December Activities

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Styro Sculpture: Two Ways

Children’s sculpture projects can be messy and time-consuming, particularly when using traditional materials such as clay or papier mache. My ‘after-school’ Art Club meets once a week for 45 minutes, and I prefer to complete a project in that time, otherwise it can often happen that one or more children are away for either the beginning or the end of the task. It is also my belief that, with preschool children, the most successful projects are those that hold their attention with quite immediate results.

Styro Sculpture’ is a great example of a project that is simple, fun, educational and can produce impressive results. Many kindergarten art teachers will be familiar with making sculpture from polystyrene packing peanuts and toothpicks or pipe cleaners. The kids construct all sorts of three-dimensional forms by connecting the small polystyrene shapes together. It is so much fun, and really exercises the children’s imaginations. Last time I did this project with four and five year olds, we  had a classroom full of cars, horses, spiders and space rockets.

However, it can be a little frustrating for the children, as the toothpicks and the polystyrene peanuts fall apart quite easily. I also find myself frustrated with the outcome, as one of my key aims with any kids’ sculpture project is to emphasise the three-dimensional physicality of sculpture compared with painting or drawing. Because packing peanuts are so small, the resulting structures are also rather small and fragile.

I wanted the children to be able to work on a much larger scale, especially after coming across a ‘green art’ blog, Inspiration Green, which reveals the seemingly endless possibilities of polystyrene as an art material. John Powers, Dio Mendoza and Tara Donovan are just three artists making incredible sculptural forms from polystyrene.

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Random Art Box

We have a box of random art supplies that we set out for the children to make whatever comes up in their imagination. We've had monsters, princesses, cars, airplanes, and many other fun creations made. 

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