I love remaking masterpieces with my son. It gets him excited about art and gives him the confidence that he can do it too. We made our own version of The Great Wave Off Kawagawa a few months ago and he is still excited to go see the real one in person next month when it comes through town. So teach them some art appreciation by doing not just looking!
- Show your child the painting “Squares With Concentric Rings” by Wassilly Kandinsky. Ask them what they think he used to make the art. Ask them what they would use.
- Gather your materials. You will need a variety of paper ( bare minimum 2 pieces), a wide variety of markers or water colors, scissors, and glue.
- Start by cutting the paper into smaller squares. We did 2 rows of 3 ( so 6 squares total). The original has 3 rows of 4 , but that was too much for a 3 year old. Adjust to your child.
- Start making circles! I didn’t really structure this other than saying to my son ” Can you make circles like the artist did?”
- Keep going. On his 5th his interest was dwindling, so I busted out a new color of marker and it did the trick. If it hadn’t I probably would have left the craft on the table and returned to it later.
- Add glue- the top to ours fell off ( and covered me) , oops but he still wanted to add more.
- Add the squares and let dry.
Babar’s Museum of Art by Laurent de Brunhoff is one of my favorite art books for kids. My son has recently decided he hates it because he doesn’t want to see the elephant versions of the art. All the art in the museum are masterpieces that you will recognize redone with elephants. He slams the page in the way only toddlers with a definite sense of justice can and says “No elephant paintings Mama, real ones!” Trust me though this book is awesome and he loved it a few months ago. The story is about how Queen Celeste wants to change the abandoned railway station into a museum to house all their collected art . The museum itself looks just like the Musee D’Orsay in Paris and the story also explains art for children.
Museum 123 by The Metropolitan Museum Of Art is another simple but beautiful counting book. What I love about this book is that the number is not on the same page as the onbjects/images the child is being asked to count. Instead a simple question of how many is followed by a painting with the objects, and the next page has a large number. My son loved counting then flipping the page exclaiming “I knew it , I said that number I was right!” My only complaint is that it only went to 10!
SQUEAKING OF ART, The Mice Go to the Museum by Monica Wellington is a fun book to read before and even more fun to read after a visit to a museum. This book follows a group of mice that all explore the museum, and the art on its walls. Each page is a different theme and the text is a dialogue between the mice and their Cat guide about the art displayed. The art itself are the author illustrator’s versions of art you will probably recognize. There are multiple paintings on each page and if you are like me and like to quiz yourself on your ability to name the painting and artist this book is for you. There is a guide at the end of the book for every page. I think I like this book even more than my son for that reason. My son likes it because he can recognize some paintings, but thy are redone in bright vibrant colors and have a more cartoon look, which I think appeals to my son even more than the originals. When we “read” this book we often skip the text and simple look and explore the art. No matter how you read it this is a fine addition to any library for those who love fine art.