Pull an Art Box Out of Your Hat
''I'm so bored. There's nothing to do.''
The-Rainy-Day-It's-Too-Cold-To-Go-Out-Cat-In-The Hat-Blahs. Every year these days arrive, and every year parents and grandparents wish they were more prepared.
Get ready by having a special art box organized and ready to pull out on short notice. For a small investment--about the cost of taking four people to the movies--you can create an art activity box that will jump-start kids' imaginations and creativity and banish the ''blahs.''
Here is a list of supplies and the prices from a local discount store. Some of these items might already be in your home.
- Plastic tub with lid (12 x 17 x 5) - $4.00
- Washable markers - $2.00
- Cup to hold markers - $1.00
- Colored pencils - $2.00
- Pencil sharpener (hand held) - $1.00
- Cup to hold pencils - $1.00
- 500 sheets typing paper - $4.00
- Colored construction paper - $4.00
- 2 pairs children's scissors - $4.00
(one left-handed and one right-handed)
- 1 washable inkpad - $3.00
- 2 glue sticks or school glue - $1.00
- Watercolor set - $4.00
- Two vinyl placemats - $2.00
The key to successful art and craft projects is to give short lessons on how to use and clean up each material. For example, with the glue sticks, show how to turn the tube to a certain level, how to turn it back and how to replace the lid. With school glue, show how to squirt it out, clean the top and twist the top to close. Use school glue in a small dish with cotton swabs for easier application.
Show how to safely use scissors and that they should only be used to cut paper. If you think a child is not ready for scissors, wait to do any cutting projects. Give lessons on how to use an inkpad, watercolors and washable makers. Show how to clean up water spills and how to use vinyl placemats or a tablecloth to define and protect a work area. Be prepared.
Cut typing paper into half sheets, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2, to have a supply for smaller projects. These half sheets are perfect for making cards or small books. Any of Ed Emberly's books, such as Make A World, or the Big Orange Book are great for ideas with step-by-step drawings for books or cards.
Cut colored typing paper into 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch squares to use for origami projects. Used wrapping paper, cut into squares, makes attractive origami and other undertakings. A good web site for origami ideas is www.paperfolding.com.
Save bits of ribbon, stickers, magazines, old wrapping paper and other fancy stuff to add to projects.
Now you have a box that is ready to make fun objects such as:
- Birthday Cards
- Christmas Cards
- Reading Books
- Paper weavings of colored paper or old wrapping paper
- Paper mosaics
- Collages from magazines
Here are some ideas for drawing projects:
- Draw a map of your neighborhood, your house, your room and more
- Draw yourself, your family and your pets
- Do a still-life drawing by grouping three to five items
- Make potato prints with the ink pad
Working with the objects in this box will help break the ''blahs.'' Cut out this article, and keep it in your art box, and while you're at it, add a brownie mix to the box. An art project and a warm brownie seem to make life a little more, well, satisfying.
Next week: Seeing from the Child's Perspective
Kids Talk™ is a column dealing with early childhood development issues written by Maren Stark Schmidt. Mrs. Schmidt founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland.
She has over 25 years experience working with young children and holds teaching credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She is also Creative Director for a video-based reading series for children ages three to six, The Shining Light Reading Series. Contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete Collection of the Shining Light Reading Series Now Available on DVD
Visit www.shininglightreading.com for more information.
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