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November is Picture Book Month! I am working with a group of bloggers to share crafts along with the daily themes. You can see all of the other crafts here.
Today, we celebrate creativity! To do that, we look for inspiration from T.J. Shay, a teacher from Iowa who took a simple picture book and turned it into an international event celebrating creativity. The book is “the dot,” by Peter Reynolds, and the event is International Dot Day.
“the dot” is the story of a little girl, named Vashti, who feels she has no creative abilities. Her art teacher presses her to make a mark, and a frustrated Vashti makes a single dot on the page. Through a golden frame and some unconventional encouragement, the art teacher brings out Vashti’s desire to do more, and she creates a whole series of projects based on that simple dot.
International Dot Day was created on September 15, 2009 as a way to honor that artistic side, and encourage students around the world to find their own way to create. By taking something as simple as a dot and exploring the different ways it can be represented, the artist finds that the possibilities are endless.
One of the easiest ways to encourage your own young budding artists is to put out a variety of paper, crayons, markers, paint, etc. and let them try different ways of making dots. Big dots, little dots, different color dots, multiple dots on a page. The point is that they make their own art! Other ideas include cutting out dots, making dot sculptures, and painting everything on the page except the space in the middle, thereby making a dot.
I decided that with my own kids, we would do projects in two different styles using the dot theme, but I wanted to add a bit of a dad’s twist to this project (this is a blog about parenting from a Dad’s perspective after all).
The first project was focused on adding something special to the art that they created after they started with the basic idea of just making dots. I pulled out a bunch of craft supplies, and let them make several different pictures based on the dot theme.
When they were done, I had them pick their favorite one, and we made frames for them. The first frame was made from paint stir sticks that I picked up from my local Home Depot. The second was made from some leftover shims (I trimmed a couple inches off of the shims, because the ends are too thin) Just as the project is about being creative, building the frames should be, as well. You could use popsicle sticks, scrap wood, straws, sticks from outside, or even cardboard. Again, the possibilities are endless!
They used Alex Jumbo Dots.n-Dashes Sponge tip painters.
For the second project, I thought it would be fun to make dots in an unusual way without using craft supplies. I gave each kid a piece of plywood, and I encouraged them to make dots by making holes in the wood.
To do this, I pulled out a variety of nails and screws and let them decide which ones to use. Then, I helped them hammer and screw as many holes as they wanted.
When they were done, I gave them the choice of putting on a coat of stain or paint. They both wanted paint, so I mixed it with water so it wouldn’t fill in the holes.
Whether you encourage your kids to make their art using conventional means, or you step out of the box and find a new variation on a simple theme, I hope you will find a way to explore and create something truly unique. Maybe you can save these ideas for International Dot Day, next September 15th!