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

Salt Drawings

Materials: chipboard or cardboard (I use the back of art paper pads), chalk pastels, white glue, salt, liquid droppers, liquid watercolors, cups or muffin/paint tray

  1. color chip board with chalk pastels, just to add background color!  could plan something fancy like using only cool colors with chalk and warm with watercolors, but I just let them choose from all
  2. drip glue designs (older kids could make shapes/pictures) on chip board
  3. sprinkle salt all over glue, then shake excess in trash
  4. drip liquid watercolors carefully onto salt, and watch it spread along the salt trail magically 🙂

Hot Air Balloons

So, I’m obsessed with the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.  My husband and I went in October (book yourself a ticket for next year ASAP), and absolutely loved it- the festival, and New Mexico in general.  We also went to Ghost Ranch, where Georgia O’Keeffe visited and painted (and eventually bought a home near), so stay tuned for a few O’Keeffe-inspired lessons too.  Here is a paper mache hot air balloon lesson, complete with pics from our trip to show your students!  I can’t figure out how to upload a video I created, so contact me through my site if you’d like me to send it to you (it shows the balloons in action, being inflated, and landing).

Materials

bowl, water, flour, balloon, tempera paint, (I love these, especially if you can find the neon colors!), newspaper or recycled copy paper, string, berry basket (I bought these), OPTIONAL–> masking tape, cup, fishing wire, brad

  1. mix flour and water in a bowl- I have never measured this and it has always worked (sorry!), but it’s aboouut 1 tablespoon of flour to 1/2 cup of water
  2. cut papers into about one inch strips (can be any length, for little hands I wouldn’t do larger than 12 inches)
  3. blow up balloon as big as you want! and if you need to keep it still and from rolling, tape it to a disposable (or not) cup or bowl as a stand
  4. dip a strip into the mixture, scoot extra mixture down off of strip so that it drips back into bowl, and drape the wet strip onto the balloon
  5. repeat until the whole balloon is covered (maybe even twice, definitely some parts overlapping)
  6. let it dry! should take about 8 hours or overnight
  7. paint, and let that dry
  8. attach the basket – I wrapped the string around masking tape, taped that inside the ballon, then covered the masking tape with duct tape and tied the loose end to the basket
  9. if you want to hang them from the ceiling, you can push a brad through the top and use fishing wire (tied around the brad) so it looks like it’s floating

*Neon tempera paints make this really cute.  You can talk with the children about different designs and patterns ahead of time, using my pictures (scroll down) as inspiration.  Also, when I used newspaper I actually painted them with a coat of white chalk paint so the temperas would have a fresh bright base.  With the white recycled copy paper, there was no need so that saved some time and paint.

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The fiesta lasts a whole week and starts each day with “Dawn Patrol,” where the first balloons take off before sunrise and they GLOW.  It’s … so beautiful.

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My kids loved seeing the different kinds of balloons, as well as learning about the gondolas (the baskets hanging from each balloon).  There is so much you could do with this lesson- the gondolas are hand-woven with wicker so you could also incorporate weaving.

It was wild watching so many trucks just drive through the open field (which was full of festival-goers), unload, ask people to scoot back, and inflate their balloons!  Balloon Fiesta forever!

 

Easy Printmaking

Materials:  plastic baggies cut in half (or other piece of flat plastic), water soluble block printing ink, paint brushes, white paper, brayers

  1. paint a picture or design on the plastic bag with inks
  2. press face-down onto paper
  3. roll over the baggie with a brayer to press ink onto paper, then peel off
  4. repeat to make a “ghost print” or make a new design on a clean baggie and continue printing on the large paper as many times as you’d like!

Imagination Drawings

Materials:  large white paper, bingo daubers or dot markers (the Sunsational brand is much brighter than Do A Dot, and the sponges don’t break as easily), oil pastels, glitter (I really would only use the kind in little shakers and make sure the lid is taped on!), collage papers or foam shapes, plastic gemstones, scissors, glue sticks, white glue, glue brushes, printed black and white pictures of each child’s face

This is inspired by Hatch art studio as seen on Art Bar.  The super-fun prompt is “What does your imagination look like?”  You can have children try and describe what an imagination is, or also ask: If you close your eyes, what do you imagine?  What colors, shapes, or pictures represent your imagination?

  1. decorate the whole white paper – use oil pastels and daubers first so you don’t get glue from collaging and glitter in your dauber sponges
  2. for glitter, paint white glue in a small section, then sprinkle glitter (only on wet glue)- kids can shake extra glue into the trash
  3. try to keep a small section blank around the bottom of the paper for the face, and when the whole paper is ready add glue with the glue stick to the back of the cut-out face and stick on
  4. definitely hang up on a wall 🙂

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

Silly Drawing Tools

Materials:

large paper, plastic forks, toothpicks, masking tape, card/mat/chip board, feathers, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, inks or liquid watercolors, muffin pan paint tray

  1. set out ink trays on each table, along with several drawing tools
  2. to make the pipe cleaner tool, simply bend one in half and wind the ends to keep them together
  3. to make the toothpick tool, connect several toothpicks with masking tape onto a small piece of either cardboard, mat board, or chip board
  4. tape a few feathers to a popsicle stick for the feather tool
  5. draw! (rinse soft tools between colors, and pat plastic and wood tools dry)

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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!