Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas
- Various natural objects such as sticks, rocks, flowers leaves
- Tempera paint
- Construction paper
- Shallow dishes or trays for holding paint
- Newspaper to cover the art table
Objective: Children will explore the textures and shapes of natural objects and use them to make prints.
In Advance: Invite children to help you collect natural items for printing. Be sure to collect lots of each item, since many may break, or get soaked with paint. Prepare the tempera paints so that they are fairly thick, to make sure the paint won't run off when children dip items.
- Gather children at a table set up outdoors, put on smocks, and invite children to look over the materials.
- Encourage children to explore the printing possibilities. Observe children's actions as they work. Some may use the items as if they were paintbrushes or use a scrubbing motion as if they were sponges. Others may roll the cylinder-shaped items, or make prints of individual shapes. Talk about children's actions in encouraging ways. For example, you might say, "I see Julia making a rock hop on her paper." At the same time, encourage children to think of new ways to use the objects.
- In addition to talking about actions, comment on the patterns children make. You might say, "You used a stick and made lots of skinny lines." Encourage children to talk about their pictures with you and one another. As they finish, help them hang their papers up to dry. Some might want to continue printing while others will move on to another activity. If children are very interested, you can invite then to collect objects and repeat this activity another time.
For younger children: Begin the activity by having children make their own handprints. Once children are familiar with the printing process, have them do some printmaking with natural objects.
For older children: Encourage children to identify objects that make similar kinds of prints on paper. Then see if they can combine the objects to form different kinds of printed images entirely!
REMEMBER: Stress the process of exploring materials, not the product.
This is a messy activity. Children's hands will get covered with paint, and the paint colors and printing objects will get thoroughly mixed. Be prepared with extra materials for other children who want to try printing. Try to stay relaxed about the mess and let children continue exploring.
In addition to natural objects, there are many materials that children can use to put paint on paper. Consider offering cotton swabs, plastic utensils, worn toothbrushes, marbles, old toy cars, and a variety of other materials. Use your imagination!
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
The Lion and the Little Red Bird by Elisa Kleven