“The days are long, but the years are short” is something that every parent will tell you. When our lives turned upside down in the second week of March, and we all found ourselves homeschool teachers and stay-at-home parents, the days seem longer still.
Luckily for us, some of Atlanta’s most talented artists and arts organizations offer ways to entertain our children via the internet, and for this, we are eternally grateful.
Here are five wonderful ways to keep your pint-sized art enthusiasts engaged and occupied long enough for you to maybe hop on that afternoon Zoom call with your boss.
Illustrator Mike Lowery
Local author and illustrator Mike Lowery has been keeping idle hands occupied with his daily “Stay at Home and Draw” doodle sessions on Instagram Live. Giving little and big kids sketchbook tips, prompts and assignments, all the while peppering in some weird and wonderfully funny facts from his book Random Illustrated Facts.
A regular Bob Ross, entirely at ease on camera, Lowery’s dad jokes will make you giggle. He effortlessly illustrates dinosaurs, sea stars, pirates and the like, while engaging in humorous banter with his chief camera operator and wife, Katrin Wiehle, who also happens to be a talented illustrator.
Catch “Stay Home and Draw with Mike Lowery weekdays at 1.30 p.m. on Instagram Live (search for @mikelowerystudio).
You can also buy Mike Lowery’s illustrated books here, or call your local bookstore to see which of his books they have in stock. (My 7-year-old son highly recommends Doodle Adventures: The Search for the Slimy Space Slugs!)
If you’re a bigger kid and have a Skillshare account, you can take his class here.
Little Treblemakers music lessons
Sydney Eloise and her gang of rock-star staff aren’t your average music teachers. These piano, ukulele, bass, violin, drum and guitar instructors aren’t the cliched kinds that smell of Ivory soap and make you run scales for an hour only to reward you with a warm Werther’s Original. The Little Treblemakers teachers will not only provide a strong foundation for music theory, but also parents can score major points with their offspring after a Beatles classic, Billie Eilish or Harry Styles’ latest single ends up on the syllabus.
The tiniest “treblemakers” can participate in toddler music time, and if you don’t want the kids to have all the fun, intermediate and more advanced adult music lessons, including songwriting sessions, are just a click away.
Usually, Little Treblemakers lessons take place in Decatur and Buckhead, but just like the Bob Dylan tune, “the times they are a-changin’,” and Little Treblemakers’ one-on-one music lessons are online via Zoom.
Center for Puppetry Arts
The reason that Sesame Street has been one of the longest-running children’s shows on television is because the wide-eyed wonder of a child under the spell of a puppet is pure magic.
After closing its doors to the public on March 16, the Center for Puppetry Arts managed to pivot to an online platform within hours, offering workshops, museum tours, study guides, and, of course, puppet shows, for free, all via Facebook. As a nonprofit organization, the center is asking that if your little ones are riveted by a show like “Captain Health and Safety Dog” or “Aesop’s Fantastical Fables” (spoiler alert, they will be), that you make a donation via their website.
Museum of Design Atlanta
For the cool kids ages 8-18, Museum of Design Atlanta has adapted its thoughtful education programs so that they can be enjoyed from the comfort of home. The museum is offering unique workshops and virtual meetups to help homeschooled budding designers’ minds thrive.
Online content usually lasts about two hours and covers topics that include 3D design, architecture, coding with Minecraft, and industrial and interior design.
MODA is asking for a nominal course fee to cover operational costs. Scholarships are available here.
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta’s website and Facebook page are an absolute delight. Each day of the week is dedicated to a different theme, so you can add a “Music Monday” alert to your calendar and ensure you and your cuties don’t miss out on the fun, like how to make a tambourine from household items. There is a video of a scarf dance to celebrate Navros (the Persian New Year) that turned my living room into a dance party reminiscent of a late ’90s rave, (we didn’t have silk scarves, so our kitchen dish towels did the job). You can find quick and easy art projects that manage to teach color theory to you petite Picassos all the while providing new vocabulary words and an excellent playlist of songs and stories about color.
Art is essential to your children’s development, giving them the tools to explore and create. What better time than now to let their imaginations run wild?
On the other side of this, when we have forgotten the daily frustrations, we will look back at this time and be grateful for the extra time with our littles while they were still little.
In times like these, when we are separated by necessity, ArtsATL is needed more than ever. Please consider a donation so we can continue to highlight Atlanta’s creative community during this unprecedented time.