Art and Creativity

Art is important for children especially during their early development. Research shows that art activities develop brain capacity in early childhood; in other words, art is good brain food! Art engages children’s senses in open-ended play and develops cognitive, social-emotional and multi-sensory skills. As children progress into elementary school and beyond, art continues to provide opportunities for brain development, mastery, self esteem and creativity.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Art in the Outdoor Classroom

Recently I attended an Outdoor Classroom conference at Child Educational Center in Pasadena, and took photographs of their outdoor areas. These photos illustrate just some of the ways CEC artfully integrates drawing, painting, sand tray, natural collage, 3-D sculpture and mud pit activities into their outdoor curriculum.

Art and outdoor sensory play provide children with delightful ways to experience the joy of self discovery, especially when these activities are child initiated and teacher supported. Many wonderful sensory activities like making mud pies would be prohibitive indoors but are unforgettable outdoor experiences. Sensory experiences with dirt, leaves, pinecones, sea shells, feathers, wood and other natural materials help children develop a positive relationship with nature and help them appreciate the wonders of earth science.

Here's my favorite excerpt from a handout provided at one of the conference workshops, it is credited to Dr. Bruce Perry, author of Shared Discovery - Shared Learning.

Curiosity and Brain Development
Curiosity.........leads to Exploration
Exploration.....leads to Discovery
Discovery.......leads to Pleasure
Pleasure.........leads to Repetition
Repetition.......leads to Mastery
Mastery..........leads to New Skills
New Skills.......lead to Confidence
Confidence.....leads to Self Esteen
Self Esteem....leads to Sense of Security
Security..........leads to More Exploration

I hope these words and photographs inspire your own curiosity and exploration, and help you discover new ways to integrate art and sensory play into your outdoor classroom.

Materials Shown Here:
Natural Recycled Drawing Paper, 9NCS
Portable Drawing Boards, SCRIB
Colored Masking Tape, NMASK
Sea Shells, SHELLS
Natural Feathers Classroom Pack, NATURAL
Wood Geo Shapes, 1000W
Wood Craft Rounds, WOOD50
Colored Wood Cubes, CWCB
Colorations Liquid Watercolors, set of 8 - PLWS
Super Safe Plastic Droppers, 12SSD
Hanging Outdoor Double Easel, HDE

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At 1:40 AM, Blogger Kampoengbatja said...

Thank You. This article is very useful for me as an art teacher. Warm greeting from Jember

Iman Suligi
Library Garden

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Dawn said...

Fabulous! Your pictures and video are inspiring. I love the use and organization of the materials. My students are currently planning outdoor art prop boxes so this post will serve as a useful resource to them. Thank you!

At 2:22 PM, Blogger The Creativity Institute said...

This is a big idea to give children a chance to explore art and express their creativity in a giant-size way. I worked in advertising and knew that billboard companies would print overruns for backup and ultimately throw the extras away. I would ask for the discards, take them home and tack them to the fence with the blank backs showing, and let my children create mural masterpieces. They loved the novelty of this new giant-size art medium.

Paper billboards consist of individual panels that are about 4 feet by 5 feet. Avoid the vinyl billboards, because they don’t hold paint and markers well. Poster paints work best because they cover big areas.
Just tack or push-pin these panels backwards on a big flat surface, such as a fence or wall, and let the children go to town. The whimsy of this new, giant-sized art medium will, in itself, challenge and stimulate a child’s creativity in new ways. When they stand facing this big, empty canvas, they'll be letting their creativity flow as it's never done before. And it’s a great way to get them outside in the fresh air when the weather’s nice.

Sid Berger
The Creativity Institute

At 4:36 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I love this activity Of outdoor classroom.because kids can think about new idea in the real world and enhance their thinking process in kids shell play school .Your shells are so pretty!

At 12:19 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:22 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

wow nice post ,thanks for sharing information I Think this the best way for enjoying outside in thePlay Way Schools

At 12:48 AM, Blogger reginald surict said...

Nice post. I recommend you to also read this article on outdoor learning.

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