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Work BIG With This Fun Body Tracing Activity for Kids

by Jean Van't Hul
April 3, 2014
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This body tracing activity is a fun opportunity for kids to work BIG! Explore creating self portraits in a totally new way.

Body Tracing Activity For Kids -finished paintings on wall

We’ve had a lot of fun with a body tracing activity over the past week or so.

What started as a simple invitation to work big turned into a week-long exploration of self portraits, working large, and even quilting on paper.

For set up, I taped large sheets of butcher paper to the floor in the living room and added a tray of art supplies. Then I went to pick up Daphne and her friend Julianna from preschool.

They opted for body tracing self portraits and I decided to do the same and work beside them. They collaborated to trace my body.

Here are some photos, instructions, and the finished (totally awesome!) artworks decorating our walls.

Body Tracing Activity for Kids

Body Tracing Activity - art materials on tray
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MATERIALS

*We sometimes use brown contractor’s paper from the hardware store and have also used two pieces of easel roll paper taped together

Here’s the art tray we used and these are the double-dip paint cups.

Body Tracing Activity - painting

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Set Up

First, cut a length of butcher paper long enough to fit your child’s body and tape it to the floor.

2. Trace Your Child’s Body

Have your child lie down on the paper and strike a pose of their choice. Trace their body with dark oil pastels or a marker.

Body Tracing Activity - painting self portraits

3. Decorate and Paint the Body Tracing

Draw, paint, and collage the self portrait as desired.

Julianna painted her body tracing exclusively while Daphne focused on drawing details and decorating with the oil pastels for her tracing.

Body Tracing Activity for Kids

Add collage elements to your self portrait if you like. We often do!

In the past we’ve added everything from yarn and buttons to pasta and metal washers. This time we focused on fabrics, applied with a watered-down white glue.

Body Tracing Activity for Kids

4.  Hang (and Admire) the Finished Portraits

Here’s Daphne’s completed self portrait. I love all the detail! Her collage elements were added around the body rather than over the body, which I thought was interesting.

Finished Body Tracing Activity

When Maia got home from school later, she joined in the fun.

Instead of a body tracing activity, she chose to make a large-scale bird painting and collage. Maia’s mama bird is joined by a baby bird (see the tiny head against the big head in the photo below?) under a cape and surrounded by a quilt of fabric scraps.

Then Daphne did a second self portrait, with a little teamwork on Maia’s part.

And that’s my body tracing on the right (above). I pieced together a fabric skirt and glued on a fabric heart and bird as well some circles cut out of some indigo fabric.

Body Tracing Activity For Kids -finished paintings on wall

I LOVE all these large, colorful artworks and hung them in the living room using a combination of Command Strips and tiny nails.

(Also, I decided to take the kids frame display wall down for a while in order to make space for these.)

Body Tracing Activity for Kids

After her bird was completed, Maia decided to do a self-portrait as well.

Body Tracing Art Activity - painting

She added grass, flowers, and a pond with lily pads and tadpoles to her portrait.  I love it!

Have you done a body tracing activity with your kids yet? If not, I highly recommend it! And if so, perhaps it’s time to revisit it.

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Body Tracing Activity For Kids

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