Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ocean chalk easel invitation

Something I love about easel invitations is that they span the age-levels of kiddos.  Any age kiddo (or adult!) can stop by and add in some details to the current scene.  Even my little guy, who has limited interest in art and drawing can't resist chalking a little bit!  Here he is adding some elements to the ocean.  :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Another easel invitation......

I left this:
 Which she turned into this:  (complete with an oral story that goes along with the drawing!)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Art Invitations--encouraging kids to use the easel

When I first put out the easel (it frequently takes "breaks" in the upstairs closet when we're not using it as much), it gets lots of use from little artists.  As the weeks pass, though, the kids don't notice it as much and don't gravitate toward it.  One method I often use to encourage easel drawing (remember--it is SO GOOD for fine and gross motor development as well as art skills) is by offering an "invitation."  

This means that I set up something that invites the artist in....makes it irresistible for them not to draw!  Here is my first invitation.  My 7 year old is beginning to read, so she could read the simple directions I wrote.  She erased my words and wrote "My name is Quinn," and decorated that person all up!!  
I often prepare invitations to be ready for my kids to create art while I am preparing dinner.  Typically my invitations are simple and take 2 minutes or less of my time to prepare, and my kids spend a loooong time drawing.  Remember that any new experiences takes 5-7 times to become familiar, so the first several times you put out an invitation, your kids may not respond to it.  If they don't, gently call their attention to it, sit down and draw yourself, modeling what to do and speaking aloud what you are doing.  "I think I'll start with her hair.  I want her to have long, curly red hair, so I will use the chalk to draw spirals that look like curls.  Maybe a purple hairbow would be nice.  Now she needs clothes....I think I will do a purple skirt to match her bow.  And boots!  I can draw clouds and raindrops in the sky since she is wearing rainboots."  As your children observe you, they will begin to learn the process for drawing on the chalkboard, and over time they will internalize this and be ready to create their own art!  

My 4 year old son doesn't love drawing....but lately he has discovered that he can draw rainbows all by himself.  For an invitation for him I drew the first red arch of a rainbow and left the other colors out on the tray of the easel.  He made his rainbow, then erased it before I could snap a photo, then he spent a good 20 minutes drawing happily away in chalk!

I'll try to remember to catch snapshots of other easel invitations I offer for my kiddos to share in this space.  

Do you have an easel?  If not, this also works with a large piece of paper taped to the wall....or even flat paper on a table, though writing on a vertical surface strengthens arms in a way horizontal writing does not, so try to provide easel-like experiences for your little artists!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Make Your Own Library!

This summer my kids had so much fun playing library!

One day I decided to get them interested in some of the books we own in our home library that they haven't read in a while.  I gathered up a handful of different genres and set them up on our stairs.  I put animal non fiction together, biography together, fiction together, etc.

I let them each choose a couple books, and we got out their little toy cash register and they pretended to check out the other one's books!

Not only did they have fun PLAYING library, but they were also motivated to read some books they hadn't touched in a while and revisit some books from our home library!  I got to direct which books they were exposed to (because I chose them and set them out!) and I pretended to be the librarian who asked them about their interests and helped them choose some books.

Over the course of several days we made paper library cards for each of us and also signs for the shelves!  Great literacy skills!

My kids were both really excited about this pretend play and both of them subsequently set up libraries in their own rooms!

I remember playing library as a kid, too!  A great pretend-play activity that can be adapted to any age--from board books to chapter books!  Don't have a cash register to use for checkout?  Make one out of a box!  Get creative!  Remember it's about the process!