Nov 14, 2012

Toddler Art Class: Texture Explorations

Although creating crayon rubbings may be beyond the youngest toddlers, everyone can enjoy feeling different textures!

Art Project:  Texture Explorations / First Crayon Rubbings
peeled crayons (stubs are fine)
paper (scrap paper is fine as long as one side is blank)
a variety of textured items such as:
slate, sandpaper, buttons, keys, mesh screen, baking racks, coins, paper clips, feathers, wood, craft sticks, fabrics (burlap would work great!), foil, pegboard.... look around your home and see what you have to add to this list!

cover art Tails / Van Fleet, Matthew

Music to make art by:
  cover art Papa Goose [sound recording] / Hussey, Nat

 What Kids Do:  explain the concept of making a crayon rubbing at the beginning of class, but don't be surprised if instead they do this:

coloring with the side of a crayon is tricky business, but luckily, the tip of a crayon works almost as well for bringing out the texture below your paper.

a few of the participants tried the project as demonstrated (although, as we know, that isn't the most important part of this class!):

and a few adults (including me!) couldn't resist getting our hands onto this project ourselves:

Hindsight Tips: 
--the large scale things worked best for actually making textured rubbings:  screen, pegboard, the texture of the tables themselves
--the baker's cooling racks were a huge hit!  not only did they make an easy and effective rubbing, but they also made lovely music when strummed with a key or a craft stick.  When demonstrating the process to the last class of the morning, I showed how you got different results on the paper if you rubbed with the side of the crayon vs. the tip.  One observant participant pointed out that they also made different sounds--brilliant!---although most of the kids just liked digging things out of the buckets and sorting and arranging them on the tabletops, this activity kept them occupied for a surprisingly long amount of time.

 Variations to try: 
--actually introducing the class as 'an exploration of textures with a possible side activity of doing rubbings if you want to' might take some of the "performance pressure" off of parents (and the instructor!).
--a rubbing class with only leaves from a variety of trees
--using "crayon cookies" might be easier than crayons since they don't have a tip.
--try using oil pastels instead of crayons for a different effect

Adult Challenge:  Give your child permission to experiment and "fail."  I made sure to point out several ways that kids might interact with the materials that wouldn't initially appear to be "following directions" but which are, ultimately, still valid ways to learn about art.  It's the process, not the product!

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