Free Art Friday
Free Art Friday !
Free Art or Open Ended Art is crucial! Kids need to be able to have no boundaries and simply create. I get asked often how I schedule my son’s learning and really I don’t have a strict schedule. We play and the learning comes from that most of the time- I throw in crafts every second day or so and we read all the time. Crayons, markers, paper and stickers are always available for easy creations. Today we didn’t make a craft we made the materials, recycled crayons. It’s easy and fun. You may notice a change in my son from the making to the using, we popped out and got a hair cut, and sucker !
- Gather your materials. You need orange crayons, a single black crayon, muffin tin and non stick spray.
- Pre-heat your oven to 250.
- Peel the paper off your crayons.
- Break your orange crayons into little pieces, easily the favorite step for my son.
- Pop them into the greased muffin tin.
- Into the oven it took about 10 minutes to melt. While it melts, peel and break the black crayon into small bits.
- Add small bits of the black crayons to the orange. I tried to make a face but it didn’t work- you could use shavings and place them as the crayons are cooling.
- Pop back into the oven for a few minutes.
- Swirl the wax and let cool.
- Tip if the crayons aren’t releasing from the muffin tin , put them in the freezer for a few minutes and they will pop right off.
- Now it’s time for fun – use the crayons for some free art! My son was excited to use the crayons HE made !
- If you can’t tell that is a pumpkin and goblin eating a string cheese. As per my son’s explanation! Have fun !
I packed up my monster yesterday and we went into the city and to the Seattle Art Museum. I’ve taken him to galleries and to kids museums before but this was his first time checking out a museum with diverse and masterful works . I was giddy with the thought of him seeing a real Warhol, I was in my 20s before I got to. After our art project I have tips below on how to make field trips like this work for toddlers. Of all the awesome art we saw yesterday the one that he enjoyed and was the easiest to adapt to our needs was Sea Change by Jackson Pollock .
- Gather your materials. You will need some paper, canvas or cardboard. We used cardboard because you need to have a fairly large piece and it’s all we had. You will need paint( I thinned ours just a tiny bit with a few drops of water) , a plate and some paint brushes.
- Start by laying your canvas down with some extra paper or cardboard , this is messy.
- Pour your paint onto a plate – we just used one plate but you can do different ones for each color.
- Dip your brush in and fling it on. To get my son to use the right flinging action I told him to put a spell on the canvas, and it was perfect. We both flung the paint on.
- He took my brush and put a double spell on it too!
- Then we reached for the paint jars.
- Let Dry.
This is a true lesson, while doing this we talked about the painting we saw and how Jackson Pollock made it. I asked him if this was as big as the painting we saw and other little questions to make connections to the field trip and this activity. Most of all though we had fun putting spells on the canvas.
Tips for Visiting A Museum with Toddlers and Preschoolers
1.Take advantage of free days.
This make it less frustrating if you need to leave because they have melted down or are done before you are. Also these days are busier which for an adult can be a negative but when you have a young child a noisier ( still not noisy) museum is a plus. We were able to talk in normal voices without distracting anyone. I didn’t have to shush him more than once and because of that I was able to positively reinforce how well behaved he was being and that encouraged even better behavior .
2.Go on a full belly.
Feed them right before you go , hungry = cranky.
3.Have realistic expectations.
We lasted almost an hour.
4.Don’t linger .
Accept that you may not have time to read the info for the works, at least I didn’t. After getting home and my son was napping I went on the museum’s website and caught up on what I missed.If they really like a specific work of art go back to it, many times if need be. For me today was a chance to teach my son that art isn’t just in books and that people can experience it collectively . That sounds lofty but it’s absolutely attainable if you break it down. By returning to a painting he liked ( Target by Jasper Johns) three times I was trying to foster a desire and love of seeing art in person. I want him to like art and museums and so following his lead was helping attain that.
5.When they say loudly that they are done.
Head for the elevators. This was the only time I shushed him today but it was clear to me and the 4 others looking at the alter pieces it was time to pack it in.
6.Have fun !
When I talk about “free art” what I mean is giving your child the opportunity to play with colors, make what they want and explore. Now I believe in this but am also aware that novelty is a big deal to small people who very easily declare “I don’t know what to paint” and “I’m bored”. Below you will find a long list of fun painting activities that can’t be done wrong, have no long list of materials and use fun tools to paint , like painting with trains and trucks in the picture above. Click on the title below the pictures to be directed to the original post for more pictures and brief descriptions.
This came about because my son likes to stand next to me while I’m cooking, I was making risotto and I opened some wine. He grabbed the cork and started banging it on the counter. The next day we added some paint and had fun. Open ended activities like these are so important they offer opportunities for free expression and foster a level of creativity that structured crafts sometimes don’t. By using novel things like corks it add some extra fun without constraining their creativity. Please use your best judgment and supervision if you are doing this with a child that puts things in their mouths, in that case try large sponges instead.