When we sit down to plan a day of yoga camp, there are three activities we scaffold the day around: yoga class, outdoor free play, and art. During any choice time, our craft room is full of campers, especially when we set up for open studio. We’ve sometimes considered rebranding camp as yoga-and-art-camp. Art is a natural extension of our yoga practice. Making art, whether its drawing, sculpting, or knitting, eases us into a process of focus, concentration, and flow that can be similar to meditation.
Some art lets us flow more easily than others: namely, process oriented art. Its easier to relax into the process when we’re not attached to an outcome. If we’re trying to draw a dog, there is attachment to drawing something that looks like a dog. If we’re just seeing how colors blend, there’s no pressure. Here are some of my favorite process art projects that require only basic supplies. They’re fun for all ages, and most can be done with minimal adult supervision.
1. Coloring mandalas
Do a quick google search for free printable mandalas. You’ll find some appropriate for PK up to adult. Colored pencils are my favorite for mandalas, but campers enjoy markers just as well. Crayons can be challenging for smaller spaces.
2. Washable marker watercolor
Did you know that if you “paint” over washable marker with water, it spreads like watercolor paint? So far this week, my 6-year-old daughter and I have made cherry blossoms and bubbles following tutorials from Kitchen Table Classroom. You could also just make abstract designs this way, to create a watercolor “textured” paper, and then cut it into shapes for collage or a background for something else. We’ve been using plain printer paper because its what we have, but this works great with heavier paper.
Even better if you can add cookie cutters, rollers, knives and other tools. Its non-toxic, so there’s no reason you can’t pull out actual kitchen supplies. If you want the project to be more interactive (or just fill more time), its super simple to make your own Play-Doh. This recipe is my favorite.
4. Sharpie Stained Glass
Yep. I’m asking you to trust your kids with the permanent markers. Open up a cardboard box to protect your work surface if you’re nervous about it. Then, give your kids any sturdy, clear plastic. Those sheet protectors or a Ziplock bag work great. For younger children, you may want to tape the plastic down so it doesn’t move while they’re working. First, use a black marker to create your design. Then, fill in the spaces with colors. If you’re feeling fancy, you can frame the finished piece with black construction paper. (If you have a more literal-minded artist, they can always just draw pictures on the plastic.
5. Tie-dye Paper
This tutorial explains the process, but I’ll add that you can also use paper towels if you don’t have paper coffee filters on hand. A couple tips: Its important to lay down a lot of color, so that it can bleed and spread. And, either leave space between your colors so they can run together, or make sure that two colors that touch will blend into something pretty.
If your kids try out any of these projects, share their art online and tag us. We’d love to see what they come up with!
Jessica LaGarde has been teaching creative movement in the metro area since 2005 and is passionate about helping children discover and explore their bodies and the world around them. She was trained by Joye Newman, MA to teach preschool creative movement for Kids’ Moving Company, a Bethesda-based creative movement/perceptual motor therapy studio. In 2017, she completed her Baby, Toddler, and Children’s Yoga Teacher Training through Childlight Yoga. In addition to working with preschoolers, Jessica is a registered massage practitioner and is trained in infant massage instruction. She has practiced massage for over twelve years and taught massage as part of Potomac Massage Training Institute’s professional training program. Outside of the movement space and massage room, she enjoys cooking, knitting, sewing, gardening and exploring the outdoors with her daughter.