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Fourth of July Activities for Preschoolers

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With the Fourth of July just around the corner, process art experiences are a great way for children to explore art materials and enjoy what happens.  Process art is a wonder to behold!  "There is no right or wrong way for these art ideas to turn out; there is only YOUR way. YOU are the artist!," explains MaryAnn F. Kohl, the author of numerous award-winning books providing open-ended art activities for young children. "Process not product means that you don't have to copy what an adult makes or even try to make something a friend has made," 

Watch children discover their capabilities and the joy of creativity as you explore your way through these timeless art experiences that are easily adapted for the Fourth of July. 

COLLAGE: Confetti Explosion

Create your own confetti firework explosion for the 4th of July with this collage activity!

Materials:

Art Process:

  1. Draw a design with glue on the black paper.
  2. Sprinkle confetti into the glue design. Place confetti and dots one at a time in glue, or sprinkle confetti and dots all over the glue all at once.
  3. Dry the project completely.

Variations:

  • Use bits of tissue, cotton balls, beads or other collage items instead of confetti.
  • Fill a cookie pan about one-quarter inch deep with confetti. Make a glue design on paper, turn the paper over and press the paper into the confetti. Turn right side up and dry.
  • Place a glue design in the bottom of a tub of confetti. Scoop confetti over the glue design. Shake off the excess confetti. Dry the project completely.

Hint:

  • Use a damp cotton swab to lift a piece of confetti and place it on the glue design. This makes placing individual pieces of confetti easier than trying to pick them up by hand.
  • If creating a larger design, work on small parts one at a time, so glue doesn’t dry out.

 

SCULPTURE: Fence Weaving

Have your students help decorate for the 4th of July outdoors with this sculpture activity!

Materials:

  • Fence (chain link fences work well)
  • Items for weaving such as crepe paper, strips of fabric, rope, ribbon, lace, strips of newsprint, other paper or yarn

Art Process:

  1. Find a fence that is comfortable to reach and easy to stand beside.
  2. Weave and wrap materials through the fence.
  3. Continue to adding decorations and weaving until the fence is woven and decorated as desired.
  4. Remove the weaving before it rains, but enjoy it as long as possible.

Variations:

  • Make a swing-set or playground equipment weaving.
  • Plan the fence weaving as part of a party, play or special event.

 Hint:

  • One trick to making weaving easier for young artist is to keep the strips fairly short (not more than two to three feet in length).
  • Another more challenging weaving approach is to roll the strips in a ball and place them in a container with a hole at the top. The artist feeds the strips through the fence wire, unrolling it from the container.

 

CONSTRUCTION: Parade

Throw your own Fourth of July parade with your preschoolers with this construction activity!

Materials:

  • Tricycles, bikes, big wheels, scooters or wagons
  • Decorating materials including crepe paper, balloons, tin cans, aluminum pie plates, flags, streamers, yarn, and string
  • Masking tape

Art Process:

1. Decorate tricycles or other riding or pulling toys for a parade.

2. Some decorating ideas are:

  • Weave crepe paper through bicycle spokes
  • Tie balloons or streamers to handle bars
  • Make a float in a wagon
  • Hang noisy cans or pie plates from bikes

3. Start a parade around the playground, park or down the neighborhood sidewalks.

4. Add marching people (decorate them too!), rhythm instruments or noisemakers to the parade.

Variations:

  • Parades can have a holiday or celebration theme.
  • Invite pets to join the parade.
  • March to music from a tape recorder.

Hint:

  • Some children have no concept of staying in line or “following the leader” in a parade setting. Stage a brief practice time before decorating. This will help to alleviate confusion later. Straight lines are not important, but a parade needs some form. The artists can decide how they wish the parade to form and proceed.

 

Preschool Art by MaryAnn F. Kohl is filled with over 200 process art experiences for young children. The first chapter in the book is called The Basics. These projects are basic art ideas every preschooler will want to experience. All the other projects in this book build on these basic art ideas.  They can be done at any time during the year, experienced more than once (in fact many, many times) and they will always be of value to the developing young child. The remaining four chapters are arranged by seasons and divided by months. For each month you will find approximately 20 art ideas using five art categories: collage and paper, drawing, painting, sculpting with clay and dough, and craft and construction. The first three categories are the most process oriented and open-ended art ideas. The constructing ideas are somewhat more craft than art, but still open-ended. Drawing indicates art ideas that involve pencils, crayons, pens and other drawing techniques such as drawing with glue, a finger in the sand or other unusual types of drawing. Painting could be painting with brushes or some other tool, using paint, food coloring or dye, or printing with a variety of materials. The sculpting projects involve using materials to make three-dimensional art ideas using a wealth and variety of art materials commonly found in the home or classroom. The construction projects tend to lean more towards crafts, but involve creative thinking in making puppets, wreaths, jewelry and other things.  

Oh! We almost forget to tell you something important!  It's perfectly alright if you don't want to save whatever art experience you just finished. You can throw it away or take it home or cut it up into little pieces and glue them on something else!  Simply enjoy crafting.  



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