So, yeah, school is CLOSED today because it’s… raining. It sounds absurd, doesn’t it? I’m trying to understand it, because the rain is pretty rough. It’s just that rain is such a normal thing, you know, that it seems crazy to close school because of it. But there is widespread flooding, and I suspect that the administrators were worried that parents wouldn’t be able to get to school in the afternoon to pick their kids up. So, no worries, I suppose– it’s nice to have an unexpected day off.
But, what to do? Since we’ve got flash flooding outside, we’re inside. So I busted out all the craft materials I could find and we decided to make multi-media craft collections this morning.
That sounds all fancy schmancy, but really it just meant that I had a bunch of different kinds of craft material, each of which I knew would engage the kids for about 10 minutes. I also happened to have some small, plastic 4 x 6 photo albums, the ones that hold about 20 photos and cost $0.79 or so at Michaels. I think I bought them a while ago thinking I could jazz them up as part of a baby gift or something.
So I got out all the craft supplies and each boy got his own album. I cut a bunch of pieces of paper to 4 x 6 and then let them loose with each medium.
I should note here that you don’t need to have these little albums to make your multi-media book. You can just as easily take a bunch of 8.5 x 11 paper, fold it in half and then staple along the middle fold to create a book. No need then to cut paper or find craft paper– you are good to go. I will say, though, that what I like about the album is that it protects the art and you can use different kinds of paper. And the boys thought it was super cool.
We started with pastel crayons, since I had a box of those sitting around. Not only did we do the smudging thing, we also did something the 6 year old learned in art this year: multiple layers of color that you then scratch off with something pointy (I used unbent paper clips; the 6 year old used his fingernail… Grrr.) If you aren’t sure what I mean, here‘s a “tutorial” on how to do this kind of “etching.” Here’s the kids hard at work and the final results from the first medium:
Next, we did chalks, which seemed kind of similar to the pastels. Why did that matter? It didn’t, but if there was any artistic educational value going on here, it was in comparing these different media and seeing what kinds of effects they could produce. So I thought putting two similar but unique media together might be interesting. Or not. It’s just raining outside.
If you don’t have craft chalks, you can use sidewalk chalk and make it interesting by using Q-tips. (What is the generic term for these? My mom used to call them “ear-pickers,” but I’m pretty certain that’s unique to her.) You rub the Q-tip on the chalk and then it smudges beautifully when you apply it to paper.
Next up? Stickers and stamps. I got out some patterned paper and we put stickers on it. We used some of my many rubber stamps from my card-making days and stamped some images on another sheet.
We did a final page that was your basic gluing. I had a bunch of letter beads and some tiny, tiny shape buttons. They did some arranging and then I hot glued the stuff to paper. At this point, attention span was waning so we called it quits. But the fun thing is that since we only filled 5 pages of the book, we can keep adding to it whenever we want. I took a photo of each boy to put in the first page to visually mark their ages at the time of composition. So here’s how each kid’s book turned out:
The 3 year old’s:
The 6 year old’s:
(Photo caveats: I’m still trying to figure out a good way to put multiple photos side by side here, so sorry these got a little too “trimmed.” I’m working on the technical issues. Also, the 6 year old is VERY into Indiana Jones right now, and especially Temple of Doom, so that’s why he made a “Thuggie” dog collage. Do not ask me. If you know Temple, you’ll probably remember Thuggie. If not, it is not worth your time.)
We didn’t get through all the ideas I had, so here are a few more thoughts on media for the project:
- paint a page with either acrylic or watercolors
- make a collage out of pictures cut from magazines or newspapers
- make a design by cutting different shapes out of your paper– this idea would work best if you use a second piece of paper placed behind the punched paper. Also helpful if you have some craft punches in different shapes.
- simple drawings with crayons, markers, colored pencils, or a combo of all of them
- make a picture by gluing yarn and/or fabric pieces to paper
- print out photos and draw on them with permanent markers; or, if you are a techie, work with your kids to modify photos in simple photo-editing software and print out different ones
If you have any other ideas, send them my way via the comments! I’m sure I will be adding to this craft book as time wears on, so I’ll be trying a lot of these ideas on my own. I hope to get some fun new ones from you all!