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MaryAnn F. Kohl

"Projects listed in the book are fun and easy, and require basic supplies that most parents have around anyhow, such as information on great art recipes (such as finger paint, play dough, goop, and bubbles), the process of art, and cleaning up. It also offers older toddlers variations, as well as ideas for the youngest toddlers too." 

Parent Line Newspaper, on First Art

More About MaryAnn F. Kohl

With the philosophy, “It’s the process, not the product,” MaryAnn Kohl's award-winning books provide open-ended art activities for young children. MaryAnn’s activities focus on the experience of art, not the final product a child creates.

MaryAnn presents at workshops and keynotes around the country for teachers and librarians interested in teaching art with young children. She has appeared on various television shows, including Home Matters on the Discovery Channel, Take Part! (Canadian children's television) as the 'Mudworks lady', and was a featured guest on 1, 2, 3 Grow! (Health Network). MaryAnn was also a consultant for a children's activity television show produced by the Jim Henson Company (Odyssey Network). In addition, she consults for Fisher-Price, and works with SUNY-Albany as one of their expert guests for numerous educational video conferences. MaryAnn enjoys being a columnist for Family Fun magazine, and writes for numerous other magazines including Parenting, Cricket, Scholastic, Early Childhood News, and Daycaring. MaryAnn also writes books for her own publishing company, Bright Ring Publishing.

MaryAnn Kohl lives in Bellingham, Washington.

Global Art

  • National Parenting Publications Award
  • Benjamin Franklin Award
  • Parent's Guide to Children's Media

Preschool Art

  • Benjamin Franklin Award
  • Early Childhood News Director's Choice Award

The Big Messy* Art Book

  • Benjamin Franklin Award
  • Early Childhood News Director's Choice Award
  • National Parenting Publications Award

Art With Anything

  • Moonbeam Children's Book Award
  • National Parenting Publications Award
  • PTPA Seal of Approval

MathArts

  • Benjamin Franklin Award, Finalist

First Art

  • Early Childhood News Director's Choice Award

Primary Art

  • Early Childhood News Director's Choice Award
  • iParenting Media Award

Making Make-Believe

  • Benjamin Franklin Award
  • National Parenting Publications Award
  • Parent's Guide to Children's Media

Cooking Art

  • Benjamin Franklin Award
  • Early Childhood News Director's Choice Award
  • Parent's Council Award

Preschool Art: Collage & Paper

  • Parent's Guide to Children's Media

Preschool Art: Clay & Dough

  • Parent's Guide to Children's Media

Preschool Art: Painting

  • Parent's Guide to Children's Media

Preschool Art: Craft & Construction

  • Parent's Guide to Children's Media

Preschool Art: Drawing

  • National Parenting Publications Award
  • Parent's Guide to Children's Media

Art with Anything

  • Moonbeam Children's Book Award
  • National Parenting Publications Award
  • PTPA Seal of Approval

"Preschool Art is a lifesaver…All the activities are easy, all are fun—the emphasis here is on the process, rather than specific results—and none require any elaborate materials…a real find."
—Sesame Street Parents, "Picks for Parents", on Preschool Art

"A multitude of playful projects for busy youngsters promises to provide delightful fun. Kohl, a former elementary teacher and college educator, produced another easy-to-follow book in her award-winning series…Parents and teachers will find this a rejuvenating creative resource."
—School Arts, on Primary Art

"What child wouldn´t like to make, and eat, airplane cucumbers, a toastie arctic igloo, snail bread, a banana snake or an erupting lava apple? Cooking Art has all of these recipes and many more which younger children can easily make with some assistance and older kids can complete on their own. There´s even a chapter where you can decorate your own apron, oven mitt, tablecloth and napkins... This is a great book for beginning chefs." 

Indy´s Child, on Cooking Art

http://blog.gryphonhouse.com/2014/06/19/gh-author-qa-series-maryann-kohl-on-first-art/

Q1. How did you become an art activity guru?

A1: I love the term “guru”! Is that what I am? I like to think of myself as a teacher who believes in the integrity of the child and views art as a way for children to share from that inner reserve that we usually don’t see.

-I taught primary grades and preschool, and of course raised my own lovely, creative daughters. During all that time, I vividly saw that art was an important experience, a place for kids to be themselves without an adult telling them exactly what to make or how to do it. I was so comfortable with authentic art and how involved and focused children could be that I knew it was “my place.” Working with children of all ages led me to see that art, not just cutesy crafts, was of great importance to the growth and development of the whole child. And so I began my passion for sharing what is now called “process art” with the world! My first book, Scribble Artback in 1985, was a step into how sharing might be done most easily.

Q2. In First Art, you have activities for toddlers and two-year-olds. Do you have any tips to help both the adult and the child have fun with the activity?

A2: Adults should think of themselves as guides or support. The adult is there to help with unruly materials, refresh the materials, help with aprons, and so forth. Making the art center comfortable and setting it up for easy use will enable the child to freely explore. Stay out of the child’s way as much as possible. Let them fly! It’s very important not to mark or work on the child’s art. I think this is part of respecting the inner child. Work on your own paper if you are itching to explore the materials.

Q3. You’ve written books for toddlers, preschoolers, and primary schoolers. What’s different about doing art projects with each of these age groups?

A3: One thing that is true for all the ages is to allow them to discover, explore, and create without an adult sample to copy. The materials you set out will lead the way. Also true is that all age groups will need help with managing the finished artworks to be taken to drying areas or with clean-up. Adults are very good at that! Adults become facilitators in helping art happen for the kids.

-Very young children need fewer materials put out at one time. You might offer the young child cotton swabs for painting, and the older child will be ready for a house-painting brush! Experience starts young with exploring techniques and control. As the youngest gain control and grow a year or two, they also can handle more materials and more kinds of materials. It’s exciting!

-All ages need the same activities repeated over and over. If you offer finger painting to the youngest child one week, offer it again the next week or the next day. Each time it is repeated, there will be a leap of understanding and skill development. This is equally true for older kids; repeating allows them to add to their skills by including a new tool or a new material. Using the finger painting example, an older child might explore regular finger painting one day and the next day move forward to adding tissue paper into a finger painting. Another day, the child creates a finger painting over a crayon drawing and later perhaps uses finger painting to frame a different artwork. The possibilities are endless, and each new exploration expands the child’s mind and skills.

Q4.What do you mean by “It’s the process, not the product,” and how does this tie in with creativity and artistic talent?

A4: It is important to separate the notion of “talent” from “creativity” — a child does not have to be talented or create a masterpiece to have a meaningful artistic experience. Art is a process, not a product. It’s tempting to want our children’s art to turn out cookie-cutter perfect to prove that they are successful and on track. It’s reassuring to know that we can relax! Where art is concerned, it is the process of creating — exploring, discovering, and experimenting — that has the greatest value. Through self-expression and creativity, children’s skills will develop naturally, and their ability to create will soar.

Enhancing Literacy Through Easy Art Ideas

Inspire life-long readers through art! Learn how to enhance children´s enjoyment of their favorite books through easy companion art experiences. Perfect for anyone who works with children, this workshop relates to early readers, emergent readers, and reluctant readers. With lots of tips for classroom application, these ideas require no prior expertise. A Hands-On Workshop is available as a follow up to the group presentation.

Kids Discover the GREAT ARTISTS

Hands-on art for children in the styles of the great masters; this includes demonstrations of art ideas and possible audience art experiences, full-color slides of art by the great masters and corresponding children´s art, and a detailed hand-out. A Hands-On Workshop is available as a follow up to the group presentation.

Nurturing Creativity in Children

This full-color slide presentation provides methods for actively encouraging creativity in children of all ages, and includes suggested art projects with either hands-on art experiences or art demonstrations by the author. A Hands-On Workshop featuring MaryAnn´s favorite art activities is available as a follow up to group presentation.


Creative Art for Teachers of Primary Aged Kids (K-3)

This workshop includes a vibrant PowerPoint presentation of amazing art projects to delight and teach children from 5-8 years of age. Each art project includes three levels to meet a variety of needs: simple and basic; more experienced and exploratory; and intricate or challenging for advanced artists. Teachers, family members, after-school caregivers, and anyone working with children will benefit from how these art activities encourage creativity, promote the process of art exploration, and appreciate the significance of the resulting art. Activities include "Shimmer Paint," painting on aluminum foil with tempera and dish detergent; "Squeezy Batik," a batik resist using a flour-water mixture and watercolors; "Crinkle Scruncher," crinkled paper formed into sculptures; and "Jellie Dangles," ornaments made with gelatin! A Hands-On Workshop is available as a follow up to group presentation.

A presentation may be tailored specifically for your group.

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Books by MaryAnn F. Kohl

Discovering Great Artists
4 Stars
Price: $18.95
Scribble Art
4 Stars
Price: $18.95
ScienceArts
4 Stars
Price: $18.95
Storybook Art
4 Stars
Price: $18.95
Good Earth Art
4 Stars
Price: $18.95
Mudworks
4 Stars
Price: $18.95
Making Make-Believe
4 Stars
Sale: $13.56
Preschool Art: Drawing
4 Stars
Price: $9.95
Cooking Art
4 Stars
Price: $19.95
Primary Art
4 Stars
Price: $19.95
MathArts
4 Stars
Price: $24.95
Preschool Art: Clay & Dough
4 Stars
Price: $9.95
Snacktivities!
4 Stars
Price: $9.95
Global Art
4 Stars
Price: $16.95
First Art
4 Stars
Sale: $4.95
Preschool Art
4 Stars
Price: $24.95
Art with Anything
4 Stars
Price: $19.95
The Big Messy* Art Book
4 Stars
Price: $14.95
Preschool Art: Painting
4 Stars
Price: $9.95

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