I'm a Gold Coast writer always in search of fun activities to fill the weekends.
Quirky, creative fun for kids
Ten minutes is generally the longest my son will sit still for any given task before declaring he's "done". So I was just a little surprised when attending an art workshop was near the top of his wish list of school holiday activities.
Yet the drawing class at Mrs Red's Art Room proved a great success. Mrs Red (qualified art teacher Jane Whittred) captivated her group of eager pupils for the whole session – including my usually million-miles-an-hour boy. The kids were still engrossed in the project when I arrived at the Burleigh Heads studio to collect them and in no hurry to leave, proudly showing off the beautiful results of their hard work.
The session we attended, Dapper Dogs, was a two-hour drawing class for five to eight-year-olds where they explored new techniques and mediums, and were then encouraged to let their imagination run free creating bold portraits of canine pals. My kids (aged five and seven) have already asked to do another workshop during the upcoming school holidays, and lucky for us, Mrs Red has another packed program of activities for all ages planned.
The Winter Warmers school holiday program features workshops ranging in length from 1.5 to 4 hours, tailored to suit the abilities and concentration spans of various age groups. Popular classes, including Dapper Dogs, make a welcome return, while Mrs Red has also added several new projects to the schedule.
Mrs Red's Winter Warmers school holiday program features art classes for all ages
One sure to be popular with the boys is the Skate Deck drawing workshop for kids aged ten and over. Budding artists are supplied with a quality skate deck, and all the materials they will need to transform it into an artistic masterpiece (Wednesday, July 1; 1-4pm; $50). New this season for the younger ones, the 3D Owls class is a project for four to seven-year-olds to create a collage of an owl sitting on a branch, using egg cartons, sticks, feathers, leaves and paint (Tuesday, July 7; 9-10:30am; $30). A quirky addition to the program, Dr Black's Plasticine Design Lab will see kids creating monster figurines out of plasticine with professional designer, Michael Burton.
Children use various techniques and materials to create beautiful works of art
For kids really into their art (or parents needing a whole morning to themselves!) the 4-hour Kids Untangle workshop is a winner for children aged seven and over (Monday, July 6; 9am-1pm; $48). Based on Mrs Red's signature Wine and Untangle project for adults, this is a kid-friendly version incorporating watercolour art and doodling, plus time to go wild at 2BKids Play Centre, located just next door to the studio.
Among other workshops on offer, kids can decorate a Venetian mask, learn the finer points of stamping to make a gift card set, or create a groovy canvas of a Kombi, using sand, fabric, glue and paint. Mrs Red also offers $5 activities every Friday, during school terms and holidays, with sand art, painting, collage and drawing. Parents are required to stay for these sessions, with each project lasting around 20 minutes.
"Joey", created at the Dapper Dogs school holiday drawing class
Inspired? Parents can join in too, with a range of regular programs for adults designed to tap into that well of creativity that can become dormant without use. Mrs Red's most popular adult class is Wine and Untangle, where participants have 2.5 hours to create a watercolour to a set theme each month. BYO drinks and nibblies – because doodling works up a thirst! Other sessions for adults include Date Nights, Ladies' Nights, painting and colouring.