Preschoolers arriving in the classroom for the first time sometimes struggle to engage. It’s overwhelming – the new sounds, sights, people, and rules can be a lot for a young learner in the first week. An easy art project is therapeutic and soothing – and there is no reason it can’t be a fun learning experience as well! Preschool name art books are easy to customize and teach young children to use basic art supplies while simultaneously creating a keepsake.
Teaching Children How to Use Art Supplies
The plans have been written, and the supplies are neatly laid out. Everything looks PERFECT. And then the kids come in, and chaos ensues. The children need a lot of individual attention. This problem can be easily solved by scaffolding art instruction to the most basic levels. And while the goal may be for students to use the supplies, it still needs to be a fun learning experience. These Name Art Books are a great way for students to practice using art supplies in the context of learning their names.
Many preschoolers come into a classroom having spent their entire lives at home with family. They have little to no experience with using classroom supplies or the expectations around how to use them. Therefore, it is imperative to begin as simple as you can. Finding an activity that requires little to no direction while allowing them to recognize their names is a great place to start.
Crayons and papers beckon children to come and play. Most children know how to color and require little direction as to how to use the materials. Introducing materials with something familiar to the child is a great start. A wise teacher uses this time to sit with kids and get to know them. Are they able to sit at a table and focus for any amount of time? Can they recognize their name? Do they know any of the letters in their names? All of these things provide insight to the teacher while informally assessing ability.
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Name Art Books – Editable!$6.00
Teach young children to use basic art supplies while they make a keepsake NAME ART BOOK at the same time. This file is simple to use. Just type your class list, then print the custom pages for each student. Quick and easy!
Fine Motor Practice with Stickers
Stickers are such a great tool to use with young students! Besides simply loving stickers themselves, the act of pinching and peeling the stickers off the sheet allows students to practice fine motor control. Print a page with each student’s first initial filling up most of the page for this activity. Students will then trace the first letter of their names with stickers…how fun!
Rainbow Confetti to the Rescue
Using scissors and a glue stick are important skills for preschoolers to learn. Students are engaged and take ownership of the supplies when learning these things. One way to do this is to make rainbow confetti name art.
By definition, confetti is simply small pieces of colored paper. For this activity, there are two ways students can make the confetti.
- Provide 1-inch strips of colored cardstock for students to use. Model and practice how to safely use scissors (“open, shut them, open, shut them”) and discuss what is appropriate to cut versus things that shouldn’t be cut. Students practice cutting skills by using scissors to cut small pieces of confetti.
- If students are not yet ready for scissors, ripping the paper to make confetti is a good alternative. The practice of holding the paper and pulling a small piece off to use as confetti is great fine motor practice.
When the confetti is ready, students glue it onto a sheet with the first letter of the students’ name. Again, modeling and practice are essential when distributing glue sticks. Remember to show students:
- how to take the lid off and where it goes when in use
- how to wind up the glue stick (not too far!)
- the glue itself is sticky (The glue sticks with purple glue are a great visual aid for this!)
- to put the glue on the part they would like the confetti to stick to, not all over the page
- how to twist the glue back into the tube
- to put the lid back on and push down until it snaps into place
Painting the Name Art Books
The idea of providing young children with paint can cause anxiety in even the most seasoned teachers. But as with any other skill, breaking it into smaller steps with clear directions means even a novice painter can succeed.
When introducing paint with the name art books, begin with the basics. Something as simple as teaching the students how to put on an art smock can be surprisingly tricky.
- Use cotton swabs as paint “brushes.” This is a precursor to using a paint brush. Paint brushes tend to pick up a lot of paint, whereas cotton swabs only use a small dot of paint.
- Model how to dab a little paint on the swab tip and dot, dot, dot…right on the letters of their name. This provides great fine motor practice in that students practice being able to place the swab in a location where they see their names.
- Model, model, model! This is the best piece of advice when students are ready to graduate to paintbrushes. Introduce painting with watercolors. Show what happens if the brush is too dry (nothing) and what happens if the brush is too wet (can run down the page).
- Introduce a song or pattern students can repeat to themselves to remember the process. Something as simple as “wet, color, paint” repeated over and over will help students remember the steps when working independently. Visual cue cards can also be a good reminder at the art center on watercolor days!
Assembling the Name Art Books
Once the students have completed a few name art activities, staple the dried pages together with a cover. Send them home so that students can proudly show their families all the different ways they have learned to use their art supplies. They have learned to use crayons and recognize their names. Fine motor skills got a workout when students placed stickers on their first initials. They have learned to use scissors and glue to create a beautiful rainbow confetti letter. And they have perfected “wet, color, paint” when using watercolors.
The type of project that incorporates skills into a personal and relevant context is a win-win. These name art books allow instruction on using art supplies while providing early literacy skills.
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Learn More About Art in the Preschool Classroom
There’s no doubting art is vital at every stage of life.
- Read more about how art impacts the youngest learners here!
- Penn State University’s Better Kids Care has many ideas on process art in the classroom.
- How art impacts every part of a preschooler’s development.