It was Halloween week, and we capitalized on the holiday fervor by challenging the children to create scary masks at the Lunchtime and Literacy session at Fishtown Community Library. We found a wonderfully apropos book titled Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas and began our meeting with this interactive story. In the book, a ladybug commands readers to stand up, sit down, and go through a series of silly actions to get a make-believe bug off their bodies. In the end, readers have to make their scariest faces to scare away the bug. Click HERE for a read-a-loud video of this delightful book for young children. The children were wide-eyed listeners, unsure what the next page would bring.
Given only a blank face-shaped piece of paper and an array of art materials (feathers, googly eyes, markers, pom-poms, glitter glue), the children accepted the challenge and eagerly delved into the supplies to create scary faces. Several children were excited to use glitter glue for the first time. Most children began by drawing basic facial features. We emphasized the concept of space by encouraging the children to utilize the entire piece of paper, filling it with color or texture. All the children followed those suggestions and greatly enjoyed making their fantastical masks. Parents generally noted how much their children (and they) enjoyed having access to so many types of art supplies, something they did not have at home. Despite the fact that so many supplies were new to the children, they handled everything with respect and followed usage instructions well. Two young girls even bravely tried using those über sticky, double-sided glue-dots to attach feathers to their masks.
We seem to have a small, but strong group of regulars at the lunchtime sessions now. Children are arriving and greeting each other like old friends, and this has created an easygoing atmosphere when new friends arrive. This week, a toddler boy attended for the first time, entering with a smile and fearlessly joined in every activity.
Given the children’s comfort with handling new art materials, we plan to introduce painting next week with a collaborative mural that explores the basic principles of color mixing.