I just wrapped up two weeks of Family Readers classes at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The class was 1 1/2 hours for ages 2 and up with a caregiver. My oldest son, Charlie, is three years old so I was able to bring him along! The first class was based on The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds and the second was based on Mix it Up by Herve Tullet.
For The Dot, I set up exploration stations for students. After reading the story, we explored mark making with non-traditional objects like bubble wrap and toilet paper tubes. Next, we mixed our own colors with tempera cakes. We explored positive and negative space with foam block printing and then crayon resists with watercolor paints. We even ‘painted’ with oil clay by pressing small dots of polymer clay into foam sheets. At the end, we bound all of our treasures together to create our very own Dot Books.
For the Mix it Up class, students were transformed into art-scientists. First, we explored color mixing with saran wrap, canvas board and liquid acrylic paint. Students combined primary colors and white with their fingers, squishing the paints together to create a colorful landscape. Next, we got seriously messy with foam paint. Using one part shaving cream to one part white glue and a few drops of washable liquid watercolor, students got elbow deep into their paintings, and spent more than half of the class whipping up their masterpieces! My son in particular really got into it. He is seriously excited to do this activity again at home and thinks that our house exterior would really benefit from puffy paint. Finally, we used liquid watercolor and pipettes to make miniature drop paintings. Using dry watercolor paper, students moved the paint around by blowing through straws. Next, they compared the strong, pigmented lines created with the dry paper to the soft, large shapes that were created when water was painted onto their paper first.