Summer Butterfly Collages: An Invitation to Create – using materials as a stimulus
I love to wander around “Euro” or “Pound” shops looking out for bits and pieces to use in art projects or play activities. On one such trip recently I found these card butterfly cut outs. I’m not a huge fan of using templates and cut outs but I find if they are used in the right way they can be very useful for creative process art projects.
Often I use some sort of a stimulus for our art activities – a book, an item, a picture, or even a piece of music. I also use the actual art materials as a stimulus, which is what I did for this activity. Presenting children with a wide variety of materials can often help to get their imaginations “going”. They see all the bits and pieces and immediately they begin to wonder what they could make with them. Have you ever noticed how children are naturally drawn to collections of small pieces – buttons, glitter, sequins, feathers etc. To them these items are like treasure or jewels as Doodles calls them. – a word of warning, sometimes presenting them with too much “stuff” can be unproductive and overwhelming, so choose carefully when offering them a wide choice of materials.
What we used:
- match sticks
- foam beads
- tissue paper
- pearlescent paper
- card butterfly cut outs
- PVA glue
- various embellishments from my own card making supplies
What we did:
I laid out all of the materials and supplies in an inviting manner and encouraged Doodles and Oodles to explore all of the baskets and containers. They spent some time touching and examining some of the pieces. I explained that we could use all of these things to create lots of colourful butterflies to decorate our kitchen cupboards with for Summer.
They took great care in creating their butterflies. To be honest, I half expected them to just stick everything and anything onto the cutouts. But, they took their time, creating designs and patterns. I was really impressed with Doodles and the way he edged one of his butterflies with sequins and then scrunched up tissue paper to fill in the rest of it.
Oodles spent a really long time at this activity, considering she is only 2 years old. She made 3 butterflies, each very different. I was amazed to see her arranging match sticks carefully side by side in a colour pattern. She also arranged the foam beads very precisely in a curved line on the wings of one of the cut outs.
I love to watch children using their imaginations and creating with very little if any adult intervention. From a very young age they can be independent little learners, exploring all sorts of new ways to express themselves and make sense of the world around them. It is fascinating to observe.
A helpful tip – see your role as a facilitator rather than leader in the activity, provide your child with the opportunity to be creative and allow them to use their imaginations!