SKILLS: Children will develop fine motor, observation, and language skills as they explore ways to make copies of their artwork using simple printing techniques as well as a copy machine.
- styrofoam plates or trays
- pencils or pens
- tempera paints
- different types of paper (drawing, construction, newspaper, wrapping paper)
1 Provide each child with a styrofoam plate and a pen or pencil. (You may need to remind youngsters to use pencils and pens with care so they don't hurt themselves or others.)
2 Encourage children to draw any design they'd like on their plate. Explain that they don't have to press very hard for their design to show. If children are having problems because their writing implement is going through the styrofoam, just put another plate under the one they're working on.
3 After drawings are completed, ask children to paint lightly over them. Before the paint dries, invite children to choose a sheet of paper and press it onto their painted plate to make a print of the design. Encourage everyone to observe what happens as they print on different materials.
Tip: The paint washes off easily, so children will be able to experiment with different colors throughout the printing process. They may also enjoy trading plates with one another or combining designs.
For younger children: Try simple blot-making experiments. Help children fold a piece of paper in half length-wise. Invite them to open the paper, paint on one side, and then refold the paper. Discuss the mirror image that appears.
For older children: Arrange for children to work in pairs. Suggest that one child draw a simple shape on paper while the other child has her eyes closed. Then, provide a crayon and paper to the child who has closed her eyes. The first child will direct the child to draw die same shape by explaining exactly how she drew it. For example, if the child has drawn a square she might say, "First I drew a line straight out, then I stopped, then I drew a line going down, then I stopped again." When finished, ask children to compare their shapes to see what kinds of copycats they are!
If you have access to a copy machine, encourage children to make some drawings, then allow them to accompany you to the machine, and assist in making copies. Together, observe the flash of light that occurs as the copy is made. Ask the group to come up with theories on how the machine works. Compare and discuss the similarities and differences between their plate prints and the copy machine prints. You can talk about both the actual products and the process itself.
Now that children are experienced printers, challenge them to think of other ways they can make prints using styrofoam plates and paint. What additional materials could they use to print with?
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