Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Toddler/Preschool Art Exploration

In my quest to provide more evening and weekend programming for my library's patrons I decided to get a little artistic with my toddlers and preschoolers this month. Art has many literacy benefits for kids in this age group. First of all, it is a great opportunity for sensory experience and motor skills development. Holding a paintbrush is perfect practice for holding a pencil! Art also provides a great opportunity to use some unusual vocabulary with your child and promotes creativity/imagination. Not to mention it is just plain fun!

For all these reasons I figured a program focusing on art would be a terrific program for a weekday evening. Alas my plans were foiled by the beautiful spring weather that did a number on my attendance.

I wanted to share my plans here in hopes that others might try these ideas when the weather is on their side. I arranged the room in 5 stations, each focused on a different art related concept or medium. The majority of the stations were found on Pinterest or are adaptations of art ideas I've used previously.

Station 1: Exploring texture with collage

This station (inspired by Keep Calm and Teach On) was about as simple as you can get. I put out some random materials (such as torn paper, yarn, tissue paper and cotton balls), and let the kids make collages. I have always liked collage because it is a very open ended medium that encourages creativity. The end product of a collage doesn't have to look any certain way. That's part of the beauty of art, and something I wanted to get across to the kids and their parents.

Station 2: Color mixing in shaving cream

Color is an important aspect of art, so to explore this concept I figured this idea I found at In Lieu of Preschool would work perfectly. All the kids had to do is put two different colors of paint in a pile of shaving cream and mix it together. This gives them the opportunity to see how the colors combine, and also provides for a unique sensory experience.

Station 3: Painting with sensory balls

Our Friends of the Library were nice enough to purchase some soft plastic sensory balls for baby storytime attendees to play with. I'm all for using what we already have for many different purposes, so I thought they'd make a fun tool to paint with. The toddlers and preschoolers put the sensory balls in plastic tubs, added paint, then rolled them around. Definitely a fun and easy way to make a masterpiece! 

Station 4: Learning about positive and negative space using tape

To learn about this art concept we put tape on a piece of paper and went over it with our bingo dauber paints. I liked the large motor skills involved in the dotting motion and the fine motor skills involved in peeling the tape off. Our bingo daubers don't often get brought out for storytime crafts (too many kids!), so any chance to use them is a plus.

Station 5: Coloring table

This is probably the simplest station of them all. I covered our table with butcher paper for the kids to color on. I've done this before with the older kids, and thought it would be a great thing for the little guys to try as well. Not the most popular station, but an easy one I'd definitely include next time I try this program.

Despite the weather getting in my way I was pretty happy with the way this program turned out. I think it could accommodate a big group of kids pretty well, and look forward to trying it again in the future. If you have any questions about this or any other programs feel free to let me know!

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