Wednesday, May 16, 2012

4-H : a palette of fun

Ibis seems to get short shrift around here on the blog, mostly because she spends so much time outside dangling from the monkey bars and avoiding me, schoolwork, chores, and my camera. However, she did have a lot of fun completing an art-themed project book for 4-H this year and I managed to snag some evidence to share. This huge book called A Palette of Fun is available for free online and she tried out six of the activities. I think Coral joined in for all six as well, and even Alexei and Hobie took part in a few. Art is ageless!

First, the kids all worked together creating a giant mural for what was then our schoolroom wall. Painting directly on the wall wasn't an option but a huge piece of paper from a roll we snagged for fifty cents at a yard sale filled in nicely. We nicknamed this our "graffiti wall" because anyone was free to add to it as they felt inspired. Sadly I never took any photos as it grew more colorful.

In September Ibis broke her right arm (and of course she's right-handed)  and waylaid our plans for awhile. School was challenging and handwriting went right out the window. Oddly enough she soon discovered a real talent for painting left-handed and proceeded to paint over fifty different works while her cast was on. They are still some of my favorite paintings. Who knew?

Six weeks later with a healed arm and heading into the holidays, she found joy in the many scissoring projects in her art book. Ibis has for some reason always had a bit of an obsession with cutting paper, so this was right up her alley. It only took me about two hours and several online tutorials to figure out how to fold the paper for paper snowflakes, which she then proceeded to learn in about five seconds. Kids have a way of making you feel old. We burned through a ream of paper in about a week as she practiced cuts to create various snowflake shapes; when you live in Florida I guess paper snowflakes have real appeal. In December she packed up her supplies and gave a demonstration to our 4-H club on making their own snowflakes. Everyone left with a wintry decoration and we managed to scatter about a thousand bits of paper all over the library (we picked them all up, I swear).

As fair time rolled around, Ibis decided to turn her paper snowflake project into a tabletop. Basically a tabletop is one of those three-paneled science fair boards turned into a visual report on a 4-H project topic. I wasn't sure how well something as basic as the folds for a snowflake would go over, but it won a blue award at the fair so the judges must have liked it. She was very proud of herself. It was funny seeing a board titled, "Let it Snow," in a sea of citrus and steer entries!

For the fair and another of her art projects she decided to make a papier mache Country Critter. Country Critters are made to look like specific animals using whatever materials you have on hand. She and Alexei chose to enter the small frame class which includes chickens and rabbits, at dimensions of 18" to 24" high and long. Thank goodness they didn't want to try their hands at making one of the giant cows! Since Ibis's art book already had an activity on papier mache, we decided to try that medium for the rabbits. None of the kids had ever seen anything like homemade flour paste before, and their reactions were priceless! It was a long and slow process waiting for each layer to dry, but in the end the kids' rabbits looked really cute. Ibis decided at the last minute to glue on cotton balls to make it more authentically fluffy like her real rabbit model, Snowball. It was a wise move because her Country Critter rabbit took Reserve Grand Champion at the fair and won a trophy!

Because we didn't have nearly enough else to do in February with the fair, she also entered another of the art book's activities, a cute 3-D flower painting, as well as about 567 other things. My kids love the fair.

Since we homeschool, the art book tied in nicely as a fun Friday activity already pre-planned for us during the spring months. Gotta love using 4-H as homeschool curriculum! First Ibis, Coral, and Hobie experimented with all sorts of different "brushes" for painting, including cotton balls, Q-tips, a toothbrush, a wad of aluminum foil, a straw for blowing, and a string. The string art was Ibis's favorite and Coral really liked blowing paint around with the straw. Hobie just enjoyed doing whatever his sisters did, hair bows and all.

Her final activity was learning to create contour drawings of familiar objects. She chose a stapler and she drew the very basic, simple outline from different angles and then turned the shape into an imaginary creature. It turned out really neat! This was one of my favorite art projects since it combined something practical like the drawing with something super fun. This is a project I could see us repeating a lot.

Like all 4-H projects, this included the requisite paperwork and record keeping. We attached photos of each project to showcase her work rather than the work itself since most of it wouldn't have fit in the project folder. I know Ibis has big plans for more creative works this summer!

Now we just need to go to McDonald's and eat more ice cream sundaes because we've depleted our supply of paint water cups (the sundae lids). Ahhh the sacrifices we make for our children....


Anonymous said...

Love reading your blog. You have such a great way of explaining everything as well as adding your beautiful photography to illustrate. <3

Lala said...

That was really awesome to read about Ibis and her art work! Who knew 4-H had all that art! Definitely going to try it with my flock. Love the bow on Hobie. :)