Toy Drawings from Life

Materials: toys, white paper (9×12 or so), colored pencils, black drawing tool such as a china marker

  1. set toys out at each spot along with paper and pencils
  2. model the elements of a drawing as well as drawing one of the toys using those elements (straight line, angled line, curved line, closed dot, opened dot)
  3. call children one by one to choose a toy (have extras in case the last few children don’t like the last available toys)
  4. begin observational drawings of the toys with black pencil, then add color- children can have their toys be sitting on the table like a still life or can include an imagined setting

Easy Sculptures

flower arrangement foam or styrofoam cut in small cubes, pipe cleaners of different colors and lengths, beads, foam paper, scissors

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  1. push a pipe cleaner into the styrofoam- can leave straight, or bend into different types of lines, can also poke the second end into the styrofoam too
  2. decorate with beads
  3. cut shapes from foam paper and push them onto pipe cleaner like a bead
  4. repeat!

These are so simple and the children are really engaged in the process.  Michael’s sells little jewelry boxes and the last time I did this with kids, I cut the foam to fit inside the box for a finished touch.  (I also bought a styrofoam cutter but it is possible to cut with a knife!)

Contact Paper Mural

contact paper, masking tape, windows if you have them handy 😉 , sequins, tissue paper shapes, decorative paper shapes

  1. pre-cut tissue and decorative papers into shapes- I did rectangles, squares, and triangles, and with the decorative papers I also made some circles with a punch
  2. place all items in little bins/bowls on a table (or floor) near the windows (or just spread them all over the table…)
  3. cut contact paper to fit window, and peel open
  4. tape contact paper sticky side out to the window
  5. add beautiful shapes!
  6. seal with either a second piece of contact paper or a piece of clear plastic film (transparency sheet)
  7. trim edges if needed, and send home with kids – for these, I cut each piece in half so each child could take one home

Paper Making

scrap paper of a similar color palette plus light neutrals, blender, warm water, liquid starch (Sta-flo is what I used- I had to order from walmart), large plastic bin, window screens (need to be small enough to lay down flat in your plastic bin, and make sure the edges aren’t sharp- cover with duct tape if so), white felt (cut to similar size as your screens)

  1. pour about a gallon of warm water into the large plastic bin, along with about 1/4 cup of liquid starch (doesn’t have to be exact, and you can even do this without it but the paper won’t be as sturdy – good idea to use starch if you plan to write on the paper)
  2. rip up pieces of paper into small bits (about the size of a quarter or smaller)
  3. make a pile of pieces (my students placed them on a tray)
  4. add bits to blender until about 1/3 full, then fill the rest of the way with warm water and blend until smooth (“paper soup”)- I was using an old blender where the blade is small, secure, and all the way at the bottom, be careful if you use the newer kind that has giant blades that fall right out!
  5. pour this into the large plastic bin and repeat until you have poured 4 or 5 blender-fulls
  6. you are done with the blender- move it out of reach from the kids!
  7. stir up the paper soup with your hands (fun) and then place a window screen into the mixture, swishing the mixture around once it is submerged
  8. gently lift the window screen while holding it parallel to the floor like a lunch tray- the water will fall through and the paper bits will have collected on the screen
  9. flip over onto a piece of felt so that the paper is touching the felt
  10. dry by pressing down onto the screen with a washcloth to soak up excess water
  11. gently lift one side of the screen and tap the back (I used my hand but I am interested to research how professional paper makers do this step) until the paper falls off onto the felt- the edges will be messy but you can cut them later!  no perfect deckle edges here…
  12. let dry over night
  13. use the paper for anything! to write on, to make collages with, to make DIY note cards, to give away, as gift tags, as wrapping paper…let me know if you have more ideas!