Saturday, December 20, 2008

ARTSY FARTSY: tree frames

Normally I think process is far more important than product in the world of kids and art. In other words, the final product can be an ugly mess as long as they enjoyed themselves and learned something. But there are times, particularly around the holidays, when you really just want your kids to make something cute. Something that looks like something instead of a mashed up pile of glue and string; a craft you could put a bow on and give as a gift to grandma and grandpa without them thinking you'd wrapped up the contents of your recycling bin for them.
When I am forced to force the kids to make pretty crafts I always try to include as much educational content as possible (old art teacher habits die hard). As long as you do a bit of prep ahead of time on this project your kids will be able to assemble the pieces themselves. It is a good one for reinforcing color and shape recognition, and it also helps them understand how shapes come together to form something new.
PROJECT: tree frames
I used craft foam because that is what I had. But you could also do this with colored paper, or cardboard. You could get creative by cutting colored sections of cardboard packaging - Ritz boxes are red, Cheerios boxes are yellow... you get the idea.
You'll also need glue. We used glitter glue.
  1. Cut a rectangular piece of foam or cardboard from any color you like. Cut a hole in the center of that rectangle. This is the base for your frame.
  2. Cut triangles from green foam or cardboard.
  3. Cut small rectangle and squares from brown foam or cardboard.
  4. Bring in the kids.
  5. Show the kids all the shapes and ask them if they can figure out how to make a tree. This will be easier for the older one. Captian got it quickly. It took his friend A, who is about 9 months younger, a little longer to get it. Chunk just tried to eat the tree trunks.
  6. Let them glue the shapes on to the frame base to create a grouping of trees. If you are anal make sure the green triangles sit above the brown squares. If you aren't anal, let them make dismembered trees.
  7. Once everything dries, stick a cute photograph (maybe one of the kids crafting) onto another piece of cardboard, and secure it to the back of the tree frame.
  8. Hang it on your friedge or wrap it up to give to the Grandparents!

NOTE: I do realize that my kids' craft pics are not nearly as pretty as the ones you see in the kid's craft books. The reason is that my kid's crafts are actually made by children, not the staff of my art department. I'm just keeping it real.

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