Triptychs are an art form involving three side-by-side panels that can fold inward together. Beginning with the basic daytime schedule of morning, afternoon, and night, your child will be able to create with a triptych an imaginative pictorial story that builds aesthetic awareness and artistic development. The triptych activity will also help your child learn about important art and design basics such as color, pattern, shape, and line.
What You Do:
- Brainstorm ideas for each panel with your child. Ask her to tell you what happens in the morning, the afternoon, and night time. Examples of discussion starter questions include: What do you do when you wake up? What do you eat in the morning? What happens in the afternoon (at preschool, the park, and so on)? What do you wear at night?
- If you are using a large piece of poster board, fold the board into three equal panels. If you are using a science fair display board, it will come pre-folded.
- Ask your child what part of the day comes first. Then ask which panel should show this part of the day (the first panel).
- Have your child draw a scene or picture that represents the morning on the first panel. Use the markers to make an outline. This picture may be something simple such as the sun rising, or something more complex such as eating breakfast.
- Move on to the middle panel, and ask your child to draw something representing the afternoon.
- Repeat for the last panel, focusing on night time.
- After the marker outline has been finished for all three parts, invite your child to add paint to her creation.
Extend this narrative picture by creating your own story. Ask your child to tell you a story based on the sequence of events pictured on the triptych. Make sure to reinforce that there is a beginning, middle, and end to her story like in a book.
You can also use your child's favorite book as inspiration for a triptych. Simply have her choose and draw her three favorite moments in the book in order. When she is finished, she will have a beautiful triptych of her favorite scenes to hang on her wall.
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.