Mica Hendricks, also known as Busy Mockingbird, blogs about her gorgeous illustrations and the arty activities she gets up to with her daughter. Combining her own illustrations with the scribbles and sketches of her daughter, the works have a playful charm and an everchanging theme of monsters and animals, left to the artistic direction of her toddler.
We share Mica's top ideas for getting crafty with you little one...
What sort of creative activities do you get up to with your daughter? What have been your favourites to date?
She didn't really get into crafts until she was 3, but when she did, she was REALLY into it. Sometimes she'll ask me to sew her a doll, and she helps pick out the fabric, gives me ideas for what it should look like. We paint on rocks, we draw on leaves and cardboard boxes. Pretty much anything you can think of! When she was little, we lived in Alaska, and were stuck indoors for most of the year in negative weather while my husband was deployed, so we found a lot of creative ways to stay busy! As for drawing, I just love drawing WITH her. My favourite ones are where it's my turn to draw and she tells me how a monster should look, then we switch, and I take turns telling her. We go back & forth till we have a fun little creature!
What would you recommend that each mother and child has a go at?
I think kids just really want to be PART of whatever you're doing, so I try to not keep too much "off limits", but instead show her the "right way" to use certain supplies. If I'm decorating a cake, sewing a doll, or drawing a picture for fun, I try to make her part of that. If there's something "precious" in my sketchbook I'd prefer her not to draw on, I just make a quick photocopy of it on my printer and let her have her fun! Just spending TIME with kids and enjoying what they create, and not defining it for them so rigidly is what I'd recommend. Explore & create!
What are your favourite materials to use with children?
Whenever I'd go to the craft store for supplies, I'd always let her pick out a project. She LOVES those little plastic blank figures you draw on (like the DudeBox DIY), so we'd get those now & then to let her have fun with them. She has never liked any medium nearly as much as markers, and her absolute favourites are Crayola Pipsqueaks, because she can be rough with them. I like them because if she wants to go exploring by drawing on her hands or arms (she calls that "tattoos"), they always wash right off! Keeps mama calm to let her be messy and creative.
What's your advice for parents to start getting creative with their kids?
My advice is to let them explore & make messes! If you're the type of person who needs things tidy, then PLAN for a mess--put sheets down, put old clothes on, but let them have fun and create! Let them splatter and dip their hands in paint, and draw on boxes and wood. And most of all, spend REAL time with them!
Head to the Cass Art Kids section of our site to browse endless materials especially for children. Visit the blog for our top 5 kids products that we've already recommended. From rolls of paper, washable markers, easy grip colouring pencils and colouring books for every age, there's guaranteed to be something perfect for you and your child.
Mica has also started a Kickstarter to publish her collaborations in a new book, You can find out more here.
Busy Mockingbird's site can be found here, buzzing with ideas for limitless creativity.