This was so easy and so fun. Students used scrap pieces of cardboard and some yarn to wrap colorful ornaments. Most of the yarn was secured with masking tape (which is hidden in the end) and a very minimal amount of hot glue was used.
Sometimes my daughter, Anna, tries out new projects with me. She used some of her own beads and do-dads to complete this. Seriously, this is easy enough for preschoolers, but fun enough for older kids as well!
For gift giving occasions, my oldest daughter and I have been working together to make my husband art. In these collages, she's in charge of the colors and I'm in charge of the shapes. Working (and actually working) with children to create art together can be a great experience. It teaches cooperation, patience, and negotiation. But it is also important that they have plenty of art time where no one assists or interrupts their flow. Projects like these cannot take place of the specialness of their own art they create by themselves.
Ok, so we start with a digital image (it has only been sports themed so far, but I have some different ideas for the future). She then makes finger-paintings that have all of the colors she sees in it. We talk about how these paintings will be cut into the shapes she sees in the original image. She is less likely to make a schematic picture when she uses her fingers as opposed to a paintbrush. When they are dry, I begin to cut out the small pieces of each color. My daughter and I then have to piece it all back together like a puzzle. And since the later half of the project is mostly my work, my daughter usually works on a secondary picture while I finish up.
I am posting the next couple pics as a very proud mother! My oldest daughter has shown definite signs of progressing from the "scribble" stage to the "pre-schematic" stage of drawing in the last couple of weeks. I was amazed to see her paint her favorite princess with arms, legs, hair, a skirt, and a head! Of course, there is no body! :)
Also, while watching her work so confidently on these paintings, I thought a lot about my job. For my daughter's age group, the process of painting is so much more rewarding than the product could ever be. It is a bit of a different experience than working with my "schematic" and "young adolescent" students at school. The students who I teach are old enough that they have become more critical of their art and have learned how to work through "problems" with their drawings. Although I have the blessing of working with children young enough to still be excited to create art, I sometimes get sad about what I know is ahead. By the time these students reach their teen years, a lot of them will no longer have enthusiasm for drawing, because they will lack confidence in their ability. This usually stems from their desire to create ultra-realistic pictures. This is a normal developmental stage, but it still can be very sad to witness as an art teacher. It is literally my job to set my students up with the best drawing skills possible, so that they move on from the confidence crisis in their teen years and continue to confidently make art (just like they did during the "pre-schematic" stage). :)
I am a K - 5th grade art teacher at Wilson Creek Elementary and Anna McDonald School in Manhattan, IL. I am also a mother of two little girls (who share my love of art)!