January 31, 2014

Kid Crafts: Construction Paper Shape Art

Construction paper shape art is so easy to pull together. You can plan ahead and cut the shapes out ahead of time, or, you can be like me most of the time and stand next to the kids cutting as you go. Either way, this is so easy and my kids absolutely love it.

Here's the idea: Create pictures of whatever you want (We obviously did a lot of Christmas themed pictures last month!) using basic shapes: squares, rectangles, circles, triangles, etc. Depending on the ages of your kids you can either cut out the shapes for them and allow them to assemble things into a picture, or you can draw the shapes on the paper and let them cut them out themselves before creating their picture.

Either way, this is all you'll need:
- Construction paper in various colors
- Scissors (safety scissors if the kids are doing the cutting)
- Glue sticks
- Crayons and markers for adding details and background drawings
- Any other materials you'd like to add, like glitter, google eyes, etc.

First, decide what picture you want to create. Then, select the appropriate colors of construction paper for all the parts of your picture. If you need ideas for breaking things down into basic shape pictures, check out Pinterest, google clip art, or look at toys in your own house (I sat a toy ambulance in front of me as reference when I was creating that one.)

I don't even bother to draw the shapes on the paper, I just wing-it with the scissors (little kids don't care about perfect shapes!). But you can start by drawing out the shapes on the paper. I cut things out for both kids, then let my (just-turned) five year old do everything else herself. I help my two and a half year old with the gluing, though I try to let him assemble the picture without much help from me (I like the Van Gogh-esque results!) I do typically lay all the pieces out to create the desired picture as an example for them to see first--just so they get, oh, hey, this is supposed to be a Christmas tree--but then I disassemble the example and I let them do it however they want.

You can adapt construction paper shape art to most anything. We did lots of Christmas-inspired pictures last month, but we've also done emergency vehicles. (I actually originally got this idea from some fire engine artwork on display from another class at my kids' preschool in October!) You could do some birthday inspired ones near your child's birthday (build your own cake!) or princess crowns or flowers for Spring or, really, the options are endless! We're making heart people next...and I'm sure we'll do all kinds of other ones in the months to come.

I like this activity mainly because the kids have so much fun with it! But it also works on manual dexterity (manipulating all those little shapes) and allows a fair amount of creativity within the context of the activity. You could also just provide lots of shapes in lots of colors and let them create whatever they wanted (especially for older kids). But my kids love to pick what shape picture we're doing next--like they're challenging me to figure out how to turn things, like our Christmas elf, into a shape picture.

It's also a nice activity to occupy them at the kitchen island while I'm cooking dinner in the evening. And we have a great time doing it together! (I love when doing simple things for the kids makes me feel like a good mom…this totally does that for me!)

So, there you have it. Construction paper shape art. Good times.

So, until next time, happy creating!

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