If you're planning our decorating this 4th of July, why not mix it up a bit from the regular stars-and-stripes theme? For some fun exploration of art history, here's a tablemat project that you and your child can create together. This activity takes its inspiration from the modern artist Keith Haring, who created exuberant paintings of people moving and dancing. Help your child create a table mat decorated with "Haring figures" and stars in celebration of the 4th of July that you can use year after year!
What You Need:
- Two pieces of bright red posterboard (22" x 28")
- Several pieces each of white and red paper (8 ½” x 11”)
- Glue stick
- Black permanent marker
- “Haring” figures (download here, or create your own)
What You Do:
- Start by cutting your poster boards down to 18" x 26" each. Then lay them end to end on a flat surface and tape the ends together so that you have a sheet 18 inches tall and 52 inches long.
- Download the Keith Haring figures or use the figures as a guideline and let your child try drawing her own on the blue and white paper. Be sure to have about the same number of blue figures and white figures, and use several different poses!
- Cut at least 13 stars (for our thirteen original colonies) from the yellow paper.
- Lay the red poster board on a flat surface and have your child arrange the figures and stars creatively.
- Try to arrange the figures so that the space between them looks as interesting as the figures themselves.
- When your child is finished arranging, help her glue the figures onto the poster board with a glue stick.
- Draw small parallel lines with your permanent marker here and there to suggest movement.
- Laminate your table mat at your local copy store and you'll have a piece you can use again and again for your patriotic celebrations!
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school history and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.