We like to do heart-shaped art projects leading up to Valentine’s Day with our youngest students. Here are two projects we did recently, for age groups 18 months – 3 years, and the slightly older 2 ½ – 4 year olds. We focus on projects that the children can do all on their own so they can experience the power of artistic choice and accomplishment, even from this young age.
Sponge Heart Stamping
These young artists are encountering many of these art concepts and tools for the first time, so we make things easy for their little hands and appropriate for their motor skills.
We have two tricks that make this project go smoothly. The first is the type of sponge we use. We have found that these compressed “miracle sponges” are very easy to cut into shapes – much simpler than attempting to cut a regular sponge. You can draw on them and then cut them as if you are cutting thick paper. Once you put them into water the sponge plumps up into shape. We get ours from Dick Blick:
The second thing we do is to make sure the optimal amount of paint is used. As with all printmaking, it is important to use the right amount of ink so that the image is clear and not blobby. We’ve found that using these paper plates with a small amount of paint, spread thinly, works best. More paint can always be added as needed. Clean up is also easy as the plates can just be tossed at the end of class.
As with all out projects, we encourage the children to explore, trying the materials how they wish, so moving into finger-painting is good learning fun too!
Heart Symmetry Paintings
The students here are provided with pre-folded heart shaped paper and a coordinating paint palette.
We teach them about symmetry and then let them enjoy dabbing paint on their hearts, folding them, and seeing the magic of the paint transferring to the opposite side.