Thursday, September 24, 2009
I would describe myself as a person who has very little imagination. Naturally, this means I lack the ability to mastermind clever little art projects for my children to complete. Luckily for them, I'm great at following directions and fairly resourceful at locating the good ideas of others.
The Starting Art series by Irene Luxbacher contains some of our very favorite craft books. They are well laid out, easy to use and full of cute ideas. It does make me feel a teensy bit bad when I see how simple an idea is and at the same time know with certainty that I would never, ever have come up with it. The very first page gives a simple explanation of collage: art you make by gluing paper, photographs and other colorful things onto another piece of paper. Um, I can do that! They then provide a list of materials (complete with photos!) you will need. These are all very basic craft supplies such as white glue, markers, scissors and scraps of paper. Immediately following are the plans for seven great undersea creatures you can construct - flying fish, octopus, whale, crab, starfish family, turtle and a sea dragon.
Although the seven projects shares a common theme, there is a fair amount of variance, so you don't feel like you're making the same project several times over. The flying fish requires many circles of different colored paper for the scales, while the octopus calls for long strips of torn paper for his legs. The whale is my favorite, because it is made to be whimsical instead of trying to be realistic.
The instructions for each project are very clear cut, with helpful step-by-step illustrations. While you are following a basic template, your own project will be personalized based on the materials you chose to use and skill level. Try out the free activity page which gives the instructions for making a cool octopus to see what you think.
I think the very best part of this book is that is shows children how to create a collage and gets them started. Once they have a handle on the process, they will come up with their own ideas and activities. We made the flying fish pictured above, which came out beautifully. After that we had a great time creating with the leftover papers, making a few birds of our own design. What a wonderful way to jump start a child's imagination!
Check out Irene's 123 I Can Make Prints, which equally inspiring!