Recently, I watched a group of preschoolers busy at work with creative art materials.
They dipped foam “cheesies” into water and then pressed them onto paper, creating all kinds of colourful patterns. I commented on one child’s artwork, saying that her design reminded me of a flower growing. She responded by telling me that it was a picture of her cat, climbing up the ladder of her bunk bed to come and sleep with her. Amazing! I would never have known this about her picture if I simply had said, “That’s wonderful!” and then put it on the shelf to dry.
Creative activities and experiences – whether these involve arts and crrfts, music, drama, storytelling or dance – can tell us a lot about what young children are observing, thinking, learning, feeling and wanting to communicate.
In the pages of HeadsUpDad, I would like to share with you some ideas and examples of activities that you can do with your kids to spend some quality time together, get connected with your creative side, bring valuable life skills to the table and have a great deal of fun.
As I post different ideas, I hope that these will:
- suggest ways to encourage your child’s creativity
- help you to understand the skills that emerge through the enjoyment of art experiences
- provide you with strategies for engaging with your child as you talk, share an interest, explore and just have fun together
- encourage you to take the experience in a new direction (e.g., a trip to the library or art gallery)
I’ve decided to start with a very simple sensory activity, using materials that you might find around the house – tissue paper collage.
For this activity, you will need:
- assorted colours of tissue paper (leftovers from gift bags)
- pieces of cardboard (a cut up cereal box will work)
- white glue, or try making paste by combining a handful of flour with some water until the mixture is creamy and thick
- popsicle stick or plastic spoon, for spreading the paste
Begin by preparing the tissue paper. Encourage your child to tear pieces using fingers. Dads can use scissors to cut out shapes like circles, squares and triangles. If you decide to make your own paste, this will allow your child to practice measuring and stirring, to compare wet and dry ingredients and to enjoy exploring the gooey texture. Spread glue or paste onto the cardboard and then your child can arrange the tissue paper shapes, creating unique designs.
Ask your child to tell you something about the creation. It will be the start of a very interesting conversation!
For more ideas to help get you inspired about collage, visit the Eric Carle Museum. Here you will also find a list of beautiful children’s books illustrated with collage. See if you can find these at your local library.
Send us your photos!