Open Ended Art
Last week we were snowed in and getting antsy. I decided to make a sticky table for my kids to explore with but when I looked at all the supplies I had to stick to it they were all choking hazards except these colored craft sticks . I thought it was going to be a 5 minute sparkler but as you will see my son ran with it. I loved reading stories to his sister who lost interest after 5 minutes like I expected and just watching him giddily create.
- Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper, painter’s tape to tape it to the table, scissors and whatever you want to stick to the table. With older kids I’ve used sequins, buttons, tissue paper, pom poms…
- Tape the contact paper down backing side up.
- Peel the backing off and trim.
- Explore the feeling- my son loved the feeling on the back of his hands, he just kept doing that.
- Add the sticks.
- My daughter liked placing the sticks and the resistance when she picked them off. Also she was doing it very carefully working on her pincer grasp ( fine motor skills).
- My son saw the possibility to create immediately grabbing the bag and asking if he could have all the sticks and his sister’s too.
- I just let him go.
- And go
- And go.
- If you look closely you can see a few houses in his creation – they are clone bases apparently. I just love that he was so engaged, so excited and watching those wheels turning so passionately was exhilarating.
Getting both kids outside with paint is no easy task, so I came up with a way to do it that was easy to grab and go when inspiration strikes. Of course after I got it outside my son decided he wanted to play soccer instead. Luckily friends stopped by to pick apples and one was more than excited to paint ! I was more than happy to oblige and my son was happy to help his friend’s mom pick apples instead. Remember never force kids to do art , the goal is to enrich and appreciate and forcing won’t achieve either.
- Gather your materials. For this I used a clip board, liquid paint in many colors, a water color set and paper.
- You might notice that there is no water in the materials. That is because You can pop the dried water colors out, and gently place liquid paint in, so you don’t have to run back inside for more water.
- Pop the water colors out.
- Pour in liquid paint.
- Place back in case.
- Clip the lid of the water color case under the clip board to keep it in place and find a perfect spot to paint, he chose a great spot under an apple tree.
It did take a little convincing that it was ok to mix the colors, if you have a child who is really reluctant , pack along multiple brushes, which is much easier than packing and refilling water when you are far from a faucet.
Katie Meets The Impressionistsby James Mayhew is a art fairytale! Katie goes to the museum with her grandmother and before she knows it she is in the paintings and the world of the painters and their families. Katie goes from painting to painting gathering flowers for her grandma and exploring a world on the other side of the canvas. What I enjoy about this book is that it brings the paintings to life for readers and it shares the back story in a way that children can connect to and imagine the possibilities when they go to museums! Of all these books this one held my son’s attention the least. I like to think it’s because he’s not a fan of impressionism, but I think it was simply a little long for his not quite 3 year old attention span. Maybe if Renoir had painted garbage trucks… seriously though this is a fabulous book and worth a read!
I offer my kids crayons, markers and paint daily but my son has been in a rut. He turned down my offers, he wouldn’t grab the basket I’d leave materials in during quiet time, it seemed like I’d never get him to draw just to draw again! Then I bought some clip boards after seeing this art display on pinterest, My original goal was to make it a gallery for any and all of our art work but when I put white paper on them to see if I wanted to spray paint the clip boards white both my kids stopped playing . My son asked immediately what they were for , and I am so glad I was quick enough to answer ” They are for you, grab the markers!”.
And he did, and still is!
Now I simply change the paper every few days, he notices that there is fresh paper and grabs the markers.
He’s not the only one though , my daughter loves the clip boards too.
Best part is that you have a place to display your art already! Displaying art is really an important thing because it celebrates their creativity, their accomplishments and boosts their confidence in their own abilities.
Sometimes simple is all you need.