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Kindergarten Art, HELP!

Started on Aug 22, 2012 by mlprince
Last post on Aug 11, 2013

Hello, I work at a K-6 school and all the other grades 1-6, except kindergarten I've got it down. For some reason with my kindies is that they are not engaging enough, or get really bored during the projects. Any thoughts on engaging and fun projects just for kindergarten? Thanks!

6 Keeps, 1 Likes, 13 Comments

  • RuthByrne 08/24/2012 at 05:03am
    I had a similar issue with Pre-K, the projects always ended prematurely. I love teaching kindergarten though, they love using special tools, like paint rollers or sponges and I believe they benefit when you put an idea in their heads before they can get to the tools. I almost always link the project to a book, fiction or non, it helps to pace the lesson and excite their imaginations.

    Specific ideas: Drawing spiderwebs with glue on black paper and coloring the in between spaces with chalk, use a non fiction spider book.
    Elmer's special day is a fun book to pair with a tissue paper collage project.
    Make quilts with felt or paper, precut shapes makes it like a puzzle, yarn scraps glue on like stitches.
    My FAVORITE is turning block letters into animals, They use colored construction paper and scraps to cut out their letter and their animal features.

    Make a Rousseau Jungle on green construction paper, I usually do it as a scrap collage but they draw and color the animals on white paper&cut;&glue;. No book for that one, the picture is the story...which reminds me, have them make up stories for paintings/pictures in a think pair share format and then draw a picture that tells a story. There are great opportunities for sharing, imagining and storytelling in that activity.

  • artsurf6 08/25/2012 at 11:32am
    I love teaching my kindergarden classes. I often connect their art with a book or season, something that really draws them in and they can connect to.
    They can usually do so much more than you think!
    They love to draw things in their world so we make apples, leaves and pumpkins in the fall. I break everything down to it's simplest line or shape. I also use the letters of the alphabet to help them know the shape of a line they might use.
    We constantly compare and contrast whatever we are drawing, three apples, red delicious, golden delicious and a granny smith. They learn the names and unique qualities as we draw. Each is a diff. shape, esp. the base and they have diff. colors and some have dots or freckles as we call them.
    They count the bumps an the bottom and then see how many they can really see when it is on the table. The constant dialogue is great!
    They draw the bottom first then look at the shape of the top and draw it. Then they look at the stem, where does it start? We call our apples happy apples because they have a smile where the stem starts. We also talk about the flower that proceeds the apple and where it grew.
    We draw three different apples and each is a different fraction of an apple, a whole, a half and a quarter. They see the inside, how it grows and remember the math names too. I love the kids to see how things are connected and part of the whole.
    Many projects are direct draw but hey are all unique. Hope this helps.

  • AmyHall 08/26/2012 at 12:36pm
    I have the same trouble... I teach K-8 and also struggle with the Kinders.

    I love Ruth's idea with the block letter animals! Thanks!!

    One of my favorite go-tos it jasper Johns alphabet (I posted it in the resource section). It takes about 3 classes and always turns out successful.

  • RuthByrne 08/27/2012 at 06:31am
    No Prob Amy! and artsurf, I so agree, books or subjects or seasons are key. Preparatory activities go a long way to stimulate kinder brains, there is so much joy and excitement in there! They really can do more than you think, and failures don't seem to bother them as much, so its good to push the bounds of what you think they are capable of. They are desperate to try big kid materials & be part of the big kid side of the school.

  • jfrisco 09/02/2012 at 11:28am
    I don't teach Kinders, but I have found that my 1st graders LOVE music and movement! They love both! Also... many projects simultaneously. Options. Choice-based centers.

  • imagiNATION 09/02/2012 at 10:18pm
    Ooh Kindergarten is my favorite! I also am K-6 and am most successful with the little ones. Like artsurf6 I also link all lessons to literacy with some kind of book. Keeping them engaged with actions is also a must. The whole brain learning thing really works well for them. Doing projects in steps and taking brain breaks in between to stretch or review the actions from the lesson keeps them from just painting all over everything. And that sometimes happens. They are amazed by pretty much everything so mixing paint is the most magical thing in the world. As RuthByrne said they can do a lot. Their imaginations are huge and and they are not scared of making a mistake. It is helpful to talk to their teachers and reinforce what they are doing in their classroom. As long as you are clear about materials and how to use them, I have found Kinders to be the most conscious of them. I use a lot of animals in my specific projects then the second half of the year do choice based learning (I do it the second half so they know how to use materials properly)
    Specific Ideas:
    Mouse Paint - This book is awesome for color mixing! I have the resource on the exchange here.
    Line Turtles - I haven't used color but that looks fun too.
    Shape Lions - This resource is also posted in the exchange here.
    Masai Necklaces for pattern - we cut the middles out of paper plates and added patterns using markers
    Overlapping Shapes - We did a wax relief. The kids traced geometric shapes making some overlapping. They then colored them using construction paper crayons making the parts that overlapped a different color from the shapes themselves. We then covered the drawing with watered down black tempera. The results were really beautiful and doubled up with math standards.
    We also made castles using shapes (kinders love castles and I mean who doesn't really)
    Chihuly is pretty cool to do. I did this Macchia Bowl project with them last year and it went really well.
    Hope that helps!

  • Eponine24601 09/06/2012 at 06:01pm
    I very much enjoy working with my kindergarteners! :) I agree with what has already been said about linking the lesson to literacy or a season. Anything you can do to get the moving and interacting. MousePaint is excellent, as imagiNATION said. I've used that book, then taken clear plastic cups with red, yellow and blue water and mixed them. If the students seem like they're ready for paint, I have them make "mousetracks" with their fingers using the primary and secondary colors and adding a construction paper mouse (a triangle body, circle for ear, google eye and string tail). If they are not quite ready for paint, colored Play Doh is great as well. I've used that with my even younger early childhood students.

  • stapier01 12/04/2012 at 08:28am
    I agree with the others about connecting to books, songs, etc. Short movie clips are great, too! If you are having trouble with kids being engaged, I find the most common reason is because the activity is not age appropriate. Kinders don't care about Kandinsky's use of diagonal line to create movement and direction. But they do like folding and rolling paper strips to make roller coasters and skate parks. AND they are learning about the same concept! Then you can show them the awesome youtube video with an animated kandinsky painting to top it off :)

  • stapier01 12/04/2012 at 08:31am
    Oh, and mixing media is great too because it cuts down on repetitiveness. First draw, then cut, then glue, then add crayon, and then add a little paint-all on the same project. Keeps them focused on new activities constantly. Today we traced circles and cut them out, glued them together on dark blue paper to make a snow man, decorated them with crayola color sticks, glued on a tissue paper scarf, and then stamped the pictures with bubble wrap painted light blue to make snowflakes. SUPER cute, and they are engaged the whole time. Read the book "Snowmen at night" to go along with it!

  • RuthByrne 12/05/2012 at 12:11pm
    Great idea stapier!! I recently saw a mixed media project online that included traced circles, cut cirlces, collage, and bubble wrap stamping...I like how this has all those elements in a representational format AND a picture!!
    Also, I love those color sticks. I'm loathe to buy colored pencils ever again.

  • loyalluyster 01/29/2013 at 10:42am
    I had my husband cut 1/2 inch dowel rods into 6 inch lengths and my Kindergarteners used them to paint/stamp 'snowburst' pictures using white,blue and purple paint. They got to mix colors because the psint was on paper plates for easier clean-up.

  • vardas 03/01/2013 at 08:55am
    Hi,I teach only kindergarten art...I have 640 kinders a week that I see for 30 minutes. I keep things very structured and start the year off with a no-fail lesson like a collage, then I start wtih a line lesson-Kandinsky, shape-Kandinsky circles, color-Mondrian, color mixing-secondary color pumpkins; they do the color mixing on week 1 and week 2 they make the pumpkins, grass, etc., pattern-fall leaves with pattern border; Native American teepees and texture-pinch pots and clay pendant necklaces that they step on the clay to put the texture/design from bottom of their shoe (they love this). This takes us to winter break. The week they come back I have them paint their pendants, then I do more involved lessons. Winter landscapes, cityscape, action painting(they tap and wiggle the brushes, no marbles used), self-portraits, silly self-portraits(picasso), Jim Dine hearts, etc.
    If you would like more info on lessons, just email me. :-) I try to incorporate books, but with 30 minutes, there isn't always time. I have a TON of nice prints that I show.

  • Ms-Organized-Chaos 08/11/2013 at 02:14pm
    I DREADED KINDERGARTEN TOO!! that is until I started using themes...luckily my school has Tools of the Mind Curriculum which incorporates themes into their classroom so I piggy back off of those. SO,themes I use:

    -Travel under the ocean (using the magic school bus book)
    -Travel to Egypt for egytpian art
    -Travel into outer space
    -Travel to the Rainforest

    Seasons Themes

    etc. shoot me an e-mail, I just posted a resource using the book Sky Color that I do with my kinder too!