I took my preschooler to our local art museum this month. He’s been to museums before, but this time there was a noticeable interest and preference for the sculptures, that outweighed the paintings on exhibit. I took the opportunity to encourage my preschooler to think about the materials used, proportions, and where to stand so we could best view the sculptures. After digesting this experience, I encouraged him to create his own sculpture during quiet time. He had lots of fun with this loose parts arts activity for preschoolers.
Loose Parts Art Activity For Preschoolers
- Cardboard, boxes, mailing tubes, or any other stackable structures
- Tape, glue, or string to hold the sculpture together
- Shelf liner, decorative papers, pom-poms, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and any other items that can be used to decorate the sculpture. This also includes natural objects like sticks, dried flowers, and pinecones.
- Safety Scissors
Using our plastic card table, I set out the cardboard and the bins of craft supplies. I added my preschooler’s latest nature treasures collected on a previous hike. Next, I asked him if he could build an awesome sculpture for me while I did the dishes. It was important to me to keep this activity supervised since he was using glue, scissors, and small parts.
I explained that I was there to help if he needed it, but I let him know that the sculpture needed to be his own work of art, not mine. While my kid took off without much direction, some children may do better with less open-ended instruction. For example, they can be encouraged to create an animal, spaceship, or robot. When providing instructions, do explain that the sculpture they are creating is in the round, and encourage them to look at it from different angles as they create.
This activity is an unguided process art exercise. The end result does not need to look stunning. Instead, your child’s creativity and materials exploration are the focus. If your preschooler asks for your opinion, try be specific about what choices you find interesting. For example, a compliment like, “I really like how you placed your pom-poms all over the sculpture. You were really thinking about working three-dimensionally,” will help your preschooler feel proud and more confident with their ability to absorb and utilize new information.
My preschooler loved this activity so much and created it independently without redirection, so I have decided to leave the sculpture up for a week. I’ll be rotating out different materials for use during each day’s quiet time so he can add to it.
I hope this loose parts art activity is as big of a success with your preschooler. If your kid/s created their own sculpture, leave a comment to let us know what they made!
Based in Maryland, Amy is a nature-enthusiast who loves hiking, reading, and creating. With a MFA in painting and university teaching experience, she loves combining visual art and nature to create crafty and play-based learning experiences for her preschool-aged son. Extra crafts and fine art can be found on Facebook and Instagram @amyfixart or at www.amyfixart.com.
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