3rd Grade Bugs: Art & Yoga

Or, activity ideas for a Brownie troop earning their Bugs Badge.

Cursive Bugs
Watercolor paper, folded in half lengthwise and black oil pastels yield the best results.  We used liquid watercolors for brilliant color, but basic trays would be fine, too.

Have each girl write her name in cursive* in black oil pastel, pressing pretty hard, so that her name is resting above the fold.  Fold the paper over and rub, transferring the pastel to the other side, for a symmetrical bug.  She can go over her original name if she needs to, to get enough pastel to transfer.

When she can see the mirror image, have her go over those lines and then step back to take a look.  Any loops that would make good eyes?  Flourishes that look like antennae?  She can add those elements and close up any open ends, to minimize paint spreading outside of her bug.  The coolest results are usually the most simple “bugs,” where the name is still legible.

Then, paint!

*Our third graders are learning cursive, so this exercise was timely.  I wasn’t sure of everyone’s comfort level  with cursive, so I provided a handwriting worksheet with each girl’s name and pencils for practice.  But, as is always the case with pencils, a few girls spent too much time erasing, and not enough enjoying the freedom of art!  I quickly encouraged them to commit with oil pastel.

Bug Yoga Poses
My daughter had fun teaching “bug yoga” to the girls at the end of the meeting.  We’re not sure there’s actually a “moth” pose, but the butterfly pose is a good chance to mention how to tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly at rest – wings (or legs!) up and it’s a butterfly.  Down, or open?  It’s a moth.

Oh, and we played crickets chirping in the background.

Purple People Eater Art & Dance

This painting by a 7-year-old is just one reason I love being an Art Parent this week!  Scroll down to see many more.

I based this art project for 21 second-graders on the novelty song “Purple People Eater,” released in 1958 by Sheb Wooley.  After they listened to the song, I asked them to raise their hands if they could describe the monster.  After a lively discussion, they started drawing.

Drawing around the eyeI passed out a 40mm wiggle eye to each child, and told them to draw their monster around it with a black Sharpie.  The eye helped ensure nice, big monsters and the Sharpie prevented wasted time erasing (which tends to happen if they start in pencil).

Beforehand, I’d made cheat sheets for various monster body parts and hung them around the room.  There were a few specific requests – how can I draw a wing? – but, really, these monsters are completely these children’s own.Monster Hands & FeetMonster HornsMonster  MouthsMonster Wings




The children had the option of adding color with crayons, but the real color stars were liquid watercolors.  A lot of effort to carry these in and out of the classroom, but with an hour-and-a-half for this lesson, it was so worth it!  (One child complained about an accidental drip, but after it was pointed out that she’d made a cool-looking planet, she happily added more.)

Dance to Purple People EaterWhile the paintings dried, I borrowed a lesson from one of my other favorite pasttimes, Zumba® Fitness.  My daughter and I taught the class simple dance steps to Purple People Eater, which I found here on You Tube.  Thank you, Zumba Gold instructor Brenda Holcomb!  (This routine has also been a hit at a 7-year-old’s birthday party and a family Zumba® fundraiser – perfect for pre-Halloween.)  The kids – boys, too – were proud to to do it for their teacher when she returned to class.

But, those paintings – WOW!
Monster 2 MonsterNick's Monster Blue Teeth Monster Space Monster Kara's Monster Grace's Monster Spiky Monster Pink Monster    Rosemary's monsterSaraJacobMonsterMonster 2

Ice Cream Art

Sasha, age almost-7

We spent yesterday afternoon making wall art for my daughter’s ice cream birthday party.  She made this beautiful piece trying to copy one I’d made.  Hers turned out so much better!

She also just happend to learn a lesson about placing her subject off-center: “I messed up trying to put my bowl in the middle, and it looks so good!”

The idea came from The Art Fairy and her lesson on Wayne Thiebaud.  We sketched our ice cream in pencil and then colored lightly with washable markers (out of our vast supply, my son’s old Crayola Pip-squeaks yielded the best results).  Then, with a brush dipped in water, we transformed the drawings into watercolors.

Brilliant, easy idea.  Best of all, the children loved the process – I literally had to drag them inside for dinner.