I have written quite a few posts on the value of art in the preschool classroom. Art is just as important in our curriculum as reading, writing, science, and all the other areas of learning. Teaching preschoolers the elements of art allows them to explore creativity while strengthening fine motor skills and hand-eye development.
But how do we teach these elements of art?
Really, it is quite easy if you provide the materials that allow preschoolers to explore. I thought I’d share some art activities our children have enjoyed over the years, each focusing on one or more of the elements.
Disclosure: I was given a free copy of Art Parts: A Child’s Introduction to the Elements of Art for review. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
Teaching Preschoolers the Elements of Art
Recently author Kim Bogren Owen sent me a copy of her book Art Parts: A Child’s Introduction to the Elements of Art. Using simple text and children’s art, Art Parts introduces children to the 6 elements of art:
- Art is lines.
- Art is shapes.
- Art is color.
- Art is texture.
- Art is space.
- Art is feelings.
Art Parts is designed for children between the ages of 3-8 and includes blank pages after each element where children can experiment each of the 6 concepts. In the classroom, rather than experiment directly in the book, children can create on pieces of paper where they can then be displayed, put in a memory book, and/or taken home.
Art Parts would be a great addition to your art center. The book includes an activities page for parents and teachers to expand on concepts in the book.
After reading Art Parts, I reflected on some art that we had done in the past few years. How did we add elements to them?
Art is lines.
As our preschoolers moved the balls back and forth, they made lines of paint on their paper.
Squirting paint onto paper and then spinning it created interesting lines.
This process was the same as the marble and golf ball painting, except we used plastic eggs instead.
We painted lines for stems using feathers.
Squirting watercolors from pipettes on a vertical surface causes the paint to drip down the paper, creating lines.
Art is shapes.
Painting with paper tubes and plastic eggs create circle shapes.
We explored shapes as we stamped onto canvas.
Art is color.
After reading Little Blue and Little Yellow, we stamped two colors to make a third.
Each year we create some sort of display that features each color of the rainbow.
We sorted crayons by color and then made our own rainbow crayons.
We drove Lego bricks through puddles of paint in the colors of the rainbow.
Using slick paper, we explored mixing colors while painting with balloons.
Art is texture.
Painting on top of muffin tins allowed us to experience texture as we pressed paper on top, creating a print.
Wrapping our hands around small pumpkins created uneven marks of paint on our paper.
Pushing marbles and paint through plastic is an interesting texture on our hands and fingers.
The texture of these balls created interesting prints as we rolled them back and forth across the paper.
Art is space.
While stamping with spools, we noticed the space around the paint.
Art is feelings.
We talk a lot about our feelings and will draw them on paper.
What are some of your favorite ways to teach elements of art to preschoolers?