Educational App Reviews – MoMA Art Lab

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I’ve asked my sons to start reviewing educational apps that they have enjoyed using. This is partly because they wanted to get some new apps and I told them they have to earn the privilege to do so by reviewing apps. Of course, they made their opinions short. They are boys, after all.

I can vouch for the added value of these apps as a homeschooling mom. My kids are pretty discriminating about the apps they get because we give them guidelines for choosing good ones. They often have to show us what makes an app educational — how it will help them grow in a skill or ability that they can use in the present or future. So these apps also have our parental seal of approval.

Here is their first review…

MoMA Art Lab

Developer: MoMA, The Museum of Modern art .

About: MoMA art lab is an app that allows users to create various works of art like collages, drawings and many other artworks inspired by famous artists.

Educational Value: This app is great for kids who want to learn about how artists create modern works of art. They will also learn some basic principles and elements of art.

Key Features (From Developer):

• Create and save your own artwork

• Play with shapes, lines, and colors

• Nine activities inspired by works of art, including:

  • Create a mobile

  • Experiment with paint

  • Draw from instructions

  • Create a sound composition

  • Draw with scissors

  • Make a line design

  • Collaborate on a group drawing

  • Create a shape poem

  • Make a chance collage

• Creative prompts for extra inspiration

• Audio for pre-readers

• Learn about works of art at MoMA. Artists include Henri Matisse, Alexander Calder, Elizabeth Murray, Sol LeWitt, Jim Lambie, Brice Marden, and others.

• Share your artwork

Educational Value Rating:  4 Stars (★★★★☆)

Recommended Age: 4 years old and older

Why we like it: You have complete freedom to create whatever art you want.   

Homemade Gift Tags

Paper crafts are another one of my loves. And every Christmas I design gift tags for myself and others as gifts. With a coloured printer and sticker paper, plus my wonderful paper cuter, I make personalized tags for family members.

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And since I spent so much time designing them on photoshop, you can download and print them for free! Gift Tags My gift to you! Enjoy…

Christmas Trees and Homeschooling

We took a break from our usual 9 am to 12 pm homeschooling in our study room to visit my pregnant sister, Carolyn. She wanted help decorating her newly bought Christmas tree. So the kids and I came over to her place and got to work.

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When you think of learning as a way of life, any activity can be an opportunity to understand something new, develop a skill, explore, discover, invent, or create.

I had the kids string the ornaments and tie knots to secure the string which was a practice in fine motor skills for the little ones.

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The kids worked together which encouraged collaboration. Some would string and others would tie the knots. They had to conceptualize a process to get their task done.

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They had to use an artistic eye to determine which ornaments should go where to achieve balance and symmetry.

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To incorporate math, I asked the boys to figure out how to divide the ribbon into equal parts so I could make bows. I asked Tiana to count the ornaments.

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Completing the decor was an exercise in perseverance because I didn’t let them take a break until we finished the tree.

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The longer I homeschool, the more I realize that books aren’t the only way learn. But, as parents we can be too set in the idea that learning must happen in a classroom, with a certain set of parameters that we miss out on opportunities that surround our children every day. We need to remember and trust that children are learning all the time. With a measure of intentionality, every experience children have can incorporate content and subject matter that would be boring for them to read in a book. And when knowledge is purposefully applied it becomes meaningful. It is also more fun!

We Did Art Today!

The kids always enjoy art. It’s one of their favourite activities. And it’s fun for me, too. I asked them to do two projects today — collaborative work to do a group art work. They were very pleased with the final results especially since they worked so hard. There was a big mess in the process but I suppose that meant they were having a good time! 
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An Artsy Fartsy Morning

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Time to Pursue Interests

Homeschooling gives the kids plenty of time to pursue their interests. Edan, my second son, enjoys art. So he often asks if we can do art together. Elijah also likes painting so he joins in, too. Today, we didn’t do any book work. We just did painting and some projects for social studies. Titus and Tiana had their own easel where they made a big mess with paint. I am pretty laid back so mess looks like fun to me (as long as it is cleaned up afterwards).

Well, art is messy but it has many benefits. It teaches my kids to pay attention to detail. They learn proportion, balance, depth of field, perspective. Their fine motor and problem solving skills are developed as well. And one of the more important benefits is character growth. Persevering until the end, humility when corrected and while learning, appreciating the talents of others, and challenging oneself to keep improving are all part of the art experience.

I also like how art allows my kids to slow down and relax. It is amazing how painting for extended periods of time makes them calm down. Children need that. They don’t need to be harried everyday, stressing out over academics. When Edric and I were traveling in Europe, we noticed how celebrated the arts are — performing and visual arts. In Asia, hardly anyone wants their children to grow up to be artists. We tend to perceive it as a sure-fire route to starvation and poverty. So we encourage them to pursue business or finance. But what a beautiful world has come from the great artists of the past. And I would like my children to be able to appreciate this world, too. So we make room for painting, drawing, creating, building, inventing, and free play in our day as much as possible. I have noticed that when my kids are given plenty of time to pursue their interests, they are more motivated to study and learn.

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Popsicle Stick Puppets

This morning, I taught the kids how to make Popsicle puppets. We used cut out pieces of colored paper, pasted on goodly eyes and drew smiles, made pipe cleaner curly ears, and stuck everything together with double sided tape and voila! The kids had a blast with their cousins making up stories and putting on a show for me. I was thoroughly entertained! It was definitely a fun way to teach communication and language skills. 20120428-201540.jpg

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Playgroup Fun

For today’s playgroup we read about the famous fauvist artist, Henri Matisse. I read from the book, “A Bird or Two“by Bijou Le Tord.

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Then I asked the kids to make cut-out art pictures. We also had animal cookie cutters and sugar cookie dough for the kids to play with. When the cookies were baked, the kids put icing on them. The most fun they had, however, was just running around the backyard playing some kind of soccer game. They were outdoors for nearly two hours but that was their favorite part of today’s playgroup.

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The One Subject Kids Never Tire Of

We have been doing alot of art lately. The kids can’t get enough of it. And it ends up being very therapeutic for me, too!

3D Art

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Paintings by Titus

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Paintings by Edan

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Paintings and drawing by Elijah

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Art History at Starbucks

Homeschooling at home everyday can get monotonous. For me, atleast! The kids don’t really complain, but sometimes, I am the one that needs a change of scenery. So I asked Elijah if he would like to do his work at Starbucks. (I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do love to smell coffee.) I packed a bag of books and we walked over to the nearest Starbucks — just Elijah and I. It was like our “date” as mom and son, too. Elijah was looking forward to our time together.

I brought along a book that I knew would interest him. The Illustrated Timeline of Art History by Carol Strickland. It shows how art changed through the ages and highlights art and architecture from all around the world. He found it fascinating.

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After reading through the Middle Ages, I let him do a perspective drawing. He has always been very interested in architecture so 3D representations of reality appeal to him. If it is not 3D, he says it is a “little kid’s drawing.” He’s only turning 8, going on 9 in three weeks, but sometimes he acts like a very old soul.

Did he get frustrated trying to work with perspective in his drawing? Of course he did. (He’s a bit of a perfectionist.) But after a while, he was quite pleased with his effort.I was, too! He tried his best and that’s what matters to me.

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We went on to read about the Franciscans and Dominicans in his history book. By this time, we had spent a little over an hour at Starbucks. I could have stayed longer. The ambiance was cozy and I loved the free airconditioning! But Elijah said to me, “Mom, let’s go home.” When I asked him why he was eager to leave, he said, “I want to be with my brothers.” That was a great answer so we put our things together and made our way back to our condo.

Starbucks was a nice change, but it was wonderful to know that Elijah still prefers home, where his best buds are — Edan and Titus. :)

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Doodle-ly Art

I love this find at Fully Booked in High Street! It contains black and white graphics that the kids can fill in or add their personal designs to and it’s just 240 pesos.

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Bible Verse Art

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