Our "cardboard crew" seems to have an insatiable appetite for boxes and tubes. They have such a great time coming up with ways to tape together materials to create cars, robots, trains, and other machines.
Recently, the cardboard creations took a new direction. One morning, I noticed that several kids were taping cardboard rectangles under their shoes. Then I heard "They're skis" and "It's a snowboard" and then they started adding designs with marker and tape to embellish their winter sports gear. It took some trial and error to figure out how to attach the items to their feet and still have the ability to move around, but they kept at it and helped each other.
The ski-making was absolutely spontaneous, and clearly inspired by their interest in and exposure to the winter Olympics. Several kids wanted to take their skis and snowboards out into the playground snow to try, but we discussed what snow would do to the cardboard. They did get a chance to try them in the big space upstairs, and learned that being an Olympian can be a real challenge when your tape doesn't want to stick to the cardboard! I love that our Reggio approach allows kids to spend a morning following an idea from start to finish, and learn an appreciation for all the work, joy, frustration, and accomplishment that can come with creating.
This month we spent a few days creating "puffy hearts" to decorate the Art Studio for Valentine's Day. First, each child made a black line drawing on two heart-shaped papers. Then, they added color with watercolor paint, and finally, we stapled together the two shapes a stuffed them with paper. As always, they are lovely individual artworks, but fun and striking to view as a group.
I decided to share snapshots from a busy Tuesday morning of painting in the Art Studio, because I was amazed how many awesome artworks were created in only two hours, and impressed by the cross-section of preschool artistic development they showed.
Many preschoolers begin painting as a tactile and active activity. They are exploring how it feels to use a brush and how it looks when they make marks like lines, dots, circles, or when they mix colors together. Usually these beginning painters aren't interested in assigning meaning to the final product, because they are much more interested in the process.
As painting and verbal skills develop, painters often "discover" a meaning or topic after they finish painting. They are still all about the process of painting, but then when they are prompted to look at their artwork, it might remind them of something, or they might decide it is a favorite animal or character.
Next comes the preschoolers who have an idea what they want to paint about, and take care to create those forms in paint, to the best of their ability. I love when I start to see figures and recognizable shapes emerge, because the kids are so excited to share their idea in a visual format.
Many of our older preschoolers are so skilled at painting figuratively that they move on to visual story-telling. Their paintings might have one or more characters, a setting, and/or supporting details. Many times my pencil can't keep up with all their fun ideas!
I am thankful for the time and a great space that allows for children to explore and develop their "painting language" and inspire each other (and me!).
Art Studio teacher