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?
This post may contain affiliate links.
Just because you can’t “feel” it with your fingertips doesn’t mean an artist can’t create textures with their tool of choice!
We artists have options!
If you’re looking for children’s books about colors, lines, shapes, or patterns options abound. But children’s literature about the element of texture in art is harder to find. Spiky, Slimy, Smooth; What is Texture? by Jane Brockett is a fun place to start! Even if your kids happen to be a bit older picture books like this can be the beginning of some fun discussions. The photographs are beautiful and draw attention to where we see texture everyday!
Actual Texture in Art
Actual texture is the easier concept to discuss with kids. This is what kids know when they reach out and touch that bumpy tissue paper collage, smooth porcelain bowl, or the rough hewn sculpture. They know the texture of these items because their fingers tell them, their eyes confirm.
Wow, so smooth.”
“Ouch, super rough!”
Texture treasure hunt!
After reading about textures it’s a fun transition for kids for them to be able to get up and move about their environment for a “texture treasure hunt.” Demonstrate how to use the side of an unwrapped crayon and a plain white paper to make rubbings of any objects that have an interesting actual texture.
If some time and space allow this texture rubbings can be as large as you want. Kids can consider their placement, overlapping, and composition just as they might in any work of art.
Now, about that implied texture; that’s that all about?
Now, let’s get back to those prints or photos that appear to have a bumpy or rough texture but when touched are smooth. The idea that an artist can imply a texture that is other than the surface on which the artwork is created is a tricky one.
Naming and recreating textures in art- cue the printable!
Here’s where my printable comes in. Allow your child some space. Again, outside is ideal but wherever you are there are bound to be some textures! (They’re everywhere!)
Your little person can write about the name or texture of the object on the left side while attempting to recreate that texture in an artistic manner on the right side.
Use pencils, pen and ink, crayons; take whatever artistic liberties needed to get the point across to your child! If writing is difficult use the left side to do a rubbing of a texture and leave the right side for your child’s interpretation of that same texture!
The focus is NOT on making the kids copy identical replicas of any texture. Really the idea is to draw their attention to the fact that we are surrounded by textures and how they can effect a composition or work of art!
My favorite thing about this lesson is it makes kids stop and really look at some everyday things that might usually get brushed aside for bigger, better, or faster things.
Teaching kids to see and appreciate the beauty in the everyday is one of the best parts of art education.
If you enjoyed this post feel free to pass it along. Share it, pin, tweet it and then come look up these other posts and printables in my Element of Art Series! (Hint; We’re making the printables plus examples of my kid’s own artwork into a book!)