Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Art Projects for a Rainy (Snowy) Day

Now that the weather is getting a little colder—even down here in South Texas, art projects are a perfect way to spend an afternoon. You can keep the kids occupied for hours and know that not only are they out of your hair, but they are developing skills and expanding their creative capacities—both will serve them throughout their lives.

All you need are some basic materials and some ground rules—especially when glitter is involved. (Isn’t everything better with glitter?) These ideas are open-ended because the goal is not perfection. It’s expression. Who knows? You may have a future artist messing up your kitchen table!

• Give the kids magazines and have them cut out colors—green grass, brown hair, blue sky—into small, tile-like pieces. They can then use these to “paint” pictures, gluing the snips of magazine to construction paper or card stock instead of using paint or markers. The results are impressive.
• A variation of the first idea uses the same general plan. You paint designs of any kind with any combination of colors and cut the shapes needed for the picture out of those designs. You could end up with a palm tree with fronds of green with yellow polka dots and a trunk of black and white stripes. Again, it is best to let the children go crazy—with minimal direction from mom.
• Have the children make self-portraits using their favorite things as parts of their faces or bodies. We had baseball bat arms, pizza eyes, tennis racquet ears on ours. They are precious.
• Get out the paint and set up a still life. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Look through the fridge and see what looks interesting. Then have the kids paint the objects from any angle but straight on. Try looking up at the items from underneath, or from a bird’s eye view. It’s always fun to see something in a new way.

Hope these help get you started on some artistic fun. I still have lots of examples of these very projects hanging in my home. That’s how stunning they can turn out. Enjoy!

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