Encouraging Creativity in the Preschool Child

Art Projects/Gallery

Project idea 1: Flower Pots
Project idea 2: Calendars
Project idea 3: Cookie Canvas’
Project idea 4: Stepping Stones
Project idea 5: Ladybug Plate Puppets
Project idea 6: Tissue Paper Suncatchers

Project Idea 1: Flower Pot Families
Before you begin this project, send a letter home asking the child’s family to provide some photos. Pictures from a recent vacation, school pictures of family members, baby pictures, whatever. If a student forgets or doesn’t have any photos to share have some class photos on hand. It’s important to be documenting students and activities throughout the curriculum for observation and assessment purposes but its also helpful for fun craft projects like this. Snap some photos the first day of students with their parents for easier transition away from home or document a special guest speaker interacting with the children or a class field trip.

Materials Needed:

  1. Terracotta pots (can be found in a variety of sizes at craft and garden stores, pick whatever is priced appropriately)
  2. Blank paper
  3. Magazines
  4. Child’s photos
  5. Paints and brushes
  6. Markers
  7. 3-dimmensional objects for decoration
  8. white glue and glue sticks
  9. Sealant like hodgepodge
  10. Soil
  11. Various seed packets (vegetables, wildflowers, grab a handful in the garden center)

Step 1: Decorating the Flower Pots

  1. Lay out the sheet of blank paper and trace an outline of the pot. Do this by placing the pot on its side and drawing lines from both the top and bottom while rolling the pot. You should create something of a bent rectangle that is more narrow on the bottom.
  2. Do this for however many pots you have and cut out each template.
  3. Give each child the cut-out pot template to use as a canvas, they will decorate these and you can attach them later. The flat paper is an easier surface to work on and will ease frustration of trying to decorate the curved pot.
  4. Ask each child to decorate their paper with a person in mind. They can think of themselves and pick the photos and colors they enjoy the most or with some empathy practice they can think of a best friend or family member.
  5. Decorating for someone else is a great developmental practice. It will stretch their minds thinking-now I’m making this for dad and I think Dad would like blue, instead of-the pink paint looks fun today. Pasting on photos of children interacting with other people also allows them to see themselves socially.

Step 2: Using the Flower Pots

  1. When the children have finished decorating their papers, glue them to the pots and secure and seal with your finish of choice.
  2. Have the child fill their pots with soil and use this time to integrate a little science. This is a great project to do when your program is studying plants and how they work.
  3. Lay out the seed packets and again remind the children who they made their pots for. Maybe their friend Sally loves strawberries or Mom grows tulips in the front yard.
  4. Distribute a handful of seeds to each student and let them plant.
  5. Allow the children to gift their projects or keep a few in the classroom to watch grow.

Project Idea 2: Make a Calendar

Materials Needed:

  1. Large construction paper
  2. A blank calendar month
  3. Glue and/or paste
  4. Scissors
  5. Pre-cut paper of and/or paper traced with the month’s picture representation
  6. Various coloring tools such as markers, crayons, paints, paintbrushes, etc
  7. A pencil

Steps (for child to complete on own with your instruction):

  1. On the blank calendar print out, have the child write in the correct corresponding dates to the days
  2. Fold the construction paper in half and have the child write the month’s name below the bottom fold
  3. Glue the month to the bottom of the construction paper below the calendar month
  4. Depending on the child’s age, the child should either cut from the traced or use the precut paper to make their representation for the month on the top left
  5. Discuss with the child things associated with the month. Ask him/her questions. Have them consider the month’s weather, if there is a holiday in the month how they celebrate it at home, if they like or dislike the month, things people do during this month, etc. Then have the child draw one of the things they discussed with you on the right side of the paper.
  6. When finished, have them write their name on their calendar

Project Idea 3: Cookie Canvas’

Materials Needed:

  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) softened Butter
  2. 1 box Powdered/Confection’s Sugar
  3. 2 cups of Flour
  4. 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract or other flavoring
  5. Parchment Lined Baking Sheet
  6. Food Dye
  7. Various Frosting Applicators (Squeeze bottles, Ziploc Bags, even clean paintbrushes for actual painting)

Step 1: Cookie Canvas Base (This can be done at home, the day before in class, or skipped all together and use store-bought)

  1. Cream butter until fluffy with an electric mixer or by hand then add vanilla and 1/2 cup of Powdered Sugar.
  2. Add in Flour 1 cup at a time and mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Dough should be consistency of soft Playdough so refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for easier rolling and molding. Can chill overnight if necessary.
  4. Roll flat and cut into rectangles or squares (These will be the actual canvas’ so think canvas-shape). Place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for around 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Time might vary depending on thickness of cookie.

Step 2: Frosting Painting

  1. Combine a few drops of Food Dye with a tablespoon of water
  2. Stir in Powdered sugar until mix reaches white glue consistency. If using actual brushes to apply add a few drops more water to make runnier.
  3. Decorate with your frosting “paint”. Experiment with different applications just as you would with other art projects
  4. Don’t forget this project also tastes delicious.

Project Idea 4: Stepping Stones

Materials Needed:

  1. 1 and 1/2 cups Warm Water
  2. 1 cup of Salt
  3. 4 cups of Flour
  4. Pie tins or other mold
  5. Aluminum foil lined Baking Sheet
  6. 3-dimmensional objects for decoration
  7. Paper and pens for Planning
  8. Adhesive of your choice (If stones are for outdoor use consider doing a more industrial glue yourself otherwise let children use non-toxic white glue)
  9. Paints and brushes
  10. Permanent Markers

Step 1: Stepping Stone Clay

  1. Combine Warm Water and Salt in large mixing bowl.
  2. Add in Flour 1 cup at a time. Integrate number skills by asking the child to count the cups as they’re mixed.
  3. At the 3rd or 4th cup mixture should be too firm to stir and resort to mixing with hands. Squeeze clay until it holds shape.
  4. Take 1/4 of mixture and press into pie mold. Pull out circle and place on baking sheet.
  5. Repeat this for the rest of the Baker’s Clay/Stepping Stone Mix. Each 1 cup of flour in the recipe should equal 1 stepping stone so divide accordingly.
  6. Make indentations for objects or hand-prints.
  7. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

Step 2: Decorating the Stepping Stone

  1. Gather an assortment of objects and get inspired.
  2. Draw circles on a piece of blank paper and allow children to plan out their stepping stone. This will be beneficial so the child won’t get overwhelmed later and also save materials considering the student already knows what he or she is going to use.
  3. Glue on any of the objects and assist if necessary.
  4. Paint, Draw, Cover the Stepping Stone as desired.

Step 3: Finished Product

  1. Leave as is or cover with protective glaze/sealant.
  2. Use indoors ornamental-y or place outside.

Project Idea 5: Paper Plate Ladybug Puppet

Materials Needed:

  1. Two red paper plates
  2. Scissors
  3.  Stapler or tape
  4. Glue
  5. Black construction paper
  6. Red or black pipe cleaner
  7. Hole puncher
  8. googly eyes(optional)
  9. markers(optional)

Steps:

  1. Have an adult staple the 2 plates together (make sure the eating side of the plates are on the inside) leave one end of the plates unstapled.
  2. Have an adult cut out the rim that wasn’t stapled so the child can put there hand inside.
  3. Have the child or an adult cut out 6 small legs with the construction paper and have the child glue 3 legs on opposite ends of the plate.
  4. With the marker have the child draw a couple of spots on the ladybug (or    have the adult or child cut out a couple of spots using the black construction paper and have the child glue them onto the plate.
  5. Have an adult punch 2 holes above where the eyes would go then have the child twist on the pipe cleaners for antennas.
  6. Under the antennas have the child draw on 2 eyes with the marker (or have them glue on 2 googly eyes).

 

Project Idea 8: Tissue Paper Suncatcher

Materials Needed:

  1. Construction paper
  2. Water
  3. Wax paper
  4. Mixing Container
  5. Glue
  6. Hole punch or pencil
  7. Yarn

Instructions:

  1. Cut out a design on a sheet of construction paper. It may be seasonal- Easter egg, Valentine heart, Pumpkin, etc. or for fun like the sun shown above, or a fish.
  2. Cut the center from the construction paper, leaving at least one half of an inch all the way around to create a border for the sun catcher.
  3. Mix equal parts of white school glue and water in a small container.
  4. Lay the frame, glue and tissue paper on a sheet of waxed paper and create the sun catcher by dipping pieces of tissue paper into the glue solution and putting them inside the construction paper frame.
  5. Overlap pieces of tissue paper slightly and be sure that all outer edges of tissue paper make contact with the construction paper frame. Allow the sun catcher to dry completely (24 hours).
  6. Peel the design from the waxed paper.
  7. Use a hole punch or the end of a pencil to make a hole in the construction paper frame so that the sun catcher can be hung with a string of yarn.
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