Preschool art can be tricky, can’t it? There is so much pressure (from Pinterest, from parents, perhaps even from other teachers) to have children make things that are “cute.” You know those projects that get a spot on the front of the refrigerator and maybe even make it into the scrapbook at home? But we’re the teachers– the ones who understand the value and benefits of process art. We understand that even though it might be rich with learning, it likely won’t earn a spot on the fridge!
What’s the solution to this problem?! Let’s look for ways that we can use children’s process art and create something fridge-worthy at the same time. This Polar Bear Process Art Project is a great example.
Step 1: (Teacher Prep)
Use newsprint paper and cut out polar bear shapes. There is a link at the bottom of this post if you want to use my template.
Newsprint is very thin. I staple 10-12 sheets together and trace the bear on the top. When the pages are stapled together, it makes it easy to cut out a bunch at once.
Step 2: Get it WET
Soak the newsprint polar bear shape into a shallow pan of water (or run it under the sink) for just a minute. Let it the excess water drip off. Our kids love this part of the process!
Step 3: Place the Wet Bear onto Fingerpaint Paper
The wet shape will stick to the paper. We prefer fingerpaint paper because it holds up to the moisture. We’ve tried other paper (construction paper, easel paper, butcher paper) with much less success. Use fingerpaint paper!
Step 4: Paint!
We offer bowls of blue and white paint with spoons. The students can drop some paint onto their papers and then mix it around with their hands. We have also experimented with different types of paint. Don’t use finger paint!! It is too wet and it will seep under the bear and the picture will not turn out well. Learn from our mistakes! You want to use a thicker paint, like tempera or even acrylic paint.
Step 5: Keep Painting!
We encourage the kids to cover up the whole page. It’s so much fun to see how some of them start with just 1 finger in the paint while others have paint up to their elbows!
Step 6: Let it Sit
Let the paint sit for just a couple of minutes. You don’t want it to dry or you’ll never get the polar bear off. You also don’t want to do it right away, because it’s best to give the paint a minute to set.
Step 7: High Five your Little Artists :
Step 8: Reveal the Polar Bear
Carefully remove the newsprint polar bear from the painted paper. We usually do this part with some assistance from our younger kids, but the older kids can do it themselves. They are always so surprised and excited to see their polar bear revealed on the page!
Step 9 – The Aftermath!
Finger painting is fun, but I just want to keep it real with this photo of our bathroom sink during this project. Enjoy playing and learning with your children. There will always be sinks that need to be cleaned.
Click HERE for the full-size printable template.