This was one of those weeks that I completely forgot to plan ahead and request the books from the library. I wasn’t able to find the original Babar story on the FIAR list – To Duet or Not to Duet – so I went with another one. Babar’s Museum of Art was a cute story about what to expect in an art museum and of course was rich with teaching ideas – especially for fine arts!
In addition to discussing artists and “What is art?” – painting, drawings, sculptures, photographs, etc. – we talked about other occupations. In the story, an architect comes in to draw plans for the museum and construction workers help build it.
Babar’s children don’t know what to expect at a museum, so they ask questions and their mother tells them how to behave. We talked about manners -how we might behave at the library or a restaurant – and generally being nice and polite to other people.
I love at the end of the story when the elephant children go home and make their own art, deciding they might be artists one day… or just make t-shirts or whatever, the possibilities were endless. I like the idea of potential and possibility – the world is your oyster and you can do whatever you want. I asked what the kids wanted to be when they grew up and pointed out that it’s never to late to try new things, learn new things; even grown ups are constantly learning – like Mommy with her knitting and sewing.
I printed out some actual art coloring pages – one of the Mona Lisa and one of The Birth of Venus – which they colored and compared to the renderings in the book. We looked at a book about art and Gwen pointed out her favorite painting.
We focused on some art-related vocabulary words and list-making, listing all types of art and occupations we could think of. This led to another discussion about art in general; one might think it’s just paintings, but it’s really open to lots of interpretation. The kiddos then did a color adjective activity for which they picked one crayon color, drew a picture, and had to come up with a sentence using the color name.
Play Dough was on sale at the store so Gwen got to pick some out. Josiah was so excited when he saw it in our book basket for the week and kept asking to play with it. Finally, I let them make their own sculptures, which they loved.
And a week about art wouldn’t be complete without painting!
Since this was an anything goes kind of week for art, I decided to try one of the things that’s been on my craft list: melted bead sun catchers. This was really fun, for me and the kids. They had a blast picking out colors to put in muffin tins and were excited to see how they melted together, while I got to pop them out of the pan and decorate them, since wrapping them with wire was a bit too advanced for them. I LOVE how they turned out! They each got to pick one to hang in their room and the rest will be given as Valentine’s Day gifts.
Along with some elephant-related math pages – measuring an elephant, connect-the-dots – Daddy worked with them on creating blueprints. We re-read in the story how architects created a plan for the museum, then Daddy printed out a plan for building something with blocks, after which they followed a diagram for building a train set. Apparently they were at it all morning, “hammering” and building away.
Babar and Celeste ride around in a hot air balloon so we read a simple book about hot air balloons and how they work. Then we read a few books on elephant families, did some worksheets and watched a National Geographic video and Planet Earth series.
The kids really get into science experiments and loved making colors in our magic milk paint experiment. We put drops of food coloring into whole milk then dipped toothpicks-dipped-in-dish-detergent into the coloring, which caused the colors to spread out across the milk – eliciting oohs and ahhs. We learned that the detergent disrupts the surface tension of the milk, so Daddy took the opportunity to do another little experiment on surface tension.
Phil reminded me that there’s a little art museum nearby so we took a field trip… and though they were open, they were between displays and had very few pictures up. We were a bit disappointed, but we still walked around and the kids looked at the art. The building happens to be nearby a hobby shop that Daddy frequented as a little boy, so we took the kids there and looked at the model trains, car and so forth.
Go-Along Books & DVDs
“Babar” Season 1 DVD
The Babar Audio Collection
The Story of Babar the Little Elephant
The Art Box
Children’s Book of Art
I am an Artist
Elmer and the Lost Teddy
Horton Hears a Who! (DVD, too)
Hot Air Balloons
“Planet Earth” DVD
Homeschool Share’s Babar resources
Funny Coloring’s art coloring pages
The Inspired Apple’s Color Word Adjective Activity
Magic Milk Paint inspiration
Education.com worksheets – elephant measuring, elephant connect-the-dots, elephant anatomy and elephant animal fun page
Qubo’s Babar episodes and coloring pages
The Toy Maker’s cut-and-fold elephant (and other animals)
Melted Bead Suncatchers inspiration
National Geographic’s elephant videos
*See my FIAR Pinterest board for more ideas & inspiration.