Making Fun With Art

What are some of the secrets of a successful playdate, rainy day or time at home? One of the beloved activities that children love is art.  Children get excited by the art projects that they do and it is a great rainy day activity.  The following are some easy art activities to do with children of different ages:

    1. Egg Carton Caterpillar: Cut the egg carton off and discard. Cut the bottom of the egg carton in half lengthwise. Note: 1 egg carton makes two caterpillars. Paint both halves with bright colours. You can paint each egg slot a different colour if the child likes. Cut the pipe cleaner and insert two pieces into the head end of the caterpillar for antennae. Lastly, glue the googly eyes onto the head. If you are using white felt, cut into small circles for eyes and use markers to make black pupils in the eyes. (materials needed: 1 egg carton, paint, pipe cleaners, glue, googly eyes or white felt scraps and black marker, scissors)
    2. Lollipop Friends: Glue the eyes on the styrofoam ball (or paint them on). Cut a small triangle from the black felt for a nose and glue it on (the camper may also use a bead for the nose). Cut two small strips from the black felt for the eyebrows and glue them on. Cut a mouth (any shape the camper likes) from the red felt and glue it on. Glue strips of yarn on the head of the face you have made for hair. When you are sure that everything is glued on well and dry, stick the lollipop stick into the bottom of the head where the neck would be. (materials needed: small Styrofoam balls- 2-3” round, small googly eyes, or you can use beans, beads or just paint eyes and nose on, small scraps of felt- brown, black, red and blue, small scraps of colourful yarn, lollipop sticks and glue)
    3. Tanagram Puzzle: Tanagram is an ancient Chinese puzzle often called the “seven pieces of cleverness.” The object is to rearrange the pieces of a square to form different figures. Start by making a square piece of paper. To start making the square, fold one corner of a piece of paper over to the adjacent side. To finish making the square, cut off the small rectangle, forming a square. Fold the square piece of paper in half, then in half again (making a square that is divided into quarters). Repeat this step (resulting in a square that is divided into sixteenths). Unfold the paper. Draw lines along the red lines marked at the left. Cut along these lines. You will now have seven pieces- a small square, two small isosceles triangles, a medium-sized isosceles triangle, two large isosceles triangles and a parallelogram. (An isosceles triangle has two equal angles and two equal sides. A parallelogram is a four-sided figure with each side parallel to the opposite side). You can arrange these seven pieces into an incredible number of shapes; making animals, people, everyday objects, etc…See how many the campers can make and invent new ones! (materials needed: paper- cardstock or other thick paper works well, scissors, ruler and a pencil).
    4. Apple Dolls: To start, choose an apple for the doll’s head- the bigger the better! The carved fruit will shrink to about two thirds its original size. Red Delicious apples work well. Peel and core the apple. Carve a face on one side, using the tip of a potato peeler to hollow out deep-set eyes and a paring knife to make a slit for a smile or a frown. For a nose, incise a triangle that extends from between the eyes toward the mouth. Ambitious carvers can add ears, dimples and extra facial creases. Store the carved apple in a dry spot until it shrinks. Once the head is dry, use coloured markers or water-based paints to enhance the eyes, lips and rosy cheeks. To make the body, cut the base off the plastic bottle. Plug the top with a cork to serve as the doll’s neck. Wrap the fabric around the body so that it extends beyond the top and the bottom of the bottle. Secure the fabric around the bottleneck with a rubber band and then fold the cloth down. Tuck excess cloth at the base into the bottle. Now top off the doll by gently pushing the cored apple down onto the cork. It generally takes two weeks for the doll’s head to dry, but campers will agree that the result is worth the wait. (materials needed: apple, vegetable peeler, paring knife, coloured markers or paint, wool yarn, scissors, 16-ounce plastic bottle, bottle cork, fabric scraps, rubber band).
    5. Dough Handprints: Add food colouring to the water. Use pink for girls and blue for boys. Mix all ingredients well, kneading until smooth. Dough should be pretty stiff, not soft or runny or it will fill with air bubbles when baking. Form dough into a ball, of about what you can enclose in your two hands and form into a round smooth ball. Using a rolling pin with the dough on wax paper, roll out into as round of a circle as you can. Dough will be about ½ inch thick. Press your camper’s hand with fingers splayed into the dough. Depending on the child’s age, you will have to help and individually press their fingers. Make sure to press deep enough without going completely to the bottom. (When it bakes, it tends to raise the handprint up). Put on a cookie sheet. Use a chop stick or a pencil to make two holes in the top about ½ inch apart. This will be used to string the ribbon through. Bake at 200 degrees for about 2-3 hours. Dough should be fairly hard but watch to see that it doesn’t burn. When they are done and cooked, use a gold marker pen and write the child’s name and date (year). You can put the child’s name on top and the year on the bottom or if there isn’t room, put the name on one side and the year on one side. Tie a ribbon at the top to use as a loop to hang. (materials needed: 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 1 cup water, food colouring, ribbon, gold marker and wax paper).

These are just a few art activities that can help make time with your child special, fun and interesting.  Use your imagination with all of them and create unique projects that will make lasting memories!

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