Exploring different art techniques with children encourages them to develop not only aesthetic appreciation and practical art skills, but a deeper understanding of our relationship with the outside world, our feelings about that and how we can communicate the feelings with others. Use different media to encourage children to express their artistic ideas in alternative ways and allow them to develop their creativity.
Make collages with your children to develop their understanding of how individual artworks are created by building up many different shapes and colours. Use mixed-media to emphasise how different textures and dimensions can express different ideas and feelings. This type of art technique is very effective when used for self portraits. Encourage children to think about different parts of their bodies and which materials are best suited to portray them.
Print-based art help children understand about pattern and repetition, which appear as much in the natural world they will focus on in future art projects, as it does in the studio. Create simple printing patterns, either by cutting out shapes from stiff card as stencils and painting through them onto another surface, or by gluing string onto a wood block in the outline of a simple shape, dipping the string in paint and pressing down onto a surface to print. Show children how the same pattern can be repeated many times to form a larger image.
Paint is the medium most commonly associated with art, but it is important to show children the many different types of paint and the techniques that can be used to apply it. Give them an image to paint with brushes, then ask them to recreate the same image using finger-painting and then sponges dipped in paint. Discuss the role of abstract art. Use water colours and oil-based paints to compare effects and make monochrome and multicoloured images.
Sculpture and Installations
Art goes beyond that which can be hung on walls. Create nature-based sculptures and art installations with children by using forest materials such as leaves, branches and flowers, or coast-based materials such as shells, sea-wood and driftwood to create shapes and patterns in their natural environment that reflect the great outdoors. Take photos of the shapes so they can be displayed and discussed back home or in the classroom.
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