Art With Anything
While the word “art” may bring to mind Michelangelo’s statues or Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits, art isn’t limited to great masterpieces or even polished finished products. In the Montessori method, art is more about the process than the product, and art with anything is possible.
A teacher’s ability to create a unique art experience with any materials on hand is a true talent! I’m excited to share with you some real stories of teachers incorporating art with anything in their classrooms.
Snake In A Box
Art can be so much fun and so simple! There was a teacher I knew who decided she wanted to do art with the children in her classroom. She didn’t have anything in mind but went to explore what supplies she had in the art closet. With the materials she found, she created what she called a “snake in a box.”
There isn’t a good material list for this art activity because it can be adapted for anything you have on hand. But below is my material list. You’ll need enough for each student or child:
- Small beads
- Pipe cleaners
- Clear plastic boxes (like you would find for storing beads)
Ask the children to carefully string the beads on the pipe cleaners, bend the edge around a pompom, curl it up, and place it in the clear box. Simple as that!
Snake In A Box is an excellent activity for building your child’s fine motor and concentration skills. Their new “pet snakes” are also a great material for imaginative and open-ended play.
I remember being amazed that something so simple could spark that fire and allow their imagination to let loose.
On another occasion, I witnessed a similar event. A teacher dug into her craft boxes and made art with anything. In this case, the final product was an easy-to-make version of “worry dolls.”
Again, materials can be adapted for what you have on hand, but here’s what this teacher used:
- Old-style clothespins
- Popsicle sticks
- Hot glue gun & glue
Start by cutting one popsicle stick in half. Then, glue 2 halves of a popsicle stick to the back of the clothespin. Using a hot glue gun is a practical life skill perfect for Montessori children. Be sure to take extra time to help children learn the proper, safe way to use this wonderful crafting tool.
The children wrapped the yarn around the clothespin and part of the popsicle sticks to create the clothing for their dolls.
Finish by drawing faces on the ball of the clothespin.
It was such a simple yet imaginative and entertaining idea that the children loved.
Process Over Product
We have a really wonderful guest post on process over product, which really helps parents and teachers see all the amazing skills children are developing even if the end product isn’t Pinterest-worthy. I hope you take a couple of minutes to check out that post.
We do too! Nathan and I took a lot of time to create an amazing art experience that can be delivered at home with our Art Appreciation toolbox. This toolbox includes a make-your-own paint kit, a mini-masterpiece set, a Montessori shape workbook, instructional videos, and more! The images are stunning and made to last for little hands.
Teresa Hadsall, co-founder of Montessori By Mom, taught preschool for over 6 years and has a passion for the Montessori philosophy. She has taught in both traditional and play-based preschools and found herself searching for something more. When she found the Montessori philosophy, she knew this was the solution. Teresa received her AMS Montessori teaching credential from the Montessori Teacher Education Center in Sunnyvale, California. She is excited to share her knowledge of Montessori and passion for education through Montessori By Mom. She enjoys using the Montessori method with her own 3 children and loves to see the difference it has made in their education.
I LOVE the worry dolls! Great fine motor skill work, not to mention a calm, soothing activity. Definitely going to try this with my kids.
This is definitely an incredibly rich resource that you have spent so much valuable time developing, I’ll recommend it to parents at our school as well as link to it in our Montessori Resources section so that our teachers can take a look. Thanks!