Friday, January 8, 2016

The Art Easel for Preschoolers

An art easel: one can think of it as a messy thing that takes up a lot of space. Would my kid even want to use that easel? This is very common, logical thinking. I mean, of course, the easel is bulky and can be messy. Why do we keep it in our house?

The major benefits of the easel for our preschoolers:

  1. Practicing pre-writing skills in a playful way.
  2. Proper pencil grip: drawing lines on the vertical surface naturally encourages the proper pencil grip.
  3. Building self confidence! Kids can  get easily frustrated by their first attempts at drawing or coloring. For some reason, working on an easel feels different and exciting to them.
  4. Expressing feelings and emotions, making up creative stories.

Managing Paints for the Easel

We used smocks for two year olds. Three year olds are interested in creating patterns on paper more then painting body parts. They are also starting to distinguish the place and time for messy play vs. the need to be careful to avoid mess. We don't use smocks any longer; and I found art activities easy to clean up with the minimum mess. Four year olds are wonderful artists: eager to experiment with colors and textures, and to use their soaring imagination!

Tips for tempera paint for the easel, pictured above:

ALEX Toys Artist Studio My Drop Cloth: a large 48 by 36, heavyweight vinyl drop cloth. We don't use it (just wash occasional drops of tempera paint off the floor), but I can see how this one might be handy. Amazon affiliate link: ALEX Toys Artist Studio My Drop Cloth

Star Wars Travel Tins, 4 count, cotton swabs. The small tin container with cotton swabs is handy and well loved. Ours is Frozen bought at a dollar store. Amazon affiliate link:
Cotton Buds Classics Cotton Swab Tins, Star Wars, 4 Count

Non-spill paint cup with the 2 oz. plastic mini cup inside the cup. When I need to clean up or change color, I'll just change the mini cup to a new one. The non-spill cups and brushes came from this set (Amazon affiliate link): ALEX Toys Artist Studio Ultimate Easel Accessories

Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint, Super Quick Drying: these "glue sticks like" remain our favorite for 2 months now. Amazon affiliate link: The Pencil Grip Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint, Super Quick Drying, 12 Pack (TPG-602)

The Easel Art: Pretend Play and Story Telling

Can you spot 3 kids at the easel below?

Generally speaking, our easel activities are NOT scheduled. Our bulky easel occupies the best, well lit corner of the kitchen, with the paints and brushes readily smiling - inviting to start creating. Our bulky easel is hard to miss - I got used to live with that. And so are my guests: it's a great conversation starter!

Motivation and Creativity at the Easel

I had to learn to tolerate the easel in the kitchen. After it got moved their from the dark corner in the play room, it welcomes new scribbles and doodles every day! We've seen some wonderful art created on it. We have heard some wonderful stories about the portrayed characters. We have had some wonderful lessons on sharing and playing together around this spot in the house.

Having friends around is the best way to put the easel to use.

Kids are different, and might have different needs in their creative environment. For My Firefly, the key is to have people around who might be willing to look, listen, and play. Because the little artists love to do it all together: create new stories, and illustrations to them, and new rules for new games are all in one.

More Art Ideas from My Bright Firefly

Swan Lake Painting and Hand Print Art.
Polar Bears and Lullabies. Polar Bears Afloat in the Sea: Art Appreciation Preschool Activity.
Sunshine and Rainbows Collage and Play

(Click on the picture below to enlarge it.)

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  1. Very interesting classes. Practicing writing skills in a playful way is wonderful. Unfortunately my writing skills have not improved since school. That's why I turned for assignment help when I was at university. Thanks to the experts, I was able to pass the term paper and essays to the teacher on time. My text would be much worse.