What do children and Mondrian have in common? They see beauty everywhere and think in primary colors.
For our recent art provocation day in our playgroup, we did a little Mondrian study. I had just been to a beautiful science museum the week before and in each display, there were places for older children to interact and places for younger children, with questions provided to help parents help their children interact with the exhibits. That inspired me a lot, so I thought I would go a little bit farther than I had intended and ultimately came up with a lesson plan of sorts (by no means do I mean to insult any teacher that has spent hours and years educating themselves – you clearly have the upper-hand on lesson planning).
I had two boards the children could look at when their interest level drove them to it. The first board talked a little bit about Piet Mondrian and where he found his inspiration; the things around him. I then included three images for the children to squint at and see if they could find squares, rectangles, grid patterns and the primary colors in images of the world around them.
I had a second board that encouraged them to try to see some of the highlights of his abstract art, including straight lines, primary colors and no patterns. I then included some print outs of some of his famous works in the abstract realm. This way, the children had a way to engage with the art, instead of just ignoring it. Here is a link to the documents I laminated and taped up to boards: Mondrian art study
I set up two tables of art options. On one table, I had rectangles and squares cut up in the primary colors in differing sizes. There was a blank piece of paper and glue sticks, and the children were encouraged to create their own abstract art. I got the idea from this website, To the lesson. While the children in my playgroup didn’t exercise the same precision as hers, I think the idea that they were creating abstract art was still felt.
While this interested Mini-ion #1, Mini-ion #2 was less interested in gluing paper on to other pieces of paper (she was more interested in banging the glue stick or using her fingernails to get chunks of glue off to put on her forehead), she did have some interest in the other Mondrian activity that was set up.
The second activity was a series of post it notes on a table, with some markers in the primary colors, as an invitation for the children to color in the lines, where they wanted to, then put it up on a piece of foam core as part of a collage. I can’t find where I got this idea from, but the website listed it as a great way to entertain children with post it notes. And I agree. Mini-ion #2 is in love with coloring with markers, sometimes herself, sometimes the paper. This gave her (and all the non-gluers) a chance to create as well. I made about 50 or so post it notes with all different patterns for them to pick and choose which they wanted to color.