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Elementary Art Lessons

Since the time they can walk, young children love to make prints: handprints on windows, footprints in the sand, and nose prints on mirrors. Teachers can incorporate this natural inclination children have for printmaking into their elementary art lessons. While professional print making supplies can be quite costly, there are a variety of readily available, everyday materials that work wonderfully for printmaking with elementary aged children.

A fun and unique way to introduce printmaking to children is by making bubble prints. Into several cups, place some water, a few squirts of liquid dish detergent and either food coloring or powdered tempera paint. Stir this mixture until blended. Each child has their own straw (to cut down on germ sharing). They use their straw to blow bubbles into the cup until the bubbles have risen quite a bit above the cups surface. Then they take a square of white construction paper, lay it gently on the surface of the bubbles, and lift it straight up. They will have a beautiful colored print of bubbles! Another simple way to incorporate print making into your elementary art lessons is by making basic monoprints.

Using either a large piece of plexiglass or plastic, the children can paint a picture with tempera paint directly on the plastic; three or four colors work best. Too many and the picture can get muddy. When they are done with their picture, they take a white piece of construction paper, roughly the same size as their painting. They lay it directly on the top of their painting, press gently down on the top (no rubbing!), then pull it (gently) directly up from the piece of plexiglass. They will have an exact replica of their masterpiece!

Some other inexpensive and readily available supplies for print making are: bubble wrap, fruits and vegetables, styrofoam meat trays and sponges cut in different shapes. By utilizing a variety of these every day materials, teachers can create multiple opportunities in their elementary art lessons for children to explore with print making.

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