Our YT channel launch

Our first introductory video is now available, on our newly created Youtube channel. More to come next week and the week after, so stay tuned. We have already subscribed to several family and youth service organizations that follow us on other social media. Please subscribe, comment and make suggestions for the playlists that we want to make resourceful and fun.

We began video producing during the pandemic lockdown, with all the restrictions that this represents. Thanks to Andrea, our Youtube volunteer, for the planning and video editing her way to making today’s launch a reality.

CDIC-CIDE Youtube channel. 20 Sept. 2020

Will Power campaign launched

We are pleased to announce that CDIC-CIDE is joining more than 80 charities, financial advisors, and legal services from across the Hamilton-Oakville-Niagara Region to show Canadians how they can leave a gift to charity in their Will, while still taking care of the ones they love. Find campaign details and calculator tool at Will Power™.

Wills are not just a legal means to distribute your personal assets; they are powerful tools for social change. And it’s not an either/or proposition – you can leave a gift in your Will to charity while still taking care of those you love. Visit our campaign page on the Will Power website.

Will Power™ is being spearheaded by the CAGP Foundation in partnership with the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP). The CAGP Foundation aims to financially support programs that inspire philanthropy in Canada.

Will Power campaign partner logo. Source: CDIC-CIDE.org, 6 September 2020

Inspiration

Occasionally, it is important that we take a moment to think about people who inspire us and those we like to inspire.

Inspiration is something at once full of mysteries and quite common. Artists are known to rely on it for their success, but at one level or the other, we all know and experience inspiration. People inspire art, art inspire people , people inspire people and art inspire art.

This minimalist short film by Pierre Oscar Levy, Enfant au toton, is the perfect two and a half minutes to meditate on inspiration. In it, find craft, design, painting, photo, fashion, music and video. Take the time to see the various talents required to making it, and how far back goes Chardin’s inspiration before reaching us.

Still image and detail, Enfant au toton (Chardin), a film by Pierre Oscar Levy, 2010. Droits photo © Petit Palais / Jean Schorman. Source: Youtube, 5 September 2020.

Toy touts

Here are some simple fun things for kids to do with their parents and or siblings. Ask a child to draw a favorite toy twice. Once by memory and then with the object in sight. Take a picture of the toy. Use the three images and the toy itself to trigger a conversation about handmade versus mechanical and industrial goods. Plan a visit to a local craft fair along with your next shopping trip.

Another activity provides a precious life experience. With the child, identify a toy that was stored away, is still in good conditions and had not been used for some time. Discuss the possibility of disposing of it and make a plan together. The first step should be to draw the toy and keep the drawing as a souvenir. List the pros and cons of two alternatives: 1) Donate the toy and learn about philanthropy and the feelings of loss and empathy; 2) Sale the toy and learn about commerce, publicity, savings and talk about values.

Celebrate the benefits toys bring to us all, by discovering artists who do that so well. Our four favorites are Derrick Hickman, Jimmy Lucero, Josh Talbott and John Padlo. Did you know that Andy Warhol made a series of toy paintings? Some are currently on display at the Gmurzinska Gallery in Zürich. Many more artists are celebrating toys. See the works by Kelley Bochman Smith, Joyce K. Jensen, Margaret Morrison and Linda Apple.

Child with a teetotum, by Jean-Siméon Chardin. Musée du Louvre / A. Dequier, M. Bard. Source: Louvre.fr, 29 August 2020.

Toy museums: What’s at play?

Much could be said about toy museums, as a contemporary phenomenon. Their very existence sparks reflection about nostalgia, fast changing societies and consumerism. Without dwelling on those issues, we note the diversity of toy museums and how they might evolve in the future.

We find toy museums on every continents. See a list, along with links, in this Wikipedia article. As summer holidays come to a close and lockdowns are being lifted, visiting one makes for a fun family excursion. Many of them are small and grew out of personal collections. Probably by grownups who could not bare to see these cute objects collecting dust, in the attic or at the local antique fair. See the one in Hamilton (CA), or the charming one in Helsinki (FI).

Others have impressive collections, be it by their size, historical or specialized content. The Farm Toy Museum (Dyersville, IA), the Shankar’s International Doll Museum (New Dehli, IN) and the Ore Mountain Toy Museum (Seiffen, GE) are three examples. A few have full-time curators and collect not only rare items, but tourism awards too. Interestingly, the state of Missouri has two, both founded in 1982. Spain also has more than one such museums.

We found two institutions of special interest, each for a couple of reasons. First, they do not call themselves toy museums. The Strong National Museum of Play (Buffalo, NY) is one of the largest in the world. Its pinball online collection caught our attention. The Museum of Childhood (Edindurgh, UK) is another one. Its collection includes books of children literature, published before 1850, and they are presented in the informative blog.

Parallel to toy museums, the so called children’s museums have also proliferated in recent years. They are usually more playrooms than museums, even when located in fine art or history museums. The museums in Buffalo and Edinburgh bring these two concepts together most effectively and their names appropriately reflect it. In their facilities, nostalgia and popular brands co-exist hand in hand with the ever relevant crayons, paper, glue stick, and scissors. Toys are about play, play is about learning. Toys are for kids, toys are for the family. Toy s are about experiencing childhood in play. That is what this type of museum is about. It goes far beyond the toy itself

Logos, Toy Museum of Helsinki, FI and Tartu Toy Museum, EE. Sources: lelumuseo.fi ; mm.ee, 23 August 2020.

Chalk it up

We’ve all seen chalk drawings on the sidewalk during the recent confinement. One young artist and her younger brother muse took it to an unparalleled level. What fourteen year old Macaire has achieved is just so impressive, full of magic and love. Please someone give those two an award, a scholarship, a thumbs up. As far as we are concerned, they have already made pandemic history. These ephemeral and monumental images cannot be preserved in their original state. Luckily, we have social media. Visit @macairesmuse on Instagram. Let us know what you think.

Detail of Macaire’s Muse Instagram page. Source: Instagram, 15 August 2020.

A good blog is good

We have much respect for child psychologists. We love them when they collect and share children drawings. That is exactly what Dr. Emily Edlynn, does on her must-follow blog, The Art and Science of Mom. So, we invite you to check it out, and to share your thoughts about mental health during the pandemic. A good blog is good, a good blog with children drawings, even better.

Logo, Emily Edlynn PhD. Source: emilyedlynnphd.com, 3 August 2020.

Drawing FOR children

Parents, siblings, friends and teachers can definitely influence in how and what a child draws. Let’s not however overlook illustrators, who make it their trade to draw FOR children. Picture books have long fed kids’ imagination, but rarely do we see their illustrators celebrated. We turn our attention to Japan, where the museum community has done so, in a wonderful way.

The Chihiro Art Museum grew from the works and life of famed illustrator Chihiro Iwasaki. Located in Tokyo and Azumino, the museum holds an impressive internal collection with over 17K pieces by over 200 illustrators from 33 countries.

Chihiro Iwasaki at work. Source: Chihiro Art Museum web site, 27 July 2020.

In Onfim’s footsteps

Nobody knows who this young boy named Onfim was, but we know when and where he lived: Medieval times, Russia. Thanks to Onfim himself, for drawing, thanks scientists’ curiosity and a great deal of luck. Onfim’s drawings were not meant to be preserved for centuries, yet they were by chance, due to where they ended up and preserved by natural elements. Find out the details of this amazing discovery in Justin E.H. Smith‘s article on on LitHub.com: Onfim Wuz Here. His article previously appeared in Cabinet Magazine. Let us all be inspired by Onfim’s images and make sure that in centuries from now, people will have access to today’s images from children, not by chance, but by design.

Gramota No.203, after Onfim. Source: LitHub.com, 19 July 2020.

Parents networking

Home schooling the little ones came as a surprise and a steep learning curve for parents this last spring. The challenge has been no less demanding for parents who happen to be teachers. Home schooling must continue to be on everybody’s mind, so kids find the learning opportunities they so deserve.

Stay at home and working parents have long been engaged in online groups and sharing blogs and information. As the notion of web community is more meaningful than ever during physical distancing, we encourage parents to engage with other parents and share each others’ insights. Here is a fantastic blog we found, Parent: Smile and Grow. It has the advantage of being trilingual. On it, a great article by Clio, on children drawings. Let us hear how you like it!

Header, Parent: Smile and Grow. Source: parent-smileandgrow.com, 14 July 2020.