This is an exciting twist on our ever-popular goop, beloved by kids in our classes, parties and camps. It’s a tactile, open ended play experience that immediately engages kids of all ages (and often, their caregivers, too).
Our regular goop recipe is very simple, calling for white glue, laundry starch and liquid watercolor paint. We tweaked it a little for this version and use clear glue, laundry starch and lots of glitter. This large amount of glitter is the key to giving it great depth and texture.
Finally, adding some googly eyes takes it to another level of imaginative play. We only use the googly eyes however for kids over the age of 3 years, just in case the temptation to put them in their mouth is too much for the youngest kiddos.
The inspiration for the googly eyes came from one of our students. One day, a boy came to class with a stuffed animal, and while there, its googly eyes popped off. He put them into the goop and started playing, and voila! We recognized the great idea and incorporated it into our activities.
Here’s our recipe so you can make it yourself: enjoy!
Here’s a project that combines pre-reading skills and stamping. Letting kids create prints with plastic cookie cutters and foam letters gives them a fun and low-pressure way to reinforce their letter recognition skills. Kids this age love anything with their own names or initials and always enjoy this project.
Age Level: 2.5 – 5 years
Learning about stamping/printmaking
Learning color mixing
Learning and reinforcing and letter recognition and pre-reading skills
Plastic letter cookie cutters
White 8.5 x 11” paper
Tempera paints in coordinating colors (we used orange, yellow and red for this project)
Put paint on paper plates in a thin layer for stamping (one per every 2 students)
Place all letters on large tray or lay out on supply table
Create 1-2 labels with each child’s name to put on the back of their artwork to label
Explain to the students that they will be making art with special shapes today: letters! Everyone has a special letter that their name starts with called an initial.
Show the students how they will be dipping a letter into the paint and pushing it onto the paper – no rubbing or moving – and then lifting it straight off. Hold up the paper with the stamp that has been created to show them.
Have the kids go to the supply table to pick out one of two letters to start with (depending upon your supply) and to look for their initial. We have a teacher there to help any kids that need some in finding their initial.
While the kids are selecting letters, place paper at each child’s seat and put a paper plate with paint between each two students
As they start stamping, ask the students to notice how the paint is mixing together to create new colors.
Once the page is mostly full of letters, encourage the children to start a new page so the prints don’t get too muddy.
These will take some time to dry, so we send them home the next week.
Creating art is a complex process, involving many areas of the brain. While it may look like kids are having fun (and they are!) they are also learning important cognitive skills.
Even the youngest students are introduced to important concepts as they play and create art in a class. In our studios, we see this as kids learn and grow throughout a session, building each week upon what they have learned before.
Here are some of the cognitive skills children develop as they refine their artistic skills.
Colors. For classes for the very young, colors are prominently displayed, and are used in numerous places in the classroom: in the play dough, as part of the project, in artwork on the walls.
Shapes. Learning to identify shapes leads into kids using them in their artworks.
Letters. These can be incorporated into art to boost letter recognition and pre-reading skills.
4. Texture. Is it bumpy? smooth? sticky? Kids learn the idea of texture and the words to label it.
Size. Small, medium, large, EXTRA LARGE!
Quantity. One, a couple, few, many, a lot.
Social emotional development:
Self-esteem. The look on a childʼs face when they have completed some art they are proud of is priceless.
Negotiating with their peers. Kids learn a lot in the sandbox about sharing, asking for what they want, and stating what they donʼt like.
Navigating new relationships. At the beginning of each session, many times students do not know each other, but by the end, they have developed a relationship with each. They may not be best friends, but they have gotten to know someone and share thoughts and experience with them.
Fine and gross motor skills.
Older children are also learning:
Decision making and consequences. What happens if I cut this paper here and glue it there? These are safe places to discover that your actions have consequences, both in art and socially.
Expressing thoughts and emotions in symbolic ways.
Color Theory. Primary, secondary and tertiary colors, how to use a color wheel, complimentary colors, color mixing.
Concepts in Design. Cartooning students learning about car and other designs.
Art History. Looking at noted artists as examples of different type of art gives kids a view of art history. For this pointillism project, the students first learned about Georges Seurat and La Grande Jatte.
Math. Geometry gets more complex in mandalas and other projects.
Science. Using nature as an inspiration or even as part of the artistic process gets the kids learning about the natural world. This bird print is made from leaves.
These are 21 ways that kids are learning while making art, but there are still more. What would you add to the list?
Construction paper of different coordinating colors (we used orange, green,
purple and yellow)
Liquid watercolor paint
Brushes for glue (we have some fun green silicone ones)
Containers for glue (we use takeout containers, and if there is leftover glue, snap the lid on to save for another class)
Cut construction paper into 1/2″ strips, making at least 3 per student
Cut white paper in half length-wise (4 1/2” x 11”) and write each studentʼs name on
the back. Write the word “Rectangle” on the front
Mix liquid watercolor paint into glue to create a complimentary color to
construction paper (we chose purple) and put into containers, one per every 2 kids
Show the kids an example of the finished project. Explain that today they will be working with rectangles: a box shape with 4 sides, with 2 longer than the others.
They will have rectangle paper and be gluing rectangles – that they create! –onto it.
A big part of this lesson is helping to get the kids comfortable in their scissor skills. First we show them how to keep their “thumbs up” when putting their fingers into the scissors. Then we show them how to “take a bite of the paper” with their scissors. It really helps beginning cutters to have their caregiver hold the strip of paper for them. As they get more advanced, they can hold it themselves in the other hand.
Have the children head to the supply table to pick up two strips of paper.
Pass out the scissors and help the children cut the strips of paper into rectangles.
Once most kids have a pile of about 20 or so, show them how they will be brushing the glue onto their paper and “tap, tap, tapping” their rectangles on to get them to stick.
Pass out the white papers with their names on them.
Have them walk to the supply table to get a brush, and hand out the glue containers while they are up.
Encourage them to brush on lots of glue and stick on their cut rectangles.
These projects take a while to dry and can go home the next class session.