Mini Monets and Mommies: April 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016

Kids Can Finger Paint with Clay: Shapes, Colors and More!

Finger painting with clay? That’s right! Why? Raise your hand if your child absolutely adored the ooey gooeyness of painting. Now raise your hand if you’re not exactly thrilled about the mess.

Kids' art

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement for more information).

Okay, so we all have heard that messy play is good for kids. Not just good, but totally beneficial when it comes to encouraging creativity, inspiring imagination and even improving critical thinking skills. That said, sometimes we have to be practical. Let’s say you’re at grandma’s house for a week in the summer. The kiddos are begging to do a finger painting art activity. But, grandma’s white carpet or couldn’t-be-cleaner kitchen just can’t handle the splatters that are sure to ensue. What now? I have an answer that let’s your child ‘finger paint’ without actually using anything that’s a liquid.

I used to teach a preschool art class in a museum – entirely in the art galleries. If you think grandma freaks about getting teeny tiny droplets of tempera on her tile floor, imagine what the museum higher-ups thought about the prospect of having 3- to 5-year-olds making art in the same space as original Monet’s, Van Gogh’s and Pollock’s. Obviously, no paint was allowed. But, the kids always wanted to paint (and the parents always asked about it).

In order to get a paint-y feel, without actually making a mega mess, I swapped in soft modeling clay. The clay sticks to the paper underneath, and almost acts like actual finger paint (if it’s soft enough your child can mix colors, create textures and explore with lines/shapes). It’s also a tremendous fine motor workout!
Clay art

In the past we’ve done general exploration types of clay paints as well as famous artist-inspired ones. This time we’re adding some math (and a recycle/reuse theme). Instead of buying paper or board, have your child search the house for a cardboard source to reuse. Cereal and cracker boxes are great options. The cardboard is thick enough so that the clay doesn’t soak through, but thin enough that the kids can still cut it.

How does the math come into play? Your child is going to make her own geometric shapes to cover in clay paint! Use these instead of flash cards or ready-made products to learn shape names.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Cardboard

·        Scissors

·        Markers

·        Soft modeling clay (in at least two different colors)

Here’s What to Do:

1. Draw shapes onto the cardboard. Your child can make them as small or large as she wants. The bigger the shape is, the more clay (and more work) it will take.
Recycled crafts

2. Pull the clay apart into pieces.
Clay Colors

3. Smooth the clay onto the cardboard, finger paint style. Your child can use her hands to mix the colors together, blending red and yellow into orange, red and blue into purple or yellow and blue into green.
Fingerpaint Clay

Clay project

Kids art

As your child works, she can layer the clay to make textures, uses her finger tips (or simple tools such as craft sticks) to make patterns/marks or add more colors.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Let's Start Color Mixing! Kids' Art Activity

Color mixing. It’s one of the easiest kids’ art activities out there. That said, it’s also one of the best when it comes to grabbing your child’s natural sense of curiosity and helping her to explore.

Kids' art

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement for more information).

Back when I used to teach children’s art classes, we only used the primary colors (and white). If the kids were making paper mache animals and wanted to paint an orange lion’s mane they had to mix yellow and red (and figure out how to get the orange color that they wanted by experimenting with different amounts of paint).

One of the biggest challenges of only using the primaries was actually getting the kids to mix the colors. They were all so used to having a rainbow of paints presented to them that they froze when only given a mere three or four. After some heavy encouragement, they would make the leap into mixing the colors. Within a few minutes, they were making discoveries and figuring out how to make their own new hues.

So, how can you start a color mixing activity at home? I always like to open the art-making with a few new vocabulary words. Depending on your child’s age she may or may not know the color words. If she doesn’t give her the words for blue, red and yellow – pointing to each color as you pour it out of the bottle. Next, add the words primary (blue, red and yellow) and secondary (orange, green and purple).
Painted colors

Keep in mind, you don’t always have to do a strict primary to secondary color-mixing lesson. You can use whatever colors your child feels like playing with. The idea here is for her to explore, experimenting with making new colors. Your child also doesn’t have to use a brush. She can use a brush. But, she can also use a sponge, cotton balls or her own hands.

To begin the color-mixing, here’s what you’ll need:

·        Tempera paint in at least three colors (you can also add white to lighten any color)

·        White paper

·        A palette (I like to use a sheet of wax paper – it’s simple, cost-effective and keeps the mess off of the table)

·        Optional: Paintbrushes, sponges, other painting tools

Here’s what to do:

1. Pour the paint onto the palette.
Kids' activities

2. Give your child a blank piece of paper.

3. Sit back and let your child mix away!
Process art
Color Mix

Use several sheets of paper, inviting your child to make as many different colors and designs as she can. As she’s working, ask her to name the colors. You can go completely realistic and stick to orange, purple, green, etc. Or, you can ask her to make up imaginatively silly names (such as ‘monstrous ghoulish green grey’).
Art projects

When your child feels comfortable mixing colors, start introducing this activity as part of the regular painting process. Whether she’s creating a spring tree, making a rainbow or painting a sculpture, she can mix up her own batch of colors – instead of asking you to buy them!

Are you looking for more artsy activities? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas.
Follow Mini Monets and Mommies's board Process Art for Kids on Pinterest.