Introducing New Art Techniques in the preschool Class (Flow Art)

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This activity was one of the reasons that I started this blog. It was a hit on Instagram in my stories and did well in my timeline. I had questions about this project that I did with the children to give as gifts to their mothers. 

I am all about introducing art and new art techniques in the classroom. I feel that when you enter the class, you should hear, smell, and see the calm as well as the theme of what we are learning. I introduce a plethora of methods, materials, visuals, scents, sounds, and more for the children to explore. I use art as a way to reach children in a fun, calm, and engaging way. 

With this activity that I am about to share with you, we learned about measurements, speed, density, mixing, chemical reactions, following directions, as well as a new art technique. This activity is not for the teacher who does not like a mess. Before you present this activity, I suggest you watch this video.

Materials:

  • Small cups (one per color and one per student, plus one per pan)
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Acrylic paint (choose all the colors you’d like)
  • Glue
  • Water
  • Alcohol
  • Spray bottle
  • Canvas
  • Foil pans
  • Standing drying rack
  • Table cloth, newspaper or keep a towel handy

Preparation:

  1. Pour alcohol in the spray bottle
  2. Set up your drying station (cover the floor under if using a rack)
  3. Cover the table 
  4. Open glue and acrylic paints
  5. Setup your pans with one in the center of each (This will elevate the canvases for easy maneuvering.)
  6. Using a red marker, make a dot at the half mark inside the cup. (If you are using the cups that I suggested.)

I am allowing the children to set up.

I let my students watch the video that I shared earlier, months ago. We watched it again the day before, and I tell them that it was time for this to happen.

  1. I give each student one cup and allow them to pour glue in their cups to the dot. 
  2. They picked a color (no one gets to choose the same color) and added some acrylic paint to the glue. ( A little goes a long way with this activity.)
  3. They each have a cup of water, and they proceed to pour a small amount of water in their cups and mix with a popsicle stick. They do this until they get the consistency they are pleased with.  

Now its time to make magic happen.

I suggest you lead by example here. I am standing behind a foil pan for all to see.

  1.  Select your canvas. 
  2. Take an empty cup and pour in your first chosen color (stir the color mixture first)
  3. Select another color and pour it into the came cup (you should have two colors in your cup)
  4. Repeat step 2 until you have as many colors as you like or stop at step 3.
  5. Once you have all of your colors, place your canvas over the cup.  
  6. Flip the canvas while holding onto the cup over and sit it on the cup inside the foil pan (the cup with the colors should be on top of the canvas now)
  7. Let the top cup sit for a second to give the colors time to slide down.
  8. Lift the cup off the canvas and watch as the paint spills out. Let it drip to your satisfaction.
  9. Set the paint cup to the side and either let the paint flow on its own or tilt the canvas to direct the flow.
  10. You can spray the art with the alcohol to help pop any bubbles in the art. 
  11. Once you have your canvas-covered to your desire, set it on the drying rack. It may continue to drip over the sides.
  12. Allow your students to experiment.
  13. Once they are dry you can use Glossy Modgepodge to clear coat it or Silicone (not for the children to use)

Here is what I observed during this activity.

The children learned quickly about not pouring too much water in the cup when one of my students who has a hard time following directions color came out too runny. Because there was only one cup of each color, this allows them to learn to share. They experimented with moving their canvases in all kinds of ways. During the drying process, one student used a cup to prop her art, and throughout the day, she came to turn it. Someone took their cup and just did a slow pour in the center of the canvas. Another student came up with the idea to spray their cup with the alcohol before adding the paint. They helped each other with the mixing of the glue, color, and water. 

What would I like to do differently next time?

This time I had three foil pans for the children to share, and next time I will like to work with more, this will lessen the wait time. I would also like to try a different medium for the flow; the glue gets thicker as time goes on, which interferes with the flow of the colors. I am going to get bigger canvases for them to work with next time around and use a set of smaller ones to experiment with, this was an activity that they wanted to try again, but I lacked the canvases.

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