Have you ever done printmaking with young children before? From experience I can say it’s super fun, slightly crazy and a fantastic hands on art process for kids. We did printmaking this week at art class with the 3-5 year olds. I love the whole process, though it definitely veered in a different direction than I expected towards the end. Post to come on that. Phase one of our printmaking process was styrofoam resist printing. Every child was successful, even my almost 2 year old. This is a great technique for kids of all ages. Here’s how we did it.
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First , you will need some styrofoam boards. You can use recycled ones from meat trays from the market or you can buy these that work really well. You will also need some tempera paint, a brayer and some dulled writing utensils. We used the back of a paint brush, popsicle sticks and lollipop sticks. Once you have your materials, show your child how to make lines, dots, shapes, etc. with one of the tools. The foam is thin and will take to the pressure of your writing stick easily, making this a great project for any age.
Once everyone in our group had their design, I gave out paint in squeeze bottles to add onto the styrofoam. We talked about using a little vs. a lot. That little chat went better with some kids, than with others. Regardless, I highly recommend these squeeze bottles for tempera paint. They make it really easy for the kids to use. The paint doesn’t dry out inside and you can always trim the tip if it gets clogged. I love them! I love them for a lot of things actually. Definitely worth purchasing. Once you squeeze a little paint onto the styrofoam, use your brayer to roll it all around the board. Then place a piece paper over the board and press hard with your hands to absorb all the paint. We called this part giving the paper a massage. Gently lift up your paper and you will see a fantastic print of your design. You can use all kinds of paper. We used pre-cut little stationary squares I picked up on sale at Michaels, but you can use any paper you want. This is our favorite construction paper. It would work well for printmaking.
When we were done with our prints we hung them on a clothesline in our playhouse. Not all the prints you see hanging are from styrofoam printing. Stay tuned for more ways to do printmaking with preschoolers. Aren’t they beautiful?
I love the one that looks like a coral reef. The printing board looks as beautiful as the print itself.
That’s it folks. For more great process oriented projects for preschoolers try these Eric CarleMixed Up Chameleons or our Reggio inspired Self Portrait Shadow Boxes. Two of my fav projects with little ones. You can also purchase this great ebook available for download. I am a contributor with 25 other creative bloggers. I think you’ll really like it. You can also click on the pic at the end of this post for the ebook. Thanks for reading along and happy summer!