Art and Handicraft – making and appreicating

Art and Handicraft

In the Children’s House creating is a preparation, as the child develops her understanding and language she seeks to express herself if given the necessary freedom.  Mental and manual abilities prepare the child for art and craft alongside language, giving her the ability to create.  “Art” is understood to be the human response to the world, a beautiful expression covering the fields of maths, language crafts, movement, music and mark-making.

Preparatory abilities

Being linked by love to the beauty of the classroom

Going beyond the functionality of exercises, everything in the Children’s House should be attractive, appealing to the younger child’s sensitivity to detail.

Art displayed in the room


Pictures on the walls – these focus the interest and stimulate conversation, show reproductions of Classics, changing them frequently to show a wide variety of painters and genres.

Sculptures- Reproductions or originals, wooden and metal ones may be polished and ceramics washed.

Displays-of any creative mode e.g. collections of jewellery, stamps, logos and graphic images

Books – art books, with illustrations compositions and early sketch studies

Postcards – on any subject can be made into collections in envelopes or booklets

Aspects of Art

Composition – working with coloured papers to fold, arranging flowers or other items to use just a few shapes, colours and sizes effectively encourages aesthetic choices while taking care of their environment.

Colour – Instruction begins with the colour tablets, particularly colour box III, the effects obtained by mixing colour can be shown with the spinning disks, by adding food colouring to water, using pastels and watercolours and coloured clay.  To begin use the primary colours and (very little) Black and White.  Ask questions such as, “Which other colours do you think complement this one?”

Perspective – In an outdoor setting call attention to the horizon, where the land seems to meet the sky, back in the classroom demonstrate how to use a wash to create the sky and land and, after drying, complete the foreground of the scene.

Form and Shape – The children have a good deal of experience of these from the Sensorial curriculum, use this as a basis to ‘inform’ their drawing.  Once the sensorial and language experiences have been given show how to transform a square into a cube, and other ways to create an impression of three-dimensionality.

Texture – Again based on previous sensorial and Practical life experiences, for example, make rubbings and collages.

Classification of Art – Classify in terms of expression, the constituent forms, techniques applied.

The child needs to be given

  • The tools and language
  • Ideas to inspire

The tools – The Exercises of Practical Life refine the skills to pour, spoon, use applicators to apply polish, use a brush to scrub, cut with scissors, use a dropper bottle, to glue and stick, to sew and to move a sponge in circles and along lines.  The techniques to use tools are supported in Sensorial by those materials which develop the three digit grip, the lightness of touch, eye and hand co-ordination, the ability to trace.  Working with clay strengthens the hand.

The language – The child has the capacity to speak precisely about hr work.  She has trained her eye to see and the hand to do.  Dissecting a flower brings together these skills, working with the insets brings the possibility of making a composition, balancing colour and refining the hand control.

The ideas – The child is helped to develop an appreciation of art to inspire her to create and have concrete experience of expressing her mental concepts.  She is given the opportunity to produce creative writing, to utilise her increased vocabulary with Nomenclature and Picture Cards.  Orally conversations and stories of artists, explorers, scientists and influential thinkers help the child to develop her written expression and pave the way for structured writing later, especially after the child completes her timeline at the Elementary Level.

Materials for Arts and Crafts

Objectives – The focus here is on creative expression rather than the outcome, younger children especially are not attached to their products, but by three years the child learns that the adults at home are.  In the children’s House we teach a skill, show clearly how to use it creatively and then withdraw – rather than please the parents at any cost – it is important to liaise with them carefully.

Imagination – The directress stimulates the child’s energy towards imagination as the capacity ti capture reality.  Creative Imagination occurs when a mental image arises from the unconscious which can be transformed into conscious, deliberate work through the intelligence and imagination.  Here the imagination is not fantasy but intelligence.  Fantasy is the result of an inability to relate to the ‘real world’ ad produce useful work.  Imagination is linked to the Mathematical Mind, going from reality and facts it identifies relationships and patterns from which creative artistry can flourish.  Abstraction is a form of imagination, in which the existing truth has been fully understood and transformed.

Storing Children’s Products – The child’s process and creative intent needs to be respected when storing, for example paintings should be left to dry flat n shelves rather than hung and ideally the products made by children are useful and can be employed in the Children’s House, as coasters, bookmarks, illustrations for stories, used for temporary display, etc.  Eventually all work can be sent home but before doing so most will be held in a storage file, which is very useful at parental meetings as a way to show the child’s needs, abilities and progress. (into which larger objects may fit, or it may be necessary to roll or fold items, aim for what is necessary).  The children’s artistic work is afforded the same degree of respect that all the other materials in the room are given.

Pictures on the Wall


Good quality images, attractively mounted or framed, the image should be realistic, appropriate subject matter includes;

  • needs (food, shelter, clothing, transportation, family)
  • Human Environments (urban, suburban, rural, multi-cultural)
  • Fine Arts  Reproductions of Classics and the best examples of the children’s own work
  • Natural World (oceans, mountains, lakes)
  • Biology (animals in their habitat, plants, natural cycles, charts of lie processes)
  • Have some images you enjoy to share your enthusiasm


  • Each picture needs it’s own space, have ten to fifteen individual sites around the room
  • Hang the paintings at the child’s eye level
  • Chang two or three pictures at a time, so that all pictures are changed every three months
  • Pictures should be focused around one topic, rather than be encyclopaedic
  • Have posters which reflect ongoing work in the Cultural areas, from Enrichment of Vocabulary and Reading Classification


  • Invite a few children to join you looking at one picture, verbally identify interesting details.
  • Give a ‘Grace and Courtesy’ lesson in quietly admiring pictures on the wall
  • Develop a conversation around the theme in the picture
  • Guide the children in describing what they can see, pointing to indicate areas without touching

Purposes with examples of how to achieve them:

  • To stimulate spoken language and develop vocabulary: Make an observation using unknown vocabulary (the meaning will be apparent in the picture)
  • To boost confidence in self-expression: Listen carefully to what the child has to say, guiding their conversation back to the topic and repeating misused words discretely (without highlighting the error)
  • Another means to give the ‘Cultural Keys’: Have a good understanding of the background to the image and the image itself, be prepared to give relevant technical information ad vocabulary, allowing the conversation to vary from the images parts to it’s whole.
  • Reflect the Reading Level by giving labels: Build up the labels from single nouns, to nouns with articles, nouns, an article and adjective, until the picture labels cover longer phrases, whole sentences and paragraphs.

 Making Paintings -child’s own work

Material Description

Three paints of primary colours in three jars with the brush kept in the lid. Have a plastic mat, a damp towel in a bucket or a bowl to remove the excess paint from your hand, large newsprint and an apron.

Later for easel painting have the paints in cups on a stand, paintbrush and large newsprint. Have a place to let the children put their painting to dry. Have a bowl of water to wash the brushes and the paper must be securely fastened to the easel.


At first invite the children to finger paint. On the plastic mat place the newsprint. Let the children take one jar of paint and a bucket with a towel. The child can dip her finger in the paint and make any design on the paper.

Later the child can use two colours but she must clean her fingers before using the other colour. Later she can use three colours. Let the children use both their hands.

For easel painting, fasten the paper to the easel, show the child how to use and hold the brush like a pencil, but not too close to the bristles themselves. Dip the brush in the paint, brushing of the excess paint on the jar side. Let the child make her own design/s. Later, the child can use finer brushes. When the child is older, she can paint make use of the entire piece of paper, and use charcoal to make designs.

Later offer polystyrine, potato painting, straw painting, string painting etc. and also pressed leaves on wax paper and then on paint.

Too, the child can learn how to mix colours, and see the results. She can put paint in test tubes or use a dropper and bottle. Invite the child to write and record how many drops of each create a colour.


Always rotate the activities, do not keep to an activity for a very long time.  

Painting for Very Young Children

Material Description

A large sheet of paper, a container of paint of any one colour, a paintbrush and an oil cloth.


  1. Invite the child to learn to use an easel, fixing on it the paper and placing below it the oil cloth. If there is not easel, use newspaper on which to place an oil cloth and then the paper.
  2. Review how to the hold the brush.
  3. Dip the paintbrush into the pot of paint and proceed to paint.
  4. The child can make use of as much of the sheet of paper as she wants.

Points of Interest

Holding of the paintbrush.

Criteria of Perfection (Control of Error)

The paint is kept to the paper and the paintbrush and pot.


For an older child whose acquired some control, the adult can draw an outline of an image and ask the child to fill it in. As first the outline should be large.

To Create Secondary Colours

Material Description

In small bottles, place slightly diluted primary colours. Have a palette, three paintbrushes and a container of water.


  1. Use any two colours.
  2. Explain to the child the droppers and brushes for each colour should be kept separate.
  3. Show the child how to fix the paper on the easel or oil cloth.
  4. Dip the brush in one colour and paint a circle or a line on the paper.
  5. Keep the brush aside.
  6. Use a second brush and do likewise with the second colour.
  7. Show the child how to take the paint with the dropper and put in on the palette.
  8. Show the child how to take the same amount of paint of the second colour mix it with the first colour on the palette.
  9. Mix together the two colours.
  10. The child can try various combinations of any two colours.


If the dropper is not used then after painting two circles on the paper, one in each of the colours, paint a third circle in the first colour and paint over it in the second colour.

To Create Tertiary Colours

In small bottles, place slightly diluted primary and secondary colours. Have a palette, three paintbrushes and a container of water.


  1. Mix a Primary colour with a Secondary Colour.
  2. Paint three circles one in each colour.
  3. Mix the colours in equal quantity using the dropper, then add an extra drop or two of any one colour.
  4. Mix the combination of paints to create the tertiary colour, show it with one colour.
  5. The child can try mixing the other colours on her own.

How to Create Different Intensities

Material Description

One of the basic colours and white, e.g. red and white, and paintbrushes.


  1. Paint drops of each colour on paper.
  2. Take some red on your palette, add a drop of white, mix the colours and pain the colour on created on the paper.
  3. Wash the paintbrush. Add one more drop of white to the mixed colour.
  4. Mix the colours, and paint what colour created.
  5. Wash the brush.
  6. Continue as such until their is a collection of various red intensities, including a very like pink.


This can be done in reverse too, starting with white and adding red drop by drop.

To Create the Various Shades

Material Description

Any two primary colours, paintbrushes, a palette and paper.


  1. Take any two primary colours, e.g. blue and yellow
  2. Paint a dot of each colour on the paper.
  3. Mix the two colours on the palette in equal proportion.
  4. Paint a line of this in the middle of the paper.
  5. Take some of this mixed colour in a separate area and add one more drop of blue to it.
  6. Paint this above the previous line.
  7. Continue adding one more drop of blue and painting above the previous line until there are three or four shades.
  8. To the remaining part of the original colour add a drop of yellow.
  9. Paint this below the original line.
  10. Continue adding one more drop of yellow each time and paint below the pervious line until there are three or four shades.
  11. The child can use any two primary colours.

Wet Paper Painting

Material Description

A paper, a wet sponge, a pot of thinnish paint and a paintbrush.


  1. Invite the child to paint.
  2. Show the child how to wet the paper.
  3. Paint with one colour over the wet part of the paper.
  4. Let the colour spread.
  5. Later use two colours and see how they blend.

Filling in the Dots

Material Description

Paper with an outline drawn on it, paint brush and paint.


When the child can handle a paint brush, show her how to paint a given outline, and the she can employ different designs, such as dots to fill in the inner area.

Blow Painting  

Material Description

Diluted paint of two or three colours. Paper and straw.


  1. Drop a blob of paint onto the middle of a piece of paper.
  2. Hold the straw at an angle to drawing the child’s attention how the straw does not touch the paint.
  3. Blow through the straw at the blob of paint and watch how it moves across the paper.
  4. Blow from different angles to make a design.
  5. Use one colour at first and later use more colours and blow then into each other to see how the colours blend.
  6. It is best to use thick paper.

Thread and Paint Design 

Material Description

A length of thread and fairly thick paint in various colours


  1. Dip the thread into the paint so it is evenly covered, but not dripping
  2. Put the thread on one half of the paper in a line or spiral
  3. Leave one end of the thread outside the paper
  4. Fold the paper in half and press with your palm
  5. With the other hand pull out the thread in one swift action
  6. Open the page to see the design
  7. Later suggest the children dip different parts of the thread into different colours of paint

Butterfly Painting 

Material Description

Thick paint in two or three colours.


  1. Fold the paper in half and open it up
  2. Put blobs of paint in different colours in the middle of the paper along the fold, keep them fairly close together
  3. Fold the paper along the same fold and using your thumb press the blobs out into a design
  4. Unfold the paper to see your design

Crushed Paper Painting 

Material Description

Paper and paints


  1. Crush a piece of paper.
  2. Dip it into the paint and put it onto the paper
  3. Do it in different colours


This can also be done with vegetables and leaves

Finger Painting  

Material Description

Paper and paints


Dip your fingers and make the prints on paper.  You can also make palm prints

Painting with Cotton 

Material Description

Cotton, a stick, paper and paints


  1. Wind cotton around a stick and use it as a paintbrush and make different designs on the paper.
  2. Each time you want to change colours you must change the cotton

PVA glue Painting

Material Description

PVA glue and paints in different colours


Mix PVA glue with paint, each colour separately and the paint a design and let it dry.  You get a raised effect

Pastry Painting

Material Description

Flour and paints


Mix the colour with flour and paint using your fingers

Magic Painting

Material Description

A candle, paint, thick paper and a paint brush


Take a candle and draw something on it.  Paint all over your paper with thin paint.  The design will stand out.  You can also paint different areas in different colours to make a scene

Scratch Painting

Material Description

Oil pastels, dark colour paint and an instrument to make a design


  1. Rub a crayon all over the paper.
  2. Scratch the design into the crayon colour
  3. Take a dark coloured paint and paint over the crayon

Spray Painting

Material Description

A shape cut out like a stencil, a toothbrush, a comb or wire mesh, paper and pins


  1. Put the shape o the paper and fix it there.
  2. Take paint onto the toothbrush and using a piece of wire, a comb or your thumb spray the paint all over the paper
  3. Lift the shape carefully
  4. You will see the spray design on the paper

Stencil Painting

Material Description

A stencil and the same materials as for ‘Spray Painting’


  1. Place the stencil on the paper and fix it.
  2. Then paint all over it with a paint brush
  3. Carefully lift off the stencil

Wax Crayon Painting

Material Description

Waste bits of wax crayons, a sharpener or grater, two sheets of fairly thick paper


  1. Get shavings or gratings of wax crayons.
  2. Mix up the shavings well.
  3. Spread a layer over the paper, place a second paper on top and clip them together
  4. Iron over the papers with a warm iron
  5. The crayon shavings will melt and you will get a design

Making Designs or Prints

Material Description

A paint mixture, objects t dip into the paint and a tray or bowl with a sponge


  1. Pour the paint over the sponge and let it soak in.
  2. Dip the object onto the sponge and print it on the paper, as with a rubber stamp, it leaves imprints on the paper
  3. Do the same with grains, pulses and a piece of cloth
  4. Use a piece of wool and glue, stick wool on the wood in a design, paint the wool and make prints
  5. Potato painting

You may also like...

1 Comment

  1. Nice post! Thanks for sharing

Leave a Reply