Collage with Kids… A lesson in Pokes and Sticky Fingers

I love collage!  I consider myself a mixed-media artist and having the right adhesive is as important to me as having shelter, food and clothes.  To keep me active in art, I teach art camps at KVPAC .  ( A great place for kids to explore their creativity through art and theater. )  This week I taught 14 kids ages 5-8 the art of Collage and Assemblage.

I LOVE teaching kids.  I taught adults for many years and grown-ups want to copy my sample to a “t.”  Wheres’ the fun in that?  Kids could care less what mine looks like.  Show them the “how” and they deliver some really creative stuff! I always find it interesting at the differences in the kids.  Some are tactile challenged and can’t stand to touch paper mache glue.  On the other end of the scale are the kids that just want to run their hands through the tub of beads or shells because “they like how it feels.”  There are the kids that dream up flying monsters that breathe oatmeal and the ones that, when drawing their house, want each brick to be exact.

This week, I was reminded about the drawbacks of teaching the 5-8 year olds – they don’t know how to communicate without poking you in the arm or tugging on your shirt!  At one point, I was helping one child and I had 2 on my right and 2 on my left poking me in the arm and tugging on my shirt.  I heard the one that said “I have paint on my hands” first.  Then “can I wash my hands” from another.  Sure enough, I looked down and had paint smears on one side and globs of glue on the other.  If only I had planned fabric art collage for the week’s curriculum!  :)

The project we completed as a class was this Creative Community Collage.  We used the discarded foam board from the class next door (they used the circle cut outs) and collaged on 8×8 squares to place behind the openings.  Most of the kids made at least one “hole.”  They all had a say in what went where!

Kids are amazing and being around them in these classes inspires me!  I’ll be back to doing my own collages again…. as soon as I finish peeling glue off my hands!