Friday, August 13, 2010

Art Lessons

My idea of art is setting a box of crayons and some construction paper on the table. If we're going to be crazy, I might add a pair of scissors and a glue stick! But I don't want to deprive my kids of the wonderful art experience. I remember making fun projects in elementary school and being challenged in junior high. I start out with good intentions, and check out craft books from the library, but we don't often do any of the projects.

Thankfully, my mother-in-law used to be a preschool teacher. I think she's starting to miss it because this summer she suggested coming down and doing art lessons with the kids. Of course, I said yes! So, every couple of weeks, she will prepare a lesson on a particular artist and his/her style of art.

We started with Eric Carle, and oh, how fun it was! Check out the official Eric Carle website to see pictures of how he makes his art, to hear him read stories, and more. We modified his method a bit because painting tissue paper sounded way too messy! So, we used a newsprint style paper instead. We dug through drawers and boxes looking for fun objects to make texture with. Then we spent well over an hour painting. It got messy.

After a break for lunch, running around the block, and reading some of Eric Carle's books, most of the papers were dry enough to do the second phase of the project. This meant cutting shapes out of the painted paper and gluing them to some nice art paper to create our pictures. We also made a few cards, and have plenty of painted paper left to make a bazillion more!

And here's a shot of the kiddos with their final projects. Tools needed for this project: tempera paints, paint trays (we used egg crates), newsprint paper, brushes (sponge brushes, fat brushes, skinny brushes, whatever you have), objects to create texture/designs (serrated cake scrapers and potato mashers were fun), art paper/cardstock, scissors, glue sticks, and loads of patience. Also consider a table covering, paint shirts, and lots of paper towels. The end result could be simulated simply using construction paper or tissue paper on white cardstock. All in all, this was a pretty fun project. Grandma's a little worried than none of the other lessons will quite stack up to the fun of this one. But I think my kids are sufficiently art deprived, that they will be excited about anything! I would totally do this again. It was nice having another adult in the room, especially during clean up time, so I would probably invite another family to join us.

Are you art deficient like me? How do you teach art to your children? Have you ever done an Eric Carle- like project? What other variations on this theme can you think of?


  1. When my boys were 4 and 2, I decided to do "Craft Fridays". I figured that I could only manage to plan and do a craft once a week. I found a website full of printable craft ideas ( and we pretty consistently did a craft once a week for about a year or so. I don't know when Craft Friday disappeared but I hope to reinstate it now that my girls are 4 and 2 and my boys are at school. I may even plan a craft or two to do after the boys get home on Friday afternoon.

  2. Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout ( Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog ( ). thanks, Josh