Mini Monets and Mommies: Artsy Odds and Ends

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Artsy Odds and Ends

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This is an oldy (I wrote it many years ago and originally published it at Suite101.com when I was just getting started), but is easy to take from "preschool" to your home:

Resolve to try new (and fun) art activities in the classroom this year! Young children can greatly benefit from open ended creative experiences involving paints, clay, crayons, and more. The following suggestions are deigned to help teachers to design and integrate processed based art lessons into the early childhood curriculum.

Preschool Paint Projects

Creating an open ended painting exploration can be a simple and effective way to compliment many different units, themes, and content areas. The downside to using paint in the preschool classroom is the large mess that is often created. This should not distract caregivers from using this fun art material with young children.

Instead of passing on paint projects to avoid a mess, try preparing and using this material to promote a positive learning experience on many different levels. For example, increase self-regulation and pro-social skills by asking the children to be responsible for post-art lesson clean up.

The teacher should not feel like a maid, always cleaning up after the children. Older preschoolers can help to put away paints, wipe off tables with towels and water (never allow any child to use a chemical or even plant based cleaner), and clean off brushes in a sink with water.

Ways to use process based paint activities with young children include:

·         Make a Mess: This is a great way to help preschoolers work on self-regulation behaviors and listening skills. Before beginning this activity ask the children to listen to the project rules. These should include having fun, exploring the paint with a brush (or fingers, rollers, sponges, and other tools), being responsible for the mess that is created, respecting the artwork and personal space of other classmates, and helping with clean up. Allow the children to free paint; exploring colors, motion, pattern, texture, shape, and line. Remind the class that the bigger mess that is created, the more clean up there will be to do. Always help the children with the mess after the painting while allowing the kids to be the primary cleaners.

·         Color Mixing: This activity will help children to understand basic color theory and learn new vocabulary words such as primary and secondary colors. Use the primaries (red, blue, and yellow) plus white to mix up and create new hues and shades. Ask the children to name their new creations. This activity is also budget friendly in that it requires less paint than using a rainbow of colors.

·         Texture Finger paint: Add sand or other textures to tempera or finger paint. Invite the children to explore the textures.

Children’s Clay Crafts

Clay is another great material for young children to explore during process based activities. Try using it in many different ways. Examples include:

·         Free Clay Play: Simply give the children modeling clay or play and clay and allow them to experiment. Use cookie cutters, rolling pins, or plastic spoons to move and mold the clay. This will help the children learn about form, shape, and texture.

·         Clay Collage: Combine collage and clay play into a cool process based activity. Either ask the children to tear and glue the clay to a paper based (like a collage) or add clay into a mixed media paper collage project.

·         Clay Prints: Ask the children to roll out soft clay using a roller. Offer an assortment of objects such as leaves, toy cars, or craft sticks to press into the clay. Pull the object out to reveal a textured print.

Crayons and Kids

Scribbling and drawing with crayons are simple process based activities that can be done with young children. Set out paper and crayons, and watch as the kids create lines, shapes, and more. For more of a challenge try:

·         Different Papers: offer a variety of papers to choose from. Use different textures, colors, and thicknesses. These can be reused scraps from other projects or even a recycled cardboard box.

·         Multiple Crayons: Ask each child to pick three or four different colors of crayons. Tie the crayons together with a rubber band, and give them to the children to draw rainbow style lines.

·         Crayon Rubbings: Peel the wrappers off of the crayons, and turn on a side. The children can roll the crayon on a paper for a different effect. Try placing a thin object (such as a leaf or paper shape) under the paper. When the crayon is rolled over top, the object will be revealed in color.

 

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