We like to introduce unusual objects for our students to paint with and create prints with in our classes for our youngest children. These encourage children to think outside of the painting paradigm as something that can only be done with brushes or hands. We show them they can paint with almost any object, and to question the ordinary uses of objects. It also inspires them to really look at the shapes and properties of things and imagine creating art from them.
One of the ways we do this is at a favorite messy table station project. Especially popular at parties, this is a great activity for a group of children. Here we cover a table in white paper, and then put shallow trays with a thin layer of a different color paint in each corner. We make sure the paper is taped down, well underneath the table, as sometimes the kids can get very energetic with this.
We put out our assortment of “odd objects”, none of which most kids have ever used for painting before. For example, we use potato mashers, legos (giant and regular sized), cars – even shoes sometimes. The kids have a great time testing all the objects and seeing what shape each object makes on the paper.
We are always looking to recycle and reuse objects here at The Messy Artist, and if we can create art with these objects, that’s even better. One of our projects that does just that is our circle-printing project. We keep a bin specifically for odd round objects and add to it throughout the year. Then when we are ready to do this project, we are all set.
Some of the many things we have collected are: plastic lids from different sized containers, scotch tape roll centers, (these create a prints with two different sized circles), film canisters, halves of plastic eggs…once you start looking, there are lots of out there.
We do another project with flower stamping that also opens up the kids minds to new ideas of unusual things to paint or stamp with – even things from nature. Again, we use thin layers of paint on paper plates for the proper amount for printing, as well as for quick clean up.
Do you use non-traditional or recycled objects in creating art with kids? What are your favorite projects?