Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rainbow Collage

First, a word on STUFF.

If you work in early childhood education, especially if you love art like I do, you start to see everything as a great potential project.  Nothing needs to be wasted, those scraps of yarn or construction paper or three blue sequins would be great in a collage.    As a result, you keep EVERYTHING.

So we have a lot of STUFF.
It's all useable, but if there's too much of it, or it's hard to find, it doesn't get used.

How do you make it interesting?
By sorting by color!

Kids three and up could help get the sorting started.
In a roomful of two-year-olds only too eager to help, I chose to simplify things by doing this step myself.

Now that the bags are started, we can just add bits as time goes on--I'm thinking eventually something bigger will be useful.

This lends itself to doing one of the many awesome rainbow collages on Pinterest right now.

My favorite variation was at A Happy Wanderer, because she demonstrated the really great idea of cutting the rainbow into sections so a large group of kids can work on it.

So here's how I did it:
We had a great big white circle of corrugated cardboard on hand.

I cut it in half, then arc shapes, freehand.
(This is what I wish I'd done differently - it wasn't really, really rainbow-shaped and didn't have room for indigo or violet.)

I covered the first piece of cardboard in glue stick, then invited the kids over.

"Feel it? It's sticky!"

I gave them the materials (one color at a time) and invited them to stick stuff on.  I covered each piece in glue as it went on so they could glue more on.  The pompoms invited a discussion of pressing hard, as they're kind of hard to glue on.  Holding it in place with my hand kept the peace--they all kind of wanted it for themselves.

I glued the completed pieces on the remaining half-circle of cardboard.
The collaging was all done in two fifteen-minute sessions.

I love how it turned out!

It's funny, you can kind of see the progression of their interest on the colors.  Red they were still figuring it out, orange they were really into it, by yellow they were kind of wandering away, and green and blue were a very small interested group the next day.

This project develops:

  • color knowledge (recognition and labeling)
  • social/emotional skills (turn-taking, letting your friend have a spot, what happens when your pom-pom falls off.)
  • Language (labeling colors, each kind of material)
  • Cognitive development (learning how to use unfamiliar materials, or using familiar materials in a new way)
  • Fine motor (pre-writing) skills

If I had it to do over again, I'd

  • Make room for purple
  • Make it bigger
  • use colored glue (like elmer's with liquid watercolor added) or have the kids paint it first.