There is a fabulous monthly series over on Red Ted Art called Kids Get Arty where you are encouraged to view the works of great artists with your kids and find an activity inspired by that art. An easy place to get started looking at art with toddlers is a Russian painter named Wassily Kandinsky. He produced abstract works featuring bright colors and often very simple shapes. So today I’ve got a great Kandinsky for Kids Art Project!
4 Packets of original unflavored Knox gelatin
4 small boxes of Jello, various colors
4 cups boiling water
I boiled the water in our electric kettle, poured it all into a large measuring cup, whisked in the 4 packets of Knox gelatin until dissolved, then poured one cup into each of 4 bowls and whisked in a box of jello into each. I used one ramekin and the rest were done in small circle and square lock-n-lock containers, which worked well. This mean there were no scraps, which there would have been if I had cut them out of a larger sheet pan. They were just right after 3 hours in the fridge.
I ran a toothpick around the edge and then inverted the container with the toothpick still in and coaxed them out onto a plate. I used a knife to trim the square/rectangles and a small metal biscuit cutter to cut the circles. I was amazed at how well they stood up to the cutting and toddler man-handling. Now we were ready to make some art!
Part of the idea of the Kids Get Arty series is to really talk about art (as opposed to a craft), talk about the artist, the content of the art, how it was made, etc. My discussion with Ladybug, being almost 3, was not that deep. But we did first look at the picture and I asked her what she thought the picture was about. Not surprisingly she said circles. I asked if she saw any other shapes and she said ovals. I pointed out the squares and she looked kind of surprised when she noticed them.
Jello Art Time!
Next I brought out the jello shapes. I asked her if she thought we could make a picture with the jello and she seemed unsure of what I meant but it could have just been that she just wanted to eat the jello. I asked her if she could find all the squares and put them on the white platter. Then I asked her how we could make these squares look like the ones in the picture and she got it! She started stacking the circles on the squares. It was pretty fun…we have not done any kind of jello sensory activities (but we will now!) so I had to let her wiggle and jiggle them. I don’t know who giggled more, her or me! In fact I even gave a few tiny pieces to Little Big Man and he was captivated!
The white platter helped to show the jello colors well but we still had to take the jello- where else- to the light box! Here is what it looked like lit up:
We had a lot of fun with the Jello and it ended up being similar to a puzzle for Ladybug to try to match up the circles on the squares. Plus…jello is just fun! We will surely have to play with it more often!
More Kandinsky Art Project Ideas
Be sure to head to Red Ted Art for regular installments of Kids Get Arty and check out these other great blogs for Kandinsky ideas:
No Time For Flash Cards uses hot glue guns and bottle caps
Kids Art Market uses chenille straws to weave a Kandinsky inspired craft
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