Materials: pencil, paper, chip board or cardboard, wire, masking tape, bowl, water, flour, newspaper or recycled copy paper, tempera or acrylic paint, (I love these, especially if you can find the neon colors!)
- have pictures available of a variety of animals or an ipad/printer for viewing them as children decide which animal to be inspired by (you could also tie this in to a culture or geography-inspired unit and study specific animals)
- draw animal face/head with pencil- think about all the parts of the face and details for each part
- using the cardboard as a base (I cut the pieces into about 5 inch rectangles (you could also do ovals, or U shapes kind of like little shields) crumble newspaper to create the head form and any snout/ears/etc.
- tape the pieces together, and use wire as needed. make sure all is securely taped to your base
- trim any extra cardboard (especially if you have corners sticking out) from the base
- add paper mache (aboouuut 1 tablespoon of flour to 1/2 cup of water) all over the newspaper/wire form by dipping 1 inch (doesn’t need to be exact) strips of copy or newspaper into flour+water mixture, sliding fingers down the strip to get excess water off, and draping+pressing onto the form
- repeat until front, sides, and back of form are covered in paper mache
- when dry, you can add paint
- add a small screw eye to a discrete place near the base so that you can hang the animal flush with the wall
*I also showed the children examples of Abigail Brown’s paper mache animal heads
flower arrangement foam or styrofoam cut in small cubes, pipe cleaners of different colors and lengths, beads, foam paper, scissors
- 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
- decorate with beads
- cut shapes from foam paper and push them onto pipe cleaner like a bead
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!)
cardboard, tempera paint, brushes, palette
- cut cardboard into shapes, and cut notches – at least three per shape (I did this before class but if you are working with older children they could do it on their own)
- paint each shape
- when the first side is dry, flip it over and paint the back
- let dry then use shapes to build!
I found this lesson on Dick Blick, and modified it for my students who are much younger than the lesson’s intended students. I drew the shapes on the metallic paper, and the children used air dry clay instead of styrofoam for the base. You can click over to read the lesson, but since I changed it I will include my supply list here (paper, colored wooden beads, and thick wire from Dick Blick). Check this post for Alexander Calder children’s books.
air dry clay, wire, Twisteez, wooden and plastic beads, metallic paper, white glue, brushes for glue
chipboard and acrylic or tempera paint OR heavy paper like colored cardstock, Twisteez wire, pipe cleaners, stapler
- if using chipboard, let children paint it with a bright color of their choosing- it is for the background…I thought stapling these to a ground might help them not immediately get squashed in backpacks!
- model how to connect two pieces of wire, and also how to make a spiral, a curl, a wavy line, and anything else you can think of!
- make a large oval with a wire piece, and connect the ends
- use wire and pipe cleaners to make parts of the face- I printed pictures of each child so they could lay the parts of their face on top of the photo, then attach the parts to the large oval shape
- try not to cut wire until you have attached it to the overall face shape… or you might end up with tons of pieces of wire that are too small to attach
- staple to background, and don’t hesitate to staple while children work if it helps them
- let them get sidetracked and play with the wire!!
Meet the Artist: Alexander Calder Sandy’s Circus
This project is SO easy but looks cool and counts as sculpture which I am always trying to make sure I do enough of with my students. Sometimes it’s really nice to do simple projects because the children work so hard and need very little help- they feel successful and get really engaged in the process. And I love seeing how they always come up with a clever way to deviate from the original instructions! – not making circles, stacking circles, or laying them down.
cardboard or chip board, white gesso + white paint (optional), strips of colored paper, glue sticks, white glue
- if you want a white background, paint cardboard (or chipboard- I ALWAYS save the backs of pads of drawing/bristol/watercolor papers) with gesso mixed with white paint
- make circles by using a glue stick on edge of one strip of paper, then folding into a circle and holding for about ten seconds- I tell children not to move on to step 3 unless the circle stays glued closed when they let go
- dip circle in white glue (you can pour glue into small plates or small trays) and place on background
- add lots of circles of different sizes and colors!