The first meeting of our Junior Art Club (4-6 year olds) for the spring session was last Wednesday. I wanted to do a project that was more process than product-oriented, and that got kids comfortable creating and making mistakes.
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So we started by reading one of my favorites, Ish by Peter Reynolds, which I mentioned back in the post about my favorite picture books about art-making. In the book the main character, Ramon, gets discouraged and crumbles up all his attempts at drawing. He then discovers the freedom of just drawing “ishly” aka, not aiming for prefection.
After reading Ish together, we dove into our project. We took some watercolor paper and cut it into 4 pieces (I got the idea for this activity from this blog post). Nobody cut in a straight line, but they were straight-ish. Then we crumbled up our four pieces of paper, just like Ramon in the book did.
Next, we got a little messy. I passed out cups of liquid watercolor. They chose one color to paint over their whole paper ball.
Then they flattened the paper to see how things were looking, crumbled the same paper again, and painted another color. I encouraged them to repeat this process about 2 times, for a total of 3 colors.
It created such fun, colorful, and surprising results. And something else fun and unexpected was that we got to discover how to make new colors — like noticing that when you paint blue on top of yellow, you get green!
And all our hands got covered with watercolors. We all left the studio looking like artists for sure.
The mini paintings are fun on their own, or we could repurpose them into a collage project later in the session, I’m still thinking about it.
And you know what else is cool? In our second session, yesterday, I was leading the kids in making clay turtles, and when telling them to make their clay into kind-of-like-a-ball, one of the little artists said “Ish! A ball-ish!” I was so pleased.
Now we can talk about our art that way, and it’s so freeing.
Here are those turtles from yesterday. Some of them are more turtle-ish, but they are all precious.
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Yesterday, I had the honor of welcoming four young artists in our home art studio for our first class of Mini Makers. These 4-7 year olds showed up ready to create!
Our theme was primary colors. We were inspired by the book Mix It Up by Herve Tullet. It’s simple and fun interactive book about coloring mixing.
After reading the book together, the little artists were ready to do some color mixing themselves. With this project, my goals were to teach how to use the paintbrushes and paint responsibly and to give the students a chance to experiment with mixing colors on their own.
We used liquid watercolors in red, yellow and blue (I love liquid watercolors because they create such vibrant colors, as long as you're painting on watercolor paper).
Before class, I put masking tape on the watercolor paper in the form of a grid, just to provide some something interesting to interact with (pro tip: anytime you paint with watercolor, it's a good idea to tape the paper onto a flat surface, so it doesn't curl as it dries). The grid also made the one paper turn into 6 little spaces, and in each space they could play with a different combo of the primary colors.
And after the paint dries, taking off the masking tape is a different kind of magic.
(I used to do this same project with my Kindergartners when I taught elementary art full-time. I originally got the idea from this blog post. )
After all that painting, we got some wiggles out by dancing to this super fun primary color song by OK Go.
From there, we dove into another primary-color-themed project, but I'll save that for the another blog post.
See what’s been happening at our studio! Learn about fun art projects and other ways to engage creatively with your kids. Written by owner and teacher, Ms. Laura.