Friday, July 1, 2016

What I Learned at Art Camp

Golf ball painting
What's Art Camp? It's a three-day (2 hours per day) event for 5 and 6 year olds (20 of them!). We had it at our church. Mrs. Cindy and I were in charge of it. This was the first time we've done it and we learned a lot.

We focused on types of art each day: Day 1 was Painting; Day 2 was Drawing and Stamping; Day 3 was Collage and Sculpture. Each day we had 10 art activities plus 1 activity outside. In our large group times, we talked about a Bible story and we talked about artists and what they do.

Drawing with chalk and spraying water
It was a busy and tiring time. And, from the feedback we heard, the kids had fun!

I'll blog about some of our activities later, but today I want to list a few things that I learned (or saw again) during Art Camp.

Drawing with pastels at the easel
1. Kids love to create. Given the opportunity, kids will make things - without being told or cajoled to do it.

2. Kids have their own ideas. Of course we had a "plan" for each activity, but often kids took the activity in their own directions. Either they created in ways we didn't expect or explored ideas in their art that were surprising or pulled items from several activities to create their own experience.

String painting
3. Kids love community. We had lots of fun talking about what we were doing or thinking about different kinds of art. They loved doing things together and interacting with one another. They used each other's ideas to expand their own thinking.

4. We had to be hands-on and hands-off at the same time. We had to give a little direction but let the kids so their own way. We had to be ready to provide materials and direct kids to get things themselves.

Fly swatter painting
5. Kids are open to new experiences and have no preconceived ideas. If I said we were going to paint with toothbrushes or draw around eyeballs or use hot glue guns, they were ready to go.

6. Process is king. Kids did enjoy having a end product to show their parents. But the real action was in the doing, not in the showing of the result. We punched holes and used staplers. We explored stamps and sticky notes. We looked in the mirror to paint self-portraits. We rolled golf balls with paint around a canvas. That was when the learning happened - when they were doing (and thinking!).

Slinky painting and foil transfer designs
7. My teacher voice is still alive and well. I heard myself giving parameters in a careful voice. I played movement games and told stories. I asked questions and listened to responses. Even though I don't use those classroom skills daily any more, it's nice to know they are still there.

Doing art is fun...and exhausting! I was more tired at the end of these three days than I was after five days of VBS. And I'll be ready for it again in about 362 days.

Drawing with charcoal pencils - complete the animal

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