Monday, August 27, 2012

Art vs Craft

I get so frustrated with prescribed art and craft activities for children. Recently at a local group the children were presented with photocopied ladybirds, and each child was given four black dots, two googly eyes and two antenes. This kind of activity seems pointless to me- really it's just busy work.  The leader was confronted when Finn declared he didn't want to make a ladybird but wanted to make a lion, but I was beaming at him with pride.

It is so easy to give children a variety of materials in different colours and textures and from there, the children can decide where their project goes. Even choosing what materials from they use from the selection is a creative process in itself.

At two Evie loves declaring- "I made it all by myself", rather than someone telling her what she has to do, and how she has to do it. Children should be able to let their projects take them to where-ever their imaginations want them to go. They should be able to tell a story, dream, design or just experiment with textures, colours, glue, tape, clay, pencils and paint.

Not everything has to look like something that adults recognise, sometimes it's just fun to play and create.

Wood Work

Inspired by a lovely book called Beautiful stuff, I thought it was about time I do some woodworking with my children. We do lots of wooden block building, and lego construction at home, but by using a hammer, nails and glue the children could plan and build a more permanent three dimensional objects with wood. Finn decided on making Batman's house with a secret bookshelf that reveals his Bat Cave.

We found some scraps and offcuts of wood and I bought them a little 'tack hammer' from a hardware shop (light enough for small hands to use) and some PVA wood glue.

I gave Finn a selection of nails, and thumb tacks so he could practice using the hammer.

He then pasted on the glue and left in the sun to dry.  In the next few days he may want to come back and put some more nails into the construction to make it more sturdy and I will give him access to paint if he wants to add detail or colour.

I also had some rubber bands available in a box and Finn enjoyed creating points on his blocks with nails for the rubber bands to stretch across.

In 'Beautiful Stuff' they extend woodwork projects by guiding the children to do observational drawings of their models.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Eyebrows, Ears and Eyes

I have decided not to fight it anymore.. and have let Finn experience the Ben 10 cartoon series like the rest of his preschool buddies. So, there is not so much talk about Robots in our house anymore, but more about superheros and Aliens. With his new keen interest... I took this opportunity to do some guided drawing with him while he was drawing Ben 10 from his pencil case. First he selected all the colours he needed for the image, then set about replicating what he was looking at. Towards the end of his drawing, I prompted him to look and draw smaller details (such as looking closely at the whole eye including the whites, iris and pupil, eyebrows, ears). Children often miss these details when they are first learning to draw, and it is helpful to prompt them to look at all body parts and facial features.

I just love this drawing. The energy and freedom in his lines, and of course the gorgeous expression. We quickly framed it and now it proudly sits on his bedroom wall.