Today officially marks the end of the the Kinder holidays for the Twinadoes. They are back at kinder this afternoon, epi pens and allergy plans in hand, all going well, hopefully
I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with having the girls home full time again, after only just getting everyone used to the whole kinder caper. I loved not having to be somewhere at a set time, I loved just being able to waft through the day with everyone still in their PJs at dinner time but I do admit that I did miss having a break from the whinge princesses, and the fighting! Egad, the fighting!
It didn’t help that the two weeks holidays coincided with our weather going from summer to winter, over night, with no easing into it at all. We went for scorching heat to rain, wind and cold, and while I am thankful for the rain (does anyone else in Australia feel like it is almost unforgivable these days to complain about any rain we get??) it meant two four year olds cooped up inside, combined with one clingy baby and a desperate mother so it wasn’t long before we all started getting on each other’s nerves and the fighting set in. To try and demilitarise the combat zone I resorted to craft, a whole lot of crafty holiday goodness.
I like trawling for nice crafty blogs – adult crafty as well as kid crafty. I like to drool over fancy, amazing projects that I probably don’t have the skill, time or motivation to ever complete… but it is fun to look. When it comes to kids and art though, I have pretty concrete ideas on the how, why and what side of things.
Six years studying child development plus another ten working with young children has seen me develop a pretty strong philosophy on art and craft and young children which might not be your cup of tea but explaining it will hopefully at least let you know where I am coming from when I blog kids art activity ideas.
I feel very strongly that it should predominantly be about the process, not about the product you get at the end. So the idea of ‘printing a bunny basket pattern, following steps one through ten so that you make a basket that looks just like this one’ doesn’t sit right with me at all. To me offering an activity that shows what the finished product should look like before a child has even begun isn’t art – it is a lesson in following an adults instructions and making something look the way an adult thinks it should. It stifles creativity rather than encourages it.
I want my kids to be imaginative, creative, skilful and joyous when it comes to art and crafty type things. I don’t want to set them up for frustration or give them the impression (however subtle it may be) that their ideas and their creations are not as good as mine, or the picture in the book or on the screen. Art should allow for everyone simply to create and to encourage that activities for your children should be open ended (meaning with no ‘set outcome’) and process oriented.
I am talking about under six year olds here. Older kids benefit from these kind of freeing art activities too, though as a child gets older they will have more set ideas of what they want to create, rather than a young child who just knows they want to create something, doesn’t matter so much want. An older child may look at a craft book and see a crane made out of boxes and enjoy figuring out how to make something similar themselves. For a toddler thought art is about exploration, the sense, enjoyment. A preschooler (4 and 5 year olds) may be beginning to enjoy ‘making things’ so the odd more end product oriented projects won’t do any harm, especially if they are presented in an open way, where it is the child’s idea you are creating not an adults. In general though, I believe, for young children an adults job is to provide a whole lot of cool materials, maybe help to demonstrate a technique or two if needed, then stand back and watch, or better yet join in and see what you can create as well!
So now I have bored you with a quick run down on my kids and art philosophy, on to the crafty goodness part – some of the activities we did during the school holidays complete with photos!
Drawing with Pastels
We have a bit of a love affair with pastels in our house. We love to draw with them. They feel so good to draw with, sort of soft but solid at the same time and they come in such wonderful colours. At the moment we have a much loved set of fluro colours as well as a set of ‘water pastels’ – the kind that turn to water colour paints when you add a bit of water to your drawing. Hours and hours of fun for everyone!
Cotton Bud Painting
Watered down food dye (or tempera paint – food dye is messier and better for older kids) in small containers, cotton buds and absorbent paper. We used some of our roll of Ikea paper for this, it is recycled and soaks up the paint really well, you could also use paper towel or filter paper. Make sure you have protective clothing and cover the surface as the food dye stains a little, then simply enjoy painting.
The girls talked about colours as they painted, putting one colour over another and seeing which neew colour they could make. The cotton buds are also good for a fine motor development (small muscles – involved in writing and other fine tasks). As you can see in the photo we cut our paintings out and stuck them on the window, when the sun shines through them they look awesome!
We do a lot of ‘sticking’ in our house – as well as snipping, hole punching, scrunching and all kinds of fun that involve a nice big container of ‘stuff’ and a glue stick!
I keep my eye out for bits and pieces that will stick easily using a glue stick (you could use pva glue and a brush if you wanted to stick more elaborate or heavy items but I am into keeping it simple and easy) to add to our ‘sticking stuff’, things like – patty pans, feathers, wool, bits of wrapping paper, tissue paper, cards, steamers, sequins, light material etc.
I found this great idea for something a bit different when it comes to pasting (pasteing? pasting? is that even a word? to paste?) here at Scrumdilly-do (which is a great blog with lots of kids crafting goodness – not all up my alley and open ended like, but even some of the more product oriented crafts would be great to do as an adult, especially their holiday ideas!)
These came out so great, we cut some up to make baby cards for friends and they look fab! We’ll definitely do this again, I think they’d make great Christmas cards, plus who doesn’t love a bit of sequins and glitter?
So there you have it – our two week break from kinder as recorded in craft goodness! Now wasn’t that fun?