ART IS FUN
The preschool classroom is all abuzz with busy children playing, working, and wondering about new and different materials in the classroom. Nothing can compare to the reaction when the teacher brings out a box of new markers! Squeals erupt, play is abandoned, and movement toward the art table begins from all areas of the room. New markers at the art table are an exciting attraction!
Children don’t need any instruction to learn how to use a marker. You pull off the lid and can begin making marks on any piece of paper. Paper can be mural-sized laid on the floor, where children can lay down and move their arm up and down and around and around to create marks. It can be a cardboard box, where children are drawing with the markers on the vertical service, enhancing a different motor skill, and creating a different experience. Paper can also be a role of cash register tape that unrolls longer and longer to allow for extra-long marks. Or it could be tiny pieces of paper that the child cuts and marks on each sliver.
A new box of crayons can also create the same excitement. There is just something about new materials that is so inviting. When markers and crayons are new, they function at their best. Sometimes after markers are well-used, they unfortunately, at times, have the lids left off. That causes children to face the natural consequences of that action, or lack of action. The markers dry out and won’t work anymore. Teachers use this problem as a teachable moment. They can have a discussion about what the consequence is of leaving the lids off the markers. Children learn that leaving the lids off results in not having any markers to use. Teachers could also brainstorm with children how to fix the problem. Some teachers will place markers in a small cup of water to get them flowing once again. They often ask children to predict what will happen after that experiment. Children are fascinated that putting the dried-out markers in water can revitalize them into working. So, children not only learn consequences, but learn about finding solutions to problems and working together to solve them.
New crayons are great but once they are used by many, they get worn down and can break. That’s why new crayons are such an attraction. But old crayons have good uses too. Teachers can remove the paper from a crayon and demonstrate how to place the crayon on its side and color in a different way. Old pieces of crayons can also be placed in a muffin tin and melted in the oven to create new multi-colored “hockey puck” crayons. This again provides a different way to make crayon marks on paper with a different-sized crayon. These hockey puck crayons are easy for little hands to hold.
So be prepared when new art materials are introduced into the preschool classroom. It can attract the attention of every child in the room that wants to demonstrate their drawing skills.
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