Printmaking is hands down my favorite art activity. Little kids, big kids, professionals, and non artists can all find something they enjoy in the super varied world of printmaking. It is the least intimidating of art media (at least to me) because no drawing skill is required! It can be as simple as these potato prints; carve, paint, and print!
This printmaking activity is as simple as you want it to be. I’ve seen some super sophisticated art (see book below) that started life as a potato. Your kiddos can be involved at whatever level you are comfortable with. I let my six and eight year old wield their own paring knives and go to town but the carving part can also be done by an adult.
Play dough is a classic first art material. This two ingredient edible play dough improves on the classic simply because it is homemade! And let’s face it store bough play dough already gets stuck in every crevice of your kitchen floor. If things are gonna get a little messy anyways your kids might as well make a memory along the way!
We’ve done lots of recipes for flubber, putty, slime, and play dough at my house. This one for two ingredient edible play dough is a favorite that we have made over and over.
Texture is the feel or consistency of a surface. Making the connection between texture and art ought to be easy. Kids touch everything! Reaching out and touching things is one of the very first ways a child gathers information about their world. Texture is something a child can feel with their sense of touch.
Texture has always been one of the trickier elements to discuss with kids, in my opinion. I can unroll an art print and talk about the texture the artist created with thick oil paints. As a class we can discuss the rough, loose weave of a piece of fabric in a photo. Meanwhile the print and the photo are printed on slick, glossy paper. Huh, what?
When we began homeschooling the idea of planning the entire education for four little people was a little overwhelming. Okay, overwhelming may be an understatement in my case. My public school trained brain was having a hard time believing that one person could be in charge of such an undertaking. I set off in search of a “homeschool plan” that was achievable and would give my kids what they needed.
Anyone that homeschools or has thought about it for half a second know that the resources available to homeschoolers today are amazing. As in a person could read about pedagogy, philosophy, planning, and encouragement just for homeschoolers for literally hundreds of hours and not even touch the surface of what’s available.
(I surely didn’t do this. It was, ahem, a friend.)
No matter how much you read it’s hard to know just how homeschooling is going to work in your home until you jump off the cliff and try it. I was willing and excited about spending hours teaching and learning with my kids. However, spending my evenings and weekends planning and strategizing the following days lessons was not so appealing.
Lines are basic. Lines are easy. Even people that think that they cannot draw are known to say they can only draw stick figures; which are of course lines! Line is an essential element of art and a great place to start with kids, no matter their age, because it is so unintimidating. Pointing out the element of line in art is an easy place to start!
As kid get older art can be intimidating. Making art can be something that makes kids clam up with an instant “I can’t.” I love introducing the elements of art to kids because it gives them an easy place to start. Everyone can draw a line, then another line, then a different kind of line. Before they know it they are making all kinds of marks; which is a great beginning to making art!
After being able to draw lines comes the next best thing about introducing line in art. And that’s being able to talk about art. Being able to identify a single element like line or color gives kids of any age a place to start when they look at art!
Paper marbling is an art that has been around for centuries. Years ago there were fancy chemical cocktails and extensive processes to get those beautiful colors to float on a medium, swirl together, and then stick to paper. Today were going to explore the ancient art of paper marbling and you’re not even going to have to open your craft cupboard.
Okay, you may have to dig in your pantry and your medicine cabinet, but you’ve got it all! I promise!)
Not only is this a project that has that “ah-ha” bit of magic to the process it also drives home an essential element of art; color! (Click here to see my free elements of art printable and my free color wheel printable!) This paper marbling uses cheapie liquid food coloring. Food coloring comes in only the basic colors. Ours came in the primary colors (red, yellow, & blue) plus a green thrown in!
Depending on what colors you supply the kids with this can be an excellent intro into color mixing, primary colors, and secondary colors.
Color. It doesn’t get any more basic than that, right? Identifying colors is one of the first things we teach our little ones. Some of the first sight words learned are the color words. Color is a language even the smallest people understand. This free printable color wheel is a natural place to start.
We’ve been homeschoolers for almost two years. We’re no longer trying this lifestyle on for size. It’s a thing at our house.
I finally feel confident that I’ve got this teacher mama gig covered. My kids are learning and growing. We are adjusting to life outside of the constricts of the public school system. (All this freedom can make you a bit loopy.)
When we left school I felt a certain amount of trepidation that that I had bit off more than I could chew. Maybe a side of anxiety was thrown in that my kids might miss out on some experience that was crucial to their childhood.
Such is parenting that just as I begin to feel at peace about these issues a new one pops up.