Happy Earth Day, everybody!
Sometimes the simplest things are the best, like these toilet paper rolls by my Little Artists (inspired by Wassily Kandinsky).
I gave the 3-year-olds some paint (primary colors and black), watercolor paper, paper rolls and 20 minutes. The amazing pictures above are the results. I love how different they are. Some kids kept it very neat and clean, others made a messy, overlapping art and one boy even used the paper roll to color all of the circles.
And the best part? Sometimes the tempera paint made a huge bubble and it popped on the artwork. The kids love that! I mean, who wouldn’t, right?!
Little Artists explored texture this week. We have learned about Claes Oldenburg and his funny sculptures. From fuzzy Popsicle to the ice cream cone on top of a building (he is always a super easy sell to the kids, no matter how old they are).
Then we explored different textures and created a mixed media collage of a burger. Kids loved to cut and glue all the different materials onto their super-tall burger! I pre-cut the pieces to make it easier for the kids. We had papers with punched holes for cheese, green plastic bags for lettuce, red streamer for ketchup, foil for fish… a lot of stuff for everybody!
After that we started working on one more project: cake candle holder. I love engaging kids with clay. It is very different that play dough and I believe it is important for them to be able to explore that difference. They pinched it, rolled it, squeezed it and when it resembled a shape they wanted, they added small details with a stick and stuck a candle in the middle. When the creations dry in a couple of days, they will paint it.
If you would like to learn more about Oldenburg, clay cakes, paper food and much more food-related fun – check out October’s issue of arTree.
Shape and preschoolers – one of the easy lessons that are fun for everybody!
We have started talking about the difference between organic and geometric shapes and looked at a way some famous artists used them in their work. From Matisse (organic) to Herbin (geometric):
We have also played a shape scavenger hunt in the classroom and did some physical movement exercise while we sorted objects based on their shapes.
For the art projects, we made two of them.
We guessed what shape would a thumbprint make and then talked about ways we can change it into a dog, cat, flower, person, bug, tree, etc.
For the main project, we used colorful circles to create a collage. We practiced cutting and gluing, talked about composition and colors. We also introduced fractions a little bit – talking about different ways you can cut the circle and how many pieces it will make. Some kids cut the circles in halves or quarters others cut it into a million small pieces. Fun all around!
Basic Art Elements with preschoolers. Lesson one:line.
In this lesson we made our own book about line. I put together presentation with works of famous artists, different types of lines and all of that… and after we talked about line for a while, we did a little exercise. We added wavy and curly lines (free-hand) on our sheep and straight lines with a ruler – on our hedgehog.
Then we combined all of the lines we talked about into the ‘crazy hair day’ picture.
We have also looked at Op Art and created a collage out of a stripped scrapbook paper. They all loved cutting and gluing! Some of them really got into it and did not want to give up their scissors for a while 🙂
What else? We have also played around with yarn – trying to make different lines (and shapes) out of it… we even walked on the lines to combine some art with gross movement exercise (and to let them stretch after 40 minutes of drawing and cutting and gluing).
The best part was combining all of the pictures together and making the book. They were very proud as they were carrying it home. I think now we have to do this every time…
The little artists visited Ancient Greece last week. It was one of my favorite lessons, especially because the kids found the materials so engaging they did not want to finish working. It was really nice seeing 3/4-year-olds working on the same project for 30 minutes and not wanting to move on.
We did mosaics with colorful rectangles of paper. Then we used sharpies to decorate the little plates you put underneath flower pots – and called it: pottery decoration. This was the most engaging part. Kids were so careful not to break them and felt so grown-up adding patterns and designs to the plate, its side and its bottom…
The kids who actually did finish built temples from wooden blocks and took a part in our mini-Olympic games. Next time: Asia.
This week the preschoolers and I have visited Africa… and Egypt!
We have looked at pyramids and some real Egyptian artifacts from SAM museum! Then we made our sarcophagus collage with colored papers and gems (as you can imagine they all loved the gems!). I also brought my hieroglyph stamps and some self-hardening clay and we made beautiful plaques with them (and again, some gems!).
And what lesson about Egypt would be complete without mummies? Since these kids are 3-5 years old, I decided to do something age-appropriate… we got a lot of plush toys and a lot of toilet paper and wrapped them all up! We had dog mummies, bear mummies, baby mummies, pink unicorn mummies… it was pretty spooky – and the biggest hit of the day!
In the last two weeks I have started working on (and teaching based on) new curriculum for the preschoolers: art around the world (and through time). So far we have visited two continents – America and Africa.
We have visited Plains Indians, learned about pictogram and played a matching game. We have also decorated a teepee we would love to live in and created a headband with real feathers. Kids had a blast and all but one did not take their headband off… at all. They also loved listetning to native American flute and talking about customs and traditions.
Today my Little Artists and I talked about colors in motion. We talked about the mobiles they had above their cribs… and that Alexander Calder was the first person who made them, almost a hundred years ago. Why? He loved sculpture but thought that it missed something–movement. So, he tried to find a way to make his sculptures move.
Then we discussed the most important thing when making a mobile: balance.
What is a balance? It’s the way of spreading your weight equally so that you do not fall.
Why is important? If the sculpture was not balanced right, it would drop to one side and would not move much. It needs to be just right so that it moved in the air.
We also balanced ourselves – on our feet, on masking tape on the floor and on bumpy dots.
After that it was time to make a balancing sculpture. We drew pictures on our colorful circles and then folded them in in half. I helped them attach the pipe cleaners inside, made a hole on the top and attached a string. The kids tried to balance it on their finger and then went on to add the fun part: play dough. They worked hard to balance their sculptures so that they did not lean too much to one side. Surprisingly easy for everybody (even the 3-year-olds). It was wonderful!
This week my Little Artists (3-5 years old) learned about Georgia O’Keeffe and colors in nature.
I brought some flowers for them to explore with magnifying glasses. We talked about details and close-ups and looked at many different paintings. It was fun. Kids touched, smelled and really looked at all the different kinds of flowers. Then they selected the one flower they wanted to paint.
They worked on canvas with sharpies and liquid watercolors and really enjoyed the process (it was much less messy than I thought it would be). They painted with brushes and then – with the flowers and we talked about the differences. I love how they turned out – all different.
This morning the preschoolers explored mixing of the colors. We learned that red and yellow make orange, blue and yellow make green and red and blue make purple. We read “Mouse Paint” and discussed all the primary and secondary colors. Easy.
Then we conducted a super cool (and super secret) experiment with magic wands and protein molecules.
As for our painting today, we explored pointillism and used only primary colors. We created a color wheel and added our own sailboat with secondary-color sails.
Kids had a blast and did not want o leave the classroom today. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, right?!