When children study the Earth's oceans and the fascinating life within the deep water, chances are whales will play a part in the lessons. After teaching about the varieties and sizes of the ocean-dwelling mammals, plan whale art projects for preschool-age children. Little hands can paint or decorate whale-shapes, glue whale collages or make a stuffed whale from easy-to-find items.
Salt Dough Whale
Before this project, mix salt dough and make a whale shape for each preschooler. The Shirley's Preschool website has an easy salt dough recipe. To make a simple whale, form a tennis-ball size scoop of salt dough into a flattened teardrop. Pinch an additional peanut-shell shape from the dough. Add it to the tip of the teardrop shape as the whale's tail. When the shapes are dry, which may take two days or more, give one to each child. Pass out white and blue paint and paintbrushes. Ask the children to paint the bottom half of the whale white and the top half, including the tail, blue. When the paint is dry, glue on a plastic wiggle eye, available at craft stores. Draw a mouth with a black permanent marker.
Copy the shape of an Orca whale onto blue construction paper. The Enchanted Learning website has a printable template of an Orca. Give preschoolers black and white paint and a brush for each colour. Instruct the children to paint the whale's white areas first, then to fill in the rest of the whale outline with black paint. When the Orca paintings are dry, place clear cling film over each picture and secure the wrap on the back of each one with clear tape. The cling film gives an underwater effect to the paintings.
Let preschoolers stuff a clean, white men's athletic sock with cotton or wadded-up newspaper to create a whale. Ask the children to stuff the sock, up to the heel. Tie-off the sock at the heel with white yarn. Measure two inches of excess sock to be the whale's tail, then cut off the rest of the remaining sock. From the excess, cut two one-inch triangle fins, then glue them to the sides of the whale with fabric glue. Glue wiggle eyes to the whale's face. Add a three-inch length of red yarn under the eyes to serve as the whale's mouth. Glue three two-inch loops of blue yarn to the top of the whale to resemble water spraying from the whale's blowhole.
Whale Shape Collage
Cut the shape of a sperm-whale from a piece of sturdy, black card stock. The Enchanted Learning website has a template of a sperm-whale that you can copy, then use as a pattern. Let youngsters use paintbrushes to cover the surface of the card stock with liquid glue. Provide the children with a selection of craft foam shapes, sequins and pom-poms to place onto the glue-covered surface to create a textured collage in the shape of a whale. Hang the artistic whale collages on your classroom notice board.
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