Paint Box Mystery Art Camp Blog

Each exciting day includes our signature paint box mystery hunt, live drawing process, and creative games with plenty of room for independent design and discovery!



June 4-8

Camp Week Summary:

The theme this week says it all, children explored flight during our afternoon art camp and made amazing art in the process.  Butterflies and owls were created, and children even got to see a live hummingbird before creating their own hummingbird art.  The live hummingbird, named Shep, is a male ruby-throated hummingbird that cannot be released into the wild. When he was first learning to fly, he struck a window and now has an injured wing that prevents him from flying.  He is in the care of Melanie Furr, the Director of Education for Atlanta Audubon Society and a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. He is now an education ambassador for Atlanta Audubon, and children enjoyed watching him sip nectar from his feeder and from the flowers that we pick from the Preserve.  One of my favorite things to see from art camp is how nature inspires the art that is produced! I hope you enjoy looking at the art your child brought home, and asking them about their process in creating it.  I saw some really neat leaf art being made, and I loved seeing how each individual child brought their own personality into their art projects! 


Mystery Animal

June 11-15

Camp Week Summary: 

Animals are always a fun topic of exploration for art! Children really engaged all their senses as they explored the world of animals. Throughout the week, children learned about different mystery animals from the coyote to the turtle. They created track art, leaf art, and I even saw some Happy Father's Day cards pop up.  Enjoy looking at all the art your child created throughout the week, and learning about what inspired them.  Since the group spends time inside and outside, much of the art work you see gets inspired by nature! 


Design Challenge 

June 18-22

Day 1: Today we painted spider webs using crayon resist and then followed a mystery home hunt to design our own dog house! We played animal charades, nature bingo, and get-to-know-you games all on this great first day of Paint Box Mysteries. Tune in tomorrow for more design challenges! 

Day 2: This hot afternoon we made sun crayons by melting colors in the sun! Then we went on an outdoor mystery animal hunt to Bees, looked at honey from our own bee keeper in residence, and learned about super strong hexagons. We painted a stamp art project using this shape and even sprinkled glistening hexagonal glitter on top. We learned how to mix complementary colors to get neutrals too. Then we read a funny story about other small creatures--worms, and designed our own underground homes. We finished our day with a thought web about home.

Day 3: Fletcher made a mystery hunt for us and we followed the clues to the riparian field education center and: Beavers! was our mystery animal. We played in the creek and built a dam, saw some fish, and then painted Beavers in watercolor and salt. We created Beaver lodges and then finished our water day by designing homes that are on water, like pirate ships and houseboats. See you tomorrow for more design challenges! 

Day 4: On this Summer Solstice, we reflected on what human dwellings are all about. (Our mystery animal was a human!) We designed our own pirate ships and made castles out of collage. We enjoyed a rainy afternoon creating independent projects on the light box, at the art table and in the loft. So many cool ideas were mentioned in our thought web about what we like best about spending time at Blue Heron, including seeing the animals and people we know and playing at the creek. Our motto was: "Nature always finds a way!"

Day 5:We started our afternoon painting shells in watercolor pencil and thinking about the water creatures who call them home. Our outdoor mystery hunt created by our oldest camper was all about birds and nests! Then we took a gallery tour to see the work of Diane Evans which inspired colorful and intricate nest collages. All the art we had created this week was collected and we decorated our portfolio covers in bright colors. Our week ended in the garden with a frozen limeade treat!


River Stories

June 25-29

Day 1: Camp this afternoon started by painting butterflies and dragonflies with watercolors, then we made some leaf prints and colorful paintings. We read a riddle to try and find out what our mystery animal was. We found out that it was a fish! Then, we went on the deck to blow bubbles! We had a great time reading Paddle-to-the Sea, a book about a toy canoe finding its way to the ocean. We went outside and gathered bark, leaves, sticks and other cool things to build a canoe of our own! We finished the day with a beautiful canoe, colorful paintings, and amazing leaf prints! 

Day 2: This afternoon we made bookmark stories using sharpie and up-cycled slide sleeves. Then we went on our mystery hunt, created scratch art snakes, and made fish collages from our paintings we did yesterday. During our Paddle-to-the-Sea reading, we decided to make costumes and act out the animal parts in the story! 

Day 3:

Day 4:

Day 5:Today we experimented with mixed mediums. We even made cool art with colored pencil shavings! Then we searched for the tracks of our mystery animals from the week out in the Preserve. We found Great Blue Heron tracks that were huge! Back in the Nest, we made sparkly fish collages using lots of colorful materials and assembled our art portfolios before reading the end of our river story, Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling Clancy Holling. We launched our canoes in the creek and wondered if they might reach the sea someday too. 


Yum Yum Art

July 30-August 3

Day 1:

Today we designed our own ice cream cones and then went on a letterbox hunt for our mystery animal, a mouse. We drew mice and listened to Frederick by Leo Lionni and then painted our sushi rolls. Creek time and free play time with Edie's grandparents made our afternoon super fun! 

Day 2:

This afternoon we designed our own pizza slices and then put them together in a whole pie. We even made forks and garlic bread to go! We met Brooke's bees (!) and then smelled a scent hunt to our mystery animal, a butterfly. When we went to the Butterfly Garden, it started to rain, so we made sushi art back in our classroom. Sam led us in a pollinator game and Christa made butterflies with us. Nathan planned a clay project for tomorrow.  . . 


Day 3:

Today we made doughnuts out of clay with Nathan. Our mystery animal was a worm, so we went out to the Garden to find some. Out art projects were: blowing Chinese Ink using paper straws instead of plastic ones (that can be harmful to animals), and eraser drawings. We took nets out to catch butterflies again and caught a Tiger Swallowtail! A drum game and Walker reading Diary of a Worm to us ended our day. 

Day 4:

Today we worked with blended pencils and created bags that Rachel taught us to make. We "glazed" our clay doughnuts and drew and painted a still life of veggies in watercolor and salt! 

Yum! Then we played a tactile game that Sam invented as we learned about our Mystery Animal, a Racoon. Rosemary taught us about these crafty animals. A game of Nature Bingo ended our rainy day, as directed by Caroline. 

Day 5: