Thursday, 17 November 2016

Hand & Footprint Christmas Trees

By Annabel (9 months old, with a lot of help from her Mum!)

Lesson Background:
This is another activity I did with my nearly-3 year old, and my 9 month old in the lead up to Christmas.  They both had a blast with this activity!

Lesson Materials:
Green acrylic paint
Brown acrylic paint
Assorted pom poms
Assorted sparkly accessories
PVA glue

Lesson Steps:
1.  Paint foot brown, and stamp onto the bottom of the paper to make a tree trunk.
2.  Paint hand green and stamp multiple times in a Christmas tree shape above the brown footprint trunk.
3.  When dry, gently paint PVA glue over the green part of the tree, and then decorate it with the pom poms and sparkly accessories.

This artwork can be used to make cute Christmas cards (see below).  For very young children, the adult supervisor/teacher can paint and stamp the child's hands and feet for them.

One of Charlie's trees turned into a Christmas card for his childcare centre

After the painting/stamping stage
Charlie's finished tree (nearly-3 years old)
Decorating the tree



Friday, 17 June 2016

Abstract Mixed Media Collage

Activity Background:

This is another activity done with my 2 year old whilst I am on maternity leave with my new bub.  This collage was created as a gift for my sister and her fiancee.  If I was doing this activity with older children, I would look into the concept of positive and negative space, especially the paper cut-out artworks of Henri Matisse.

Activity Materials:

-  PVA glue and brush
-  Coloured feathers, beads, scraps of felt, pom poms etc. (Discount shops often have packets of pre-cut felt shapes that are perfect for this activity.  I had a packet of hearts, butterflies and flowers, as well as old scraps of felt from past art activities)
-  Canvas or art paper

Activity Steps:

1.  Cut out interesting scraps of fabric, felt and ribbon (adults do this if children are too young).
2.  Choose scraps of fabric, and/or feathers, ribbons etc and paste them onto a canvas or sheet of paper using the PVA glue.  Older children should consider the choice and positioning of shapes in relation to creating interesting positive and negative spaces.
2.  Keep going until you are satisfied with the result.

Abstract Splatter Paintings

My 2 year old's splatter paintings

Activity Background:

I'm currently on maternity leave with my second bub, and decided that I would set up a painting activity for my 2 year old son at home one day, as we needed some gift for some family and friends, and my little man was keen to paint!  My little boy has a habit of starting well with paintings, and then smooshing all the colours into one big brown mess by the end!  So, I was considering how I might avoid that again, and came up with this activity.  He was very proud of his finished artworks, and myself and the recipients of them were thrilled!

Activity Materials:

-  A range of coloured acrylic paints (I used a mixture of thick good quality ones, and cheaper runnier kids ones) squirted onto plastic or paper plates, or a palette.  I had a plate of warm colours and a plate of cool colours
-  Canvases or Art paper
-  Paintbrushes
-  Roller brushes
-  A plastic spoon
-  Newspaper to cover the table
-  A water pot to clean brushes

Activity Steps:

1.  I gave my little boy the roller brush and let him roll it through one plate of colours, and roll it onto his canvas to make a background.
2.  I gave him the paintbrush and showed him how to dip it into a runny colour, and flick it onto the canvas,
3.  I gave him the spoon and showed him how to scoop up blobs of paint and drop or flick them onto the canvas.
4.  After using each of these techniques, I asked him when he thought his painting was finished.  The results are in the pictures!


Monday, 2 May 2016


Completed Keith Haring-inspired mural
Completed Tree of Learning mural

Completed Kandinsky-inspired mural

These are the murals from my STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Media) group, composed of students from grades 4 & 5.  I'm really thrilled with the final products which brighten the hallways of our fabulous school.  Well done to the great group of kids who worked so hard on them!

Project Background:

Once a fortnight for 2 school terms (I think it worked out as 8 sessions in total, plus a few extra finishing-off sessions squeezed in), students from Grades 3-6 at my school are involved in a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Media) elective.  Each teacher from these year levels, runs an elective based on a personal passion.  I chose to focus on the Arts (surprise!) and set up a mural painting group.

Lesson Materials:

Large thin timber boards
Chromacryl acrylic paints in a range of colours
Paintbrushes of all sizes
Paint and water pots
Plastic drop sheets
Gloss varnish to coat the murals when completed


Session 1:  Looking at photographs of murals, and learning what a mural is; touring the school to find appropriate available spaces for murals; beginning their designs and proposals.

Session 2:  Students spent this session focusing on completing their designs and proposals.  Students were asked to remember that as a primary school, we wanted bright, happy, child-friendly murals, that appealed to all ages and genders, would remain 'timeless', and were simple enough in shape and design,  so that students could draw and paint them successfully.  Their proposal had to describe the design, state what message or feeling it communicated to the public who would walk past the mural, where they would like the mural to be located, and why their mural should be selected to be created.  At the end of the session, students submitted their team proposals and designs to our school principal, who chose the 3 winning murals to be created based on those she felt best represented our school (and one of the mural designs was to have 2 versions created, due to the number of students in the group).  
Session 3:  Students drew their designs.  We watched time-lapse videos of artists on Youtube, drawing their designs.

Session 4:  We watched more Youtube time-lapse videos of artists painting murals, and discussed the fact that the painting was done in stages and layers.  We watched how the largest blocks of colour were done first, and how final intricate details were not done until multiple layers had been built up.  This was beneficial for students to see, as of course, they were excited and impatient to jump straight in and paint it all in 1 go!

Sessions 5 & 6:  Painting the base layers.

Sessions 7 & 8:  Painting the 2nd layers.

Sessions 9 & 10:  Painting the final layers and detail.

Future Session:  Final touches, tidying up and gloss varnish when dry.

The Murals in progress...

Group 1: Keith Haring-inspired Mural

Group 2:  Kandinsky-inspired mural

Group 3:  Enchanted tree of learning

Group 4:  Kandinsky-inspired mural