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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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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Make Beaded Candy Cane Ornaments

Make Beaded Candy Cane Ornaments

Candy cane ornaments bring some cheer to your Christmas tree. Decorate your Christmas tree with beaded candy cane ornaments made by your child. This simple but rewarding activity teaches your child an AB pattern which is taught in kindergarten and essential for learning number patterns. Her fine motor skills will get some good practice as well. Make enough for relatives and friends or attach them to holiday gifts! Make a batch of candy cane ornaments with your child this holiday season.

What You Need:

  • Red and white beads with big holes
  • Red, white, or metallic pipe cleaners

What You Do:

  1. Twist a “knot” at the end of a pipe cleaner.
  2. Ask your child what colors are on a candy cane. Tell her she will make a red and white bead pattern on the pipe cleaner. Red, white, red, white…
  3. Have her stack red and white beads on the pipe cleaner. If it helps, repeat the pattern with her as she stacks. Say “red” as she adds a red bead and “white” as she stacks a white one.
  4. When finished, twist the end again so the beads stay on. Ask the artist to bend the pipe cleaner to form a candy cane shape.
  5. Hang it on your tree! Your child can make as many as she’d like to add to the tree or give as gifts.

For extra practice, ask her to count the beads on one of the candy canes or to count the candy canes on the tree. After all this hard work, share a real candy cane with your child!

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Wreath Ornament

Wreath Ornament

Wreath ornaments decorate your Christmas tree and act as a fun sensory craft for preschoolers. There’s nothing quite as special as a holiday wreath ornament made by the little hands of a child. This charming craft will give kids a chance to work out his wiggles as they mix and knead dough. They’ll also practice following directions and shape recognition, skills that are essential as they enter kindergarten and beyond. When the project is done, you’ll both have a unique ornament to treasure for many holiday seasons to come. Make wreath ornaments with your child this holiday season.

What You Need:

  • ¼ cup uncooked white rice
  • Plastic bowl
  • White glue
  • Green food coloring
  • Yogurt lid or a similar round object to use as a mold
  • Paper clip
  • Red ribbon

What You Do:

  1.  First, help your child mix the dough for the ornament. Set the rice in a plastic bowl and have him pour the glue in with the rice until the rice is completely coated. The glue should make the rice clump together and form a thick, textured dough.
  2. Have him add a few drops of green food coloring. Let him mix the color into the dough by working it with his hands. Encourage him to describe what it feels like. Is it sticky or slimy? Squishy or hard? This is a fun sensory activity in itself!
  3. Using a yogurt lid as a mold, have him press the dough inside the lid, leaving a hole in the middle. This will be the wreath. Talk to him about the shape of the wreath. What other things are circular? How many circular objects can you see in the room?
  4. Bend a paper clip into a hook shape. Then, help him press the paper clip into the dough while it is still wet. This will allow you to easily hang the wreath when it’s dry.
  5. Let the dough dry overnight.
  6. When the dough has completely hardened, help him peel the lid from the wreath. Tie a red ribbon to the hook and you have a beautiful holiday ornament!

If he wants to make more wreath ornaments, try decorating them with different colored ribbons or giving them away as gifts!

Note:When my son was  4 years old also did not like this craft, in fact I ended up finishing it after he got upset about the glue and rice sticking to his hands. I found it to be too sticky, and I even added twice the rice. It was almost impossible for him to try to shape it in to a wreath, as most of the glue and rice was sticking to him. We even tried a cookie cutter and he liked that better. After about 10 minutes, I was able to shape them correctly without too much sticking to me. Maybe a child who isn’t so sensitive to things sticking to him would enjoy this better.

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Lace a Jack-‘o-Lantern

Lace a Jack-‘o-Lantern

Usually, Halloween pumpkins are painted, or carved…but not this time! Have your kid create a jack-‘o-lantern fiber arts project in which he’ll lace sheets of paper together to create a three dimensional stuffed pumpkin. It’s a great fine motor workout and the finished pumpkin makes for a great Halloween decoration.

What You Need:

  • Construction paper (orange and yellow)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Hole punch
  • Cotton balls
  • Yarn
  • Glue stick
  • Tape

What You Do:

  1. Stack two sheets of orange construction paper on top of one another and instruct your child to draw the largest pumpkin he can on the top sheet. Encourage him to fill the page and include a stem at the top of the pumpkin.
  2. Keeping the sheets of paper stacked, ask him to cut along the lines of the drawn pumpkin, cutting through both sheets of paper at the same time. (Help him hold the paper together so the bottom sheet doesn’t slip while he’s cutting.)
  3. Help him hole punch around the pumpkin. Make sure to leave a fingers-width between every hole so there’s enough space to sew. Move the top pumpkin shape to the side.
  4. Encourage him to fluff out several cotton balls and glue them down on the bottom pumpkin shape.
  5. Position the top pumpkin shape on top of the cotton. The stems on both pumpkins should be facing the same way. Help thread the yarn through the top hole to the right of the stem and tape the end of it on the back of the pumpkin.
  6. Have him thread the yarn through all of the holes. Tape the final piece of yarn to the back of the pumpkin.
  7. Ask him to draw the jack-‘o-lantern face on the yellow construction paper. Cut out the shapes and glue them to the front of the stuffed pumpkin.
  8. Now, he can share his stuffed pumpkin by hanging it in the window, or propping it up anywhere else that needs and added touch of Halloween spook.

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Cardboard Bugs

Cardboard Bugs

Reuse and recycle cardboard tubes to make spooky spiders, kooky caterpillars, wacky worms, and more. Treat your budding entomologist to this sculptural science activity that will allow him to research insects, arachnids, and other creepy crawlies. Turn this artful insect into a Halloween themed decoration, and display his unique buggy creations during a family holiday party or for trick-or-treaters to enjoy!

The Cardboard Tube Critter activity will help your child to learn about the wonderful world of bugs as he also focuses on simple elements of art. He’ll explore three dimensional form, color, texture, and pattern during this exciting art project. Encourage imaginative thought and creative problem solving skills as he designs and constructs his very own sculptural critter.

What You Need:

  • Cardboard tube
  • Pom poms
  • Clear drying, non-toxic school glue
  • Tempera paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Sequins
  • Modeling clay (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Research insects. Find a variety of non-fiction books to look at, or search the web for useful insect information. Make sure to view multiple pictures and photographs of bugs. Ask your child to talk about what he sees. How many legs does a spider have? What do a fly’s eyes look like? What color is a grass hopper?
  2. Decide on one bug to start with. Ask your child to think about the body parts that are needed. Is there a head, thorax, and abdomen? How many legs are there? Does this bug have wings, antennae, or other special features?
  3. Have your child paint the cardboard tube a base color. For example, if he is creating a grasshopper the tube should be green, a spider might be brown or black, and a lady bug could be red.
  4. After the paint has dried, he can begin adding details. Use a large pom pom and glue to create a head. Eyes can be made with sequins and glue. Use additional pom poms for other body parts. If he is making a bug such as a caterpillar, he may want to add multiple pom poms in a row.
  5. Create antennas and legs by gluing on cut pieces of pipe cleaner. If you notice the pipe cleaner falling off, first attach a small piece of modeling clay to the tube with glue. Press the end of the pipe cleaner in to stabilize it. Alternatively, you can press the pipe cleaner through the tube or cut a small hole to fit.
  6. Add wings and other features with cut tissue paper and glue.
  7. Set aside to dry.

Display as a creepy crawly Halloween decoration!

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Scary Hand Halloween Decoration

Scary Hand Halloween Decoration

Halloween wouldn’t be complete without a creepy paper hand with spider and eyeball rings to help decorate a haunted house! Create your very own scary hand complete with glittery veins and creepy nails.

What You Need:

  • Black, green, white, orange construction paper: 8.5” x 11” each
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue stick
  • Glitter Glue (Red)
  • Red marker
  • Small black pompoms

What You Do:

  1. Have your child trace his hand on black paper. He can elongate the fingers and make them uneven to create a more spooky effect. Cut out the hand.
  2. Cut out triangles from the green paper for the fingernails. Glue each triangle down as they are cut out. To make them more fingernail-like, cut the bottom of the triangle into a slight curve to make a cone shape.
  3. Cut a circle out of the white paper for the eyeball. Glue it to the hand. Cut a smaller circle out of the blue paper and glue it in the center of the white circle. Glue a black pompom right in the middle of the blue circle to finish the eyeball.
  4. Draw a spider shape on orange paper. It will need to be small enough to fit on a finger and large enough so the legs can be cut out. Draw the legs in two parts (a “V” shape). Cut the spider shape out, carefully cutting around the legs. Fold the legs at the joint of the “V” for a 3D effect. Glue the spider on a finger.
  5. Glue two small pompoms for eyes onto the spider.
  6. Draw glitter veins on the hand using red glitter glue.
  7. Add a piece of ripped green construction paper at the bottom of the wrist to finish off the ghoulish hand!

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Hand print Spider

Hand print Spider

All your preschooler needs to create a personalized Halloween memento is her two hands and some black paint. Spend a crisp autumn afternoon making hand print spiders with your little one. You’ll develop your child’s number sense while she enjoys the feel of slippery paint between her fingers.

What You Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Black paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Yarn
  • Google eyes (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Help your preschooler paint her palms and fingers with black paint. Do not put paint on her thumbs.
  2. Let her press her painted hands on the paper with her fingers spread apart and the base of her palms touching. The hand prints will look like a spider with eight legs.
  3. Help her count the number of legs on the spider. How many legs does her spider have? How many legs do real spiders have? If insects only have six legs, can a spider be an insect?
  4. Help her glue google eyes or use crayons to color eyes at the top of the hand print spider.
  5. Use yarn to make a web for her spider. Help her make concentric circles of glue around the spider. Cut pieces of yarn and let her press the yarn on to the circles of glue. Help her glue lines across the circles, creating a web design. Cut yarn pieces and let her press them to the lines of glue. The final product is a sweet spider and web, commemorating your little one’s hands this Halloween season.

Take a morning walk and go on a “spider web hunt.” Spider webs look especially amazing when covered with morning dew. Talk to your preschooler about the web and its purpose. Isn’t it clever of the spider to build a web to catch breakfast? Look for the circles in the web and talk about the shape. How many circles can your preschooler count in the web?

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