On Your Mark, Get Set … You!

Just Make a Mark and See Where it Takes You”

—Peter Reynolds, author of The Dot

The New Year is upon on us and libraries are busy with hol­i­day pro­grams cel­e­brat­ing all things win­ter, pro­vid­ing make-and-take pro­grams that inspire cre­ativ­i­ty, and hav­ing a warm place to read. I had a lit­tle time to go through the children’s stacks to begin think­ing about themes for the New Year. I was in the “REY sec­tion” and I stum­bled upon books by author Peter Reynolds. Reynolds’ sto­ries ignite and inspire indi­vid­u­al­i­ty, cre­ativ­i­ty, art, and dis­cov­ery. I began to read them again and it sparked an idea for a great children’s pro­gram I’d like to share with you. 

Pro­gram Overview: 

This pro­gram cel­e­brates the works by Peter Reynolds by encour­ag­ing chil­dren to cre­ate an artis­tic expres­sion of who they are. The objec­tive is to show­case work com­plet­ed by chil­dren that cel­e­brates their indi­vid­u­al­i­ty. Search your col­lec­tion (see list below) for Peter Reynolds books. 

Pro­gram Preparation: 

  1. Pre­view books by Peter Reynolds.
  1. Review your sup­ply clos­et for paint and paint brush­es. This is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to reach out to the com­mu­ni­ty to request a dona­tion of sup­plies. 
  1. Set up between 3 to 4 tables and include var­i­ous sheets of white paper (con­struc­tion, card­stock, or regular). 

 Pro­gram Exe­cu­tion: 

  1. Begin the pro­gram by read­ing a few books by Peter Reynolds. The fol­low­ing are sug­gest­ed ques­tions you can ask depend­ing on the book you are reading:
    1. The Dot: What is the one gift you have that you give to others?
    2. Ish: What word or words describe an idea you have that you can share with others?
    3. Sky Col­or: What col­or rep­re­sents you today?

Peter Reynolds' books The Dot, Ish, and Sky Color

  1. After sto­ry­time, chil­dren will take a seat at a table and begin to design and cre­ate a piece of art­work to rep­re­sent some­thing about them­selves. Some ideas can include:
    1. The Col­or of You: Chil­dren will decide one or two col­ors that best describe how they cur­rent­ly feel about them­selves. Using only that col­or or col­ors, they will paint an emo­tion reflect­ing their feeling.
    2. Blend­ing the World: For this activ­i­ty, each child will begin paint­ing some­thing that reflects the world. They will do this in one col­or. They will switch places with anoth­er child, who then adds some­thing to their pic­ture in a dif­fer­ent col­or. By the end, each child will have a mur­al that shows the world from var­i­ous perspectives. 
    3. Day­dream­ing: Chil­dren will dip their paint brush in one col­or and close their eyes. Tell them to pre­tend to look up at the sky and ask them to paint what they see while keep­ing their eyes closed.

Paint­ing is not the only medi­um you can use for this activ­i­ty. You can use a vari­ety of your avail­able art sup­plies. You can also invite fam­i­lies to ven­ture out­doors and col­lect rocks, sticks, and dirt and design your project around cre­at­ing with nat­ur­al resources.

Web­sites to Inspire Art Activities:

Hap­py Dream­er Activ­i­ties by Scholastic

Fable Vision Learning

Peter Reynolds’ Website

Oth­er Great Books Sim­i­lar to Peter Reynolds

four books for creativity

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