Show me the wind

Early in 2020, we were made to explain to children, why a virus that we could not see was forcing us do so many things differently. Months go by and we need to keep this conversation going. It is important to continue the discussion with children and among adults, about what we are collectively going through and how we feel about it.

They draw themselves, the family, the family pet, the nearby trees, street traffic and maybe the virus too. Did you ask your child to draw the wind yet? Please do, and take this opportunity to continue a conversation about what our eyes cannot readily see. A much useful conversation about what is invisible but real, as opposed to what is invisible and indeed does not exist. Make sure to conclude this conversation with safety measures and the cooperation needed to keep COVID-19 at bay.

See how your child can figure out how to draw the wind. After the drawing is made, watch together how others have done it. Visit the playlists we are compiling on our newly created Youtube channel. We just bookmarked this one minute video showing one way to draw the wind.

How to draw the wind, by How to for kids. Source: Youtube, 18 October 2020.

When it’s all up to you

As a parent, you may be an art enthusiast and your child’s biggest fan. You have set up a creative corner, you have a framing and display system in place in the kitchen or elsewhere in the home. Most of all, you involve your child in decision making, when comes the time to keep, re-use or dispose of drawings. Your disappointment comes when each time you ask, your child does not share your interest and suggests that everything can just go in the trash.

Drawing and what comes out of it might just not be your child’s number one interest and it is perfectly fine. Your artistic inclination does not have to converge with your parental guidance and judgement. It is probably time for you to decide whether collecting your child’s images is your own project, for the time being. As a parent, cherishing and keeping traces of your child’s cognitive progress, imaginative storytelling, and his or her interpretations of play and family moments, can be your own personal project. Your child might not be that interested at the moment, but what about when she or he will have grown up? You might want to know what the reaction will be years from now, when you open your precious archives. Joy and gratefulness will most likely be the response. And even then, if it is not and you are instead met a “but why”, you will know exactly why and will not regret a moment of it.

My dream, by Valerie, c1982. Source: CDIC-CIDE, 12 October 2020.

Drawing siblings

Whether you are a parent or an educator, it is a good idea from time to time, to ask a child for a family drawing, and to pay attention to the depiction of siblings. The image may reveal aspects of the child’s emotional and social life that you would like to discuss with the child, or with another adult involved in the child’s education.

Siblings may have constant and intense interactions (think twins, but also school mates) or have only family time together with parents, like during meals, and only sporadic joint activities by themselves. Age difference, interests and affinities have of course an impact on sibling interactions, but circumstances, parenting, neighborhood, extended family and even interior design may impact on how siblings grow together.

The family drawing will be particularly useful while mommy is pregnant, when a sibling begins or changes school, or after major changes such as moving, separation or marriage. On the family drawing, look for specific activities siblings do, how they dress, size and place on the page, in relation to parents and self. For further reading on this subject, see the research article by Özge Metin and Elif Üstün of the Department of Early Education, Hacettepe University, Ankara. This analysis of seven drawings was published in 2010 in Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 2, Issue 2.

Figure 5, Reflection of sibling relationships into the kinetic family drawings during the preschool period. By Özge Metin and Elif Üstün. Source: Sciencedirect.com, 4 October 2020.

A Lebanese nightmare

Only people who have suffered unspeakable traumas can fathom what citizens of Beyrouth are experiencing since last month’s explosion at the heart of their city. Author and mother of two, Yasmina Farah Massoud shared her thoughts about the horrendous time she, her family and her people find themselves in. See her August 11th Facebook post and her son josef’s rendering of the aftermath of the explosion (in French).

Puis il y a les enfants de Beyrouth au mois d’Août, by Yasmina Farah Massoud. Drawing by Yasmina’s son Josef. Source: Yasmina’s Facebook page, 26 September2020.

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.