Africa Week: Hello South Africa
South Africa is the last stop on our great adventure and it feels good to end in such a beautiful place! The Imaginators found South Africa on our world map and then they took in some quick facts about this vast country! Notable little quirks like it is the only country in the world to have 3 capitals and also the only country to have an entire other country (Lethoso) situated in its borders were a big hit with the older crowd!
My younger Imaginators were eager to get down to making our art... but I'm getting ahead of myself!
The older Imaginators were introduced to the Ndebele people and their practice of painting their homes using elaborate designs! It is the women who are responsible for the painting of the outside walls of the house and they take great pride in their work! They watched an interview of a Ndebele artist who has exhibited her work around the world and really got to see the process of how this woman worked (using chicken feathers no less) to paint these intricate designs!
For our art project the older Imaginators constructed a paper house and painted it using Ndebele-styled designs! I tried to get them to use geometric shapes, clean lines and symmetry to make their designs mimic the style of the Ndebele Tribe. This was a super cool project and we had lots of fun putting it together!
For my little Imaginators we turned to the Zulu tribe for our art inspiration for the day! They saw some pictures of great Zulu warriors and then we started making our fierce Zulu-styled masks! I don't have to tell you that this was a hit... boy oh boy pace from the get go! LOL!
Check out the interesting stories they heard over at The Reading Garden.
Africa Week: Hello Kenya!
From West Africa we move to Kenya which is on the eastern side of the continent. Of course, we found its location on our trusty world map and the Imaginators took in a few facts about the country.
Our art today focuses on one of the major tribes in Kenya, the Maasai, famous for their bright red one-shoulder robes and elaborate necklaces. These proud warriors are cattle-rearing semi-nomads and they are also known for their fantastic jumping! Yup... jumping!
Of course we looked at lots of pictures of these beautiful people and we watched them doing their famous 'jumping dance' then they made their very own Maasai-styled necklaces for their Kenya souvenir!
Check out the story they were read at The Reading Garden.
It's Africa week and isn't it quite fitting since we're about to celebrate Emancipation Day! Africa is a gorgeous but complex place, and while it is tempting to focus only on it's raw beauty, and my intro video certainly sets the stage for just that, I also wanted to make sure the Imaginators knew a few basic facts. Firstly, Africa is a continent not a country. In fact it is made up of 54 different countries! Secondly, none of them speak African... lol and while we will look at lots of traditional tribal homes and dress etc, the majority of Africans get up in the morning and put on a western style shirt and pants or dress, eat breakfast in a home very similar to your own and drive to work in one of the many, many burgeoning cities across the continent!
We spent some time talking along these lines and then they took a closer look at the region we would focus on today. West Africa... which is home to countries like Nigera, Ghana and The Ivory Coast.
Our art for today is a depiction of a trio of African women set against the backdrop of a beautiful African sunset! This was lots of fun to make and the Imaginators really got into choosing their patterns for the clothing on these ladies :)
So they have a lovely 'souvenir' to start the week right!
My younger Imaginators painted African Savanna animals for their souvenir! They looked at a short clip of the type of animals found in this area and they could also name a few without being helped! We also looked at lots of pictures of Kente cloth which is a pattern used mostly in Ghana! They then recreated this type of pattern for the border of their artwork to really make their animal portraits look strikingly West African! "Eye fE" which means "It is beautiful!" in Twi a Ghanaian dialect 😍
Check out the story they did at The Reading Garden.
Europe Week: Benvenuto in Italia
Goodbye England, ciao Italia! We've landed in the gorgeous boot-shaped land of pasta, piazzas (large public squares) and art... lots of famous Renaissance painters are Italian! Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael just to name a few! (The ninja turtle reference does not escape me and it did not escape a few of my campers either... lol) I asked them to give me some words that came to mind when they thought of Italy and I got answers like... pasta, pizza, the leaning Tower of Pisa, (yep they knew about that before I mentioned it), football, the city of Rome and even the Sistine Chapel.
By now you realize I like using technology to assist in our learning... so we took in a short clip about Italy!
After our video clip we talked a bit more about the leaning Tower of Pisa. This Tower which was built in 1173 was a marvel of architecture for its time, but what made it famous was its noticeable tilt which started to appear a few years after it was built! It has since been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and measures have been taken to 'preserve' the tilt while ensuring it doesn't collapse! So my Imaginators were tasked to create a picture of the Tower of Pisa as our souvenir of Italy!
But that's not all... they had to do this painting lying on their backs and looking up just like the great Renaissance artist Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel! They couldn't quite believe I was asking them to do this... the look on their faces was just priceless LOL! But they had a blast! I'm sure they all went home with a great appreciation for this old master artist, and they'll never forget who painted the Sistine Chapel!
For my younger Imaginators I decided to focus on another amazing part of Italy... Venice! This floating city is nothing short of awe-inspiring and before we started our art for the day we talked about what it must be like to live there! Imagine if instead of a car we all took a boat to school! Wouldn't that be terrific!
My little ones then used a very fun printing technique to create our Venice inspired reflection buildings! Take a look at them in action!
Check out the stories they heard at The Reading Garden!
Europe Week: Welcome to England
Well it's the start of a new week so the Imaginators are about to explore a whole new continent! This time we're taking a trip across Europe and our first stop... well it's jolly old England of course!
So to launch into our adventure we found England on our trusty map mural and spoke about what England is known for... at the top of the list coming from the Imaginators... the Queen! Some of the other answers I got were castles and old buildings.
The little Imaginators started off the morning in the studio but I knew they would be hearing the story of Madeline in London so we talked about all the places Madeline saw... there was Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Hyde Park and of course they rode on a double-decker bus and went to see the Queen! I figured this was a neat opportunity to tie in map skills! So we talked about what a map is and what it is used for... one of my little campers went to great pains to describe how you can use a map to find treasure! LOL. We also talked about the key or legend and how this helps us to understand what the map is showing. We used black lines to represent roads and a blue line for the River Thames!
Of course these are artistic maps ;P so they are not to scale and places do not resemble their actual locations :)
For my older campers our art took a very different turn! I happen to be a really big Shakespeare fan so I don't think you can talk about England and not mention Shakespeare, arguably the greatest playwright of all time. So I was thrilled that their story was inspired by this famous bard and for our art project we made the characters and props to put on our very own pallet stick theater... London style! You will see the fruits of their labour later in the week but for now...
Take a look as they create their characters and decorate their stage curtains :) On Wednesday they'll hang their curtains on their little cardboard stages and we'll have a little show!
Here's what they did at The Reading Garden.
Latin America and Trinidad: Brazil
Adios Mexico and later will be greater Trinidad because we have to say olá Brazil (or oi as we say to our friends)! That's right boys and girls... the language of Brazil is Portuguese, not Spanish! There are lots of fun facts about this amazing home of the Amazon so we took a look at a little video to help us launch into our discussion and get us all familiar with this new territory!
For our art project I turned to iconic Brazilian pop artist Romero Britto! Britto is from Recife Brazil and his art has taken the world by storm! His style is extremely recognizable and many different companies have commissioned him to create pieces for their various brands. The Imaginators looked at a few examples of his work (featured below) and then I explained that they will be creating their very own Britto-inspired pencil cases as their souvenir from our Brazil 'trip'!
I even found a Britto dress which of course I knew I had to buy and wear today so the campers could have a good example of his work! Forgive the goofy pose folks... I am by no stretch of the imagination a model :/
I chose a project where they could have an actual useful take-away and not something purely ornamental because a lot of Britto's work is on items that we use or placed in large public spaces! They were all eager to get down to designing their pencil cases. The older campers drew everything from scratch and made their own designs. The younger kiddos got pre-drawn center images for them to colour and they added Britto-style shapes in the sections provided.
Take a look at them in action and how they turned out!
Check out what they did at The Reading Garden.
Welcome, welcome one and all!
Well the country we are playing tourist in today needs no introduction! The Imaginators were all waiting to hear what we were going to do to represent our country and I have to say I was so excited for this one! I started off our discussion this morning by challenging them to imagine themselves as a travel journalist, then they were to think about what sites they would have to see or what things they would have to do if they had to do a piece on Trinidad and Tobago! I documented some of their answers on the board :)
We spoke about some of the places that Trinidad is known for like the Caroni Swamp and The Queen's Park Savannah (world's biggest round-about) and things that tourists definitely had to do or else they just wasted a trip... I got responses like 'eat a doubles', 'go to the beach' and 'visit the Nylon Pool' and even 'drive to Debe!' After much discussion they got down to choosing their scene and painting their souvenir to represent our very own Trinidad and Tobago!
Over with Aunty Reiko my younger Imaginators were read the story Boy Boy and the Magic Drum written by none other than Machel Montano... yes folks he wrote a children's book! lol... Being a Machel fan myself, I know better than to mess with the momentum and magical spell that Double M can impose on his audience, so instead of straying too far from this book I decided to roll with it and so we are having Carnival in July! In the book Boy Boy saves the Peace Parade by playing his magic oil drum and so my little Imaginators made headpieces complete with plumes and gems so they could 'take a jump' too!
Check them out in their headpieces and a couple of them also drew themselves playing mas!
See what they did at The Reading Garden.
The first stop on our Latin American tour is the exciting country of Mexico! I asked my older Imaginators what things come to mind when they thought of Mexico just to get a feel for what they knew or the associations they already made with this terrific place. I got some answers I expected like spanish and pinatas and others that were really quite... unexpected... like "Miss cheap food!" and "Miss that's where Trump wants to build the wall".. sheesh Thanks Trump. :/ After we got all that out of the way and of course we found Mexico on our Map of the World mural (so proud of that ;) we took a look at this little video to expand their view a bit.
Mexico is known not just for bright and lively colours but also for terrific crafts! We took a look at pictures of typical Mexican markets and the children were in awe of all the colourful and beautiful things on display.
We focused on making a Mexican-styled bowl using papier mache so the bowls were made today and they will be painted later in the week to allow ample drying time! Take a look at the Imaginators as they manipulate the oooey gooey papier mache paste! Thankfully I had child sized gloves as well so my campers didn't have to have the flour paste all over their fingers, although at least two of my older kiddos opted for no gloves and wanted to feel the paste! eek. lol!
I didn't get a single shot of my little campers because they did the same thing and well flour paste, newspaper and pint-sized very active hands are not a very easy formula so we quite literally needed all hands on deck! Can't wait for them to be painted!
Check out what they did at The Reading Garden.
Asia Week: Japanese Bento Bowls
So it's the last day of our whirlwind adventure across the Asian continent and today my little Imaginators were in for a treat! We explored the wonderful country of Japan... and we talked about where it was on the map as well as what kind of animals you might find there and what people liked to eat!
I focused on the food because the story for the day is called The Hungriest Boy in the World which is a funny little tale about a Japanese boy who had a bad habit of putting everything in his mouth. So I really wanted to give them a picture of what a child just like them might eat in Japan! They took in this little video of a girl having breakfast and most of them were amazed at how many different things she ate! "Soup for breakfast miss!" LOL! Not to mention those sticky beans! That got lots of groans and squeals!
Then I told them we were going to make something called a Bento Box which really just means 'convenient box' and Japanese mothers spend lots of time and effort making lunches look very visually appealing. Take a look at the pics below to see just what I mean!
We spoke about the elements of a healthy meal but most of my little campers made things they were familiar with and some of them made very, very random food items that I'm sure they never really ate in one sitting, but hey they mixed the play dough to make secondary colours so lots of fine motor exercises today, not to mention they had a whale of a time coming up with different ideas for food they could make! Take a look :)
Check out what they did over at the Reading Garden.
Asia Week: Hello Japan!
We're wrapping up our tour of Asia with a stop in Japan... the land of sushi, samurai and sumo wrestlers! This enigmatic country is so full of contrasts that it was hard to choose just what to do with my campers! And because I just couldn't choose I prepared two projects for my older Imaginators... but before we get into that let's check in with Immigration and Customs, get our passports stamped and settle in to learn a little about life in Japan!
By now the Imaginators know the drill so as soon as our little intro video was complete launched into our discussion. We had some interesting chit chat about what they would most like to see or do in Japan if they were to go there for real! Take in a live Sumo Wrestling Match... sleep on a tatami mat... or maybe trek through an amazing bamboo forest?
Can you really talk about Japanese art though without mentioning origami? We did a simple origami bookmark of a lady dressed in a Kimono. Then they started on our main project which was painting the beautiful Cherry Blossom Tree and we did it in a very cool way! Take a look at one of my campers as she blow-paints her tree!
We talked about Hanami or the Sakura festival. Sakura is the Japanese name for Cherry Blossom. Hanami is a day set aside for appreciating the beauty of the Sakura flower! Friends and families go out to parks and have picnics and just enjoy the beauty of these magnificent trees. They are very much like our native Poui trees and similarly they bloom for only for a couple weeks a year. The Japanese use this as a metaphor for the transient or fleeting nature of life, which is an important theme of Buddism (the main religion in Japan)!
Take a look as they complete both projects!
So they have 2 souvenirs to add to their suitcases for Japan! Check out what they did over at The Reading Garden.
Be a fly on the wall in our art room! Take a look at what we do, how we do it and the smiles that I get to see week after week :)