Creative and Imaginative Ideas for Children (page 3)
The ideas in this article provide children the opportunity for a variety of experiences and imaginative expression through three-dimensional art. Each child’s own creative effort must be accepted regardless of how meager a product may appear. Your role is primarily that of encourager, facilitator, and resource.
An Imaginary Lump of Clay
To help get your children’s attention, before starting this activity, read one of the books listed in the Children’s Literature and Three-Dimensional Art box.
1.Read a story about clay to your children.
2.Talk to your children about what it might feel like to be clay. Discussion can center on how clay feels, what you can do with clay, what makes clay get hard and dry, and what happens when you add water to clay. Encourage your children to add their own ideas and comments about the properties and uses of clay.
3.Tell your children that they are going to pretend to be little lumps of clay and to imagine that they can roll themselves into a big ball. The following script is a guide to this process:
You are all wet, lumpy balls of clay. Imagine what shape you would like to become, and then move your bodies in ways that help you make yourself into your own special shape. When you have created just the shape you want, try to be real still for just a few minutes so you can pretend to let your clay start to dry and get a little harder. Now, look around the room at all the shapes we have. In just a minute it will be time to be lumps of clay again. Pretend that someone is pouring imaginary water on you so that you will become nice and soft again.
4.Follow up the activity with conversations about what it felt like to pretend to be clay. Were there any shapes that could have had names? Was it hard to be still long enough to dry? If the “shapes” could have been placed somewhere in the room for others to see, where would they like to have been placed?
For this activity, you and your children will need a variety of objects for making impressions in soft, malleable clay. Some objects you will want to collect include
- old keys of different sizes and shapes
- toothbrushes, combs, clothespins, and objects from nature, such as pinecones, shells, rocks, and sticks
- blocks of different shapes, forks and spoons, and other “found” objects that the children think hold possibilities for making clay impressions
Encourage your children to select different objects and experiment with what happens when they press the object into the clay. Have a variety of objects available for the children to create designs of their choice in their own lump of clay. Point out to your children that they can change the shape of their clay to fit their ideas of different ways of making impressions.
Fabric and Fiber
Fabric is an excellent material for children to see, touch, and handle. It comes in many colors and textures and can be glued, stitched, woven, or unwoven as children create designs or patterns. Burlap, as a loosely woven fabric, is especially suited to the skills of young children.
Weaving is basically a method of interlacing strands of yarn, strips of cloth, thread, paper, or other material to combine them into a whole texture, fabric, or design. Although six- and seven-year-olds can understand and manipulate the over-and-under, back-and-forth technique involved in weaving, most four- and five-year-old children lack the dexterity, eye-hand coordination, and patience to complete a weaving project.
Unweaving is the opposite of weaving. Beginning with a whole, separate materials are removed to create a design. It is a simple activity that requires minimal fine-motor control, and it is rewarding because children are taking something apart rather than having to put something together in a predetermined pattern. Because there is no loom to fill, weavers can stop when the design seems complete or when they get tired.
Older children and adults can reweave the fabric with different-colored threads or strands of yarn to create new color combinations, textures, and patterns.
You will need the following materials for this activity:
- precut burlap squares (approximately 12 inches by 12 inches) in a variety of colors
- ordinary classroom scissors
1.Show children how they can use a toothpick to lift a thread from the burlap. Demonstrate how threads can be pulled from the burlap by catching a thread from the frayed edge of the cloth.
2.Encourage children to create random or patterned designs by unweaving, fraying, raveling, or reweaving the fabric with different colors.
3.Use white, clear-drying glue to secure the designs once the process is completed. If the edges of the burlap have been frayed, rub a thin layer of glue along the edge where the fraying begins. If the edges are not frayed, apply glue to the burlap where fraying could occur as a result of handling.
Boxes and Cartons
Three-dimensional art provides children with many ways to discover form and shape, texture and pattern. “Box sculpture” is a wonderful process for allowing children to combine different sizes and shapes to create interesting and imaginative three-dimensional art forms.
You will need the following materials for making box sculptures:
- Find boxes of many shapes, sizes, and types ranging from small matchboxes to the large boxes used for shipping refrigerators and other large appliances. Other cardboard forms that you and your children can collect include cereal boxes, salt boxes, tissue boxes, mailing tubes, paper towel tubes, and other containers you might find around your school or at the grocery store.
- An assortment of materials that can be used to accent shape and design include recyclable packaging pieces, string, toothpicks, pipe cleaners, spools, and small pieces of scrap lumber and wooden sticks or dowels.
- You will also need glue, a roll of masking tape for each child, and paint and brushes, in case they decide to add color to their sculpture.
Box sculpture can be a group activity in which children share ideas and interpretations about construction, or it can be an individual activity in which children develop a sculpture on their own. The process gives each child, as artist, an opportunity to manipulate, design, and construct interesting and imaginative shapes and structures. For this reason, directions should consist of an “invitation” to sculpt rather than step-by-step instructions of how to create the sculpture. When the sculpture is complete, children can paint it and embellish it with accent materials. Tempera will not adhere to waxed surfaces such as milk cartons, so add a little liquid glue to the paint before painting these surfaces.
I doubt there are many among us who do not already know how much young children love to play with sand. Sand casting is based on the same principles involved in making mud pies, sand castles, and frog houses; it simply takes the process one step further. Sand casting is most suitable for children ages seven and older. Younger children will be content just playing in the sand, adding water, and making mud!
© ______ 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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