Art for Kindergarteners
updated May 8, 2016

You'll find plenty of age-appropriate art suggestions in the collection of books I've put together for you, including


A Word of Caution:
Art is one of the areas where Waldorf supplies cost more but the quality really matters. I don't suggest making substitutions!


Modeling Beeswax

A Child's Seasonal Treasury has a lovely verse to say when you get the beeswax out. I keep all the colors in a little basket. I pass it around and let each child take the color that speaks to him/her. I like to tell a story while the children warm it in their hands. Then the children model something from the story.

The beeswax MUST be warmed to body temperature before you can shape it. Some teachers place the beeswax in a pot of warmed water which has been taken off the heat; this is helpful if your child is easily frustrated and impatient.


Clay

You'll find disagreement among Waldorf homeschoolers as to whether clay is suitable for the Kindergarten child. Some say it is too "dead." Others argue that it is a natural material from the earth and that working with it strengthens the will forces. I personally feel that work with clay is beneficial and that children are drawn to it.

Here is an excerpt from Michael Howard's excellent book

Educating the Will

    In Waldorf schools there is a prevailing view that from pre-school up through grade 3 children should model with beeswax. Promoting the merits of beeswax typically includes the judgement that clay should not be used with young children because it is harmful to them. The explanation commonly given is that the cold, wet clay robs the children's forces.

    If this is the case, we may well ask if it is harmful for young children to play in puddles, streams, wet sand, mud, snow, and the cold water from the sink? Playing with such materials can be messy and thus can cause some inconvenience, but I have never heard anyone say they are harmful. Quite the opposite, it is generally regarded as normal and healthy. If there is any reason for concern it surely is in regard to those children who avoid playing with materials such as sand and snow. One find the same healthy delight and creative play in a group of children mucking out in a natural clay pit as in a sandbox.

    Such observations alone are reason enough to be wary of the view that clay is inappropriate or harmful in the early years. Those who do not trust their own experience about the healthy nature of clay modeling may look to Rudolf Steiner for the definitive insight. Research by colleagues both in Europe and America have thus far found not one statement from Steiner that hints at the harmful effect of clay at any age. On the contrary, Steiner said, "We continue this [fundamental artistic work in grades 1-4] by moving on to three-dimensional plastic forms, using plasticine if it is available and whatever else you can get if it isn't -- even if it's the mud from the street it doesn't matter. The point is to develop the ability to see and sense forms." Second Curriculum Lecture in Discussions with Teachers


Being able to dig in a clay pit is best but you can also give your child access to

self-hardening clay

Store it in between uses in a large one or two gallon Ziploc bag, wrapped in a dish towel that has been soaked in warm water and then wrung nearly dry.

Have a pail of warm soapy water ready for washing hands. NEVER pour water with self-hardening clay in it down your sink! Put it outside in your yard.


Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Painting

Single color painting stories (such as seasonal poetry) are usually done at this age, with color mixing reserved for first and second grade work. Again, the right supplies are crucial. You'll need heavy watercolor paper, a large shallow bin for soaking it in for a minute or two, the Stockmar assortment of 6 concentrated primary colors, a set of little canning jars (always keep this paint in fridge once you've mixed it -- it spoils once it has been diluted but it is safe on the shelf in concentrated form), a large piece of plexiglas to use as a painting board (check the thrift store for some large inexpensive prints and take the plexi out of the frame), a clean kitchen sponge for smoothing the wet paper after you lay it down on the painting board (to remove any bubbles of air trapped below), and a one inch brush.

Remember to put your child's name and the date on the back. You can also sign the work on the front of the painting. Flip the brush over and use the wooden tip to write on the painting while it is still wet. The liquid color will pool in the indentations and leave a dark mark.


Some people swear by hemp watercolor paper but I have not yet tried it.

You can also buy a beautiful wooden jar holder with little glass jars for your paints. This is really lovely and makes painting even more special. Betty Jones has a verse to say before beginning painting work as well. And, just as a reminder, your child should be experiencing the color, NOT painting forms! This begins in grade 3 with Creation stories.


Homemade Art Supplies

It is so much fun to make your own little artistic concoctions; here are is my collection of recipes for homemade art supplies.

Homemade Bath Paint Recipe
blog post - Kojo Designs



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