Creative beginnings for tiny tots

Posts tagged ‘3-D art’

The Art of Springtime

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April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. (Sonnet XCVIII)”
― William Shakespeare

Nature is often the backdrop and the inspiration for what we do at ART IN HAND. The emergence of spring always fills me with feelings of exuberant awe and wonder coupled with a calm reassurance that the joy her warmth and beauty brings each year can always be relied upon.

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Young children respond similarly to the cues of spring, and these projects celebrating the signs of birth, rejuvenation, and the delicate beauty of nature’s creations are among my favorites.

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Our students, ages 1.5 – 4, had fun collecting soft things to build cozy nests (and squeezing and pouring their own glue in the process). Then they experimented with feathers as tools for painting on various surfaces, creating delicate brush strokes quite different from those created with a standard paintbrush.

For more artful inspiration from nature and ideas for more springtime art explorations with your kids, I invite you to read my article originally published in Washington Parent Magazine in April 2008.

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We survived Sandy and so did “Leaf Man”!

The wind and rain swept through, but we were pretty lucky here in Northern Virginia, near Washington, DC.  No significant damage, and we were able to resume our regularly scheduled activities today.  Best of all, there were still plenty of colorful autumn leaves to be found, so my little friends were able to do some collecting on their way to class in anticipation of our Leaf Man inspired projects.

And inspired, they were.

I just love when our real life experiences, our stories, and our art all intersect.  This happens naturally, when we focus on the natural world around us!

See for yourself…

Getting to know the materials is a good portion of the fun, and an important part of the “work” to be done:

And there is great satisfaction to be had from squeezing and pouring one’s own glue (while building those hand muscles to be used for fine motor skills down the road):

With nature providing the materials, an artful adventure is inevitable ~

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Awakenings

The most powerful tactic…to awaken the curiosity of a child…is simply to head for the hands.
– Frank Wilson (1998)

Little Kids and Big Ideas in 3-D

In his whimsical tale of an ambitiously imaginative boy who invents a car with all the trimmings (including built in swimming pool, snack bar, and the capacity for sailing the seas and soaring through the skies, to name a few), Chris Van Dusen speaks to the wild imaginations of boys and girls everywhere, who dare to dream big.

Inspired by this engaging book, our toddlers and preschoolers expanded their visual vocabularies by tinkering with 3-D materials to come up with inventions of their own.

The range of experiences, lessons, skills, and designs were broad and delightful to watch unfold.

Each child received a brown bag filled with a variety of wood pieces and a rectangular cardboard panel as a work surface.  They were given ample time to simply interact with their pieces, without the notion of creating a permanent arrangement.

We witnessed:

SORTING…

STACKING…

BALANCING…

AND FINALLY….GLUING!!!

The end result was this veritable visual wonderland.  From chaos to order to symmetry and back, these creations conjure images of vehicles, contraptions, buildings, cityscapes and random fun. Our sculptors ranged in age from 20 months to 5 years old.

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And this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the fact that the book also features a very spunky pup, who is the spittin’ image of my wonderdog, Chessie, in every aspect of appearance and winning personality!

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These nests are THE BEST!!!

Here’s a little photo gallery of some of our busy nesters and some of the many delightful nests they created in our classes recently.

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Nature AND Nurture

Nothing like baby animals to bring out the nurturing side in us humans, and toddlers and preschoolers are no exception.  The essence of that nurturing spirit is captured literally and symbolically in the concept of the nest.   And the act of nesting itself, creating a warm, protective environment in which a new life can grow and emerge enveloped by its parents and the safe haven they so carefully crafted, is truly captivating for young children, as they identify with the babies in the scenario and also get to try the parental role on for size.

Toddlers and preschoolers are natural collectors…

… and gluers…

And as you can see, highly invested in creating their own unique nests.

An ambitious five year old got busy with scissors to create his own chipmunk from construction paper and flower petals (for eyes) to live in his nest.

I just love these nests, and look forward to seeing them emerge each spring!

The Art of Springtime

As we kick off another spring session, I wanted to share with you all an article I wrote for Washington Parent magazine a few years back.  I hope it inspires you to make the most of the creative possibilities that surround your wherever you are.

Washington Parent: The Art of Springtime