For your next art project, try something a little different with your kindergartener. Block printing at home sounds much trickier than it is, and you don't even need a kit to get started. A piece of styrofoam serves as the block for cutting designs, and regular paint can stand in for ink. You can print on paper, but try clear projector sheets for art that wows—sunlight filters through the prints beautifully when hung in a window.
What You Do:
- Before you begin, lay down a few sheets of newspaper over your work surface.
- Help your child draw a design of the sun on the scratch foam using the wooden stylus or toothpick. Talk about the shape of the sun as he draws, and encourage him to add as many embellishments as he likes, such as sun rays, spirals, and other shapes.
- Squeeze each color of ink or paint onto a paper plate, one color per plate.
- Have your child roll the brayer or dip the paintbrush into the paint. Encourage him to try blending colors together to see what happens.
- When he's done mixing, help him ink the foam block with the brayer or paintbrush.
- Place a clear acetate sheet on top of the newspaper. Press the printing block onto the sheet, then fold the newspaper over them like a book or sandwich.
- Press on the newspaper bundle to help the paint transfer by rolling over it with the rolling pin, or have your child use his hands.
- Open the newspaper and lift the sheet from the print block.
- Repeat these steps to make more prints in different colors.
- Set the prints aside to dry. When you're finished, hang the print in a sunny window to brighten up the room.
Once your child gets a taste of printing, he'll be hooked! Try printing on a variety of other materials like construction paper, tissue paper, or fabric.
Erica Loop has an 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.