I love creating projects and opportunities for Pari to express herself through art or through words. But, when the three – art, words and portraiture – are integrated, it creates the most magical, meaningful and playful learning opportunity for kids.
She's painted a life-size self portrait in the past and wrote an autobiography with cues from her own pictures as well as family pictures. She also has a "thoughts" diary where I encourage her to pen down random ideas, thoughts and wishes. And then, she has a journal exclusively for writing letters to friends and family.
Ever since she made the life-size portrait, I have been conceptualizing another self portrait idea – by collaging with words.
This idea immediately fell into place when Rachelle of Tinkerlab contacted me for her creative challenge – with magazines. I think you know where I'm heading. Right?
We had thoroughly enjoyed participating in Tinkerab's last cardboard creative challenge. So, I immediately said yes for this one and sort of knew immediately what we would do with our old magazines and catalogues!
The idea was to have Pari make a self-portrait with word cuttings from old magazines plus some art and collaging with mixed media.
When I discussed the idea with Pari, she was gung ho it. She loves cutting, pasting any day. And, the idea of a self-portrait by having mamma trace the body was exciting enough for her.
So, like we did last time, Pari laid down on a thick paper and I traced the head, arms and torso. I had told her that I would leave the legs out or else the project would become too humungous.
We chose a black paper so that her cuttings would pop nicely due to the dark background.
Once the tracing was done, she flipped pages after pages reading out words that describes her; activities that she loved; ideas that were close to her heart and such.
I guided her through the process and explained to her that she should choose words that would describe 'Pari' the person. And, whoever reads those words would get a fairly good picture of what she thinks, likes, who she wants to be.
She went about cutting and pasting zealously starting from top – the head. We brainstormed ways to show 'thoughts' in the head. And, agreed that pasting the words in a way that they become hair, will be a good presentation.
I could immediately see the connection netween things that we do at home and words that she chose to paste on her head. Words like – "craft", "music", "pools", "vacation", "kitchen", "creative" etc.
She also drew the eyes and painted the lips.
To show things that were very close to her heart, she painted a pink heart and stuck words like – "dance", "balloons', "story", "play", "Newyork", "cook" etc.
She cut out her favourite colours in triangular shape and pasted them like a necklace around her neck.
The project continued the next day as she thought she has to put many more words to describe herself.
She also wanted to decorate her portrait with stars, glitters etc.
This carried on through afternoon and the final look was a flamboyant Pari with feathers and sparkly eyes and jazzed up costume.
I cut out the sheet through the outline keeping some margin and pinned it on our soft-board.
I can't believe she got so many words to describe her thoughts, feelings and ideas. I think this portrait is going to be an excellent conversation starter and a storytelling board. I also see huge potential in it to kick start games, art, discussions!
The best part of the whole project was the amount of discussion and debate Pari, her father and I had when she was working on it. When she chose a word, we prodded her to voice her thought behind it. For example – the word "buddy" that she chose. I asked her why does she want it there when she does not use that word herself. She said her papa uses that word when talking to her Uncles and hence she loves it.
In a few places, she chose to paste pictures – for pasta and for nailpolish. She could not find those words but wanted to use them to be able to express her love.
This was not an out-and-out art/craft project but I loved it for the fact that it allowed her to play with words in an artful way giving a creative twist to literacy and learning.
Isn't it a great activity to encourage self-reflection, learn some new words, learn collaging with paper and mixed media?
I have a workshop coming up – to explore the theme of communication – with kids. And, I think this will make for a brilliant group project. What do you think?
We have more than 20 super creative bloggers participating in this magazine challenge. Check their blogs out to be inspired by dozens of ways to do artful activities with old magazines! Here are all the participating blogs!
Sun Hats and Wellie Boots, Child Central Station , kids in the studio, Teach Mama, The Imagination Tree,Childhood101, Teach Preschool, hands on as we grow, Artful Parent, Paint Cut Paste, A Mom With A Lesson Plan, Toddler Approved, Kiwi Crate, Art 4 Little Hands, Red Ted Art, The Chocolate Muffin Tree, Imagination Soup,Michelles Charm World, Messy Preschoolers, Tinker Lab, Putti Prapancha, Mommy Labs