Dec 4, 2015

Toddler Art Class: Spice Painting

The most delicious-smelling class ever is surprisingly difficult to clean up.

Art Project: Spice Painting
--spices (I used cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, 5-spice, coriander and cardmom. You can use any spice you'd like, but I'd avoid anything that's going to be too "spicy" if kids decide to taste their art or that might burn if they rubbed their eyes with spice-covered hands.  For instance, I considered turmeric for the beautiful yellow color, but chose to avoid it in the end for those reasons.)
--glue sticks (the purple kind work best for this project)
--heavy paper
--a "dump" container for each table to shake off excess spice 

  cover art All for pie, pie for all / Martin, David
This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving-ish books that has nothing to do with the actual holiday and everything to do with PIE .... and sharing.  No idea what spices are used in the pie in the book, but I think it's still a good fit for this project.

 What Kids Do:  make purple glue designson their paper (I love this artist's loopy style!)
 Shake spices on the glue -- maybe just a little spice...

 Or maybe a LOT of spice!

 Or maybe a WHOLE LOT of spice!
 Tapping the bottom of the bottle makes more come out!
After they dumped it (well, usually the parents dumped the excess spice), they ended up with some intricate designs:

 This artist went back over the design with another tool (maybe a fingernail? I'm not sure...) and scraped some clean lines back into the spice trails:
Some went back over the spices with more glue:
Some just enjoyed feeling the spices on their fingers or smelling and tasting the different spices:

Hindsight Tip: 
--It would be a good idea to check in with parents before you do this project to see if anyone has a severe allergy to any spices and avoid using those.  I ended up having one table that used glitter instead of spice in one class because of a potential allergy and that was a fine alternative, but if one of the participants had had an allergy to airborne ingredients, this class would NOT have worked.
--Spices are surprisingly difficult to clean up off of the tables, so allow extra time for clean-up.  They did smell delicious though!
--I ended up with a few cups of excess spice and I was going to just throw it away, but instead I used it a few days later in a different program to make applesauce cinnamon dough (it's not for eating) which was a big hit!

 Variations to try: 
--You could do these on smaller pieces of cardstock and encourage kids to use only one spice per card (maybe with tables that had only one spice each and let them rotate between tables?) and then encourage parents to have discussions with the kids about the different smells on each card and our sense of smell and taste.
--This project would also work fine with glitter or colored sand if you wanted to avoid the smell or allergy issues.

Adult Challenge: Don't tell your child their artwork is pretty.  Instead, focus on all of the sensory experiences your child is having during this project and engage in conversation about those or about how your child is enjoying (or not enjoying) this project.

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