Friday, April 22, 2011

An Array of Drawing Materials

I laid out a few drawing materials on the art table for Lucia and one of her close friends to use. The trick worked like a charm. The old crayons and markers took on a new life next to the pastels. I placed them carefully in a line in order to delicately divide their drawing space, given some earlier boundary challenges. They both were quickly engaged, using the tools in very different ways. Lucia's friend used the chalk pastels to make large traces and explore with layers of colors.

Lucia explored the qualities of each tool and talked about the difference in textures. Chalk pastels made thick lines and markers were good for details.

The oil pastels brought in her Dad... Full of memories from his drawing days he was soon making a giant mountain. "It's like the mountain in Frog and Toad," said Lucia. She added the sky, and a hawk, and a long purple path for Frog and Toad to run down the mountain, yelling "We're not afraid!" I wonder if she was inspired by Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Small hands and big hands enjoy exploring with drawing materials. Don't be afraid to stray from the childhood staples. Children learn quickly to take good care of art materials if they are given the opportunity to explore.

Lucia with CARAN d'ACHE pencils, almost 2 years old

Soon enough, story telling, cooperative art and mixed media may follow. And who knows, maybe some early book quoting and referencing might make into your home.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cut, Glue, Punch

A lady with her dog and a long yellow bus.
This morning Lucia initiated her own activity. She found these foam sheets left over from one of my classes, and imediately started putting them together to form shapes. "This is a pirate monster... This is a lady..." She then asked for scisors and glue and ran to her room. She cut out a shirt, added a skirt, a belt and a neck. She asked me to cut out a circle so she could make the head. She then needed smaller circles for the eyes.

That's when the hole-puncher came out. Her eyes opened wide! What a discovery. She now wanted to add little circles to everything. She added eyes and a nose to this little dog:

It was a delight to watch her and her excitement was contagious. She was designing wonderful creatures, building from her new skills and discoveries to create a story! She also felt in control, allowing her creativity to flow while deliberately cutting shapes and gluing them exactly where she intended to.

This is more than she has ever managed through drawing. More often than not she becomes frustrated with drawing because she cannot depict what she intends to. By having access to the right tools she was able to find a new way to express herself. The biggest smile was on her face! 

Providing children with an array of materials, in 2D and 3D will open the possibilities for them to creatively and skillfully express themselves. I look forward to more cutting, gluing and punching (holes, that is!).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Playing with Grass

We've been having a lot of fun playing with the grass we planted. Many toys have made their way to the trays and provided for much story telling and extensive pretend play and creativity. A few blocks turned into an aquarium. (see above)

The zoo animals were there first ones to discover the grass. The zebra had a field day!

The dinosaurs were a big hit! They really enjoyed eating the grass.


We then moved on to give the grass a little trim and used the cut grass to do some rubbings. We did this just by holding a bunch of grass in between our fingers and firmly rubbing on the paper.

We looked around the house to see what else we could use to experiment with plant rubbings. We found these beautiful carnations. We had predicted we might end up with a red or pink color, but were surprised with the result: purple!

The little one then decided to take the carnation apart and sprinkled the petals around her paper. We decided to get some glue to secure the petals.

And voila! Grass and carnation rubbings with petals - by Lucia.