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

20+ Drawing Ideas and Activities |

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

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 · design · environment

Making the morning commute more colorful

Happy Monday. Ok, so most of us are probably a little bummed that the weekend’s over and we have to go back indoors and work or go to school for most of the day. Many of us (myself included) also take a subway or bus to get to work. And while there is the occasional musician or interesting graffiti, subway stations and bus terminals are usually pretty bland and boring, not the best thing to enliven you and get you ready for the day. Well, thankfully Stockholm, which already suffers from a lot of dark days throughout the winter, has come up with some relief for its subway passengers: beautifully painted subway stations! From Inhabitat:

Metro stations in Stockholm have been elevated to veritable art museums with stunning murals and playful art installations adorning the cave-like walls and ceilings.

The Stockholm subway system is often described as the world’s largest art museum — for the price of a Metro ticket, you can enjoy impressive works of art spanning from the 1950s to the 2000s. The Metro spans more than 110 kilometers, and 90 of the 100 stations in the system have been decorated with world-class murals and sculptures from 150 different artists.

The T-Centralen station — the city’s central subway station — which was designed by Per Olof Ultvedt in 1975, is perhaps the most iconic of them all, and it features massive blue-and-white paintings on its cave-like ceilings. With its bright red walls and ceiling, the Solna Centrum station looks otherworldly. The Kungsträdgården subway station has been designed to look like an archaeological dig, and it features the remains of Stockholm’s old Makalös palace. And the Östermalmstorg stations features art by Siri Derkert that focuses on themes that include the environment and women’s rights.

What a great way to combat the dark, dreary mornings (and evenings) of Sweden in winter, or just give yourself a mental boost on your way to and from work. Nice job Stockholm! 🙂
children · community · design

Kids paint South Seattle mural for safety | Seattle Times

Hajiyeva Aysha, a volunteer from Harborview Medical Center, foreground, and Keith Harrison help paint a whale mural near Graham Hill Elementary School on Sunday. The mural is meant to improve walking conditions for child pedestrians in the Graham Hill Community. Photo credit Ellen Banner. Seattle Times.

Flashing lights or a “Slow Children” sign are common sights around schools, but now a local school has put in a “a huge, round, sea-themed mural right smack in the middle of South Graham Street in South Seattle,” to alert drivers to pint-sized pedestrians:

Some of the kids who had helped earlier talked about what the painting was supposed to accomplish.”It’s there so people will notice it and think they should really, really slow down so they don’t get into accidents,” said Maya Garcia, 8, one of the students the mural is meant to protect at nearby Graham Elementary School.Her friend Lilly King, 9, had another concern. “I hope they don’t crash into each other when they’re slowing down.”

The mural, part of the Safe Kids Seattle project installed this weekend in the 5100 block, is thought to be the fourth in the city and the first south of Interstate 90, according to Graham Elementary Principal Christina Morningstar. Each year, according to officials, more than 244 children under the age of 14 are killed in pedestrian accidents in the nation. All the Safe Kids projects are designed to alert drivers to the presence of children in school zones.

In addition to the mural, which features a whale and several fish, organizers installed speed bumps and school-warning signs using $35,000 in grant money from FedEx and the Seattle Department of Transportation.

via Local News | Kids paint South Seattle mural for safety | Seattle Times Newspaper.

I read this story in the office lounge while I was waiting for my leftovers to warm up in the microwave, and immediately thought this was a good idea not just for schools, but for any place that pedestrians frequent. Often cities will put in colored bricks or tiles at busy crosswalks, but for areas with less options and/or funds to renovate, this is a great solution!


anthropology · architecture · community · creativity · culture · design · environment · happiness

The Most Colorful Cities In The World

Living in the Pacific Northwest I can definitely appreciate the idea of adding more color to one’s life! Interestingly, it tends to be warmer climates that have the more colorful buildings, although Denmark and Finland has some of the most colorful interiors (and now exteriors) I’ve seen. Color has an amazing effect on human mental health and mood. People often talk about getting back into nature to see all the colors. Now, the colors can come to you (unless you live in a community with a rule against bright colors).

Urban life doesn’t have to be bleak and gray — in fact, many of the world’s cities pride themselves upon the bright palettes used to liven up their architecture. From the garish blue-walled buildings of Jodhpur, India, to the gentler pastels of Charleston, S.C., these cities are far from monotonous.

Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC
Nyhavn, Denmark
Buenos Aires, Argentina

More of The Most Colorful Cities In The World: Pics, Videos, Links, News.


60,000 year old Ostrich shell paintings

From Scienceblogger “Not Rocket Science” : The latest finds show that people were carvings symbolic patterns into ostrich eggs as early as 60,000 years ago. Pierre-Jean Texier from the University of Bordeaux discovered a set of 270 eggshell fragments from Howieson Poort Shelter, a South African cave that has been a rich source of archaeological finds. 
From Science News: The unusually large sample of 270 engraved eggshell fragments, mostly excavated over the past several years at Diepkloof Rock Shelter in South Africa, displays two standard design patterns. Each pattern enjoyed its own heyday between approximately 65,000 and 55,000 years ago, the investigators report in a paper to be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

(Back to Rocket Science): Judging by their patterns, the fragments must have come from at least 25 separate eggs, although probably many more. Texier says that the sheer number is “exceptional in prehistory”. Their unprecedented diversity and etched patterns provide some of the best evidence yet for a prehistoric artistic tradition. While previous digs have thrown up piecemeal examples of symbolic art, Texier’s finds allow him to compare patterns across individual pieces, to get a feel of the entire movement, rather than the work of an individual.

 Back to Science News: Researchers already knew that the Howiesons Poort culture, which engraved the eggshells, engaged in other symbolic practices, such as engraving designs into pieces of pigment, that were considered to have been crucial advances in human behavioral evolution. But the Diepkloof finds represent the first archaeological sample large enough to demonstrate that Stone Age people created design traditions, at least in their engravings, Texier says.

(Continue reading full Science News story… )