Wednesday 16 January 2013

Kids Aboriginal Art

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If you read this blog regularly you'll know that we paint a lot, but that most of our painting is (ahem) process rather than product led - also know as we have a lot of pictures of brown blobs and not a lot of pretty stuff!!  Well inspired by Red Ted Art's Kids Get Arty series I thought I'd share with the boys what 'real' art looks like.

I wanted to choose something that the boys would connect with and so choose Aboriginal Hand Stencils.  This art work was produced by Australian Aboriginal people on cave walls, placing a hand on the wall then blowing out the paint from their mouths (read more here).  These paintings are incredibly old and amazing to think that these are people's hands printed on the landscape for generations and generations to come - wow!


This also works for the boys on three levels 1) The boys know about cave painting from Ice Age (a fave film!) so they can give it a tiny bit of context, 2) we have relatives in Australia and, 3) spitting paint is pretty cool!

We checked out where Australia is on our world map and looked through some pictures of Aboriginal hand stencils on the iPad.

To try and recreate the blowing of paint we put our hands on paper and blew watered down paint through straws....

.....but, the boys moved their hands a lot so whilst I think this might have worked it would have taken a lot of blowing.  So we tried another method.

Next up we tried putting the paint in a spray bottle and spraying our hands.  This looked like it was going to work great, but.....

.... the paint was so runny when you lifted up your hand you ended up with a hand print rather than a hand stencil!

By then though the boys were just enjoying spraying and blowing watery paint around!

Next, we tried another method - flicking the paint from the brush.  This did work, but it took ages and would have involved a lot of flicking which the boys found tricky and they were losing interest by this point!

So in the end we just tried painting round a hand....

.... and got a reasonable stencil, although this does look more like the hand of a four fingered alien than my husband!  

Things then turned into a bit of a painting session, including Little Dudes first go with a paintbrush, up till now he's just done finger painting!

Then I left the room for five minutes and things had once again descended into chaos and someone (with their Dad's help) had painted their face, and boy does he look pleased!  So off to the bathroom for all the boys!

I really enjoyed connecting our play to real life art and the learning through this type of play felt very tangible, yet was still incredibly fun.  We still didn't produce anything pretty, but a girl can live in hope!

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Linking up with Kids Get Arty


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  2. Wonderful to explore aboriginal art! And goes to show, the art that "looked simple to do", is hard to recreate than it is (am I making sense?). Wonderful post.

    Thanks for joining in with Kids Get Arty.


  3. You are invited to join my new weekly link-up "Say it Two Ways Thursdays"!  I would love for you to link up activities like this that teach your child about other languages and cultures.  Link up at  

  4. Great techniques! Thanks for linky up to Mom's Library!

  5. Wow! You are a brave mother. I'm sure my boys would love to be able to make such messes but I'm not quite there yet. Hmmm. You've given me something to aspire to. :) Maybe if I cover the whole room in plastic first . . .

  6. Oh that looks lot of fun. My boys would love this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Wanted to let you know I will be featuring this on Mom's Library this week! I hope you visit!

  8. What a fun activity to do with the kids and it looks quite effective with the splatter but like you my kids wouldn't keep it going yet.

    Thank you for linking up to Tuesday Tots this week.

  9. What a great activity!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  10. LOVE it! so much fun for everyone! thanks for sharing on the Sunday Showcase!

  11. Very useful you possess lots of understanding on this subject.


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