One thing that constantly amazes VOCEL’s team is the creativity and imagination our 3- and 4-year-olds bring to the classroom each day. So it was a joyous occasion for all when the teachers introduced “beautiful junk” and a brand new art cart in the classroom last week.
Paper towel rolls, buttons, fabric scraps, egg cartons, pipe cleaners. All these items might be found in your kitchen junk drawer or recycle bin, but to our VOCEL kids, these are the makings of treasures. Last week the teachers introduced “beautiful junk” and a new art cart full of materials, ready to be used for innovative creations.
Research says that giving children open-ended materials and free reign to do with them what they will is much more beneficial for children’s development than crafts with step-by-step directions and parameters set by teachers. In the early education world, this is also often discussed as the difference between process art (focused on the process of creating, the experimention and exploration, and the frustration and joy that process brings) and product art (focused on a specific outcome and requires that children create in a predetermined way). At VOCEL, we love process art and are committed to fostering children’s creativity and artistic abilities through as many open-ended opportunities as we can provide.
Curious what our kids gravitated towards in their first week with the new art cart? Here are the current top five favorite beautiful junk items:
1. Popsicle Sticks- Our bulk supply of wooden popsicle sticks has been put to good use as children have tried their hand at creating snowflakes, covered with glitter and Mod Podge, and fashioning various letters of the alphabet, including their favorite letters – the first in each of their names.
2. Egg Cartons- Children immediately took to the cartons with scissors, slicing them in half along the hinge of the cartons. From there, the creativity took them in different directions with some children making them into guitars with rubberbands and other string, while others turned the carton halves upside down to create long, narrow hats.
3. Buttons- The most popular use of the buttons has been in conjunction with pipe cleaners as children have strung buttons on the pipe cleaners and then bent them to create bracelets or jewelry for themselves or their friends.
4. Rubber Bands- Children have been fascinated by the abundance of multi-colored rubber bands in the cart and especially their varying sizes. The largest rubber bands have become strings of egg carton guitars while the smallest have been used to fasten popsicle sticks.
5. Fabric Scraps- This week, fabric has been used primarily to create musical intstruments. Children found that they could toss beads into a alumnium can, cover it with a scrap of fabric, fasten the fabric and shake away. Bonus: using scissors effectively is challenging in the preschool years and cutting fabric is a fun way for children to hone these fine motor skills.
What beautiful junk is hiding in your house? Think of all the ways it can be repurposed by young children you know. If you don’t have any use for some of your beautiful junk, feel free to stop by VOCEL and add it to our art center. We can’t wait to see how VOCEL’s children use the art cart items next week.