Thursday, December 31, 2009

scripture & art for kids

Scriptures and art projects for kids! Fun! (Use it with adults, too, if you want - why should kids have all the fun?)


- invite a resident teacher or art person who is part of your faith community or larger community to come and share a project idea to go with a story, a portion of scripture or a special holiday or event.

-once you know the story or passage you want to work with, spend some time in the library browsing the art & craft books in the children's room or in the adult section.

-use an arts/crafts book to pick a project to go with a specific topic, story, or verse. We think of paint and clay and drawing but you also have prints, 3-D (found materials or recyclables), crafts from nature, carving (soap/wax & plastic knives), cloth & fabric art, bookmaking, paper crafts, jewelry making, collage, assemblage, line designs, mosaic (with tissue paper, construction paper, tiles, etc), with appropriate supervision & instructions, punched hole designs in tin, woodworking, working with wire, woodburning, . . .

-Giving specific parameters for the project will often pull more from the artist: depending on the age of your kids, try
- a choice of materials, a specific story or passage, and specific guidelines
-one media or specific material, choice of story, and specific guidelines
-specific materials, specific story, no specific guidelines

This will take some research:

-imitate the style of an artist who loved God.

-Look at the different styles of Catholic artists, orthodox artists, protestant artists.

-Watch videos of artists or musicians wrestling with their faith.

-imitate the style of a particular time in art history. Look at the Biblical art from that time. What was happening in that country at that time to affect the artist and his art? an aside: I once took a college course where we went through both the art and music of western culture historically looking at similar elements.

-My mother-in-law taught art in an Episcopalian parochial elementary school in NYC so she had books of religious art depicting different Bible stories or passages. You can also do the same comparisons with a variety of Children's Bible story books if you don't want to go looking for old art. Look at different pictures, different styles for the same story.

-If you do want to go looking for old art created during different time periods. You
can choose art from the same historic time period but by different artists or look at different styles of the same scene from the same story from different historic time periods.

-If you can't find books with work like this in your local public library check university or art school libraries including Christian college or university libraries, Parochial school libraries, Catholic or orthodox church clergy or church libraries, Seminary libraries . . can always look online....

-Look at Bible story scenes from different stories by the same artist. Look at the same scene created by different artists. What do you see? What did the artist focus on? What did he/she see? Does it help you ponder the passage? What did the artist understand about God?

Whether you show your kids professional artwork first and then let them create or let them create and then show them professional artwork probably depends on your kids and your goals. As children share their artwork you're not critiquing their skill or technique (unless it's an art class) you're pondering with them. You're pondering what they see, how they see God and what God has done, how they see His story.

Artists and craftsmen will probably tell you that art and craft are not the same but that's a discussion for someone else. God is Creator, Artist and Craftsman...

My favorite books about faith and creativity are Madeline L'Engle's books: WALKING ON WATER and MADELINE L'ENGLE {HERSELF}. I'm sure there are more. Amazon has that neat feature "people who bought this book bought these..."

My 2 favorite books for doing art with kids:

by Marjorie Frank
Incentive Publications, 1976
Pencil, Pen, Crayon, Chalk, Paper, Paint, Print, Cloth, Yarn, String, Carve, Mold, Sculpt, Food, Crafts, Group Projects, Things to Do when you're Bored...a great resource but you can't be afraid of messes. This book includes recipes for clay, paste, etc & a bibliography.

DISCOVERING GREAT ARTISTS: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters
by MaryAnn F. Kohl & Kim Solga
Bright Idea for Learning/Bright Ring Publishing, 1996

There are endless art books for teachers and parents out there . . . endless . . . and the scriptures are filled with endless opportunity. Endless opportunity because each person grows older and more able to see and do and understand things we didn't last year. Endless materials, techniques and opportunity....He is the Alpha and Omega. He is Creator. We are created in His image.

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