Monday, October 23, 2017

Toy Design Project for Kids

For the few elementary students who don't understand how art relates to their lives, I walked them through the process of toy making. Toys don't just appear on store shelves or in the bedroom toy box. Someone had to come up with the idea, make a preliminary sketches, present the sketches, rework the sketches, make pattern, choose the fabric (color and texture), or make a 3D model for hard plastic toys. I showed (and described) a few youtube videos that go through the elaborate process it takes to make a single toy for a kiddie meal.

I required my students to start with a sketch to be used as a pattern, and for those who needed something tactile, Wiki Sticks did the trick . They cut it out of paper first, and then  two layers of fabric.

They ran fabric glue around the edge of one piece of fabric, leaving a few inches without glue. They added the second layer and once the glue was dry, they stuffed the opening with stuffing.

The openings were glued  and clothes pins helped keep edges together until dry. Students used foam pieces, puffy paint, googly eyes, and buttons to decorate their toys. The project only takes an hour, but the knowledge that every toy they ever see was made by someone who went through a similar creative process, will hopefully last a life time.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Crazy for Carle

Months ago, my friends and I went to see the Eric Carle Exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and we were charmed. His process of children's book illustrating is unique in that he paints tissue paper and then cuts the paper and collages the shapes to make images. His work includes classic books such as "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" (my school has a braille version of this one complete with tactile illustrations) and "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" (for which we have finger puppets).

After reading the books to my elementary students, one girl said, "White chicken, white chicken, what do you like? My favorite thing is riding a bike." She inspired me to ask each child to come up with an adjective and noun (usually a color and an animal use as a subject for their question. Then they changed the verb from the original, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?" They had to answer with a word that rhymes with the verb.  This teaches parts of speech and word families. And before you know it, we had completed a classroom book, or at least a bulletin board for now.

One class, in which most of the students are non-verbal, helped paint the boarder. This is still a good way to teach color mixing, and basic paint strokes.  Everyone gets a chance to contribute and take ownership in the final product. Thank you Eric Carle, for the inspiration!