Post by Meri Cherry
Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be over here on The Artful Parent this week to talk about mixed media collage for kids.
I am a huge Artful Parent fan and have learned so much from Jean’s amazing book. Thanks to Chapter 13, I had the courage to start up my own toddler play groups and now I’m teaching 4 art classes a week to kids ages 3 and up thanks to that jump start. So, thank you Jean, your inspiration has been priceless for me. If you don’t have The Artful Parent book yet, definitely check it out! [Thanks, Meri! -Jean]
Now back to this awesome art activity for kids.
Mixed Media Collage for Kids
Collage work is one of my very favorite art activities to do with young children, actually with any age child. A collage is a composition of work created from various materials. It’s a fantastic process, with pretty much guaranteed success for everyone.
We worked on canvas for our collage, but you can easily use a piece a recycled cardboard from a box. You could also use any durable piece of paper or even a cut-up shopping bag.
Here’s what you’ll need ::
- canvas or piece of cardboard
- tempera paint
- printed pictures
- cut up shapes
- anything else you or your child think might be interesting to work with
- glue and/or mod podge (optional)
Here are the steps ::
1. Paint your canvas or cardboard.
We LOVE to mix our own paints. You can read an easy step by step tutorial on how to mix paints with kids here. Any tempera paints will work great.
Encourage your child to paint the entire background. For little kids who need a little extra push to spend more than a few seconds painting you might say something like this after their first go at it: “Wow, I see you added some colors. Now I have a challenge for you. I wonder if you can cover all the white spots. That’s a big challenge.”
Or another method… Before you start, say something like “What’s your plan for the background? Artists often have a plan. I am so curious about your painting plan.” Then you can talk about what areas your child is going to cover and what colors he or she is going to use.
2. Once your background is painted, it’s time to add all the fun stuff for your mixed media collage.
Here’s where I talk about a plan as well. I demonstrate different ideas, like a border with buttons, or patterns with the paper cutouts, or outlining a picture.
I think it’s important to slow kids down at this point and give some purpose to their art, rather than creating a big mess. The kids here were only three, but we still talked about artists having plans and their own plans. We started with the pictures and then added all the other materials. This can be done in several sessions, depending on your child and their interest level.
*Note* If the paint is thick on the canvas it can act as glue. If it’s just a thin layer you will need to use glue. I recommend using either a squeeze bottle (kids love to squeeze) or putting some glue in a dish and giving your child a paintbrush to adhere the materials to the canvas.
Step 3. When everything is glued on and dried an adult can go over the entire canvas with mod podge or a glue mixture of one part water and two parts white glue. This will help everything stay secure on the canvas.
That’s it! Your mixed media collage is done.
Did you know that Pablo Picasso is often considered the inventor of collage? Yup, you can see one of his works here, where Picasso used a rope to frame his work and an oil cloth to paint on.
xo Meri Cherry
About the Author ::
Meri Cherry, yes, that’s her real name, is an arts and crafts blogger at mericherry.com. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young daughters.
Meri is an art teacher and designer of art spaces for kids. She is passionate about the process of art, thrift stores, and the Reggio approach to learning.
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