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We began our class by reading the book, Freight Train by Donald Crews. When we sat down at the tables to make our art, we invited our artists to draw a horizon and create a train running along a track, just like in the book illustrations.
The swishy wet sponges, messy fingers, color mixing, and problem solving made this one of my favorite art activities of the year!
The sponges make it possible for young artists to design and create a picture of simple shapes without actually needing to be able to draw or paint those shapes.
We have three and four year olds with incredible creativity and vision--but they don't yet have the fine motor skills to bring their ideas to life. These sponges are completely age appropriate and allow them to be successful.
If you're working inside on your kitchen table, cover the work surface with butcher paper or newspaper--these sponges don't have handles so this one gets a little messy! Set out paper plates and fill each with one washable paint (we love this paint if you need a great washable one) color per plate . Fill wash bucket with water or have some wipes nearby.
Create Your Sponge Shapes
Using scissors cut a variety of shapes from your kitchen sponges. I kept it simple with rectangles, triangles, squares, circles, and ovals, but you can go as elaborate as you'd like (think, hearts, flowers, stars, etc).
We knew that our artists would be learning about trains that morning, so we made sure that our shapes fit together and were scaled properly for train constructions. This lesson would also work for buildings, cityscapes, houses, landscapes, or even animals (similar to our animal collage building here).
If cutting out the shapes isn't your thing, you can always purchase some pre-cut shapes in the bath isle of a toy store for five to ten dollars a bag.
Time To Paint
Your artists can dip their sponge into the paint and stamp with it on the paper. Help them discover how they can build artwork by adding multiple shapes, creating things like houses, trains, or even people.
Some artists will discover that if they drag the sponge across the paper instead of stamping, they can cover a large area with a single color. This method is useful for creating things like landscapes, ground, sky, and more.
Once completely dry, it's time to show off those masterpieces! Using a hole punch and string, you can create a banner of your child's work, or make a hanging loop on each piece. If your fridge is the family gallery, attach a magnet to the back for prominent displaying. Take it a step further by allowing the kids to sponge paint a picture frame for their art.
With so many benefits in one fun-filled activity, how can you NOT try this one? As always we'd love to see pictures of your process and your work. Tag us in your photos @orangeeaselart on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
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.