Creativity Abounds Here!

Young artists create, inspire us all, and have fun at Art First Inc.!!!  Colors pop and imagination rules!

Paint brushes brim with vibrant colors, fingers swirl in paint, spray bottles create luscious designs, and masterpieces are painted on our beloved easel that has layers of colors telling the story of many young artists.

Clay is shaped between fingers and morphed into clay frogs flying on lily pads (Tuesday by David Wiesner), arctic polar bears, or miniature worlds brimming with flowers, dragons, rainbows and pure imagination.

Whimsical animals come alive with the stroke of a brush dipped in bright neon paint. Brightly patterned fish and world-like pods emerge from layers of color sporting unique marks, and creative animals are collaged and sewn on burlap canvases.


Self-portraits, Picasso style are painted – with a twist, Mondrian canvases are cooperatively created in bright primary colors and Van Gogh sunflowers are designed…but not with paint!

“Spies” stealthfully navigate a laser beam maze, pirates decked out in regalia hunt for gold and walk the plank, and mermaid tails glisten with jewels and glitter.

Tricycles peddle through paint, elephant toothpaste explodes and soft “Cat in the Hat” pillows are designed by young artists for hours of snuggle time.


Faerie houses sport New York City skylines, chic shops, modern apartments and lush rooftop gardens.

Rolling Monsters are given personality and pizazz with papier mache and plaster, blob monsters appear, and scribble monsters too.

Gourds are transformed into bowls sporting shimmering alcohol inks and unique gourd birds with attitude, showy feathers and majestic colors flirt on the front lawn.


Beads galore are turned into necklaces and Gelli plates are the vehicle for colorful monoprints. Even faces are painted on see-through plexiglass and then printed for a unique portrait. (shown above)

Sewing machines whirr – aprons and pillowcases appear, fleece mermaid blankets or shark tails are designed and flip flops take on colorful embellishments.

Prisms sparkle, light boxes glow, water beads swell, and rainbows appear.


It is an amazing summer at Art First. Our young artists continue to delight! Come see the creativity, tour the classrooms, and take part in the creative joy that fills our building! Summer is magical here!!

Action! Art! Take Two!

Imagine…peddling through paint on a tricycle…wheels covered in dripping paint and track marks that sport the colors of the rainbow.
Imagine…dancing away to the beat of music while creating a “smooshed” masterpiece just from amazing dance moves.
Imagine…working with a partner to swirl, swing and shake “paint bags” dangling from a long, slender stick. Hint: There’s a hole in the paint bags…😊
Imagine…swinging like a pendulum while paint creates abstract designs.
Imagine…dipping Slinkys in paint and bouncing them up and down on a canvas – “boing”, “boing”, “boing”.
Imagine…squirting paint at paper, painting with feet, popping paint balloons, chasing paint filled bubbles for popping art and more!

Action! Art! Take Two! is going to be a week of rip-roaring fun! Leave the good clothes at home. Wear old clothes that would love new paint designs and join the adventure. Don’t worry – we’ll have buckets of soapy water for those colorful hands and feet. That’s fun too!  Hmmm – sounds like soapy bubble prints could happen also!
Action! Art! Take Two! Week 5, July 9-13, Ages 4-5, 6-7.
Instructor: Colleen Loughlin

Camp Starts June 12!

Three weeks! Three weeks until the creative fun begins! WOW! It will be here in a heartbeat…which means I am busy, busy, busy!
My days are filled with…

lists, lists, lists

compiling, double checking, marking off

Shopping, shopping, shopping

Ordering and ordering



Art First Summer Camp For Kids Hockessin DE

I go through teacher supply lists, consolidate by stores and catalogs, compare prices and gather coupon codes and coupons. Then the ordering begins…new student grade non-toxic acrylics, more BioColor (our favorite!!!), books, beads, glues, glitter, special papers, inks, clay, banners, mirrors, feathers, Dr. Seuss top hats, pirates’ hats and monocles, boas, journals, stencils, paint markers, a new type of felt, special crochet thread to make sewing easier for little hands, huge eyelashes for rolling monsters, prisms, brushes, a clay cart and so much more!

Then, off to favorite stores!. Things jump out…

“How can we use this in a different way?
“What if we did this?”
“This is perfect!”

Art First Summer Camp For Kids Hockessin DEI find pool toys…we can print with them. Magnetic blocks…we can mix colors with them. Color changing eggs…what if we put them in the freezer…outside on the sidewalk? Monstrous fuzzy sticks…they could be amazing soft sculptures.

Art First Summer Camp For Kids Hockessin DEI find Dr. Seuss bags (Hurray!) Pirates’ chests, rocks of all sizes, shapes and colors, frames, flashlights, patriotic sunglasses, ping pong balls, moss topiaries for the faeries’ roof top gardens, spaghetti and spiked balls – we are going to paint with these, flashlights, boxes of wood pieces, hand held mirrors, fairy wings, sand toys, foam sheets, glitter, jewels, bubbles, and more! My dining room and upstairs bedroom are full of goodies!

Wood is purchased by my woodworker extraordinaire. After sawing, nailing, and sanding it will become the canvases for art projects, surprise outdoor fun, and of course, faerie houses – amid the skyscrapers of New York City!

Art First Summer Camp For Kids Hockessin DEI dig out the stored goodies purchased throughout the winter: gourds just waiting to be transformed into paisley chickens, gorgeous bowls, and small fairy cottages; baskets snagged after Easter that will become the home for a magical fairy land; stretched canvases for whimsical creatures and toy cars and trucks whose destiny is to become a rolling monster. What else is waiting to be rediscovered in those basement bins?

It’s a creative time, an exciting time and a hectic time…all rolled together. How can I only have three weeks left??????

But…  Time doesn’t stand still and we aren’t either. I’m planning, organizing, shopping…making sure everything is in order for the summer. Our amazing teachers are dreaming up new ideas and methods, planning, experimenting and prepping. It’s all coming together!

Join us this summer.

We’re working hard to make it the best creative time ever!
Week 1 starts June 12th. It’s going to be great!Art First Summer Camp For Kids Hockessin DE

Art First Summer Camp For Kids Hockessin DE

Toy trucks, destined to be Rolling Monsters (week 8: July 31-Aug 4)

Oh, Yes! We Have Art Supplies!

It’s that time of the year. Our camps are filling, instructors have finalized their supply lists and I’m compiling my lists of materials needed to make the summer full of color, creativity and fun!

“In my mind I’m reviewing all the supplies we have. I’m also exploring new materials to add to those supplies…and do we have supplies…”

Art First Inc, summer camp for kids, Hockessin, DEWe have paints of all kinds and colors and best of all – non-toxic. There are: BioColors, our most favorite paints…classic, fluorescent, and metallic with “make it shimmer, glitter and puffy” additives. Glitter paints, finger paints, foam paints, activity paints, oil pastels, confetti paints, puffy paints, acrylic paints, watercolors, liquid watercolors – regular and glitter, color changing paints, fabric paints and more…all non-toxic!

“What new paint should we create with this summer?”

We have a plethora of materials for our young artists to paint with…Brushes of all sizes and shapes – chubby, rounds, flats, fans and foam, Q-tips, marbles, brooms, firemen’s helmets, balls, sponges, straws, magnets, toothbrushes, monster feet, string, sponges, scrapers, dot markers…and… fingers, hands and feet!

“What new materials should we paint with this summer?”

We have collage materials that would make a collage artist envious: fabrics, painted papers, ribbon, beads, rick rack, washi tape, buttons, yarn, glitter, jewels, Nuddles, wood, stones, chenille stems, confetti, googly eyes, pom poms, feathers, flowers, fluff and much, much more!

“What amazing material can I add to the ephemera for our artists?”

We have clay of all kinds and colors: Air dry clay – red and gray, Model Magic, paper clay, play dough, Incredible Foam dough, and Sculpey clay.

“What new clay medium can I find for our artists to knead, experiment with, develop skills and just have fun?”

And paper…do we have paper!

Watercolor, mixed media, Bristol board, tracing paper, construction paper, tissue paper, finger paint paper, sulphite paper, cardstock, poster board, butcher paper- brown and white, Yupo, drawing paper, Bare Books journals, handmade paper, scrapbooking paper and deli wrap paper…

“What’s next to explore?”

We have so much more to offer our artists…Easels, class loom, lap looms, tapestry table, outdoor easel, Gelli plates and brayers, wool for needle felting and specialty needle felting supplies, insect boxes, magnifying glasses, bug eye vision glasses, markers of all shapes and sizes, stencils and stamps by the dozens, Stabilo pencils, charcoal pencils, Gelly Roll pens, gelatos, NeoColor crayons, Inktense pencils, AquaColor crayons, blocks, Legos, stretched canvases, wooden painting panels, canvas panels, frames, glues of all kinds and on and on and on…

So…what’s new for this year? What should we experiment with, squish, pound, run our fingers through, and have fun with each day? Here’s the start of my list….

  • Pluffy Sculpey clay – soft, mixable, paintable and floats
  • Old tricycles to peddle through paint
  • Multicultural paint
  • Ultimate Art Paper to use with all art mediums
  • New paintbrushes for our older artists and our younger ones too
  • Balsa Foam for carving stamps
  • New brand of non-toxic student grade acrylic paint
  • Prisms
  • Color Mixing eye glasses
  • Scoops, rakes and buckets for the sandbox – Oh, yes! We are going to play in the sand!
  • Kinetic sand
  • Color changing eggs – The “Color Explosions” camp (ages 4-5 & 6-7) will love these!
  • Balls that light up when dropped. Imagine painting with those…
  • Special sized crochet thread so hand sewing is easier for our artists. Less twisting and knotting means more fun.
  • Hoola Hoops to transform into looms
  • Gourds for fabulous artwork
  • Magnetic shapes – Color mixing with these on the window is great!
  • Outdoor graffiti chalkboard
  • Outdoor Connect 4 yard game

And that’s just the beginning! Oh, Yes! We have supplies, supplies, supplies and they are for our young artists to have fun, fun, fun! I am so excited!!!!

I can’t wait for our artists to start creating! Come join us!

Parents Rate Art First Summer Camp: 5 Stars

Last month we shared Art First summer camp reviews from parents whose children were first time campers.  This month, we are proud to share reviews of the 2016 camp from the parents of returning campers.

Art First is a summer camp for kids.  It’s messy, fun, and creative.  Our young artists challenge themselves and are proud of what they create.  Our instructors are amazing and love working with young artists.  Please read our reviews to see why so many of these artists return year after year.

Parent Reviews – Art First Summer Camp – 2016

  • “I had three boys attend – they were 4, 6, and 7 and did the morning session for their age group the week of July 4th. All three of them really enjoyed it! The projects they did were very creative and fun! And I love the small class size! The two and a half hour time is perfect for them to get out and do something fun! This was our second summer and we’ll definitely be coming back! It’s a wonderful program!” (ages 4,6,7)
  • “Each year gets better than the last. We can’t wait for 2017!” (age 6-7)
  • “Love Art First! My boys have always had a great time!” (ages 4-5 & 8-10)
  • “We have been going to Art First for years and are always so happy with the artistic development we see in our children after each camp session. We love the materials they work with, the themes, and all of the instructors.” (age 8-10)
  • “L.. had a wonderful time and can not wait to return next summer with his little sister. Our family absolutely loves this summer camp 5 star camp.” (age 8-10)
  • “My child just could not wait to comeback and learn about art. How much fun art can be.” (age 8-10)
  • “K.. loved Fairy House camp this year!” (age 8-10)
  • “Wonderful crafts and take away projects that students could create and keep.” (age 8-10)
  • “You and your team are phenomenal. Both boys loved the camp and can’t wait to attend next summer.” (age 8-10)
  • “My children thoroughly enjoyed the classes this summer.” (ages 8-10 & 11-14)
  • “J.. has loved every one of your camps that she has attended! She hasn’t stopped sewing yet.” (age 11-14)

Summer will soon be here. We can’t wait to see our returning artists.  Please join us! If you have any questions, please email me.  (diane AT artfirstinc DOT com)


Teacher’s Assistants Wanted!

  • Love art?
  • Love working with children?
  • Love learning new things?
  • Do you want to have fun this summer?

Join our staff as a Teacher’s Assistant (TA)* and do all four. Have fun assisting the children as they paint, collage or simply play. Assist the instructor with class preparation, provide class assistance during projects, and help with daily classroom maintenance. Develop friendships, work with new art media, and spend time with children on their creative journey.

If you have two or more weeks available this summer, please join us. Teacher Assistants who volunteer for three or more weeks will be able to participate in an older level class without charge. (If the class chosen is full, the TA may select another class.)

Hours: Monday 8:00-3:30, Tuesday through Friday 8:30-3:30

*This is a great opportunity for community service hours, senior projects or just getting involved in the community. Applicants must be 15 years old or older. It is a volunteer position and hours will be logged. All necessary documentation will also be completed.

Want to know more?

Join the Art First team! We would love to have you!

Art First’s Amazing Art Instructors

Our Art First instructors are truly A-MA-ZING!!!!!

They are

CreativeArt First, Inc. Summer Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware








Love art

Love teaching art

Love kids

Love teaching kids!!!!Art First, Inc. Summer Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

Our instructors are









Stay late

Share expertise and passions

Ask each other for help

Challenge our young artists

And so much more!

They start with an idea…a glimpse of a theme featuring art activities and lots of fun! They develop age appropriate lesson plans that help our students develop and grow, learn new skills, experiment with new mediums, have new experiences and have FUN!

Our instructors research the newest techniques, follow contemporary artists, experiment with new mediums, learn from each other and other artists, take classes and bring those experiences and expertise to our students.


They take the children where they are. Art First Inc. Summer Camp for Children, Hockessin, DelawareCan’t cut with scissors? What to do? Roll play dough snakes and cut, cut, cut…with scissors! Perfect! “I can’t draw.”Oh, yes you can – because you can draw a line and lines make squiggles, zig zags, go up hills and down hills, make curves…make pictures. They’re all lines!

Part of the fun is process art: Experimentation, Exploring, Learning. The young artists gain skills that can be used to create amazing masterpieces as our instructors guide them, teach new methods and encourage them.

On any day at Art First our instructors engage our young artists in:

Experimenting with finger paints, foam paints, BioColor paints

Painting with fly swatters, marbles, fireman’s helmets

Exploding elephant’s toothpaste, watching colors dance

Sculpting miniature worlds, rolling monsters, ice castles

Performing a choreographed Stormtrooper marchArt First, Inc. Summer Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

Competing in the Art First Olympic Games

Listening to treasured books

Playing with snow dough

Constructing fairy doors

Making paper and Kokeshi dolls

Freeing a Lego Man from an ice berg

Constructing tree houses, chairs and shelves

Playing a game of crochet using pink flamingoes

Knitting infinity scarves, wiggling under a “laser” maze

Painting with wool, making colorful ice cream cone collages

Creating princess cone hats, knights’ helmets, hobby horses to ride

Stitching pajamas, walking the red carpet, building faerie houses that astound

Our instructors make art fun! They believe in their students. “Trust yourself, we do.” They are the heart and soul of Art First. They bring art alive!

They help children

GrowArt Summer Camp For Children - Hockessin DE


Be spontaneous

Solve problems in different ways

Trust themselves

Work together

Stretch their wings and “FLY”

They delight in the wonder in our young artists’ eyes. They delight in our young artists’ accomplishments and the pride swelling inside of each child. They are Art First. They are a team. They are A-MA-ZING!!!

We Absolutely Love Faerie Houses!

We love faerie houses!!!!!!  Why?????

The pure fantasy

The magic

The students’ visions

The creativity

The joy


Every year we see the creativity of our students emerge by leaps and bounds.  From one central theme a unique creation appears before our eyes.  It is a house created for whimsical faeries but it is more than that.  It is a work of art that captures our students’ imaginations…their visions…their art!

It is not watercolors. Nor is it acrylics.  But it is the art of creating with a vision…a plan all of their own… and executing it with enthusiasm, determination, and resourcefulness.  They make their vision come alive.  They plan, design, problem solve, build, sew, work with clay, paint, print and tweak until the masterpiece tells their story.

Art First, Inc. Summer Camp for Children, Hockessin, DE

Rudolph’s Rooftop Reindeer Lodge

In past years, our students have told many stories and created fabulous faeries houses for these enchanted creatures.  They have ventured to the North Pole and created frosty establishments such as Rudolph’s Rooftop Reindeer Lodge, The Hot Chocolate and Coffee Shop, Pam’s Bakery, The North Pole Café, Elsa’s Enchanted Eatery, the North Pole Bait and Tackle, Bumble Bee Bakery and many more delightful creations.  They have gone on art adventures and created studios for artists, musicians, karate masters, dancers, engineers, floral designers and more.  They have created a Faeries Village and the shops that gave the village life – inns, coffee houses, salons, boutiques, and bakeries.  And they have ventured to a tropical island and created a paradise complete with living spaces and decks meant for lounging and entertaining

Art First, Inc. Summer Camp for Children, Hockessin, DE

Music theme wallpaper for the bedroom

And always, always… the faeries are treated to an amazing apartment complete with hand hung wallpaper, lusciously appointed beds with lacy bed skirts, luxurious comforters and pillows galore, soft hand-crocheted rugs, intricate hanging lights, hand upholstered furry chairs that invite relaxing, hand painted artwork and even a studio kitchen for preparing meals.  What more could a faerie want?

Art First, Inc. Summer Camp for Children, Hockessin, DE

In New York City, faeries live in an apartment above a boutique with a rooftop garden and the skyline in the background.

This year the faeries are headed to New York City with its neon lights, hustle and bustle, and distinctive skyline.  It is going to be A-MA-ZING!!!  The classroom will be immersed in creativity, hustle and bustle just like the city, and pure excitement as our students transform a wooden structure into a work of art.

Ground floor boutiques, stores, shops, studios

Second floor studio apartment

Roof top garden

Hand painted skyline of NYC skyscrapers


This week will be the culmination of some student’s visions.  They have planned all year just for this faerie house – finding the right accessories or the perfect furry material for a chair.  They will incorporate their treasures into their plan.  Others tour the myriad of available materials, hatch a plan and start designing.  It is a week alive with creativity, ideas, and fun!  Students are engaged, instructors are in constant motion, materials are replenished, new ones mysteriously appear, and faerie houses are being born.  It is magic!

Oh, yes!  We LOVE faerie houses!

Finding the Best Summer Camp for Kids

Summer is coming.  School’s out! No homework! No early morning wake-ups! Kids are bored! Work is still there! What’s a parent to do???? Find a summer camp that offers safety, creativity, gentle challenges, play, fun…all wrapped up in one package! But how???

Ask friends



Search the internet

Go to camp fairs

Peruse websites

Research, Research, Research!

Art First can offer an additional way. Read what our parents say – parents whose children attended Art First for the first time last summer. We are proud to share our reviews. We are proud to share our summers with young artists. Art First is about KIDS. We let them grow. We let them explore. We let them paint. We let them be messy. We let them be themselves…and we delight in that!

Parent Reviews for Summer 2016:

  • “She had such an amazing time this past summer. The teachers were fantastic, really engaging. I have to say that I was most impressed with Diane; she has such warmth, and a caring attitude, and created such a welcoming and loving place for kids to come to during the summer.” (age 4-5)
  • “My 3 sons, ages 8 and 5 year old twins, attended the Minecraft summer camp and they absolutely loved it! One of the twins can be shy/anxious in new places and new people. He walked right in and did not look back. Their teacher was so welcoming each day as was anyone else we encountered while in the building. They love all the cool projects they came home with and still have them all proudly displayed on a special shelf in their room.” (ages 5 & 8)
  • “My daughters had a great time at art camp – they almost came back for another session. They look forward to next year when they can stay the full day. I was impressed with the projects – especially the holiday-centered art, which we have put away with the Christmas decorations to bring out this December.” (ages 4-5 & 6-7)
  • “My daughter had a fantastic time! The projects were great—she loved sweet dreams café!” (age 6-7)
  • “We love art first! Your program was fantastic!” (age 6-7)
  • “It was the perfect class for my daughter, she loved it, it kept her occupied in a safe place and I could do my work.” (age 6-7)
  • “My child had a wonderful time at his Art Camp this summer and just after the first day was asking if he could do it again next year.” (age 6-7)
  • “This was the first summer N. attended Art First and she absolutely loved it. Everyone was so nice and friendly. It made me feel good leaving her in such a warm environment. I was extremely impressed with the artwork she brought home. It was amazing! She can’t wait to return next year! I have recommended Art First to my friends and co-workers.” (age 6-7)
  • “P. had a great experience. I loved the small room atmosphere. Seemed very encouraging and supportive. I loved that they seemed to work on multiple different projects at the same time using different media. Will definitely get her involved again.” (age 8-10)
  • “The best materials ever seen.” (age 11-14)
  • “My son had an incredible time at your camp and talked about it for weeks afterward. He is so interested in art and we are so impressed with the projects he came home with.” (age 11-14)

Please read the posts on our website and learn more about Art First Inc.

See the quality of our teachers.

Watch the videos (“Drawing Giggles” is a favorite)

Visit the Art First Facebook page

Get lost in the pictures of past projects and fun

Email me with questions (diane AT artfirstinc DOT com)

Summer will soon be here. We can’t wait to experience it through our young artists’ eyes!

Update (April 14, 2017): Read the reviews of Art First Inc summer camp from parents of returning campers


Wacky Fish!

Imagine painting fish…not regular ones that swim in the lakes or oceans…but wacky, colorful, vibrant fish with lots of personality!

It all starts with a slender wooden substrate transformed with gesso, acrylic paints, glazing medium, acrylic inks, stencils and mark making tools of all shapes and sizes. Add circles, dots, zig zags, acrylic sprays, stamps and more to add texture over texture and brilliant colors. Just play…experiment…and have fun!

Still Imagining???? Sketch in the wackiest fish ever and bring them to life with enormous eyes, long eyelashes, bright lips, doodles, squiggles, patterns and mischievous gleams in their eyes. Don’t forget fish need a watery place to live but who says the water has to be blue? Imagine that…yellow water…lime…even pink! Sign the masterpiece and stand back and admire. Bet no one can keep from smiling!

Read the class description and join us on June 12 for Wacky Fish!

Finished artwork