Saturday, October 15, 2011

Art for the Fine Motor Haters

Ben freaks when I tell him it is art time. It's a frustrating prospect for him. He has trouble with his fine motor skills and can't make things look the way he wants them to. In preschool and before, he loved to play with the materials to create. Once the expectations increased and his projects needed to resemble something, he simply gave up. I decided that for art this year, we are going to go back to just enjoying the process.

Benjamin's Trading Card Folder
I knew the folder had to be fun.

I recently came upon an article about art trading cards. Evidently, it's a trend that is becoming huge, even in the professional artist world. The way it works is that each artist has a binder with trading card sleeves in it. Then, you make cards out of cardstock that are trading card size (2.5x3.5). The artist creates on these cards using whatever techniques or materials they want. You can collect them, trade them, etc. This sounded perfect for Ben. It was low stress (it's a lot less stressful for him to fill up a small card than an entire sheet of paper) and I figured I could start with simple experimenting with materials and eventually move up to more directed art lessons.

Ben experimenting with colors on his trading card.
The first morning, I announced that we were going to do an art project. Ben, of course, started to freak out. His anxiety went way up and he told me that he wasn't going to do it. I got him to sit at the art table and then showed him the folder.... it was a Cars 2 themed one that I got at Target on clearance. That caught his attention. Then, I showed him the small card and told him that all that he had to do was paint the small card... any way that he wanted with any colors that he wanted. The anxiety disappeared. He started choosing his colors to put on his paper plate (his palette), chose his paint brushes and began mixing and painting. He actually enjoyed the process!

Ben experimenting with spin art.
The second art day came and I decided to pull out the Spin Art machine that I once again got at Target on clearance. I already knew that he LOVED this spinner. I decided that instead of just squeezing the paint on and watching it spin, he needed to use items to "scratch" the surface while it was spinning to see the types of patterns he could make. We used a paintbrush and a straightened paper clip. He was excited to do it and was really surprised when he figured out that he could make a hole in the center of the card if he held the paintbrush down long enough while it was spinning.

Ben's trading cards after 2 art sessions.

My favorite thing about these art projects is that I can see how my kids' art progresses throughout the year in a completely organized fashion. I put their names and the date on the back of each one and pop them in their own folders. My kids also love being able to show off their folders to family and friends. For now, I am not going to allow them to "trade" the cards, but that might be something we do in the future.

Art time with Ben and Kate.

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