Art History Gameboards

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I am truly an art nerd.  Who couldn’t be when artists have such interesting lives?  From Frida Kahlo’s bus accident and tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera to Leonardo Da Vinci’s flying experiments kids are fascinated by the lives of famous artists.

One year I broke my art club into teams of 4 kids (I had 40 art clubbers).  Each team would research an artist in the library, come up with a timeline of that artist’s life, and create a game board game based on their research.  The school librarian helped the kids research the artists they chose and write their timelines.  When I approved their timeline they began building their game boards using cardboard boxes, duct tape and white butcher paper.  Then they had to design their game board in pencil using facts from the artist’s life, a portrait of him/her, and motifs found in works of art by that artist.  They used Crayola Model Magic to model the pieces that would move across the board and tempera paint with glue to paint the pieces. Once all the game boards were finished we had a party and the kids played the games while they munched on chips and drank soda.  We hung the game boards around the art room for years to come as they were full of factual information I wanted my students to learn.  This is a lesson I loved and would definitely do again!

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Native American Vest and Headband

One piece of advice I would give anyone teaching children art is that to have successful projects you need to have a successful example.  I always make every project I teach before I teach it with the same materials and techniques so I can iron out any issues that may arise beforehand.  It also gives students an idea of how their project could look-however I stress to them that we are all different artists with different hands.  Picasso and Matisse made the same paintings for years-but each master artist made their paintings in their personal style.

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I have taught this project to kindergarteners before.  It’s fun, easy, and cheap.  It ties in multiculturalism, symbolism, recycling, wearable art, social studies, and literature (if you read Native American folktales with the project).My students loved this project and Ben was very pleased with his vest and headband today. To start I took the handles off the Trader Joes shopping bag, cut straight up the center of the front of the bag and cut off the bottom of the bag.  Then I turned it inside out so it would be blank and drew circles where I wanted the arm holes to be.  I cut them out and added fringe.

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I practiced writing Ben’s name with him in black Sharpie.  I’m hoping repetition will pay off and he will know how to write his name in a year or so.  This is a good for kindergarteners to practice writing their names and also for everyone to know who’s project belongs to whom.

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I drew a turkey and Native American pictographs I remember on the back of the vest. Ben used the Sharpie and Crayola markers to draw and color on the back.  He practiced making glue dots and added feathers to his vest.

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We used scraps to create a headband with feathers.  I can’t wait to see all the kiddos tomorrow with their vests and headbands-they’ll be so cute!