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Creative learning experiences: Sydney

 

SydneyI think most educators would agree that excursions are a fantastic and fun learning experience. We try to visit the city centre of Sydney, NSW a few times each year and explore all the wonderful things there are to experience and learn from. I think the following activities are worth the time/money and can easily be linked to learning outcomes. This list includes places and activities we have visited as well as suggestions from other educators that we are yet to visit but plan to! Park the car, put on your most comfortable shoes, grab your Opal card and explore! You could also pack a small art diary and some sketching pencils!

You might like to read my post about talking with children about art too.

I have also added cost indicators from Free, $, $$, $$$ to help. I have done my best to make sure this information is up to date and accurate at the time of posting but you will need to do your own research and planning as these things can change any time.

  • Powerhouse Museum – You can spend hours here and there is so much on offer for science, technology, history and art. $
  • Art Gallery of NSW – Fantastic for art, history and geography. Free – $$
  • The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney – Great for science, geography and history. Free
  • Chinese Garden of Friendship – Great for history and geography. $
  • Australian National Maritime Museum – Amazing for history, science, technology, geography and often art. I think its worth paying the extra to get on board the ships as they are fantastic. Talk to the guides on the ships too as they are full of great information. Free – $$$
  • Chinatown – great for geography and history.
  • Sydney Aquarium – Great for science and geography $$$
  • Wildlife Sydney – Great for science and geography $$$
  • Darling Harbour playground – great for fun with lots of interactive play. Free
  • Museum of Contemporary Art – See what programs are currently on offer to suit children and families. Free – $
  • Sydney Opera House – Amazing for music, art, drama, dance and history. It’s free to visit, which in itself is a wonderful experience, but it is definitely worth looking out for a moderate cost family friendly show often on in the school holidays. Free – $$$
  • Sydney Observatory – Great for science, history and geography. Its free to visit but the tour costs a little. The planetarium often travels to libraries in other towns and is an excellent experience. Free – $
  • May Gibbs’ Nutcote – Home and gardens of May Gibbs, now museum. Fantastic for English, history and art. $
  • Pylon Lookout, Sydney Harbour Bridge – Great for history, geography and science. $$
  • Public Transport, especially ferries – Great for science, technology and geography. The ferry is a great way to view the architecture and landscape of the harbour as well. Get the cheap Sunday rates. $$
  • Barangaroo Reserve – wonderful for history, art, geography and science. Free
  • Taronga Zoo – great for science, geography and history. $$$
  • Cockatoo Island – Great for history. $$
  • Wendy’s Secret Garden – lovely for art, history and geography. (Wendy is the wife of the late artist Brett Whiteley). Free
  • ABC Studios tour – $$ cost but needs to be organised in advance
  • Australian Museum – Great for science, history, geography and art. $$
  • The Rocks walking tour – Free app
  • Vivid Sydney – Annual light exhibition

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visual arts

Art Bag

5 day of Christmas

An art bag is a really important item and needn’t cost you anything. You’re going to want a bag or large pencil case of some sort to be able to get out and about with your art materials. You can use a bag you already have or find something at a second hand shop. Something that can carry an art diary or journal and some pencils or watercolours so that you can get out into nature and amongst the inspiration!

visual arts

Paint brushes

4 day of Christmas

Now that you’ve gathered some art materials like watercolour palettes and watercolour pencils you’re going to want to invest in some paint brushes. As mentioned with paint and paper, paint brushes are also sometimes a case of “you get what you pay for”.

If you’re just looking for a variety of paint brushes to support a fun art kit, I would suggest getting a handful in different sizes. A house painting brush is fun for large projects. Some smaller, flat and round brushes are useful and some really fine paint brushes are good for fine work, including outlining. The paint brushes that come with basic water colour sets may get a little frustrating as the bristles are often quite unnatural. Buy the best you can afford and look after them! Here are some tips for caring for your brushes when using WATER BASED art materials.

  • DO rinse water based paints immediately after using. Leaving them will dry the paint and that can be hard to fix. Sometimes it may be okay to use a little bit of mild soap to help with the cleaning. Rinse brushes gently in a cup of water.
  • DO use cold water to rinse them as hot water can soften the glue that holds the bristles in.
  • DO wash the bristles gently so they don’t become distorted.
  • DO NOT wash paintbrushes with the brush facing up into the tap water as this will push the paint into the ferrule (the metal part that holds the brush to the handle, where the glue lives). It will also damage the glue, making it more likely that the bristles will fall out.
  • DO NOT leave them brush down in a cup as that will distort the shape of the brush. Also, don’t leave them to sit in water as this will damage the handle and the glue inside the ferrule also.
  • DO NOT use your painting brushes for glue!

As well as paintbrushes, gather some random painting materials, like sponges, sticks and rollers. Have fun exploring the different effects you can get with the different painting tools.

 

Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: 365 Days of Drawing

365 days of drawing

365 draw

365 drawing

Book Review: 365 Days of Drawing by Lorna Scobie

Gosh! Where do I start with this beautiful book! As an art teacher, if I could give anyone (and I will be giving 5 copies as Christmas gifts this year!) a book that will encourage their drawing skills through playful art journaling, it would have to be this book by Lorna Scobie!

When I read about the author’s love of animals, the countryside, climbing trees and illustrating the natural world around her from a young age, I was reminded of the story of how Beatrix Potter developed her artmaking from childhood by following an intrinsic motivation to respond to the world around her.

I love that this book not only gives us tutorials on art skills such as choosing colour palettes, shading objects to create dimension and scaling drawings but it also has tasks like visiting a museum and taking your drawing and painting tasks outside. Every now and then you are also asked to reflect on yourself as the artist with question tasks like “What inspires you” and “How have you overcome the challenge” of some of the tasks that may have been trickier than others. The book has a definite positive vibe and allows you to artistically reflect on your favourite people, seasons and memories.

Some tasks will teach and challenge your drawing/painting skills and others will let your imagination run free and relax through the comfort of pattern making. As an art teacher, I appreciate the references of some tasks, from a Matisse style collage to an Escher style spoon drawing. The book is also dotted with Scobie’s own inspiring watercolour illustrations to give you the courage to create.

Being someone who has kept my own art diaries from childhood, I feel like this is a beautiful way to document your own art skill development in a way that is easy to keep and look back on. Like a favourite novel, you can keep returning to this journal and then safely placing it back with your other treasured books.

As Sobie says in the introduction, this book inspires drawing and art activities through Imagination, Tutorials, Relaxation, Colour Theory and Observation. Each of the 365 activities focus on one of these areas. Everyone in my family now wants their own copy and so I’ve ordered more. From 8 to 108 this book can be enjoyed by all.

I did not get paid for this post, I just really loved this book and thought others may too. When I messaged the talented Lorna Scobie to ask if she would mind me posting a review of her book she kindly said I could and that she may share the review, so if you have visited from her page, welcome!

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

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