Great art program for young children

1 leaf, 2 leaves, 3 leaves today,
4 leaves, 5 leaves,
Blow them all away!

Count this rhyme out on your fingers Substitute leaves for worries and blow them all away!

You may find the children are spending more time indoors now that fall is upon us and looking for things to do, especially the older JK/SK kids who may have the afternoons free. There are lots of neighbourhood programs out there – gym, dance, swimming at recreation centres, but finding a small art program can be very rewarding. When the numbers are a much smaller ratio of children to adult, the art can be much more child focused and rich.

One such program is Art in the Afternoon run by Early Childhood Educator and musician/storyteller/artist Wendy Tinkler.

Wendy offers a two-hour program 1 – 3 p.m. for ages 3-6 years and only four in the class at a time. The art class is held in a bright, child friendly studio in Wendy’s home. The space is used for a nursery school program in the mornings.

The children get to dabble in clay, collage, papier mache, printmaking, puppetry and more. Wendy says the secret to great art is to use great materials, and she provides good quality water colours with an assortment of fine paint brushes. The children get to paint on 200 lb. water colour paper. Not only is the process satisfying, but the results are vibrant and frameable!

Wendy’s vegetable prints would look great in anyone’s kitchen. She took a cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, green pepper and sliced them in half lengthwise. Using poster paints, the children dipped the veggies into the paint and pressed them onto clean white paper. The prints are spectacular, especially the cauliflower!

You could also do the vegetable prints using acrylic paints pressed onto white flour sack tea towels or plain muslin – what a great gift idea.

Acrylic paints are good on stretched canvas available at art supply stores. The canvasses come in different sizes. Once the paintings are completed, they are ready to hang. Remember acrylic paint does not come out of clothing so you will want to have the children dressed in smocks or old clothes.

Wendy’s papier mache project took a few weeks to complete the different stages. The children picked their theme – mermaid, bird, fish… A form was made using scrunched up balls of newspaper wrapped with masking tape to keep the form. The wing or tail shapes were cut from cardboard and taped onto the forms. Twists of paper were used as arms.

When the form was finished, it was covered in strips of plain newsprint dipped in a flour and water paste. To make the paste, mix water into flour until you have a soupy cake batter consistency. Once the forms were covered and allowed to dry, Wendy had the children paint them using acrylic paints. When the paint was dry the children embellished their creations using sequins, feathers, shells …

This is just a sampling of the projects at Art in the Afternoon. Coming soon are clay creations, printmaking on acrylic sheets and driftwood snakes!

Art in the Afternoon runs for eight week sessions and is located at Main and Gerrard. If you are interested in the art program or nursery school call Wendy at 416-699-9886

If you are looking for a great concert to bring the little ones to don’t miss PJ’s & Pillows Presents: Molly Put the Kettle On, It’s Mr. Bear’s Birthday!, a concert and CD/DVD Launch for young children and their families. Listen to songs, rhymes and stories with storytellers musicians Carol Ashton, Sally Jaeger and Erika Webster.

The concert is Saturday Nov. 26 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Pegasus Studios, 361 Glebeholme Blvd. (Danforth and Coxwell). The cost is $5  per person. Call 416-699-2608 for further information.

The leaves are dropping from the trees, (flutter fingers)
Yellow, brown, and red.
They patter softly like the rain (tap fingers)
One landed on my head! (tap head)

Carol Ashton is an Early Childhood Educator and children’s storyteller who offers programs for infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers and primary-aged children.

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