Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bath Time is Art Time: tutorial

As an artist and former art teacher, I am constantly thinking about ways that I can bring art into raising my child (and future children). For years I have passed by the aisle in the craft stores that contains rows of colorful foam rectangles just waiting to be cut into interesting shapes. I have personally never had anything meaningful to do with this foam (though once I did incorporate it into an artpiece...). Fast forward to now: I have a child who takes bathes with walls so bare... yearning for color.

Olivia is too young to play this colorful foam art game, but soon she will stop chewing everything that comes within her grasp and she and I can play "art" in the tub (and I can't WAIT!!!!). So many great art lessons can be taught with the results of this tutorial, and I hope you try them out with your own little ones. (or just do them yourself. honestly I spent so much time playing with these shapes and making art on the wall while olivia played in the tub that I didn't notice she was pooping until too late!!!!)

MATERIALS:
Foam rectangles from the craft store (2 or more colors)
scissors
pencil
1. begin cutting out your shapes. I stuck to predominately organic shapes in the beginning, and then more geometric shapes later.
2. lay all of your pieces on top of another color and begin tracing a piece, then remove it until you have traced every piece onto the next color. Why? because then you can make shapes that fit together on the bath wall, but are different colors. It looks cool (see right below). *POST EDIT* you can just cut two on top of each other at the same time instead of tracing each piece.... duh.
3. I was REALLY excited about all the colors available (much better than felt colors available at a craft store which is why I dye most of my own felt) and so I cut it all and ended up with A LOT of shapes. Its all good since I am sure some will be torn or lost or eaten, etc.
 As you can see I had a lot of fun creating artwork while olivia played. Now, how can you teach art concepts through these shapes? Here are some ideas below:
1. Teach them about organic shapes vs. geometric shapes then have them create an artpiece out of one or the other, or both side by side. Then discuss how the organic shapes look or make them feel compared to the geometric art. Ask them what organic shapes (trees, plants,) they know about in real life and what geometric shapes (buildings, furniture, etc). This activity can lead to discussions when going for a walk. at the playground, or while shopping, etc (well in an artist mom's dreams at least...).

2.Give them a pile of pieces, say 15 pieces, and then give them 3 minutes to make an art piece. on your mark set, GO! and see what they create. Or you can ask them to see how many different art pieces they can create out of those same 15 pieces.

3. Give them a pile of pieces and ask them to see if they can create a real object using just those pieces (such as a lamp, a tiger, a car, etc).

4. Teach them about the principles of design: rhythm, focal point, balance, contrast, and movement using the shapes to demonstrate (review these first if you aren't familiar with them). Have them create an art piece on the wall, and then talk about where they see rhythm with the shapes, or ask them to use the shapes to create something that has symmetrical balance (same on both sides) or asymmetrical balance (not the same on both sides--in simple terms).

yes, this may sound complicated at first, but I think that young kids (maybe not REALLY young kids) can understand these on a simplified level. And it would be fun just to try it out. art in the bath. I love it. If you don't do any of these things, then at the very least they will love creating artwork out of these shapes. And they aren't the boring shapes you find in bags at the store.

23 comments:

Delia said...

My son really loves anything artistic. I think he would LOVE this. We will definitely try it. Thanks for sharing your creativity with us! :)

Delia said...

And...I just featured you on my blog. (well..tomorrow)

THanks!

deliacreates.blogspot.com

sarah/book bound bindery said...

why didn't i think of this?! craft foam here i come.

Emily and Hannah said...

Katie, I LOVE this! My son is 12 now and prefers showers over baths (and friends over his momma), but Hannah's son is almost 2. I can't wait to try these with him:) Great art education ties, too!

Alice said...

WHO ARE YOU? How do you think up these things?

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Whoa... that's genius! I love this!!! Thanks so much for the great idea and teachable moments, I'll be linking.

Tricia said...

Great Idea. We will have to try it out. I have been wanting to work on shapes and colors with my son. This will be perfect. Bath time seems to be the only time I can really get him to sit still-Genius!

Claire Kiefer said...

So sweet! You're such a great mom for thinking ahead about lessons you can teach kids out of fun things like foam art in the bath . . . and on a side note, aren't babies so CUTE in the bathtub?

creativejewishmom.com said...

This is great! I'd just love it if you'd stop by my crafty linking party Today thru Tues@ creativejewishmom.com And by the way, this foam is actually great for making your own simple stamps, I use spice jar lids as the base!

Scotty and Chels said...

Awesome! I am doing this!!!! I love all your ideas to help kids be more artistic and creative. I need them for ME! Maybe Lucy will have more creativity than her mom. (ps, your bathtub looks way cleaner than mine! :) )

Sam said...

This is a great idea!
But am I missing something? How do you get them to stick to the wall?

blueeyedfreckle said...

sam.... you just add water from the tub:)

polwig said...

I love this idea.. there is so many things you can do with this. I think my twins will love it too.

Teddi said...

this idea is very clever! O & while i'm at it, i love ur new fabric labels that u featured on ur headband. :)

Kama said...

great idea!

Amanda said...

eek! Absolutely adorable! I can't wait to make a set for my daughter! I am featuring your FANTASTIC idea on my Friday Favorites!

http://www.funnydayswithmommyandmaddie.com

Lanie said...

What a great idea! My girls would LOVE this!

I featured this project in my Friday Favorites...

http://www.laniejandco.com/2010/06/friday-favorites-6410.html

Alison said...

I loved this idea so much, I featured it today!

http://oopsey-daisy.blogspot.com/2010/06/wednesdays-wowzers.html

Thanks for the inspiration and have a fabulous day!
~Alison

Marilyn said...

I've been looking for something similar to this for my kids to play with at bath time. I didn't even think to just use craft foam, genius!!!

Delia said...

We just made some but not as creatively as you I must admit. Thank you again for the wonderful idea!

Lindsey said...

What a cool idea! I am so doing this. :)

Anonymous said...

Do they just stick to the wall with water?

Anonymous said...

Do they stick to the wall with water?