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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Art Ideas

Here are a few Art activities I've gathered over the years. Hope you find something you can use!

Native American Sand Art
Here's a packet of images and background information on Sand Painting. You could also use the pages for coloring, watercolor painting, etc.
Click on Pic for link
Coffee Filter Turkeys
An oldie, but a goodie! Die cut (or create a template for children to cut and use as an informal circle cutting assessment!) a small and large circle. The small circle is the turkey head while the large circle is the body. Students use crayons to illustrate the features (great time to practice vocabulary like "wattle"). Have each child color a coffee filter with Crayola markers (because they are water-based). Then, using a spray bottle (great fine motor practice) have the kids spray their filter. I always assign them a  certain number of sprays (say, 10?). There's some 1:1  correspondence and counting practice! The colors will bleed together and create a stunning turkey tail! When dry, glue the turkey head and body circles to the coffee filter. These look fantastic mounted on a bulletin board decorated with yellow paper and raffia: Turkeys in the Straw! :) For a keepsake addition, have the turkey heads be pics of each artist's face.

Tie Dyed Shirts
This idea was adapted from The Mailbox Magazine. This will take a bit of planning, but it is an unbelievable learning opportunity addressing color, cause and effect, and social studies! Have each student bring a plain white T-shirt to school. Label the shirts with a sharpie. Have a volunteer help you tie each shirt into several knots or use rubber bands to gather several areas of each shirt for the design. Wrap a long piece of yarn securely around each shirt to use as a dipper. Obtain large 5 gallon buckets to hold the dye. This experience is best done outside! You can use Cranberry Juice, turmeric, a bag of frozen blueberries, etc. Be sure to add a splash of matching food coloring to each bucket of color you choose to use. Also, add 2 cups of vinegar to each bucket. Working in small groups, have each child dip their knotted shirt into the bucket of dye, then pull it out. You may want to supply gloves and an apron for the adult at this station. (Any item attached to string tends to swing wildly at least once!) Dry the shirts overnight on a tarp; untie them and allow them to dry further. The dye will not last forever, but what an experience!

Native American Vests
Boy, am I glad to see grocery stores offering brown paper bags again! Turn the bag upside-down and cut up the middle and around the bottom of the bag. The bottom of the bag is now a hole for the neck. Cut out the sides of the bag to make armholes and turn the bag inside out (it's smoother). You may want to cover the edges of the cut bag with tape (colored duct tape fun, anyone?) to keep those sharp edges from hurting tender skin. Have the kids decorate their vests with markers (the bright poster markers look great!) or paint. Fringe the bottom of the vest by cutting slits along the bottom of the vest. I remember making one of these as a child and I loved it! Be sure to talk about what materials the Native Americans used to make their vests and what symbols they included on their vests.  Not all American Indians wore vests, but men and women in many plains and woodland tribes did. The Sioux Indians, who lived in the western plains of the United States, made vests of deerskin that often were fringed at the bottom.

Native American Drums
We used to use coffee cans, but now baby formula canisters and Quaker oatmeal canisters work great! Have kids decorate a sheet of construction paper with symbols or whatever they like. Use the paper to cover their canister and secure with a small amount of glue or tape. Use the drums to create rhythms during Circle Time or a special Drum Circle.

Origami Turkeys
This would make a great 3rd Grade buddy activity.
Directions from origami swan photo tutorial at Marcel’s Kid Crafts.
Use brown paper and stuff the tail with colored feathers. These look great as place settings for your table!

Pumpkin Pie
Simple, simple, simple. I love the way these make the classroom smell! You can make slices or whole pies. For slices, cut a paper plate into "slices" (you may want to draw out a template on the plates for the kids to follow. For whole pies, either use small, dessert sized paper plates or copy a circle template onto orange construction paper for students to cut out. If you use paper plates, be sure they are not waxed so coloring them orange will be easier. I had my kiddos color the bumpy rim of the plate brown for the crust. What a sensory experience that was; a good fine motor workout, too. :) Next, paint glue onto the plates, slices, or circles and sprinkle Pumpkin Pie Spice on top of the glue. Pull a cotton ball out a bit (to fluff it up) and place in the middle for whipped cream. My, my, Pumpkin Pie! :)

Spices as an Art Medium
Use ground spices mixed with a little water (to make just less than a paste) and paint with it! This is a great open-ended, process-oriented activity.
Set out whole spices like cinnamon and nutmeg for the students to explore and scrape on sandpaper. I drew letters and shapes on the sandpaper with a sharpie marker to make this a fun ABC Work center. This is one the kids went wild over!

Step by Step Easel Art
Making Learning Fun has step by step instructions for painting a Tee Pee, Pilgrim Boy, and a Turkey. I love this site!

TLC Art Pilgrims
This project can be found in the TLC Art Fall Book. These are adorable! You could provide paper to match each child's hair color for this project.

What are some things you like to do for art during this theme?

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