It’s that time again for a wonderful bi-monthly series from Red Ted Art called Kids Get Arty. We participated last month with a craft that kept on giving, our Kandinsky Jello Art. You would think the jello would have been eaten right up but Ladybug only ate a piece at a time, so it kept for quite some time and we played with it a lot! If you wanted an edible Mondrian Project, the jello art would work well with his style too!
This time around I knew I wanted another fairly simple-looking style to explore. It was not hard to land on Piet Mondrian, a Dutch Painter best known for his own form of art: Neo-Plasticism. The striking but simple works of art that he produced consist of black grid lines on a white background with various sizes of rectangles and squares, mainly in primary colors. So… I took a brief break from my pouch cap craft obsession to become obsessed with Mondrian!
Exploring the Artist’s Works
We looked up some of his works on the computer again, I like having so many of an artist’s works available to us online and it doesn’t use up the ink of my printer this way! We focused on his well known geometric works, looking mainly at Composition A. I asked Ladybug what she saw in this painting. She first talked about the shapes she saw, rectangles and squares. Then I asked what colors she saw an of course she said yellow, red and blue but then, just like last time, her eyes picked up on something mine overlooked. She asked, “Mommy what about the color BETWEEN them!?” I said, oh you mean the black lines? “No, Mommy! It’s WHITE!”
Mondrian on the Light Box
I started the activities by cutting strips of black construction paper and asking her to help. She can make cuts but not specific shapes. I brought out sheets of cellophane and “we” cut them into shapes. I asked if we were going to make an art project like Mondrian’s, what shapes should we cut? She said squares, so we did those first. She didn’t think of rectangles but that was okay, I cut some anyhow. We got out the light box and played with the paper and cellophane.
She liked overlapping the colors an we talked about how yellow and red make orange, etc. She also liked making pictures with the shapes. A few squares plus a red rectangle made robot face, which was her favorite picture to make with the shapes, and she kept making him over and over again.
Multi-color Mondrian Means Experimenting with Color
As always we had fun trying the different colors of the light box (it has a remote control that changes the colors of the LED lights inside, here is how we did it.). It was fun to see the matching color cellophane disappear when we changed the colors. If you do not have a multi color light box you could slide a sheet of colored tissue paper into your light box or behind the sticky back paper to experiment with different colored light.
Window Contact Paper Collage
We had the pieces of paper and cellophane left in good shape so I decided to put up some clear contact paper on the window for a Mondrian collage. We tried this kind of thing a long time ago with tissue paper and she just didn’t care for it much. It went better this time. Afterwards she had fun sticking other toys to the sticky paper.
We left it up to show daddy and grandma and she had fun surprising people with it.
I also really like his Broadway Boogie Woogie piece for the patterns involved and thought we could mimic that and work on patterns. I got out some wooden craft sticks, paint and sharpies. You can adjust this to your child’s ability. I made a pattern on a stick with a sharpie and then asked her to paint over it with paint, matching the pattern. You could also have your child replicate it on a new stick. We tried this and it was fun but it is probably more advanced than her current understanding of patterns.
We also made some all black ones to put on the window collage. This would be a fun all-class activity. You could easily have each of the kids make a few and then create your own version of Broadway Boogie Woogie. Note: These Jumbo Craft Sticks were provided for free to me by www.craftprojectideas.com.
Mini Mondrian Post Its
This was just a quick little activity I set out when I needed to get something done this morning. If you are ever in a waiting room or restaurant, this would be a simple activity to keep a child busy. I just drew the grids on yellow Post It Notes with black crayon and asked her to color the shapes to make some art.
Mondrian Ice Sensory Bin
After the fun we had with the Kandinsky Jello, and looking at the luminous colors in Mondrian’s work, I really wanted a bright, vibrant color for a sensory activity. I tried at first just food coloring and water. This was fine but I didn’t think the overlapping colors would look right so I wanted something opaque. I tried flour for some strange reason and it sucked. Then, thinking of corn starch I remembered Reading Confetti’s recent post on Ice Chalk. Her recipe was great, I used kool aid and boosted a little with food coloring.
I set up my square wilton brownie bite silicone form in the freezer before pouring the liquids in. I also made some larger ones in lock and locks and metal pans. There might have been some spillage. I def recommend not filling things all the way as they will expand a bit when they freeze, and the color will spill or bleed.
This was one of the hotter days the city of Chicago has seen this summer so they didn’t last toooo long but that was okay, it was cool to see the colors bleed and mix to make new colors. Ladybug also had a lot of fun stepping on the pieces and breaking them.
Mondrian for Babies
Little Big Man is 9 1/2 months old. Most of the materials we used in the above projects were no good for him because he would put them in his mouth but I wanted to include him. Babies love high contrast images and the bring primary colors in Mondrian’s works really are perfect for their developing eyes!
I took a box lid, lined it with white contact paper and colored the rim black with a sharpie. Paint would work fine too I’m sure. Ladybug and I had fun finding toys that matched the shapes and colors in Mondrian’s works. We had the foam play mats, little Einstein fabric blocks (an older set from a friend) and a set on Pantone board books, all of which are square and very vibrant!
If you are looking for fun sensory and developmental activities for babies, might I suggest House of Burke and School Time Snippets….I’ve been trying some their ideas lately! I also have a Pinterest Board of Infant Sensory Play ideas.