Kinesthetic Painting

Kinesthetic Painting

Dadaism and Surrealism were art eras during which traditional ideas about art were challenged, yet the artwork artists generated during these movements was still considered representational art. You could see what the art was and what materials were used. Many artists used random objects and recyclables. When abstract expressionism followed, it challenged traditional methods and techniques of art-making. The artists described as abstract expressionists seemed to be more free, and the art they created wasn’t always representational. In fact, many abstract paintings looked nothing like their titles.

One of the better known types of abstract painting is a method that uses the whole body to paint. Introduce your preschooler to abstract art with this activity that will have her splatter, drip, and drizzle to create a complex painting. This activity is the perfect way to engage your kinesthetic learner and spark her interest in art history!

What You Need:

  • Large canvas or poster board
  • Acrylic paint (or tempera if you’re worried about stains)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Plastic spoons
  • Popsicle sticks

What You Do:

  1. Explain to your preschooler that throughout history, there have been many different movements and styles of painting that were popular. Discuss how Dadaism and Surrealism were uniquely radical and how these two movements led to Abstract Expressionism. A good way to start the discussion is by showing your child some samples of artwork from these eras.
  2. As she looks at the art samples, have her express her opinions on the artwork. Then discuss how she will be making an abstract piece of artwork that involves applying paint by splattering and using various body movements to create unexpected designs on the canvas.
  3. Lay the canvas on the floor. Have her stand over the canvas and apply paint by splattering, dripping, and drizzling paint on it. Go over how in order to apply paint, she doesn’t have to actually touch the canvas with the paintbrush, spoon, or popsicle sticks.
  4. Encourage her to experiment with her body movements. Is she able to get more paint on the canvas if she stands over it and flings the paint? How about if she squats down closer to the canvas?
  5. Ask her to tell you more about her painting and what she thinks about the abstract art she’s creating.

Helpful Tip: This method is very fun, but very messy. Remember to provide an appropriate work area so there’s no need to impose limitations.

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Hand print Angel

Hand print Angel

This hand print angel adds some sparkle to Christmas. This hand print angel is turns your child’s hand prints into beautiful angel wings. This homemade hand print angel makes a beautiful cover for a Christmas card, or as a special piece of art for Mom and Dad!

What You Need:

  • Pink construction paper
  • Blue construction paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • White paint
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Metallic pipe cleaners
  • Glue
  • Newspaper
  • Plate

What You Do:

  1. Help your child pour a small amount of white paint onto a plate.
  2. Have her dip her hand into the paint before making a practice hand print “stamp” on a sheet of newspaper.
  3. When she’s confident with her hand print stamps, have her carefully make two stamps in the center of the blue paper. Each hand print’s fingers should be pointed out — just like angel wings.
  4. Let your child cut out a large triangle from a sheet of aluminum foil. This shiny piece will be her angel’s body.
  5. Have her glue the triangle, shiny side up, on top of the wings.
  6. Let her cut a circle from the pink construction paper to be her angel’s head.
  7. Then have her glue the pink circle to the top of the foil triangle.
  8. Time to make the angel’s halo! Help your child curve a metallic pipe cleaner into an oval or circle shape.
  9. Let her glue the halo on top of the angel’s head.
  10. To complete her angel, have her use markers to draw in the angel’s face.

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Holiday Place Cards

Holiday Place Cards

For many, green holly leaves and bright red berries are symbolic of Christmas. Here’s a useful craft that your kids can make to bring a touch of classic holly to your holiday table. These simple yet stylish place cards will make guests smile, and make fun conversation starters at dinner. And the best news? Young hands hone fine motor skills in a multitude of ways, including tracing and cutting holly leaf shapes, and taping, gluing, and writing guest’s names in their best printing. This is a great activity for older children to do with younger siblings, too!

What You Need:

  • Plain paper
  • Pencil
  • Green card stock
  • Red craft foam, felt or card stock; or, mini red pom-poms
  • Glitter glue in silver and gold
  • Toilet paper tube, cut down to 1 3/8” to 1 ½” wide pieces
  • Transparent tape
  • Red tissue paper or gift-wrap
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Black felt tip pen

What You Do:

  1. Prepare templates ahead of time. Simply draw and cut holly shapes onto a plain piece of paper and ask your child to trace them onto the green card stock with a pencil. Your child will need two leaves per place card.
  2. Have your child cut the shapes out. Holly can be tricky for small hands to cut out but the good thing is that they are very forgiving, so don’t be concerned with having your child do it perfectly.
  3. Lay one leaf over another so that they overlap or fan out slightly.
  4. Help your child glue the two into place.
  5. While the leaves dry, have your child punch holes in the red craft foam, felt or card stock. These will be the berries. Ask her to make three berries per pair of leaves.
  6. Glue three of the berries onto each pair of leaves. Or, if you are using mini pom-poms, apply a dot of glue underneath the center of all three of them and adhere them to the pair of leaves.
  7. Have your child trace around the outer edge of the leaves with glitter glue.
  8. Repeat with the rest of the place cards and set them aside to dry for several hours, or until the glitter glue is completely dry.
  9. While those are drying, ask your child to work on covering the toilet paper tubes. Have her roll each tube in red tissue paper and tuck the sides inside the tube. A small piece of tape on either side will keep the tissue ends secure inside the tube. To make it a little bit fancier, wrap the tubes in shiny red gift wrap. It helps to pre-measure and cut the tissue paper or gift wrap to fit the toilet paper rolls so that the child can focus on wrapping and taping them.
  10. Help your child practice the alphabet by asking her to print each guest’s name onto the place cards with a felt tip pen. Encourage her to sound out the letters, but if she needs a little help, say the letters out loud while she writes them down.
  11. Glue each place card onto the back of a wrapped toilet paper ring. Set the tubes down so that the glue can set without the leaves sliding around. After a couple of hours, your child can set the table with the gorgeous new place cards! Gently tuck a festive napkin through the tube and set it atop the dinnerware, or simply rest the place cards in front of each place setting. Either way, they will make a splash with your holiday guests!

Did You Know?

Significant meaning was attributed to this beautiful berry-producing plant throughout the ages. The Druids believed that holly possessed magical powers that could ward off evil spirits and misfortune. Romans associated holly with Saturn, the god of agriculture and harvest, and hung boughs of holly during the Saturnalia festival for good luck. Christians adopted the tradition of decorating with holly during Christmas, but used it to symbolize their religious beliefs. The prickly holly leaves symbolized the crown of thorns that were placed on Jesus’ head prior to his crucifixion, and the berries represented the blood that was shed when he died.

 

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Easy Puzzles for Kids

Easy Puzzles for Kids

Puzzles are lots of fun, but they can be a tricky toy to master. This activity is a great introduction for kids who aren’t quite ready for the real puzzles yet. You’ll make your own puzzles out of sponges, and then you’ll make outlines for each puzzle you create. Your child will be able to start off using the outline to put the puzzles together, and after she gets the hang of it, she’ll be able to do them all on her own!

What You Need:

  • Sponges
  • Card stock
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Marker

What You Do:

  1. Outline shapes on the sponges. Be sure to create a variety of basic shapes. Squares, triangles, and rectangles all work well.
  2. Carefully cut out the shapes.
  3. Arrange the shapes so that they create a design or picture or some sort.
  4. Transfer the arrangement to the piece of card stock. Then, use a pencil to lightly outline the shapes on the card stock. The card stock is the puzzle base and will serve as a reference for your child.
  5. Retrace the pencil marks with a thick black marker, using a ruler where needed.
  6. Give your child the sponge puzzles and the guides, and encourage her to fit the shapes together to complete her puzzle.

Once she’s gotten the hang of it, challenge her to put the puzzles together without the guides. This is her first step towards doing real puzzles on her own!

 

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Finger paint Christmas Cards

Finger paint Christmas Cards

It’s fun to receive photos of friends and family at the holidays, but it’s even more fun to receive a card that someone actually made. These homemade thumb print cards are as personalized as it gets, and your child will love using his prints to make holiday magic!

I used to do this for my Mother’s Day project when I was in my classroom. The kids would make a set of stationery for their moms. There’s a book out there that shows all of the different things they can draw from a thumb print. We would wrap it beautifully and give it to their mommies! Of course with all of the technology nowadays, I always had to explain to the kids what stationery is! Lol!

What You Need:

  • Plain white cards with matching envelopes (or white paper folded in half)
  • Non-toxic ink pads (in blue, green and brown colors, if possible)
  • Colored markers

What You Do:

  1. To make snowmen: have your child dip his thumb in the ink, then press it to the front of the card. Repeat with his pointer finger, pressing directly above the thumb print. Finish with the pink, pressing directly above the pointer finger. Use the magic markers to draw in a red scarf, a small hat, and arms. Write holiday message beneath.
  2. To make reindeer: have your child dip her thumb in brown ink and make a thumb print on the page. Draw two brown antlers above it, two dark eyes and a red nose.
  3. To make a Christmas tree: have him dip his pointed finger in green ink and make prints on the paper in a triangle shape. Dip his whole thumb in brown ink, then press the whole thumb directly below the triangle. Decorate with different colored dots to look like ornaments, a star at the top, and presents beneath.

Not only will these handmade cards make the holidays brighter for friends and relatives, your preschooler will also be practicing fine-motor skills and coordination, which form the foundation for writing!

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Learn Shapes with a Santa Collage

Learn Shapes with a Santa Collage

Shape recognition is a basic math skill that will greatly benefit your child as she moves into the kindergarten classroom. Disguise a lesson focused on these important shapes as a special holiday art project, and she won’t even realize she’s learning! This shape collage featuring St. Nick himself is a simple (yet educational) art activity that will encourage your young child to identify shapes, explore the part to whole relationship, and experiment with an artistic process!

What You Need:

  • Construction paper in holiday colors (red, green, etc.)
  • Pencil or crayon
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Cotton balls

What You Do:

  1. Create shape templates for your child. Include a circle for Santa’s head, a square for his body, a triangle for his hat, and thin rectangles for his arms and legs. Before beginning this art activity, help your child identify each shape by name.
  2. Ask your child to trace your shapes onto her own paper using a pencil or crayon.
  3. Help your child cut the shapes out using children’s scissors.
  4. Invite her to arrange the shapes onto a separate sheet of paper in the form of Santa’s body. Explain that this part of the project is similar to putting together a puzzle; she will need to mix and match the different shapes together to create his body!
  5. When she has the body parts arranged correctly, she can gently lift up each shape and glue it to the paper.
  6. Invite your child to use markers to create eyes, a nose, a mouth, and buttons for Santa’s suit. Have her glue cotton balls onto Santa’s face for the beard and on top of his hat.

After completing this activity, encourage your child to continue building her shape recognition skills! Introduce more shapes such as ovals and octagons, and challenge her to create new and different collages with them.

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Christmas Cones

Christmas Cones

Get your child into the spirit of sharing by making these treat cones for loved ones. You’ll get to reuse those beloved old Christmas cards  by filling them with candies and toys, and turn them into something to enjoy for years. This activity is a great twist on the traditional Christmas stocking, and lets the family build a tradition and practice their crafting skills together.

What You Need:

  • Old greeting cards
  • Template pattern
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn

What You Do:

  1. Help your child print out the template, and tape it onto an old greeting card.
  2. Now he can cut along the dashed lines, and then crease it along the solid lines.
  3. If the template is still taped to the card, remove it, and squeeze some glue onto the tab.
  4. Fold in the sides of the cone and hold it closed until the glue on the tab dries. The easiest way to do this is to press the cone against a table top.
  5. Have your child punch a hole into the top of the cone and thread a piece of yarn through.
  6. Tie off the yarn to create a loop to hang the cone.
  7. Fill the cones with candy or popcorn, and hang them from a tree or hook until they’re ready to give away.

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Make a Paper Plate Reindeer

Make a Paper Plate Reindeer

A popular way to measure and treasure your child’s physical growth is by making hand prints as keepsakes. This activity spotlights everyone’s favorite reindeer, Rudolph, and preserves your child’s hand prints in his “antlers”. While embarking upon this nifty winter project, your child will utilize manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination and hand/wrist flexibility.

What You Need:

  • Small paper plate
  • Large paper plate
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • Paint sponge or wide brush
  • Large red pom-pom, 1 ½”
  • Brown craft foam
  • Tan craft foam or felt
  • Pair of googly eyes
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Pen
  • Hole punch
  • Ribbon or yarn
  • Low temperature glue gun

What You Do:

  1. Start by asking your child to paint both plates with a coat of brown paint. Set them aside to dry for a couple of hours.
  2. Meanwhile, make the reindeer’s antlers. Trace your child’s left and right hands twice on brown craft foam.
  3. Ask your child to carefully cut both pairs of hand prints out.
  4. Next, ask your child to draw two ears on the tan craft foam or felt and cut them out. Those will be the inner section of the reindeer’s ears.
  5. Using the tan cutouts as a guideline, your child can make a larger set by drawing around those shapes about half an inch wider all the way around. Have him cut those out and set them aside.
  6. When the paint is dry, ask your youngster to glue the googly eyes onto the large plate.
  7. Then, instruct him to glue the red pom-pom onto the smaller plate as shown.
  8. Now it’s time to add the antlers. Have your child glue one antler to another and then to the back of the large plate using hot glue. Each side should have two pairs of adorable hand print antlers.
  9. Add the ears to the rim of the large plate with a dot of hot glue.
  10. Glue the tan pieces onto the brown pieces with another dot of hot glue.
  11. Assist your child in punching two holes at the top of the plate and thread ribbon or yarn through the holes and tie a knot.
  12. Pick a place in the house where your new reindeer can be prominently hung and displayed for all to enjoy!

Did You Know?

Unlike other species of deer, both male and female reindeer have antlers. They shed their antlers during the winter because doing so enables them to better camouflage themselves and avoid predators such as wolves, coyote and bears.

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Glass Candy Ornaments

Glass Candy Ornaments

Glass candy ornaments are easy to make and fun for kids. Using cookie cutters and a little help from an adult, youngsters can turn hard candies into faux glass candy ornaments for the holidays. Watch the candies melt before your very eyes in the over, and then harden as they cool! This activity will allow your child to demonstrate her ability to follow instructions, use her fine motor skills, and show off her creativity. It can also be a fun introduction to using the kitchen. Make a batch of glass candy ornaments with your child this holiday season.

This kinda runs along the lines as window-pane cookies. Take sugar cookies and cut a shaped hole out of the middle (a window) and place on wax paper covered sheet. Cook the cookies until half done. Take crushed, translucent candies and sprinkle into window to fill. Finish baking cookies. Let cool. Now cookies will have a colored “stain glass” window in the middle of them.

What You Need:

  • Assorted hard candies, like Jolly Ranchers
  • Sprinkles or other decorations
  • Cookie cutters or silicon candy molds
  • Baking sheet
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Chopstick
  • Aluminum foil
  • Ribbon

What You Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Help your child spray the cookie cutters with nonstick spray.
  3. If using cookie cutters, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay the cookie cutters on top, then have your child place a few candies into the cookie cutters in a single layer. A silicon candy mold works well too, and all you have to do is place the candies inside each mold.
  4. Put the cookie cutters in the oven and bake for approximately 8-10 minutes or until the candy is fully melted. Carefully remove from the oven.
  5. Your child can drop a few sprinkles on top as decoration, then let them cool for a few minutes so they are slightly hardened.
  6. When the candy is still a little soft, insert the tapered end of s chopstick into each candy to create a hole for the ribbon.
  7. Let the candy shapes cool completely, then carefully remove them from the cookie cutters or molds.
  8. Now thread a ribbon through the hole to create an ornament.

Place these tasty and beautiful ornament on a tree, hang them in a window, or suspend them from the ceiling for a breathtaking holiday display.

Note:It seemed to work better if we took metal cookie cutters sprayed them with lots of cooking oil then filled and melted. I put mine outside for a couple min to freeze them and they came right out turned out beautiful.

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Christmas Stencils

Christmas Stencils

Christmas stencils let your preschooler make his mark on the holiday. Recycle old Christmas cards by using a craft knife to cut out basic Christmas shapes—candy canes, holly, and trees—to make festive Christmas stencils. Let your preschooler use the card as a Christmas stencil to create her own festive thank you notes made just for the holiday season! Crafting these Christmas stencils is a fun way to reuse old materials, work on important fine motor skills, and teach your child to say “thank you!”

What You Need:

  • Christmas cards
  • Craft knife
  • Blank greeting cards or card stock
  • Crayons

What You Do:

  1. Have your child choose one or more Christmas cards with simple designs that will be recognizable in the silhouette.
  2. Ask her to help you draw some recognizable holiday shapes on each card.
  3. Place a cutting board or thick section of newspaper on your table to use as a cutting surface. Make cuts around the outline of each shape by drawing the knife toward you—this will make for a steadier, straighter, cut. Stop and turn the work surface and card as needed to cut out the appropriate shape.
  4. Give the stencil(s) to your child. If your child has never used a stencil before, show her how to hold the stencil steady with her non-dominant hand while tracing the shape with a crayon held in her dominant hand. If necessary, practice on scrap paper first!
  5. Encourage your child to decorate the cards in a variety of ways, tracing just the outline or coloring the shape in entirely.
  6. Help your child write her “thank you,” and the card is ready to send to a lucky friend or relative!
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