How to Make Really Big Art with Kids
I hear the squeals from the stairs followed by the quick patter of twin feet down the stairs. I know what that means - they spotted the huge piece of paper on the dining room floor.
Back in January, I shared some goals for the year. I decided to make one big goal, but also to make smaller monthly goals for our year and so far it is working well.
This month our goal was to make big art.
Art in all sizes and forms has value, but I love big art. There is something about an immense canvas that is exciting.
While it would be fun for just one kid to attack a huge piece of paper, I also love the collaborative aspect that is added when kids work side by side on a huge work of art. We did a little of both this month.
For one week, I took down all the art on our art wall and hung large pieces of paper for each kid. (Think really huge 4X3 foot paper).
They could come and go as they wanted and work on their picture during playtime.
Simple rule - the markers need to stay by the paper. We have been practicing this since they were tiny tots so they pretty much have it done by now.
We started the month with this DIY Picture Frame Wallpaper from Artful Parent. This also stayed up on the wall for about a week. It required a little more negotiation about space and ideas.
In the middle of the month, was our biggest project. This we creatively called our Big Painting Project.
During nap, I moved the table out of the dining room and covered the floor in paper.
I recommend doing this on a washable floor - white carpet is not a great idea unless you are okay with some stains. Where is your biggest washable surface? Kitchen? Bathroom? Make the best of what you have.
I taped the edges of the paper to the floor to prevent them from sliding around.
Then I laid out paint in various colors in cups with paintbrushes.
I put our paint shirts nearby.
When our kids woke up, they saw the paper immediately and were super excited. We put on art shirts and they got to work. We've done this a few times, so no real direction is needed at this point.
The first couple of times we did this we established some basic rules for painting:
1. Keep the paint on the paper (some paint will get on the floor. take a deep breath. it's okay - tempera paint can be wiped up with a wet wash cloth when they are done)
2. They need to stay in the paint area until they are done. Some projects they can come and go from all day long, but my kids walk away from this one covered in paint from head to toe.
Otherwise, they just paint.
This time they painted storm clouds and families and houses. They still mostly do their own thing, but this time there was some conversation about the sky and the ground and where they thought things should go.
When they were done painting they weren't ready for me to pull up the paper, so we made a plan.
The next day, when the paint was dry, we came back to it with markers and crayons and added more.
When they were done drawing they declared it finished. We found a spot and hung it in the staircase. Once I got it taped up (with the help of a broom) they both stood looking up at it in awe.
Big art is worth it. It's worth the mess. It's worth the paint covered children. It's the worth the (slightly) longer prep time. It's worth it.
Large Piece of Paper (or many taped together)
Cups for Paint
Gross Motor + Art Activities for Infants and Toddlers.
Painting while you move - with your feet or with boots.
Painting on a large Mirror - both with tempera paint and shaving cream.
Paint on other large surfaces - like a shower curtain.
Large Collages - like this string and tape project.
Ultimate Guide to Painting: Ideas for all kinds of painting with young children and tips on how to manage messes.
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