Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday's Art Smarts: Texture Blocks

Okay, so I was planning on making stained glass art with the kids this week, much like the number line project I completed a few days ago.

But the reality of that project is that there are so many tedious and/or grown-up steps (ironing comes to mind) that it seemed like I would be doing the project for them. Not cool. I might try something like that with them down the line, but for today I wanted something that was more geared toward their level.

In trying to come up with an idea for this week, I was flipping through this little book called "20 Sensational Art and Writing Projects" (scholastic). I picked this book up years ago when I was teaching 4th grade and it's fantabulous - absolutely full of great ideas for integrating art with writing. It's definitely geared toward 2nd-4th grade, but many of the projects can be brought down to a preschool level.

One of the projects I found suggested teaching about texture in art through crayon rubbing and then using the patterns that are created as springboards for story ideas. Although I loved the entire idea, I knew that my kids would lose interest in a project that lengthy. 

But! Crayon rubbing doesn't take too long and brings some immediate satisfaction. So I seriously modified this project for my kiddos, and this is what we did.


various household items with lots of texture: baskets, shoes (for the soles), fabric, lace, slotted spoons, etc.
copy paper
scissors or paper cutter


The first thing I did was introduce the kids to the word texture. We talked about what it means and then we looked around the house to find examples of texture. We have a super knobby rug in our living room and that was the first thing I pointed out, and they - with great enthusiasm I might add - rolled around on it to feel the texture. Then we felt the sliding glass door behind it and noted that it was smooth and that it didn't have any texture. The kids immediately caught on and began running around like wild men trying to find things that had texture vs. things that were smooth. 

After a few minutes of that, we looked at some examples of paintings that had noticeable texture. They each found their favorites. 

Then we walked out to the school room where the project was set up and waiting for them. The first thing I did was show them how to make a crayon rubbing using the side of a crayon. It didn't take long for them to get the idea and want to try it out for themselves. 

Natalie went to town with all the objects I had brought out to use...

...and found a few objects of her own that she wanted to try.

Daniel mainly stuck with a couple objects and one color - his favorite color, orange. 

After they finished experimenting with making textures from crayon rubbing, I took each of their pictures and cut them into little squares. This goes super fast if you have a paper cutter.

Then I gave them each a blank piece of cardstock and told them to look through their squares and find the ones that had the most interesting patterns, the ones they liked the best. Daniel actually had to go through his and sort out the pieces that had color vs. the completely blank squares because he didn't fill his first paper in with crayon rubbings.

Then I told them to fit their squares (blocks) together like a puzzle, making a larger picture that pleased them. In retrospect, this was a lot like our hexagon project, the only difference being that they created the special paper themselves. 

At first I told them that they had to make each square touch.

But Daniel didn't care for that idea, so I gave him the freedom to put his squares together however he wanted.

Here are their complete pieces:

Daddy's City
Daniel, 3 years

Fairy Mom
Natalie, 4 years

I really love how this project turned out! I think the finished pieces are cool, but even better than that, the kids had fun. Which is a lot more than I can say for last week's project

When an art project is age appropriate everyone has a better time. The kids were able to complete this piece almost all by themselves (I only cut the squares for them), which allowed them to focus on the creative process instead of all that they weren't able to do. Win-win, right?


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  1. I love that you made a puzzle with the textured paper after doing the crayon rubbings. What a great way to take a simple activity like crayon rubbings, just a step further. Love it!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, it definitely made that simple activity a lot more interesting for them :)


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