Toddlers and young children are very tactile and creative. It's important to involve them in activities that are hands on -- literally! During Thanksgiving, many teachers send home hand-print turkeys. But turkeys are not always in season. Elephant hand art is a year-round alternative that can also be a lesson in animals, size comparison and staying inside the lines. In the summertime, this can be a great outdoor activity: plenty of grass to copy and no gray paint on your carpet! If crafting inside, it helps to establish early that all supplies must stay on the newspaper or towel.
Items you will need
- Old towel or newspapers
- Large white sheet of paper
- Gray washable paint
- Paper plates
- Permanent black marker
Spread an old towel or several newspapers over your workspace. Keep the paints and markers off the floor, and try to keep your little one from wandering off until the project is finished. Place the paper in the middle of the newspapers or towel.
Using markers, color (or have your child color) a background for your elephants. They could be in a zoo, on the plains or by the water. Feel free to be creative; there is no reason your elephants can't go for a dip in the swimming pool or float through outer space.
Pour gray paint into the paper plates. Make a big enough puddle for your whole hand. Then, carefully dip your palm and fingers down onto the paint. Place you hand print directly on the paper. Try not to drip on the way over. Press your hand onto the paper, pressing each finger individually to make sure you have four full legs. Make sure your fingers are pointing down toward the grass, and stretch your thumb as far out as possible to make the trunk. If working with a young child, you might want to help guide her hand from paint to paper and gently press down on each finger for a good print.
Make your own print after your child has made hers for a "mommy" or "daddy" elephant. This can be a great exercise in comparison. You can also write your names under each print, or have the children do it to practice their lettering.
Wait a few minutes for the paint to dry. Then, trace an ear on the palm and add lines on the thumb for the trunk with the permanent marker. Color an eye and feet, and then add embellishments however you like. You can even add googly eyes instead of drawing the eyes. Once your creations are finished, wash your hands in the sink and put away the materials. Be careful when tossing out the newspapers to avoid getting paint on the floor or furniture.
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