crafts and teachers

All images courtesy of Skirball staff

Updated Monday, March 29, 2021
By Belize Wilheim

Welcome to the Skirball Family Activities page! Here you’ll find eco-friendly art projects and joy-filled performances that reinforce the values of collaboration, community, and caring for the world around us.

We’d love to see you and your family singing, dancing, and creating together. Be sure to tag us on Instagram @Skirball_LA so we can join in on the fun! 


  • Re-Discovered Animal example

    Re-Discovered Animals

    In the spirit of caring for the earth, artists made the animals aboard Noah’s Ark at the Skirball™ from found objects and repurposed materials like cowboy boots, mop heads, and bicycle seats. We invite you to use your imagination and see what interesting objects you can find to create a re-discovered animal!

    Learn how to make your own.

  • Colorful abstract portrait made from small found objects

    Hero Portraits

    Create your own hero portrait inspired by the renderings of activists, prisoners of conscience, and advocates of free speech found in the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Trace! Think of someone you admire for standing up and speaking out about the causes they believe in. Then, using small colorful objects, assemble your hero’s portrait to celebrate how they inspire you to be the best version of yourself.

    Learn how to make your own.

  • Treasure Hunt Hanukkiah example

    Treasure Hunt Hanukkiah

    Create your own symbolic hanukkiah (Hanukkah lamp) made of items found in your home or neighborhood! As you assemble your Hanukkah lamp, remember that even the smallest flame can give light to many. Ask yourself, how can I spread hope and light to the world?

    Learn how to make your own

  • Call for Action Poster

    Call for Action Posters

    Take a moment to reflect on what you want to say to the world. What do you stand for? What causes do you believe in? For this project, use your ideas to create a call for action poster that highlights your ideals and spreads a positive message to the world.

    Learn how to make your own.

  • Mobile

    Mobiles of Appreciation

    In honor of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, named after the Hebrew word for "temporary shelter," create a unique mobile to hang in your home. While creating your art piece, reflect on what shelter means to you and consider ways you can take action to support someone who is homeless or living on the edge of homelessness.

    Learn how to make your own

  • Welcome Postcards

    Share a message of hope and positivity! For this project, we are partnering with our friends at the San Fernando Valley Refugee Children Center. The SFVRCC provides basic needs and emotional support to unaccompanied young people who have come to the United States seeking refuge. Take some time to reflect on your own family’s history in the United States. Is migration part of your family story? Then, using materials around your home, create a beautiful postcard to welcome your new California neighbors at SFVRCC.

    Learn how to make your own.
     

  • Mosaic

    Modern Mosaics

    Piece together your very own mosaic using items found in your home and neighborhood! Inspired by the Skirball's replica of a 1,600-year-old mosaic in Hamat Tiberias, Israel, this project invites you to put a modern twist on an ancient art form. Images, patterns, and abstractions are all fair game, so let your creativity flow!

    Learn how to make your own.

  • Gratitude Journal

    Gratitude Journal

    Take comfort in the things that bring you joy! Using recycled materials, assemble your very own gratitude journal where you can keep track of all the good things in your life. Revisit your journal whenever you need a pick-me-up and experience the therapeutic power of positivity.

    Learn how to make your own.

  • Tote Bag

    T-Shirt Tote Bag

    Run essential errands in style with your own upcycled, reusable tote bag! Inspired by our friends at Heirs to Our Oceans, we hope you’ll join us in finding ways to cut down your consumption of single-use plastics. All that's needed for this simple project is a t-shirt, scissors, a few markers, and your imagination! 

    Learn how to make your own.

  • Image of creature collage

    Creature Collage

    Have you ever seen a polar bear made from a bathtub or a lion with a hula skirt for hair? These are just a few of the unique animals made from repurposed materials found on Noah's Ark at the Skirball. While we can't visit Noah's Ark in person, we can make new animal creations to enjoy at home. Using household paper items and your imagination, create a whimsical creature collage!

    Learn how to make your own

  • Family Tree

    Like us, trees are members of a community that depend on each other to flourish. Celebrate those closest to you by creating a family tree that represents your roots and branches! As you cut, color, and assemble your piece, reflect on the special times you’ve shared with the people and animals in your life. 

    Learn how to make your own
     

  • Cup of welcome image

    Cup of Welcome

    During the holiday of Passover, it is tradition to anticipate the arrival of the prophet Elijah to your Seder. A special cup is left untouched for this unknown guest. In the spirit of welcoming the stranger, a Jewish value that is core to the Skirball’s mission, we invite you to decorate a cup with colors and symbols that communicate a warm welcome.

    Learn how to make your own.

  • Tzedaah box image

    Tzedakah Box

    Helping others connects us all. Tzedakah is the Hebrew word for “justice,” and at the Skirball, we work to create a more just society by taking care of one another. Try creating your own tzedakah box that you and your family can fill with coins to donate to a good cause and/or actions you can take to make a positive change. When we work together to make a difference, we not only improve how we feel about the world, but also how we feel about ourselves. 

    Learn how to make your own

  • Weaving image

    Mindful Nature Weaving

    Take a moment to listen to the birds outside your window. Imagine the nest they’ve created for their young and what materials it might be made of. We invite you to safely stroll through your neighborhood and collect flowers, leaves, and tall grasses to create your own nest-inspired nature weaving. As you wander, take time to smell, touch, and observe what you collect. This project combines elements of mindfulness with the ancient practice of weaving and is sure to add natural beauty to your home. 

    Learn how to make your own.

  • image of shadow puppets

    Shadow Puppets

    Puppetry is a universal art form celebrated by cultures all over the world. At the Skirball, we often use puppets as analogs for human beings and their stories—enabling us to explore our shared humanity and gain perspective through the experiences of others. By creating shadow puppets, your family can work together, practice fine motor skills, explore the use of light and shadow, and share stories with one another. 

    Learn how to make your own

  • Card of Kindness

    Cards of Kindness

    On Noah's Ark, we often invite families to recognize those doing good in the world by creating cards of kindness. As visitors pin their cards up in the gallery, we are made hopeful by a mounting display of gratitude and appreciation. These days, there are a lot of people making big sacrifices for others. Take some time to reflect on those who have supported you lately. Then, create your own card of kindness and share it with your community on social media. Find inspiration on our Instagram and don't forget to tag us in your post @Skirball_LA!

    Download the card template

  • Storytelling with Dillon from Noah’s Ark

    Storytelling is at the heart of communities worldwide and central to our work at the Skirball. Join Noah's Ark educator Dillon Nelson for a flood tale adapted from a story told by the Lenape, an indigenous people of the northeastern woodlands of Canada and the United States. In the story, while animals work together to overcome a challenge, they learn that even the smallest acts can make a big difference.

    Listen to the story.

  • educator telling a story

    Storytelling with Nina from Noah’s Ark

    Join Noah's Ark storyteller Nina Silver for a timeless and timely flood story. Based on the biblical story of Noah's Ark, this Midrash (Hebrew for "interpretation") is the introductory story that visitors of all ages take part in whenever they visit Noah's Ark at the Skirball™. The universal message of the story helps us make sense of the stormy chapters in our lives and reminds us to work together as we await the brighter days ahead. 

    Listen to the story.
     

  • image of singers

    Family Sing-Along with Julia and Mario from Noah’s Ark

    Join Noah’s Ark educators Julia Garcia Combs and Mario Ibarra Beutelspacher for a fun, bilingual sing-along! Singing and storytelling support language and socialization skills in children and help us all to make sense of the world. Although we may not be able to play with the animals in Noah’s Ark right now, we can still imagine what the itsy bitsy spider and her cousin la araña pequeñita are up to and how they may be weathering the ups and downs of life.

    Watch and sing along.
     

Belize Wilheim joined the Skirball’s Education department in 2009. She has a BA in human development, early childhood from California State University, East Bay. She began her arts journey early: as a hairdresser, jewelry designer, and self-proclaimed ballerina—all by the age of five. She eventually went on to study dance and arts education with a mission to help children discover their own creative outlets. Belize is an active supporter of the dance and performing arts communities in Los Angeles. For now, she continues to connect with and support artists from the safety of her own home.