Thursday, September 1, 2016

Preschool Art - Invitation to Create

Mother Goose Time has made some new additions to this school year.  I love that they are continually doing their research and striving for the very best in Early Childhood Education.  This specific update could not come at a better time.  My littlest of men, Adam, who is 2, has recently had an artistic streak. Unfortunately, most of his art work is done at 11pm at night.  Although he has started to create works of art during the day, thank goodness.  He likes to sit down at the table in the "tall chair" and draws away.  The other day he was there, I looked away, and he was gone.  This is where I found him.
The first Invitation to Create was on Day 1 of the Me & My Family theme and it was called Family Tree.  I went rogue a bit on this one and did not read the discuss section of the activity but launched into my own explanation.  I only do this because I do have a wide range of ages, including my oldest who is 7.  So I wanted to actually draw a family tree.  I started with my parents, then to me and my siblings and then their children, which are all their cousins that live close.  I asked, after I was done, if this was a tree what would these connections be? What would these circles be?  Branches and fruit.  Then I added a tree trunk and a fluffy outline around all the names.
Lachlan thought this was pretty awesome and immediately got to work making his own.  He couldn't wait for the invitation to create.  He don't need no invitation.
I cleaned up breakfast and set up one invitation to create station at the table with scissors, brown paper, blue paper, red and green paint, white cup and the pictures stood up on the table for inspiration.  Adam was first to want to try and at first he wanted to paint the picture MGT provided us of the apple tree.  So I had to direct his brush to the blue paper.  I also very quickly showed him a painting technique.  I painted the rim of the white paper cup that MGT gave us and stamped it onto the paper.  I don't think there is anything wrong with showing techniques, especially as young as he is.  I just showed him once and walked away to let him explore.

At first he just painted stripes down his page like he has been with water colors, but then he tried the technique I showed him.  As he pressed it down on the he would say "boop".  Sound effects always help.  
 I took a quick birds eye view shot of him working away. 

Art is a messy process, even messier when you just walk away.  For me though, walking away is the only true way to give them freedom.  Otherwise, I just can't help myself and want to give suggestions while they work. 
 But kids can wash off and so can my table and my chairs. 
And now, for my new favorite picture of Adam.  I don't know exactly what he is thinking, but I think I get the idea. 

Next up was my 5 year old, Peter.  He started with pressing one of the paper cups into the green paint cup and then stamped that on the paper.  It left a faint almost complete circle that he then finished with his brush.
 He started adding lines and then other circles like the family tree diagram I had made. 
I did my best to walk away and let him do his thing even thought I wanted to get pictures of his process.  When I came back, he had the whole thing painted green.  I was actually pretty happy to see this.  When they are young it seems like they will only use the very center of a paper, but never the whole thing. 
He was pretty excited at this point.  He had to tell me all about what happened when he mixed red and green.  He said it made a purple and then he said it was a brown.  He was right on both accounts, it made a brownish purple. 
The next words I heard were "I am going to go wash my hands."  Not a common phrase from this 5 year old.  So I turned around to see what was going on.  Apparently, at some point it turned into finger hand painting.  I bravely sent him to the bathroom on his own and gave him the two paint brushes to wash.  I keep trying to give him more responsibility.  He did awesome!  There was only one small spot of paint on the counter. 

As I was taking a final picture he described to me his painting.  It's an apple tree with apples up at the top and some apples that have fallen to the ground.
 Here is the work in progress. 
We did this Invitation to Create, the opening song and the name tags and that was it.  But it was so much fun!  I loved giving them an open invitation to create.  It wasn't for all my children.  As I anticipated, my oldest said "where is the picture? How am I supposed to make it?"  I am hoping, with time, he will come around.  I think this kind of free expression would be SO good for him.

No, they didn't end up being works of art I could make a super cute display with.  But lucky for me, I took pictures of the process and that's what it is all about.  It's not the finished product, but the concentration, dedication, and joy they got from working on it that is the real treasure.

Lucky for me and Lachlan, Mother Goose Time didn't stop including the crafts and props we have always made.  They now have it split 50/50.  Half invitation to create and half a prop or craft that has it's end product a little more defined.  This really can't be any better in my book because we need both in this house and the props are always loved and lead to so much make believe. 

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