Child’s Play Art Journal Prompt

It is a happy talent to know how to play.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s funny how serendipitous life is.  I am sitting here at the computer, fixin’ to talk with you about an art journal page inspired by playing.  My two youngest came running in, laughing and talking very excitedly, and asked me to come see their room (which normally makes me a bit nervous, I have seen all kinds of crazy stuff when they come running asking me to see, lol).

This morning they have used every single blanket they could find to build a fort on their bunk beds.  The blankets are all draped from the top bunk bed down to the bottom bunk bed.  They have all of their stuffed animals sitting around the inside of the fort, along with cars and trucks and other beloved toys.  It’s really a great fort.  The real excitement for them this morning is that they did it all by themselves.

They still know how to use their imaginations and how to play and how to use whatever they have available as props for their games.  They don’t say things like “I don’t have the right medium” or “It’s not the right timing” or “I don’t feel inspired” or “I can’t do that”.  They don’t limit themselves and they don’t use excuses.  They just play with what’s available, and if they need to adapt the game, they do it.  It’s that simple.

Closeup of some of the texturing

Last night I was playing in my art journal in much the same way.  I just wanted to use a foam tree shape left over from one of the kids many toys.  I had been eyeing the tree for a while, and the kids have lost all of the other pieces and thrown the tree to the side.  No one even seemed to notice it until they saw my journal page!

Materials used:

  • Some old sales ads
  • Mod Podge
  • Acrylic craft paints
  • tissue paper
  • stamps
  • stamp ink
  • Pilot Varsity fountain pen
  • water bottle cap
  • bubble wrap

The few things I want to point out:

  • I had no idea what I was going to do when I started this page.  I just started gluing stuff.
  • I hated the page halfway through it.  So I kept going, I just kept adding stuff, stamping more stuff, adding more paint.
  • These are not colors I use often.
  • My elder daughter came along and saw me struggling with it and made some suggestions, and I used them.  It all turned out much better with her help!  (she’s 7).
  • I used ephemera in the form of old advertisements out of an old school basketball

    Closeup of ephemera

    game program in the background.  I also used a book page out of an old paperback book in French (behind the tree part of the page).  If you’ve always wondered how people use ephemera, that’s a big part of how I use that kind of stuff.

Child's Play Art Journal Page


Prompt: Play.  Play like a child.  Find something that is normally a toy and use it somehow to build your art journal page.  I used the tree foam as a stamp, then had to stretch the tree out a bit bigger by using parts of the stamp at the top, and then used the tree shape as a stamp all around the page in the border.


2 thoughts on “Child’s Play Art Journal Prompt

  1. Pingback: How to Use Ephemera Step 3 | St. John Studios

  2. Pingback: Childlike Wonder, and Prompt for You | St. John Studios

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