I often help with pre-school age in Sunday School. I often have my
pre-school grandchildren do artwork. I ask them lots and lots of questions
about their lives and I ask them to answer me with their pictures. While
they are working I keep asking them more open questions to get them to
think of more things to add to their pictures. They like topics about
themselves (I and My topics). I think they could respond to questions
about their own family activities at least once a week. "Did you go some
place this weekend on Saturday or Sunday? What did you see? What did you
do? Show me with your drawing where you went and what you did." I want
individual thinking - not so much imitation of each other.
I ask them what they like to play, what toys they play with, who their
friends are, about pets, etc. I ask them how they help their parents.
Repetitive topics and rituals are fun for them. If possible have an animal
or have children bring in animals for a day. Ask lots of detail questions
about the animal, fish, or bird to get them to notice the parts. Use
multi-sensory motivation whenever possible including motion, smelling,
feeling, listening, etc. I like to bring a few big sunflowers (or whatever
grows in the garden) to study. House plants are good. Feel and smell the
parts. They love to study insects. I use small zip lock bags and jars for
bugs. Discuss the shapes, colors, and count the parts. Have them compare
things, sort shapes, sort colors, sort textures, etc. They can study their
own body parts by looking at them, counting them, feeling them, etc.
You can play tape recordings of trucks, machines, crying babies, birds,
barking dogs, etc. They will draw what they think they hear.
When working with clay I am sure to hide any kitchen stuff like rolling
pins because some will tend to flatten it out and make cookies. With clay
I want them to make sculpture (3-d drawings ). They can make a group clay
projects like farms, zoos, playgrounds, cities, etc. Instead of firing
them, I often take digital pictures or video.
They can cut and glue colored paper for collage. I avoid vague materials
that are hard to control. Opaque tempera paint with bristle brushes is
better than transparent watercolors. I never use fingerpaint before grade
three because they learn more by working with controlable things. Markers
and crayons are easy to work with. Sometimes I have them use very soft
drawing pencils and white plastic erasers. Pottery clay is excellent.
Sometimes I they ballpoint pens on small paper.