With all the snow we’ve had out here in Pittsburgh, it seems only appropriate that my littles are studying the arctic and arctic animals in the classroom. Carrying that same theme over to the art room, we made beautiful Northern Lights pictures this week that I’m pretty excited to share with you. I’m noticing such growth in the abilities of my kids. They are so much more patient and focused on their art. Hard to imagine considering we’ve only been creating together for a few months!
Let me share our process:
First, I flipped through a slideshow of photographs of the Northern Lights. This completely AWED the kids. They each said they had never seen anything like it. One of my littles told me he had a nighttime light in his room but it was not as pretty (I know, I know, cute as can be).
We discussed the photos for a little while. Did the pictures remind us of anything? Did we think it was beautiful? What kinds of colors did we see? One color? Lots of colors? What do you think the animals think of all that color? I have to admit that I didn’t even try to approach explaining how and why the aurora occurs. My kids are only 3-5 ish so it would have been a little over their heads. I simply repeated that it was a beautiful, special thing that only happens way up north, during certain times of the year.
Materials we used for this project:
White tempera paint
Black construction paper
First I had the kids draw their “lights” with the chalk pastel. Once I showed them how we were going to rub and smear the chalk- that’s all they wanted to do. Which was completely fine, but it dulls out the colors a little bit. If you can get them to rub LIGHTLY- great. If not, no worries.
After that, I showed them how to make a cave by making a special kind of hand print. The kids each dipped the pinky edge of their hands in white paint and printed an upside down “U” shape onto their paper. Mystery animals live in our caves so we had to make their animal tracks to guess who they are. This was oh-so-exciting for the kids who, I must say, did a wonderful job with their footprints.
We looked at images of animal footprints. Talked about paws, fingers, toes, claws, hooves, webbed feet etc. etc.
Then, we used found classroom objects to make our animal tracks in the snow. The deer/moose/hoofed animal track was made from the end of an old fashioned clothespin. The bear/large cat/pawed animal print was made from the other end of the clothespin and the tip of a pipe cleaner. And the bird tracks were made using the tip of a popsicle stick.
I would like to try adding a watercolor animal to these pictures next week. I’m currently trying to come up with a good method of helping the kids draw an arctic animal and fill it in with watercolors without getting frustrated by ability. When we discussed this possibility, there were smiles all around. All the kids want a mystery animal to appear in their caves!
On a serious note, though, this type of addition is good for such little children. They have quite a long time in between art projects with me and revisiting one to add a completely different element forces them to consider and accept change, assess their artwork for progress, and change how their brains are thinking about a “finished” work of art.
I’ll be sure to post how our watercolor animals turn out, if they turn out, and weather or not they become true additions!