Thursday, October 21, 2010

Being Festive

When I was a kid (say 5 or 6) a pad of construction paper, a roll of tape and a pair of scissors could literally occupy me for days.  I would build these 3d cities in my room and then play with them.  At one point I remember trying to make a vehicle completely out of paper and tape.
Imagine my complete thrill that my three-year-old seems to be developing a love of art projects.  He particularly enjoys gluing.  Since he is no longer napping, but the little one is, I have some hours in the afternoon that need to be occupied and the occasional art project seems like a better idea than endless Donald Duck cartoons (the old 1940s ones are his current fav).  I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with cute little projects for him that we can do together, that might be cute on a fridge somewhere and that teach him something (even if it is minor).  I'm not big on drilling the ABCs and 123s, I figure he's got the rest of his life to deal with that, but I do like planting little facts and data into his head because it gives him great confidence to know *stuff.*
The other funny part about my son's art projects is that he never wants to make just one, he needs to mass-produce.  I have to come up with stuff that can be easily duplicated by a little boy with a short attention span.
Last week we made pumpkins and he glued on the faces.  Earlier this week we made spiders.  My son has been fascinated with fall spiders this year and his preschool class has been spending a lot of time talking about spiders.  He loved it.  The whole time he was gluing, he kept saying "this is a really fun project, Mommy!"
The reason I am posting this is because I hear people say all the time "I'm not crafty" or "I have no artistic ability whatsoever" or "I'm not creative," etc.  People: if you have a little kid that loves this stuff like mine, you can very easily do some of these cute little projects without any talent really.  Here's how we made this one:
1) Get a bowl out of the cupboard and trace it on black paper for the spider body.
2) Get a glass out of the cupboard and trace it on black paper for the spider head.
3) Take a variety of colors of construction paper and cut them all to the same size for legs.  This is 9x12 paper cut into 9"x1.5" strips with a paper cutter.
4) Fold the leg strips like fans.
5) Glue head onto body.  Turn over and glue legs onto the back.  Turn back over and apply googly eyes - it's so much cooler if you put more than just two on.  My husband assures me that spiders have more than two eyes anyway.
...and voila!  You have yourself a cute, kid-friendly art project.  The cool thing about this one is that it's appropriate for varying levels of skill.  If your child is a beginner, just have him/her do the gluing or even just tell you where to put stuff.  A little more advanced kid can count out the appropriate number of legs.  My son did most of the gluing and sticking of all the pieces.  I helped guide him so he got the idea.  I love the finished product and he was thrilled too!
I'm guessing we'll be doing lots of these little projects while he is interested so family members beware: you may be receiving mail.