Friday, February 20, 2009

Art Project: Space Wash

These make beautiful, fun "washes" and this project is a great integration of discussing ideas (which also teaches brainstorming, turn taking), and getting them down on paper (a great pre-writing skill that will be used throughout life, of course)...

First, I like to do some sort of *active* or *real* activity that "gets them fired up" for whatever topic we're discussing/brainstorming.

Today, I had a big floor space puzzle. So we talked about some of the things that were on it - planets, stars, the Milky Way, etc. - you can keep it at that with toddlers, and/or put it together, discussing as you go along.

Then I told my three kiddos (2 are neighbor kiddos I babysit, ages 5 and 3) we were going to do an art project about space!

First, we sat down and talked about the things we saw in the puzzle and the things we'd be likely to see in space. As each kid offered a suggestion, I wrote it down and illustrated it with a little cartoon - I hung it up on my counter edge so they could see it as we worked.

Here's the materials we used for the Space Wash...

Crayola Oil Pastels (I think I got these at Michaels - they're like big fat waxy crayons)

Watercolor paper would be ideal, I only had white craft/construction paper.

Watercolor paints and largeish sized paintbrushes (bigger than the tiny brushes that come with the kits - like blush-brush sized would be perfect, so they can "wash" the color across the paper).

Water, of course, for the watercolor paints.

A few tbsp of salt - either regular or Kosher/Sea, doesn't matter - in a little bowl, for easy dispensing.


If you want to, read the directions first so you're familiar, and at the paint stage, do the project for them as a demonstration first. Then they'll have a good idea of what to do.

1. After kids have a good idea of things they might see in space, have them draw some of their favorites with the Oil Pastels. For planets, of course, just a big colorful circle-shape is perfect! And so on...doesn't matter if things "look" exactly right; as long as children are reflecting their thoughts on paper.

2. Use the white oil pastel yourself, and tell each kiddo you are going to draw a "secret picture" on their space picture (with their permission, of course ) and it will show up when they put the paint on. I drew stars, shooting stars, comets, etc.

3. Get out the watercolors (preparing them first, by adding a drop of water to each color, so they're ready to rock & roll) and discuss how space is really dark. Have them choose ONE preferrably dark color choice (or two - keep it simple - black, purple, navy blue, whatever) and tell them they are going to get the paintbrush really wet and dip it into the color. Have them "wash" the color over the paper with large strokes, so that the paper will get fully saturated in the paint color.

4. The waxy oil pastels should pop up against a dark paint color and the white "secret pictures" you made should be revealed!

5. While colored spots around the paper are still saturated-wet with paint, drizzle some salt over it. The salt will absorb the color, leaving white "stars" when dry. When the paper is completely dry you can brush the salt right away.

Neat, kinda sciencey, artsy and fun!

No comments: