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Old 11-25-2011, 09:46 AM
Meieira Meieira is offline
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Unhappy Art for 4 year olds.

Hello! I have been giving art lessons to a bunch of 8-10 year olds for a while. Recently got a request to teach a couple of 4 year olds ans took it on. It's very hard to keep their attention and one of them holds the pencil in his fist.
Any ideas on the kind of work I can do with such young kids?I am on the verge of giving up
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:57 PM
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enigmacat enigmacat is offline
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Re: Art for 4 year olds.

I'd give them non-toxic crayons or finger paints and giant sheets of paper and let them go wild.

Here are some ideas for toddler art projects:
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:51 AM
pacificNW pacificNW is offline
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Re: Art for 4 year olds.

When I was 4 nothing made me happier than crayons! Or any surface where I could color and then erase and color again. I don't think I was drawing my own lines until age 5 or 6...at 4 it was all about color. I do recall being given poster paints and painting my own bottle to be used as a flower vase for my mom, I was very proud of that.
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:06 AM
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saeria saeria is offline
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Re: Art for 4 year olds.

I have the pleasure of working with this age group once a week. I think the biggest things to remember is that no matter what task you give them, in the end it will only come out as they want it to, and you'll be doing great to have their full attention for all of 10 minutes. For example, I asked my Wednesday night group to draw things they were thankful for and at least two of them drew cartoon characters, while still another one drew a picture of himself as an alien. At this age they're less concerned with actually learning a skill, and more interested in being entertained.

Remember ever making those Rorscach style paint butterflies as a kid, the ones where you glob paint in the middle of a piece of paper, fold it in half and mash it. This is a great way to teach this age group about the occurrence of primary colors creating secondary colors (that song from Blues Clues helps alot too, I've actually used this).

Coloring pages are absolute magic! The less than enthusiastic student usually will have no problem coloring instead of doing a project. Discussing with the kids who they might give the colored page to (like their mom, or their best friend) after they're finished helps them stay motivated.

edible projects are always awesome. You can teach how shapes can create structures with something as simple as a group aided gingerbread house. Not all kids will participate in group projects. Some kids at that age aren't quite adjusted to being around other kids yet, so have coloring pages or drawing alternatives available.

toy building tends to keep their interest as long as the project takes no less than 15-20 min to build. Paper airplanes you can fly outside, toy boats you can float in the sink, balls made from glue soaked string wrapped around a balloon are fun because after the glue dries they get to pop their own balloon.

When in doubt, pull out the plastic table cloth and model magic and or fingerpaint. Anything that will make a mess really attracts their attention. I keep around scrap Tshirt and those hair claw things to pull the back tighter to put over them in lieu of smocks, plus usually at the end of the year they like being able to paint their names on the shirts and take them home.

They're a tough group. You may need to get a helper to help lay down some ground rules so you can establish a routine. If you have the same kids each time eventually they'll figure out you mean business and will be more likely to pay attention.

If you ever need any specific project advice, please feel free to message me anytime Hope this helps, hang in there.
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:26 PM
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robinlb robinlb is offline
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Re: Art for 4 year olds.

my kids group loves bakers clay: 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup salt and just under 2/3 cup water, mix and knead together, you may need to add a bit more of the flour and salt mixture, you want a fat stiff dough.
they can do sculpture-I recommend using scrunched up aluminum foil for armatures, relief work, or just play and have a wonderful time. When they're done bake at 300 2-4 hours or until hard and wood like. Paint with acrylics.
They also love printing with just about every thing that comes to hand, the bottom of their shoes is always popular, as well as hands and other body parts, kitchen junk drawers yield all kinds of print making stuff, as do nature walks.
The most important thing about teaching kids this age is to remain flexible and have fun.
Robin B
Colourful contemporary art with an environmentalist message
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:55 PM
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saeria saeria is offline
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Re: Art for 4 year olds.

Baker's dough sounds like just the thing I've been looking for do with my group.
How well does this baker's dough work for making tree ornaments?
Can I dump loads of cinnamon in it to make it smell pretty before baking?
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Old 11-29-2011, 02:28 PM
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Andrew Andrew is offline
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Re: Art for 4 year olds.

Baker's clay makes great ornaments. Used to do it with my kids, even when they were older. We just kept it the off white, and painted the dry product with acrylics and coated with a sealer. They aren't archival, so to speak, but make a great project and gift.

I have worked a bit with this age group too. I would start out with more easy craft projects, like ornaments, and such, that they can take home and give mom and/or dad. That will give them focus and the sense of accomplisment. Then move on to thing with finger paints, poster paints, BIG brushes, collage, paper mache, and so on. If it is messy, they will most likely love it.

"Never ascribe to malice what adequately can be explained as stupidity"-- Robert J. Hanlon

“What a genius, that Picasso. It is a pity he doesn't paint.” - Marc Chagall
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Old 12-06-2011, 04:35 PM
artsinmedicine artsinmedicine is offline
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Re: Art for 4 year olds.

I often work with very young children in the hospital, great projects for them:

glitter shapes - dip old cookie cutters in a tray of white glue, spinkle with glitter. these can be turned into amazing thank you or holiday cards

paper mosaics - pre cut scraps of colored paper into crazy shapes then let the kids use a glue stick to affix them to a large sheet. this looks particularly great with bright scraps on black paper

tie dye flowers - mist coffee filters with water, let kids color on them with washable markers. the color from these water soluable markers will bleed and spread across filters like tie dye. let dry and scrunch, hold together with pipe cleaner (the "stem")

wacky paint brushes - cut up the sides of one end of a toilet paper roll. make each cut about 1/2 inch and bend back. use as a paint brush. use other such crazy things as "not so normal" brushes.

texture plates - get a set of texture plates and place one under each child's drawing paper, let them color with crayons. they think it's magical when their markers look like woodgrain or have a star pattern, etc!!

crayola oil pastels - the kids think these are neat because they're "slimy like lipstick". i usually have them color on decorative paper (large scrapbooking sheets) to make the finished piece look even better.
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:03 AM
Meieira Meieira is offline
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Re: Art for 4 year olds.

Hi all, thank you so much for the ideas, will surely experiment as I go along.
Just done 2 more lessons with them and they seem to love it now. Working with crayons and collage.
The greatest reward is when the parents say the kids can't wait for the next lesson!!
Wll keep you all posted. Thanks guys!!
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:25 AM
bretkills bretkills is offline
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Re: Art for 4 year olds.

Coloring pages is absolute magic! Than enthusiastic students usually do not have any problems coloring, instead of doing a project. They may color the page is completed, discuss them with children to help them maintain the momentum. You may need a mixture of flour and salt add a bit more, you want a fat stiff dough.they can do sculpture, I recommend using scrunched aluminum foil for the skeleton, relief work, or just play and have a good time. When they complete the 3002-4 hours or bake until the hardwood like. Paint with acrylic resin.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:58 PM
cahillegas cahillegas is offline
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Floyds Knobs, IN USA
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Re: Art for 4 year olds.

I highly recommend the book, "Drawing With Children" by Mona Brookes. She has techniques in there that work incredibly well with very young children. I used to teach drawing to ages 4 - 8 and had some results with the youngest ones (and the older ones) that were mind blowing. I can't say enough about her methods - they are incredible.


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