Wednesday, September 18, 2013

after school art projects: salt paintings

Kindergarten has certainly been a change for my boy. The day is long for him and I know he misses unstructured play time at home. His school is amazing and I think he will grow to love it and learn so much, but it is definitely a big transition for him. He has been having a hard time in the mornings, wishing to linger at home, instead of getting ready for the day and heading out the door. Often bedtime will come and he will protest because he didn't get to do a certain project or he will suddenly remember something very important that he wanted to do. It's a disappointment to him when we don't have time.  

So, I have been trying to talk to him in the morning about fun things he wants to do after school. The main thing he misses since starting kindergarten is making lots of art. At his preschool he could spend all morning creating, but his new school is much more structured. He comes home with lots of drawings everyday but that is the extent of his art making at school so far. And I want him to have lots of time for art projects because that is his passion right now and I want to nurture his pretty amazing aptitude for it, especially if he doesn't get much time for it at school. 

On our drive to school (and sometimes the night before) I talk to him about potential projects we could work on when he gets home. I let him choose something he wants to do and I remind him to look forward to it if he is a little reluctant to head into the classroom. And then before I leave the house to pick him up, I set up our table with all the supplies we will need so it is ready when he gets home. This has been super helpful as it really allows us time to make a little art before we need to clean up and start supper. 

He is constantly making art on his own and is never out of ideas, but for these after school projects I like to give some suggestions for projects we have never done before or using materials that are new to us. I have a lot of great reference books for art projects with kids, as these are some of my favorite books to collect and own. Lately we have been diving into The Artful Parent, which is a fabulous book and website full of great ideas for making art with kids. Uzi noticed the salt paintings the other day and chose that to be our first after school project.

 It was a lot of fun, certainly more about the process than the project, and the two of us got to sit together and make some paintings while Josh and the baby played outside. Basically, you draw a picture with white glue, sprinkle it with salt and then gently touch the drawing with a paintbrush loaded with watercolor on it. The color travels down the line, and it is a great intersection between a science and an art project. Both of us were having lots of fun and made several paintings each. 

Obviously, we can't do art projects every day after school, but most days we try. And maybe some days he will prefer to sit and read a book together or bake something. But I am appreciating the connection these projects bring after a long day apart, and I am finding that planning ahead really helps us actually have the time to do the projects we want to do. 

1 comment:

  1. great idea for a rainy afternoon!!! we'll try it at home!