Fridge Fashions

Creating magnetic art with your child is one boredom buster she's sure to stick with!


Laura Stojanovic

Just as the kitchen is the prime gathering spot for parents and kids, the refrigerator, too, plays an essential role in family life. It can be a showcase for finger paintings, report cards, and favorite photos. And when your child crafts clay magnets for displaying these mementos, she can work on her artistic skills and show off her school accomplishments at the same time -- while becoming savvy in the science of magnets.

"Clay is a winner for kids," says Nancy Beal, an art teacher at the Village Community School in New York City and author of The Art of Teaching Art to Children. While she encourages young children to simply manipulate and pound clay into various shapes, older kids can use tools such as toothpicks to create more refined forms. By using their fingers to roll tiny balls for eyes or other details, kids will also exercise their fine-motor skills.

After the shape cools, your child can bring the object to life with paint and other decorations. "I like to give kids the three primary colors and encourage them to mix the paints together to create secondary colors," says Beal. "And children love to add a variety of details such as spots, stripes, and other marks to their creations, which give the magnets a new layer of vitality and expressiveness."

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