Celebrate mom’s special day with a loving look through her years of cherished memories! Help your child think out of the box and come up with unique photo ideas to include in an artistic mixed media collage. Look for pictures of mom with her own mother, or start with some great pictures of her life with the kids. Budding photographers can add in new photos of their own, snapped around the house. Think of what mom likes, what she enjoys doing, and who her favorite people are. Give your child a camera and help him take photos from different angles as he looks at different combinations of texture, pattern, light and shadow.
What You Do:
- Sort and arrange the photos in chronological order. This is a great way for very young children to learn about time and sequence. Ask your child to choose what photos came first; mom as a kid or mom as a ‘mom’.
- Help your child cut and crop the photos into an interesting variety of shapes and sizes. Discuss geometric shapes (such as circles, triangles, and squares) and organic shapes (more free flowing shapes from nature such as an amoeba). If you don't want to cut the originals of the photos you have, you can make copies of them.
- Place a solid piece of construction paper on a flat work space and ask your child to design the collage by arranging the cut photos in whatever design she likes. Compare this spatial awareness task to putting together a puzzle. Ask your child to problem solve and figure out which direction the photos must face and what spaces work best for pictures of different sizes. Feel free to overlap some of the photos slightly, but avoid covering important sections, such as a face!
- Once your child is happy with his arrangement, gently lift each photo up one at a time, being careful to keep it in place, and help your child glue each photo to the construction paper underneath.
- Set aside your collage to dry.
- While the photo collage is drying, your child can begin adding a written part to the project. Help him cut shapes out of some of the other pieces of construction paper, and then write adjectives about mom (such as smart, funny, or beautiful) and verbs about what mom likes to do (such as run, jog, or cook) on each one of the shapes he's cut out. Older children can write sentences about mom or even a poem. If your child is writing a poem, ask him to write each line on a separate paper shape. These can then be arranged artfully on the collage.
- Have your child glue his paper shapes with descriptive words about mom, or his poem lines about mom, onto the collage however he likes.
- Cut a piece of poster board (or other thick paper) so that it is at least three inches larger than the collage all the way around. Glue the collage onto the poster board for a finished frame effect.
- Give to mom as a very special present!
Mom will love the thoughtfulness and time put into this project and she'll definitely get a kick out of seeing the progression of her life through photos.
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.