Fall Art Activity: Lego-Painted Pumpkins

Happy October! This is one of my favorite months of the year. Just gimme all the hot apple cider and teacher-y cardigans.

You know I love process art, and I’m always looking for unique tools to paint with or use as stamps! (Read about why my preschoolers don’t do “crafts” here.) We recently painted some pumpkins with LEGOS!

Fall Craft: Lego-Painted Pumpkins

Supplies Needed:

  • Pumpkin Template on Cardstock (easy to find on Google)
  • Lego Duplo blocks (you can use smaller Legos, but these were perfect!)
  • Orange & brown paint

I gave the students two shades of orange to choose from by adding white paint to the orange. Tip: In the pictures here, you can see they’re just holding one Lego, but I recommend stacking two together. That’s what we did on Day 2 of this craft, and the children were much less likely to get paint on their fingers.

Fall craft: Lego-painted pumpkins

While they were painting, we talked about how the Legos made circles on the paper. They noticed some blocks made 4 dots, and other blocks made 8! Some of the kids used their Legos like stamps to make circles, but some of my preschoolers slid their Legos across the paper to make swirly lines. It’s so important to let them explore different methods of painting & stamping! There was no “right” way to paint with Legos.

Fall craft: Lego-painted pumpkins

These were so fun to make, and it’s such a simple fall art activity to set up! My preschoolers are already asking if we can paint with Legos again.

Like this fall art idea? Pin it!

 

Looking for more pumpkin activities?

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pumpkin-Activities-Bundle-Preschool-4080564 

 

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Why My Preschoolers Don’t Do Crafts

My preschoolers don’t do crafts. You know those cutesy little crafts you see on Pinterest with the popsicle sticks and the googly eyes where everyone’s art is just perfect and looks exactly the same? The ones where the parents are just delighted at how “adorable” it is? Yeah, we don’t do those.

Instead, when you look around my classroom, you’ll find meaningful process art activities in which the children were given the freedom to make decisions about their own artwork. Process art is any kind of art activity in which the focus is on what the child learns during the art experience, rather than the end product. It’s all about the exploration of the tools and materials used to create. There’s no “I CAN’T!” or “HELP ME!” Instead, I see kids smiling and laughing and saying, “Can I make another one?”

Rather than following a sample and creating something just like their friend’s art beside them, they are given open-ended art activities where there’s no right or wrong way to do it.  The end results are not all the same. 

So, when you’re planning your activities for the week, how do you determine if an art activity you found on Pinterest is a craft or process art? Check out the list below!

CHARACTERISTICS OF PROCESS ART:

  • Process art is child-led.
  • There’s no sample to follow.
  • There are no complicated, step-by-step instructions.
  • There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to create!
  • The activity is open-ended. (They’re done when they decide they’re done; not when the steps are finished.)
  • The focus is on the learning process and the exploration of the tools used to create.
  • Everyone’s art isn’t the same.
  • The teacher is not very involved.
  • Process art doesn’t take much prep work
  • The child can say “I made this by myself”
  • Children aren’t rushed to complete their art.
  • Teachers don’t fix “mistakes” or make suggestions.
  • They might work on a new skill in the process! (e.g. painting with a cotton ball on a clothespin enhances fine motor skills)

 

Process art or craft?

 

HOW TO FIND PROCESS ART ACTIVITIES

  • First of all, let it go. Accept that sometimes process art isn’t pretty, and that the parents might not understand it (at first.) This mentality will open you up to a new world of possibilities. Seriously–enjoy it, and your students will too!
  • Change the way you search. Type “preschool process art” instead of “preschool crafts.”
  • Use what you have! Find tools and supplies in your classroom and ask yourself, “Hmm, could we dip that in paint?”  The answer is yes. Yes you can.
  • Let them choose! Set out different materials and let them show you what they can do with them.
  • Use items from nature like pinecones, sticks, leaves, grass, etc.

CAN THERE BE EXCEPTIONS?

Of course! If you think my preschoolers don’t make cutesy crafts a couple times a year for Mother’s Day and Christmas, you’re wrong! Yes, I break my own rules sometimes. But when 98% of the work my students do in the art center is process art, I feel confident that they’re truly learning something and exploring their creativity without too much interference from me.

HOW DO I LET PARENTS & OTHER TEACHERS KNOW ABOUT PROCESS ART?

  • First and foremost, make sure it’s in your preschool parent handbook.
  • Talk to parents about process art during your meet-the-teacher night or open house events.
  • Take pictures of the activity and hang them out in the hallway next to the artwork. Let the parents (and staff) see what the creation process was like.
  • Download these posters & printables about process art and hang them in the classroom, especially where children’s artwork is displayed. If you are a director or lead teacher, some of these pages are really helpful in staff training!

 

Preschool process art

Grab this free poster here!

Good luck with all of your process art endeavors! Like I said above, enjoy it! It’s so fun to create with materials you never would have associated with art, like potato mashers or bubble wrap. I love to sit in the art center and create some crazy abstract art right alongside my students. :)