In addition, hang a shower curtain or plastic tablecloth to the wall behind the easel...just in case! ;)
For more information about HOW and WHERE to set up Interest Learning Centers in your classroom, CLICK HERE to go to my Classroom Design article.
What Do Children Learn When Using the Art Easel?
Activities at the Art Easel help children develop in many of the same areas they would at your Art Center. At the easel, your children:
Become more creative while using the materials
Learn new ways to use the various materials and tools that you provide.
Build self confidence as they put their own ideas into action and make decisions as they use the materials.
Develop small motor control and coordination.
Learn about color, size and math as they experiment with color mixing, patterns and counting depending on the materials available.
How Should the Teacher Prepare for an Art Easel Activity?
As with any activity that encourages creativity, there is a no preparation needed other than planning and setting out the materials. Simply plan the items you want at the easel, place them in the easel trays and let the children explore!
The most important thing you, as a teacher, can do here is to encourage their thinking skills and social skills by asking “I wonder” type open ended questions:
“That is a beautiful shade of blue! How did you make that?"
"I see a pattern with the shapes you are gluing on! Triangle, circle, triangle, circle, triangle. I wonder what would come next in that pattern?"
Materials for the Art Easel
The materials to have on-hand are limited only by your imagination! Here are some basic items that are great to have around!
brushes of different sizes
paint smocks (of course!) or paint shirts
Don’t limit yourself to just paint and brushes! Stir up the creative juices!
Some other activities to have with paint are different types of items to paint WITH:
branches or leaves
Q-Tips or even their fingers for finger paint!
Some other items to use instead of tempera paint:
water color palettes
cups of water
We also love the brilliant colors made by using liquid watercolor!
Not so traditional accessories!
Change up the Art Easel by doing a different activity.
You can base the activity on your theme or on the fine motor skills you are working with. Some ideas to get you started:
Foam pieces and glue sticks
Stamps and stamp pads
Markers, crayons or colored pencils
Markers, crayons or colored pencils that are taped together!
Tape stencils of shapes, animals or letters UNDER the paper for the children to do some rubbings!
Provide white crayons for the children to draw on the paper with and also have slightly watered down tempera paint (or liquid watercolor paint) to "wash" (paint over) their designs with!
Provide small spray bottles with slightly watered down paint.
Provide bingo daubers and paper
Here's an idea sent in from Lori D (thank Lori!):
I love putting clear contact paper (sticky side out) on my easel along with collage materials. Children create and then we hang them on the window as sun catchers. Some children are more interested in pulling things off - All good, fine motor fun!
Having clean-up supplies available!
Hand wipes are a great addition to the Art Easel for hands and for floor clean up!
As noted above, open ended conversations are so important to working with children. Ask them about their creations! Ask them to tell you a story about what they are creating and write down their story. The story can be displayed on the wall or bulletin board under their creation!
Hey there! Welcome to Preschool Plan It! I’m Cheryl, a preschool teacher of over 20 years.
I KNOW, I know, you spend hours of time developing your preschool themes, activities and preschool lesson plans each week. You are commited to planning preschool themes and activities that are engaging hands-on, interactive, fun AND meet the goal of supporting each child’s level of growth and development.
I am commited to providing you, the preschool teacher, with everything you need to develop preschool lesson plans and preschool activities for your classroom all in one place!
You’ll receive a weekly email with planning tips and teaching ideas. You'll also receive (on the 1st of each month) a free theme starter pack with some printables and activity ideas to get you started planning a theme!