Foreshortening Art Project for Kids
Did you know in my former life I was an elementary art teacher? I taught students ages K-4 and it was truly an amazing season of my life. With many at home right now trying to manage their kiddos, working, and staying sane, I was asked to share some of my favorite art projects/lessons that were also most loved by students. Specifically ones you could easily do at home and this foreshortening art project is one fo them!
Last week we had our Googly-Eye Mixed Media Drawings for kids ages roughly 3-6 years old, and this week we’re moving to a project I did with my 4th graders, but honestly, with some good prompting, your second or third graders could totally do great with this!
Foreshortening Art Project for Kids
This was always a beloved project in class as the kids were super excited to be asked to bring in their favorite pair of shoes and then have to take them off to trace them! Not to mention, once the pictures are finished, they are so impressive!
First, what is foreshortening?
Foreshortening is when an object or view is closer than it is or as having less depth or distance, as an effect of perspective or the angle of vision.
What you need:
- Long Paper – We used 11 x 17.
- Permanent Markers (thin ideally or regular sharpies will work)
- Markers or Crayons
Linking to my favorite non-toxic art supplies here.
- First, discuss what is foreshortening, and then ask your child to look at you while you put your feet in front and hands out in front of your body. Ask them: What looks the biggest? Ideally they notice your feet and hands look bigger than your head which is further back. You can also pull up images of other things that have foreshortening.
- Then, ask them do to the same: Lay back and put your feet in front of you and your hands. If someone is looking at you from the front, your shoes and hands would look bigger than your head, right? Since your head is now further away.
- Then, have your kids pick a pair of shoes that have an interesting bottom. Observe the detail in the bottom of our shoes. Ask: What do you notice (lines, dots, etc.) ?
- Next, ask them to look at the INSIDE of their hands: lots of detailed lines, right? How many are on each finger, etc.
- Then start the project: Take your shoes off and trace them on the paper in pencil. Draw in the details you see!
- Trace your hands above the shoe – it looks extra cool when your hand gets cut off by the top of the shoe (hands are overlapping the tops of the shoes). Show them my examples! Add in details you see in the inside of your hand. Remember: no nails!
- Now, smaller, draw in your legs, shirt, and head! If the kids need it, show them position again and see that your legs go BACK! Prompt them to get as detailed. Grab a mirror if you’d like! Remember: eye brows, eye lashes, the shape of your eyes, freckles, glasses, etc. Draw your head smaller in between the hands, and add your body. The arms need to be drawn directly to the hands, and the legs have to be drawn to the bottoms of the shoes!
- Outline everything in thin sharpie once done putting in your details and drawing in pencil!Fill in with color!
The learning objectives:
- Learn about distance and foreshortening.
- Observational drawing: what are you observing? Putting that on paper.
- Mixed media with pencil, sharpie, and coloring!
Happy art making! More to come for other age groups!
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Foreshortening Art Project for Kids
Did you know in my former life I was an elementary art teacher? I taught students ages K-4 and it was truly an amazing season of my life. If you have been around a while, you remember when I announced I was leaving my teaching job that I loved dearly to run my other job (this website) full-time! I can’t believe that was back in 2015!
With many at home right now trying to manage their kiddos, working, and staying sane, I was asked to share some of my favorite art projects and lessons that were also most loved by students. Specifically ones you could easily do at home!
Let’s start with one of my favorites for younger kids. Resist Googly-Eye Mixed Media Drawings. I love this lesson for kids ages roughly 3-6 years old. I did this every year with my kindergarten students. They love this project, and I loved the creativity that it sparked, plus the multi-media aspect. They really come out so gorgeous!
But First: What is Resist Art?
Resist art is a specific art technique that uses different mediums to cover portions of the paper with a a “resist” layer (used here: crayon), and then another medium (used here: water color paint) to cover it, which creates a really neat image as the watercolor fills into little areas! What is extra special about this project is that the kids can learn the wax from the crayons and the water from the watercolors don’t mix so it’s a combination of both art and science!
What you need:
- Cardstock Paper – One that can withstand watercolor, so a drop thicker than printer paper.
- Googly Eyes – I liked the stick on ones because I was creating hundreds of these, but the glue on ones work too!
- Permanent Markers
- Watercolor Set
Our favorite Non-Toxic Art Supplies here.
- Glue or stick on the Googly Eyes anywhere on the paper.
- Prompt them to get creative: Of course, we have two eyes, but let’s use our imaginations! Who could these eyes belong to? A fish? A boat? A window? A book? A pond? What are they looking at? Consider drawing a whole scene, not just the one thing with eyes!
- Draw your drawing with pencil first.
- Outline in sharpie (remember, let’s hold it properly and avoid getting it on our hands).
- Color the entire page with crayons.
- Then watercolor over it all. Water and oil don’t mix, so it creates a really neat image.
- Let dry then discuss the art piece.
- Parents: Instead of saying, “what is that?” try something more like “I love this! Tell me about what you made!
The learning objectives:
- Using a range of media and an understanding of how they can produce different effects. Example: Crayons + watercolor.
- Allow creativity to spark.
- Introducing students to various textures
Happy art making! If your kiddo(s) make this, snap a photo and email me or tag me on Instagram. I’d love to see it!
More to come for other age groups!
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Googly-Eye Mixed Media Drawing Project for Kids
Around here, we’re always looking for opportunities to empower you and your family to clean up as many areas of your life as possible. We focus a lot of our efforts on food, skin care, and household products, but the (unsettling) truth is that there are less-than-safe ingredients lurking in places where you might not expect them. I hate to be the bearer of bad news on this, but your kids’ art supplies might be one such place.
Non Toxic Art Supplies for Toddlers and Kids
How to keep your creativity safe.
Here’s a fun fact about me: Before I started running Lexi’s Clean Kitchen full-time, I was an elementary art teacher! I quite literally spent my days working with kids and teaching them how to cultivate their creativity through art projects. It’s no wonder that now I have strong opinions about what’s in the supplies we give our children to use when they’re ready to create! Parents and teachers — I want to arm you with allllll the information you need to make smart choices about the supplies you keep on hand. So here’s the deal…
Unfortunately, we’ve all gotten a little too comfortable with the ever-presence of toxins and chemicals in pretty much everything around us. Sure, we can fight back by cooking clean in our own kitchens and purchasing safe products for our homes and bodies, but beyond that, it can feel overwhelming to consider what needs to be cleaned up. If we’re going to let our kiddos get their hands dirty with art supplies, we just have to accept that those supplies might be made with ingredients that are less than squeaky clean. Right? Wrong — especially when you stop and think about how much littles can be affected by chemicals in their art supplies.
If you’ve been around a child for more than a few minutes, you already know that they tend to put everything in their mouths. As if it’s not enough for them to be covered head to toe in paint or markers, those color-spattered fingers somehow always manage to make their way into a mini-artist’s mouth, no matter how much you try to redirect them. As a result, whatever is in those supplies is absorbed in multiple ways — through the skin, through the mouth, and even in the air they breathe. And since young immune systems are not as strong as their adult counterparts, kids are that much more at risk from absorbing chemicals.
Unfortunately, the mainstream art supply industry has done very little to address this problem. Products are not subject to substantial health regulations, so your kids’ favorite art supplies can contain everything from lead and other heavy metals to formaldehyde to ammonia to rubber cement to to varnishes.
Non Toxic Art Supplies Options
Before you throw out all of your child’s favorite supplies and tell them that craft time is over for good, though, hear me out! There are plenty of alternatives out there that you can feel really good about sharing with your kiddos. Non toxic art supplies are here to save the day! We tried out some of the highest rated non-toxic art supplies and materials out there to give you our take. Food Editor Kelli Avila’s kids were happy to help out and give their honesty 4 and 5 year-old opinion as well!
Natural Kid’s Paint
The options: Next time you pick up paints for your kids, try to stay away from anything oil-based or containing pigments from highly toxic metals like cadmium, arsenic, and lead. These can contain formaldehyde! Now that you know what not to look for, here’s what’s good: water-based paints! The Earth Paint Kit from Natural Earth Paint arrives as powders that are then mixed with water. It’s made with natural earth pigments, organic corn starch, and tree sap, so you don’t have to worry about any of the dangerous toxins that you might find in an oil-based option.
If your kids really like to get their hands dirty, you might also want to check out finger paints from eco-kids! They’re made from non-toxic, natural ingredients, so your little ones can go as crazy as they want with them… well, until they start painting on your furniture, I guess. At least you know they’re safe, right?
Our verdict: We’ve tried out both of these eco-friendly and safer options and we are over-the-moon with the ingredients. But we can say that they don’t work quite the same as a standard commercial kid’s paint. Our verdict would be that these are such a better option for kids that are potentially ingesting paint, or kids who are covered in paint at the end of their creative play to limit any severe exposure. Older kids who are used to regular paint may not be as thrilled about these safer paints if they are used to the traditional ones.
Non Toxic Crayons
The options: Most crayon brands use petroleum-based paraffin wax and chemical-based colors. Your better options are the ones made with beeswax or soy wax and non-toxic pigments. There are lots of great brands out there! Check out Earth Grown Crayons, eco-kids, Stockmar, Azafran, Honeysticks, Filana, and Crayon Rocks. Your kids will love them all!
Our Verdict: There is virtually no difference for kids between these safer crayons. Our favorites were the Honeysticks!
Non Toxic Colored Pencils
Colored pencils can have many of the same toxicity issues as crayons, plus they’re often coated with toxic varnish. You can keep your kids away from these chemicals and show a little extra love to the Earth by opting for pencils made from sustainable wood. Trimax pencils, for example, are made from reforested wood and with a natural-lacquer finish. Eco Highlighter pencils from Stubby Pencil Studio have similar benefits, and are a great alternative to highlighter markers, which are not sustainable or recyclable. Faber-Castell EcoPencils come in every color your kids could wish for, and pencils from Lyra and Tombow are also safe, fun choices.
Our Verdict: Similarly to the crayons, there is virtually no difference for kids between these safer pencils and traditional colored pencils. We also loved the natural look of some of the colored pencils!
Non Toxic Markers
The option: Like paints and crayons, markers can get all over your kiddos’ hands… and then straight into their mouths. Since many traditional marker formulas contain alcohols and harsh chemical solvents, this is definitely not ideal! The artificial scents from some markers can be fun to sniff, but they also generate less-than-safe fumes. Unscented, water-based markers like the European brand Jolly are a much safer choice.
Our Verdict: The kids loved playing with these and they lasted well!
Gluten Free Playdough
The options: Protect your kids from the PVC material found in many polymer clays by choosing natural clays, instead. eco-kids makes a super fun party pack which you can purchase ready-made! Or you can check out the unscented brand Aroma that is safe from the top 8 allergens.
Our verdict: The kids didn’t notice any difference between the gluten-free play dough without any harsh chemicals but we did notice it was slightly more crumbly than traditional wheat playdough. However, it’s a small price to pay for safer materials for your kids (who didn’t notice the difference anyway!).
Other Options for Safer Art Supplies
Going beyond just the standard crayons, markers and play dough there are lots of other options out there for safer materials for craft time. Here are a few:
Non Toxic Glue
Glue can be especially dangerous for kids, since many brands emit toxic volatile organic compounds, which become vapors or gases that tiny artists can breathe in. Say goodbye to rubber cement and set your sights on water-based glues, such as TessaBunnys, which makes a vegan, non-toxic, non-GMO, petroleum-free alternative.
Safer Sidewalk Chalk
Nothing says summer quite as well (or as colorfully) as sidewalk chalk. Steer clear of any chalks that contain artificial dyes and be wary of brands that might even be contaminated with heavy metals. Chalks colored with vegetable dye are the best bet! Give Prang a try.
All art paper is not created equal! While you’re cleaning up your kids’ art supply collection, you might as well try out some more eco-friendly paper brands so that you can be sure that you’re being kind to the environment while you’re being kinder to your family’s health. eco-kids and Strathmore fit the bill.
I can’t wait to see what your kid’s create with their safer supplies!
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