Activities for Planned Art
While process art can be made available to all children at any time, planned art activities require special teacher preparation and/or direction.
Tearing and Pasting Before a child learns to use scissors, tearing is a good small-muscle activity. It can be an end in itself or part of a planned project. For example, as part of a unit on food, the children could tear brightly colored tissue paper and paste the pieces on sheets to fill in large outlines of fruits. The children could then arrange their fruits in a display.
Printing Use sponges that have been cut into various shapes and attached to tongue depressors or Popsicle sticks with rubber bands. Making finger prints, hand prints, and foot prints is also fun for children.
Vegetable Prints Potatoes are especially good for print making.
Puppet Making A variety of puppets can be easily made: paper plate puppets on sticks, finger puppets, sock puppets, and paper bag puppets.
Collages Make collages using any of these materials:
- Materials found outside—leaves, twigs, acorns, small pebbles, shells, sand, bark, feathers
- Things to eat—rice, beans, cereal, macaroni, spaghetti, egg shells, popcorn, seeds
- Scraps of fabrics—lace, rick-rack, ribbons, yarn, buttons, beads, sequins
- Different types and colors of paper—construction paper, tissue paper, napkins, paper towels, cellophane, wallpaper, gummed circles, doilies, confetti
- "Odds and ends"—bottle caps, sponge bits, straws, cotton balls, and the like
Painting and Drawing Again, there are many possibilities:
- Do easel painting on newsprint with large brushes.
- Finger painting—Play a record with a march tempo. Let the children dip their fingers in finger paint and "march" across the paper with their fingers.
- Magic markers—Use nontoxic colors that wash out and do not stain.
- Chalk—Try white chalk on black or dark-blue paper for a nighttime picture or a snow scene.
- Crayons—Dittoed sheets and coloring books are great for teachers but not for children. Coloring within someone else's lines might be a good small-muscle activity (although it is too advanced for 3- and 4-year-olds), but it stifles creativity. It's better to string beads or cut paper to develop small-muscle skills and to let children use crayons to make their own lines, circles, and interesting arrangements with colors and space.
- String painting—Dip a piece of string in paint and lay it on the paper. Or lay it on one side of the paper, fold over the paper, and pull out the string.
- Straw painting—Put a blob of thin tempera paint on a piece of paper, and blow at it with a straw for interesting effects.
- Mirror image—Using a small plastic spoon, drop several blobs of paint on the paper. Fold it over in half, and then unfold it and let dry.
- Sand painting—Drip glue over the paper, and while it is still wet, shake colored sand on the paper.
- Dry tempera painting—Dip cotton balls into dry tempera and rub them on damp paper.
- Paint on a variety of materials to observe different effects: paper towels, tissue paper, rocks, wood, aluminum foil, shells, corrugated cardboard, cloth, and so on.
- Computer art—Many children's software programs enable drawing, stamping, moving or placing pictures, and creating artistic text effects. Computer "coloring books," in which the children select colors to fill in regions of a picture, can also be fun if the children are free to experiment (e.g., changing the sky from blue to black to green).
© ______ 2006, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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