Under the Sea
No preschool curriculum is complete without a wide variety of art projects. Arts and crafts give children a method of expressing themselves creatively, as well as allowing them to develop fine motor skills such as cutting, pasting, and drawing. Certain themes, such as the ocean and the creatures that live in it, lend themselves perfectly to preschool art projects.
Ocean life is full of fun shapes and colors which are replicated in these preschool art projects. First, here's a project where the kids create stained glass ocean animals by using tissue paper with contact paper or waxed paper.
Look through books about the ocean and its life forms for inspiration first before giving the children create their own sea creature forms from contact paper or waxed paper. Once they have cut out their shape, decorate the shapes with tissue paper to create a stained glass effect. Remember to use glue if waxed paper is being used.
Create your own Aquarium!
In conjunction with the ocean life theme, organize a field trip to a local zoo or aquarium to observe fish in their habitat. After the field trip, try one of these preschool art projects on fish and aquariums.
Children can create a paper plate aquarium from a paper plate or Styrofoam meat tray. First, paint a blue line about three-quarters of the way up the plate or meat tray, and paint the area below the line blue. After the paint has dried, the children can decorate their aquariums with fish and other ocean life with paint, construction paper, magazine clippings, yarn for algae- basically let their imaginations run wild.
After the aquariums are insufficiently adorned, tape another paper plate or meat tray facing the aquarium. Do not forget to cut a small hole at the top of the second plate or tray to create a hole that allows the children to peer into their aquariums. Another option is to tape a layer of plastic wrap over top of the aquarium tray to represent the glass.
Here's another fun ocean life craft called "3-Dimensional Sea Creatures". To begin, give each child two cutout shapes of an ocean creature, or have them cut and create their own creatures from construction paper. Encourage them to decorate the sea creatures with glitter, googly eyes, paint, yarn, fabric, or whatever else is in the craft supply closet.
Once the creatures are decorated, connect the two halves and stuff the inside of the shape with cotton balls for an exciting 3-dimensional effect. If desired, tape a large sheet of blue paper on the wall and everyone arrange their sea creatures in the water together.
Play Dough Urchins
One of the ocean's most interesting creatures is the sea urchin. The children can create their own personal urchins from play dough and toothpicks. Play dough can be made by combining 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of warm water, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon oil, c cup of salt and food coloring.
Stir all ingredients together over medium heat until the mixture is smooth. Remove the pot from the heat and knead the dough until it has blended completely. Place the dough in an air-tight sealed container or plastic bag until ready for use.
All of these preschool art projects provide teaching opportunities in many areas as well as providing the chance for imaginations and creativity to soar. Enjoy them and modify however you need to encourage the participation of all of your children.