Inspired by Helen Frankenthaler

These turned out SO well- it was hard to send them home with the kids because I wanted to keep them all for myself!  First, we looked at pictures of Frankenthaler’s paintings and talked about how she made them and what they reminded us of.  The pouring step was inspired by Frankenthaler’s process, and the hammering was an added touch that was an idea from Purple Twig.

muslin, liquid watercolors in condiment cups, sponge brushes, plastic placemats or wax paper taped to table, hammers, flowers and leaves, dowels, sewing machine with white thread, white yarn

  1. cut muslin into about 10×20 inch pieces
  2. cover table with paper to soak up extra paint once pouring starts
  3. pour *a little* paint at a time on the fabric, and spread it around with a sponge brush
  4. let that dry, or leave empty spots that are dry for the hammering step
  5. place plastic or wax paper (anything that does not allow the pigment from leaves/flowers to soak into it) on the table (or floor- wherever kids can hammer without ruining the surface)
  6. place painted and dried muslin on plastic
  7. place a leaf or flower under muslin wherever you want the color to be smashed (with leaves- lay them flat if you want the leaf shape, or bunch them up to make it easier to squish color out)
  8. hammer! I did this with 4 and 5 year olds and they did great- I had them hold the hammer right at the top so they would have more control and be safer
  9. throw away the smashed leaf/flower
  10. repeat steps 7-9
  11. sew the top of the banner so that the dowel can slide in
  12. tie a small piece of yarn to the dowel for a hanger…we didn’t have time but kids could also decorate the hanger with beads

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Garden Collages

This lesson is from Purple Twig so click over to read the original post. The children loved working on this and I was happy that they could try both painting and collaging and end up with one beautiful picture. We talked about radishes, turnips, onions, potatoes, beets, and carrots, and it was helpful to have our school vegetable garden right outside the window! Lots of possibilities for integrating gardening themes!

Here are a few of my favorite children’s books about gardening: The Curious GardenA Seed Is SleepyAnd Then It’s Spring