Last week I decided to work on printmaking with my littles. We had some good discussions about what a print is, how we can make them, and what makes them special. Even though my littlest littles are only three, I still feel strongly about the value of “authentic” art experiences especially for such young children. I concentrate on specific studio art terms- in this instance print, print making, and monotype.
Then we began to make some prints! Fingerprints, hand prints, leaf prints, monotype prints. I tried to leave it open ended so the kids could go wherever they wanted with the ideas and materials. It’s always fun for little kids to get messy, so that’s definitely part of the equation. But they really did quite a bit of experimentation which was exactly what I was hoping for!
First up: Fingerprint Fall Trees
We talked briefly about tree branches, their trunk, how they grow. Tall tree vs. small tree, etc. etc.
Then, using brown markers, the children each drew a tree trunk and branches. When they were happy with their trees and branches, I put out a long rainbow stamp pad- BEWARE: this will ruin the stamp pad (well not really ruin exactly, just muddy up the colors a little bit). We looked out the windows and talked about leaves and what color they are in fall. To get the kids away from wanting odd colored leaves I asked questions like, “Are most of the leaves you see outside blue?” All the kids screamed “NOOOOOO!!!!” so that kinda took care of itself.
Next we did finger drawing monotype prints. I stressed to the kids that these were special because we could make ONLY ONE print. How many? ONLY ONE! Super special.
Throw away trays and disposable brayers (but don’t actually throw either of them away, just rinse and reuse). Ask the kids to use their pointer fingers (show them) to make a picture. Some of my littles are still in the scribble-ish stage so that’s fine too! They are involved in a new process- their faces will say it all.
My littles could have made HUNDREDS of these prints.
And finally, we did a little experimenting with water soluble markers (Crayola) and making a reflection print with water. This is a really easy way to teach young children about reflections, symmetry, and of course prints!
Fold a piece of heavy paper in half lengthwise. Draw a picture on the top half only, spray with water, the press paper in half again. Open paper to reveal the reflection print.