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In our storytime art classes every summer, we share The Very Hungry Caterpillar with our preschool artists. The simple story line and surprise ending is captivating for our kids. While we read, we love to highlight the unique way that Eric Carle created his beautiful illustrations. The primary art invitation in this storytime class is creating collages of painted paper, just like Carle.
Every child can be successful with a collage invitation like this one. Unlike drawing, it doesn't require a proper pencil grip or the fine motor skills needed to control a brush. This method of art is less like drawing and painting and more like constructing and building.
Step by Step Tutorial
Step 1: Prep the paper
Gather your paint, paper, and texture tools, including your homemade ones, and start painting. You'll need a variety of colors and textures. We prepped whole sheets of paper and once they were dry, we cut them into quarters for manageability.
Since we only get to see the artists ONCE for a 90 minute class, we prepped all of our paper ahead of time. But, you can easily break this up into two lessons and have the kids make the paper one class and use it in another. As an alternative, if you'd rather not paint paper, try using photos from magazines for your collage. Look for texture in the photos--A wheat field, a forest, a sunset, a bunch of rocks, etc
Step 2: Share the Story and Demonstrate Technique
Share the story, making sure to poing out the illustrations. Show your budding artists how to use various sized pieces of painted paper to create an animal. We used an easel at the front of the story area to walk through the steps of building an animal. We talked about shapes and positioning of each of the body parts. It's like piecing together a puzzle.!
Step 3: Cut and Design
Back at the table, we provided scissors for our preschoolers to do their own shaping to the papers. It's so important that they get the opportunity to use this tool from a young age. We even have safe scissors that only cut paper and not hair! (A must have for every mom with a toddler!) These special scissors allow even the smallest artists to participate.
Step 3: Create a design
On our tables, we have googly eyes, markers, scissors, and paper. If you wanted, you can add yarn, feathers, glitter, etc.
Some of our children lay out their design ahead of time, and then glue it. Others just grab accessories, like the always popular googly eyes, and glue them on the paper. Every approach works!
Content inspired by the artists and art created in our studio.
Orange Easel began as a small art studio in my basement and continues to grow and serve our community. Read more about our story here.