6 Hands-On Art Activities for 3-6 Year Olds
Art education is perhaps one of the most undervalued curricula in modern public school systems. Visual arts has been the focus of many academic studies, the results of which suggest that art is crucially linked to the development of core human emotions such as passion, empathy, love, sincerity and happiness. Art also helps kids develop communication and self-expression skills. It leads to higher performance across a range of educational disciplines, and encourages self-discipline, time-mangement, imagination, innovation and spacial reasoning. For very young kids, the practice of hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, language skills, and connectivity is invaluable. If the thought of tackling art with your kids scares you, don’t be intimidated! How do we best supplement the art education they receive at school? With hands-on application of course! Here are 8 genius ideas for easy art activities they’ll love!
1. Life Size Self Portraits. You’ll need an extra large sheet of paper for this project! Kids will have a ball creating an artistic version of themselves! Lay the paper on the floor and trace around your pre-schooler. Have them paint or draw themselves. You could make this as interactive and detailed as you want – use construction paper, fabric, yarn, ribbons and glue along with crayons and paper. You can find instructions here. Depending on your child’s age, you can include a short description and explanation of the self-portrait and a bit about the history to round out their art lesson.
2. Tasty Color Mixing. Introduce kids to the primary and secondary colors with this delicious activity! All you need is vanilla frosting, food coloring, plastic knives and sugar cookies. Help the kids make frosting in different colors, mixing the food coloring to create new shades. Explain how mixing two specific colors will always yield the same result. In the end, you get to eat your creations for snack, so this is a surefire favorite! Get fell details here.
3. Marble Art. Creating marble art is a great introduction to Jackson Pollock and his contemporaries! You can show kids examples (Like this one) of this famous artist, then create your own look-alikes! Simply place a piece of paper in a tray or bin (that is easily washed). Place small dabs of different colored paint here and there – use tempera or other washable/non-toxic paint – and throw in some marbles. The kids can tip the tray this way and that, making the marbles run through the paint and creating trails of color, splatters, and fun mixtures. This is one kids of many ages will love, as the groove, sway and flip those balls around on the tray!
4. Wax Resist Watercolor. A wax resist watercolor painting is easy to create, and fun for kids of all ages. Here’s a full tutorial for making a monet-inspired wax resist painting. Simply have them color a picture using a white crayon on a white piece of paper. Nothing shows up! Then have them use watercolors to paint over the paper – all of the white lines will appear! Preschoolers and kindergartners will think it’s like magic! If you’d like to include some information about impressionism, here’s a good resource for a slimmed down summary.)
5. Construction Paper Collage. A collage is a simple and fun form of artistic expression. Little hands love the freedom involved in cutting and pasting to their hearts content. All you need is construction paper, child-safe scissors and glue or glue sticks. Have your children cut shapes from different colors of paper. Then layer them however they’d like on a blank piece of black or white paper, gluing the pieces down one at a time. This doubles as great cutting practice as well as a study of Matisse. If your little one becomes frustrated with scissors, it’s a good idea to have some shapes already cut as backup. You can find instructions for this Matisse-centered art project and information about the artist here.
6. Fruit and Veggie Stamps. Printmaking is tons of fun for kids of all ages. It’s also a well-known art form with famous printmakers including Andy Warhol, Hans Baldung, Ernst Haeckel, and Hokusai. (Here’s a link to images of famous prints, so you have an idea). To introduce kids to printmaking, all you really need is stamps and paints! For preschoolers and kindergartners, printing with produce is an incredible experience. They’ll be intrigued and amazed that the food they eat can make such fun shapes! Gather together a few different vegetables, a large piece of paper and some tempera or other washable paint. Some good ideas for vegetables are: apples, bell peppers, smaller peppers like poblanos, potatoes, and okra. Cut the vegetables in half to create an interesting edge. Have your child dip the end in paint of their color choice, then stamp it on their paper. Here’s an awesome example of okra printing with a tutorial!
Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com
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