In preschool one of the main things a child learns is their basic shapes. When it comes to learning how to draw a budding young artist is first guided to break down the object in front of them into basic shapes that all combine to create the overall shape of the entire object. For instance if you are drawing a picture of a camel you will notice the torso of the camel is one large oval.
Taking this idea of geometric shapes and mixing in an earring design challenge is a fun way to teach kids the idea of playing with shapes to create a beautiful portrait.
In this design challenge we simplify the face shape and it’s features into basic flat shapes and then play around with creating a composition of round shapes to balance out and complement the face.
In a way we are playing with cubism here, just like Pablo Picasso! Cubism is a form of art that was created by Picasso that had a real object ‘flattend’ onto a page so the object can be seen from various angles all at once. The art looks abstract, but uses geometric shapes to depict real people and objects.
Before you embark on this fashion art project you can take a stroll with your child through the Room 14 of Picasso Museum in Barcelona, from the comfort of your own home, to see a number of the paintings he created in the Cubism style.
In this challenge the child will be tossing cubes, which will land on prompts to get them going. But of course if you put the art materials out and the child wants to do their own thing that will also be fun and educational. If you have the time you can sit next to them and do the challenge as well. Their curriousity will get the better of them and they will be asking you questions, which will give you the opportunity to tell them what you are creating and why.
The end result of this art project has your child producing a beautiful set of custom designed pompom earrings and a portrait, which both make for a thoughtful gift. But the most exciting by product of this fashion related art project is it opens the child’s world up to various possibilities of design, experimentation, self reflection (what do they like the look off and what don’t they like the look off). After completing this project a child can then confidently name various styles of earrings; stud, dangly, hoop and so on.
Oh and one more thing! This activity is also great for developing patience and fine motor skills as those little crimp beads are really tiny and working with them takes practice and a steady hand.
So let’s get started!
Materials & Supplies:
-Art supplies: wool pompoms in a variety of different sizes and colors
-geometric face shape print-outs preferably on thick watercolor paper
-markers, pastels, chalk
-Earring Detail cubes – face shape, nose shape, earring shape
-needle, thread, flat nose pliers, earring hooks, crimp beads
-photo of a loved one you are designing for
CLICK here to download all the printable materials
Step 1: Lay out the assembled cubes, face shape print outs and the art supplies nicely on the table.
Step 2: Allow the child to come to the project and express themselves freely without any limitations. The cubes are there to help spark their imagination if they don’t know where to start and what to draw. The child rolls them like dice and then they draw whatever pops for them. The cubes will tell them which face shape to use and what nose to draw and earring style to design.
Step 3: At this point the child has played around creating a variety of different earring designs and portraits. Now for kids about 6 years of age and older you can pose the question: “What if we were to custom design pompom earrings for grandma/your friend/aunt?” “What kind of earrings do you think they would like to wear?” Have the child look at the photo of the person and reflect on their face shape, their hair color and eye color.
Select a print out of the geometric face shape that is closest to the one the person you are designing for has. When it comes to drawing skin tone chalk is great for layering and blending.
Now ask “What shape is missing in the overall picture? We have a circle, we have a square …. maybe a triangular or a long strand earring might work?” When it comes to color, ask them, “What is grandma’s favorite color?” let’s see if the pompoms in that color would look great with her skin tone.
Let the answers to these questions guide them in their earring design.
Step 4: Now it’s time to assemble the pompom earrings! This is so much fun. Arrange the pompoms and all the accessories that go with them on the table. Tie a knot at the end of the thread, insert the needle and thread through all the pompoms. Thread the crimp bead on next followed by the hook. Circle the thread around and back through the crimp bead. Use the flat nose pliers to pinch the crimp bead and lock your entire creation in place.
Step 6: Gift your beautifully framed portrait along with custom designed earrings!
Don’t be surprised if your child suddenly decides to rearrange the pompoms at the last minute or switch out the colors. They might be inspired to improvise and make a lot of different variations and then ask you to model for them! The wool pompoms are ideal as they are biodegradable and better for the environment than ones made of synthetic fibers. You can re-used and reassembled the pompoms to make new interesting combination of earrings.