Today I'm sharing six art activities that we've tried recently. We have art shelves which are open to my preschooler, but these are specific activities presented on a tray for us to work on together. The first two are based on books, there are a few activities included that also involve some science!!
Water Colour Painting with Drop - Have you read Drop: An Adventure through the Water Cycle by Emily Kate Moon? It's a fantastic picture book about the water cycle. The publisher recommends for 4-8yrs, but I'd recommend from 3 years+. I love that this activity combines reading, science and art!!
I presented the book with a pipette, a black marker, Ecoline Liquid Watercolour in Sky Blue (no. 578) and heavy watercolour paper. I diluted the watercolour paint, but just a bit to get the right blue, I wanted the drops to look vibrant like in the book.
First, let's take a peek at the book Drop: An Adventure through the Water Cycle.
The story follows 'Drop' through the water cycle.
It's a fun, visual way for children to learn about water, although it does require some abstract thinking.
It covers the three states of water - liquid, gas and solid.
The child can experiment using the pipette to make their own 'Drops' 💧. The fun part is the higher up the child holds the pipette the more of a splash the drop makes. More science! I was inspired to try this after visiting the author's website, you can see Emily Kate Moon's Drop Art here.
We leave the paint to dry, it only takes a minute on a sunny day but much longer if it's a cold day.
The child can draw features on their Drops including arms and a face, just like Drop in the book. 💙
Exploring Red - This is all about exploring the colour red. I've presented the book Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger with a paint palette of different shades of red, a paintbrush and paper. I read the book and allowed my child to explore with the red paint. We also love using Green, Laura has another book with a colour theme Blue.
Red is a lovely picture book that follows a little fox and different shades of red.
There aren't many words, I'd suggest for 2-5yrs.
It would be interesting to present this over a couple of days and see how the child's experience with the colour changes. We could also vary the shades of red, so there is more difference between them, and we can name the different shades of red, like in the book.
Painting Ceramic Mini Vases - We use a lot of vases around our home so why not allow the children to paint or decorate their own. I found some affordable ceramic mini vases (AU) and presented them with watercolour paints and a Sharpie.
I encouraged my child to paint the vases as he wished. He decided to paint each vase in one colour.
Our vases came in a pack of three, so I gave him all three to paint.
I also presented a Sharpie for the child to draw with once the paint had dried. The vases still need to be sealed. We could make these little vases as gifts too.
Australian Native Play Dough - Have you ever thought about why we use the play dough scents that we do? I love to make lavender play dough (it's calming) and I often add essential oils to homemade play dough. Recently we've been using play dough with products native to Australia (AU) including Lemon Myrtle (yellow), Davidson Plum (plum) and Saltbush (green). This is a good, hands-on way to teach children about native foods and flora.
We are also using Australian animal block stamps (AU).
Invisible Ink 'Spy' Pen - We use a Spy Pen with invisible ink (AU), similar here (US). I'm not sure if this fits into the art category, but it is a simple, first way of showing the child how the Spy Pen works. Later the child can draw or write secret messages, perhaps to friends or siblings.
The Spy Pen has a light on the end so the child can read the writing/drawing. With older children, we could research how the Spy Pen works! An alternative to a Spy Pen is to write with lemon juice - dip a cotton bud/Q tip into lemon juice and use it to write on the paper, then leave it in the sun or iron over it to see the message.
Painting with Magnets - This is another science + art activity! We used paper plates, small squeeze bottles of paint and magnets.
I like the idea of using a paper plate for this activity, it is thick enough to support big blobs of paint and is also strong enough to work with the magnet underneath.
We use magnets from the Learning Resources Magnet Lab Kit, with the ball on top in the paint and the magnet wand underneath and small squeeze bottles of paint, so the child can put their own paint on the paper plate. If we didn't have the ball we could use other magnetic items like a paper clip, or metal washer.
This is an activity idea adapted from MaryAnn Kohl's Science Arts: Discovering Science Through Art Experiences.
The child can squeeze their own paints onto the plate.
The magnetic item goes on top, in the paint. The magnetic wand goes underneath.
The child moves the magnetic wand underneath to swish the paint around.
My preschooler loved this activity, it's addictive!!
We could also use this for colour mixing, above with yellow and blue paint.
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