particularly when the younger generations trust each other less than ever before?

San Francisco-based artist Hunter Franks is on a three-week mission across several different cities to explore just that, and hopefully get some “creative intervention” going in these urban areas.

An Artist's Quest: To Force Strangers In Cities To Talk To One Another | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

One Franks’s planned activities is something called “Vacant Love,” which aims to transform abandoned or neglected buildings with messages of affection. Another, called the “Free Portrait Project” asks residents to sit for a Polaroid photo taken by Franks, and during the 120 seconds it takes for the picture to develop, entertain a brief interview about their lives. Other interventions include two-way advice booths, for citizens to both give and take advice from one another, as well as an activity that asks people to write sticky notes about their loves and fears on a public wall. Franks will also be expanding his SF Postcard Project, in which he gathered postcards written from low-income San Francisco neighborhoods and mailed them to homes in ritzier ZIP codes.

more via An Artist’s Quest: To Force Strangers In Cities To Talk To One Another | Co.Exist | ideas + impact.

What activities have you seen, or even been engaged in, that got a neighborhood members involved and communicating? For some, even a Little Free Library can get the ball rolling. Tell us your experiences in the comments below.

creativity · design · play

Whimsical Inventions Solve Problems People Didn’t Even Know They Had – PSFK

I loved Wallace and Grommet for all the creative inventions Wallace developed. Turns out artist Dominic Wilcox creates similar odd inventions in real life, and businesses are willing to donate space to display them.

This time it’s the turn of celebrated British department store Selfridges to let Wilcox’s creative wings spread and take over their prestigious windows on behalf of the store’s Festival of Imagination. For the project, Wilcox created the “Variations On Normal” where his eccentric yet logical inventions give physical form to figments of his imagination. Some of his specially made pieces include an umbrella with built-in flower pots and a suitcase with robotic legs that follows its owner.

more via Whimsical Inventions Solve Problems People Didn’t Even Know They Had [Pics] – PSFK.

behavior · creativity · education · health · music · play · school

Remembering to play even as the sun goes away

Happy Friday!

Now that we’re officially into fall, with the weather getting colder and wetter by the day, and all back to school or indoors,it’s important to remind ourselves of opportunities to get out and play.

Idea is Free Museum and Park Day tomorrow; September 28: over 1500 museums, and national and state parks, are opening up their doors to the public for free!

For some more structured play, there are great art, dance, and play-based programs for little and big kids. One just opened up in Colorado, and definitely understands the value of play:

dance

The Curious About Art program is just one of many preschool arts education programs the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District offers throughout the year. It’s not so much about the final product the kids create, but the journey and experiencing sensory exploration with their parents.

“It will probably look like something you expect an 18-month-old to make, something unrecognizable but still pretty wonderful,” said Vickie Willis, culture and enrichment supervisor for South Suburban.

“Everyone needs to play,” Willis said. “It makes us feel good, it unleashes possibilities in our brain, it makes us think better.”

Aside from encouraging play, the purpose of the classes is to prepare kids for a school environment by getting them socialized to being around other children, as well as developing motor skills.

“It’s to develop the motor skills, and the little ones just want to explore their world so music and art is a good way of doing that,” said Janice Schindler, the culture and enrichment coordinator at Goodson Recreation Center

more via Arts education programs in Centennial open possibilities – The Denver Post.

Seattle has a newly-minted hip-hop program for little kids that also focuses on the value of play and silliness in education:

Mini BREAKS is the original hip-hop dance class (breakin’ or “break dance”) for toddlers and preschoolers.

In this unique class, young students will have fun while they exercise, express themselves, think creatively, build self-esteem, practice respect, learn discipline and make new friends!

Outside of a dance studio, hip-hop culture (including breakin’) is not taught through choreography or 8-counts but more intuitively through interactive demonstration. Mini BREAKS focuses on encouraging young children to be creative and courageous – to come up with their own ideas and be able to express themselves by sharing those ideas with others. All children are artists – Mini BREAKS helps them remain artists as they grow up!

more via: Seattle’s Massive Monkees Open Hip-Hop Dance Studio

So remember to play and wiggle even as the weather gets cold and dark.

anthropology · community · creativity · culture

Critical City Upload, Edgeryders create games for urban public spaces

Augusto Pirovano, in Milan, Italy with 2 other friends we made a project called Critical City Upload:

A game of urban transformation that uses a web platform and asks its players to perform creative missions. So far CCU is not very different from Edgeryders, the fact is that the missions are – instead of stories and reflections to write and share with others as it is on Edgeryders – creative actions that are generally performed in the public spaces of cities. The player picks the mission, shuts down the computer, gets out on the street, plays the mission, collects the necessary proof of his experience and then, after returning home, publishes the mission attaching photos and videos. As the player gets points, he levels up until he reaches level 7 and wins the Mechanical Box (a mysterious box that is delivered at his home).

Some examples of missions:

more via We create games for urban public spaces | Edgeryders.

architecture · community · creativity · design · environment · play

Dalston House: where every visitor becomes Spider-Man – video | Art and design | guardian.co.uk

A Victorian terrace has popped up in east London that lets you swing from its ledges, run up its walls and generally defy gravity. Architecture critic Oliver Wainwright hangs loose at Dalston House, the novelty installation by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich.

The artist talks about “enjoyable discovery” and playing with spaces that you might not otherwise think of.

I love how it is an interactive piece of art that only exists when people play with it.

more at Dalston House: where every visitor becomes Spider-Man – video | Art and design | guardian.co.uk.

architecture · community · creativity · culture · design

Teatro del Mare celebrates public space, community

A fun way to encourage public participation in space and creativity.

In order to celebrate its 10 years of activity, the artistic centre Lungomare in Bolzano Italy has recruited the ConstructLab/exyzt team composed by Alexander Römer, Gonzague Lacombe, Patrick Hubmann and Mattia Paco Rizzi. The result is the creation of Teatro del Mare, a wooden temporary structure, both a contemporary stage and street furniture, hosting a series of events, meetings and screenings until the end of June.

LIEU d’ÊTRE by the French Compagnie Acte is more than a performance. The project is an urban collective experience involving, both in the creation and the production of the event, professionals as well as inhabitants of a block of flats or of a whole neighbourhood. It uses the tool of dance to explore the pattern of the city.

more via In public space we trust.

anthropology · children · community · creativity · culture · design · environment · music

In New Documentary “Landfill Harmonic” Music Students Scrape Together their Instruments from Trash

The kids show off their instruments

Making music is a pretty powerful thing. Especially if you’re making it out of recycled objects and keeping things out of landfills.

“Landfill Harmonic,” an upcoming documentary scheduled for release in 2014, tells the story of an orchestra whose musicians play instruments made from trash. The film is set in the town of Cateura, Paraguay, which is built on a landfill. Many of the town’s residents collect trash to recycle and sell for money, and many of the town’s children are susceptible to getting involved with gangs or drugs. A music program was set up to help keep the kids out of trouble, but because so many of them were interested, there was soon a shortage of instruments.

more via In New Documentary, ‘Recycled Orchestra’ Makes Instruments from Trash | Earth911.com.

Music, like play, has been shown to have so many cognitive benefits, and emotional as well (plus even the act of music is called “playing”). There is something very deeply rooted in humanity about playing music, it is wonderful that through ingenuity and creativity these kids can channel their energy into the incredible power of making music. Plus the fact that they’re keeping things out of landfills is just a double bonus!

More information: https://www.facebook.com/landfillharmonicmovie?fref=ts

Kickstarter project: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/405192963/landfill-harmonic-inspiring-dreams-one-note-at-a-t