I'm not surprised, then, when eyes that ignite like fireworks belong to the boys when dinosaur activities tumble from the mysterious confines of my grandma bag. Sisters enjoy the artsy aspects of each project, but brothers are the ones who linger for follow up research in picture books and ask the most questions. They're the ones who can identify an Apatosaurus. They're the ones diggin' dinosaurs!
We tested our skill and explored the species on recent drop in visits!...
A stack of appealing books whets the appetite for what's ahead. Pop-ups are always a favorite, especially when fun facts accompany each reptile. This is where we discuss herbivores and carnivores, noting size, speed, habitat, and defense capability. It's where we choose the beast we'll learn to draw and paint!
The giant Brachiosaurus was our unanimous choice to immortalize in tempera and collage. We sketched in basic shape building technique: large horizontal body oval first, smaller vertical leg ovals next, etc. I used an out of print Usborne title as a guide, but Art Projects for Kids is an excellent resource for teaching kids this method. Use that blog link to see a curvy Diplodocus come alive before your very eyes, and then let art teacher/author Kathy Barbro lead you to other prehistoric era friends, plus many, many more subjects to successfully draw and paint! You'll love this site!
Now back to the studio!....
Completed critters needed spotted texture and a careful cutting out. At age just-three, little guys need grandma's aid for the latter. That skill is developmental, so we're working on the proper way to manipulate scissors. It helps when I hold paper in place while he chomps away until two-handed competence is achieved.
Deep blue background paper was selected with a purpose in mind. Why not let our family of Brachios dwell in the swirling, twirling world of Van Gogh's Starry Night? Why not let the kids begin a learning journey into art history as well, combining that adventure with science facts and crafting skill?
For that purpose, I employ a nice deck of Usborne cards, available at Amazon. The sturdy set of 30 depicts a significant number of fun-to-know famous paintings. We talk about this artist and the way his technique brings the canvas alive. Then, we reach for construction paper in yellow and orange, tearing orbs that mimic his turbulent night scene......
Doesn't this finished work just dance with the same energy as the original starlit sky?
I like the tearing technique. Kids know results aren't supposed to be perfect, thus eliminating the anxiety of precise cutting on the lines.
One more thing!
Can't get enough of being busy on Planet Dinosaur? Here's an easy way to keep a three year old anchored to a chair, enjoying an activity that's 100% done by him/herself. Offer a bright background sheet, scraps of contrasting paper for tearing, a glue stick, and a sheet of dino stickers.
What a world of possibility lies within this deck of fine art!