Fishtown Rec Center – Using Henna Designs and Watercolor to Learn About India

Monday, July 24th was our third day at Fishtown Recreation Center. Continuing our travel theme, both the older and younger students traveled to India! We shared a brief discussion on India and what the students knew about the country.

With the older students, we focused on henna art – which is a temporary dye made from the henna plant. The plant is ground up into a paste, put into a small funnel, and an artist creates radial designs and patterns onto the skin. The paste was explained to be thought of as icing, and when it hardens, it flakes off, and has dyed the skin underneath.
Photo: Actual henna art on Miss Dayna’s hand!
These older students traced their hand onto construction paper and used Sharpies to decorate with patterns and designs. We discussed how Sharpies are permanent, so, unlike actual henna, a Sharpie won’t wash out! The students respected this and used the special material with care.  Students were also told about mandalas, which are beautiful radial symbols used to represent the universe. Students chose 2 pre-cut circles and created their own radial designs on them. Then, they cut out their hands and glued the mini mandalas and hand onto construction paper.  

The second half of our time was with the younger students (the Cat Dog Skulls). We discussed India with these students, and they were excited to learn that elephants were important to Indian culture! Through demonstrated drawing, I showed the students how to draw an elephant.
We were creating a wax resist, so they used black crayon to trace their elephants. Then I showed the students decorated Indian elephants. They loved seeing the bright colors and fun designs painted on the animals. Continuing with crayons, the students drew patterns and designs on their elephants, most adding a rug hanging down the elephant’s backs. To finish out the wax resist, we needed to paint over it with watercolor. Since we did not have gray paint, we talked about what makes gray. We discussed how to make a color, like black, lighter, and since we typically don’t have white watercolor paint, what could we do instead?? Add more water! Water lightens the watercolor paints!

Miss Dayna

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