Howdy, y’all! A few weeks ago (I know, I’m just catching up), our toddlers enjoyed a 2-week wild west theme. We enjoyed creating several process art projects together, and I wanted to share them here!
Cactuses (cacti?) are rough and prickly, and I wanted our students to be able to feel that sort of texture without actually getting stuck by the prickles. Enter sandpaper! I got a pack of 10 sheets from the Dollar Store and cut them into cactus shapes. After the toddlers rubbed and scratched the sandpaper, I just plopped a spoonful of green fingerpaint on the sandpaper and let the kiddos go to town! To make it even more special, we glued the cactus to a paper and made an entire desert scene – the sun in the upper left corner was a simple yellow handprint, and the ground was made by smearing some brown paint across the bottom of the paper, which they were more than happy to do! (idea from No Time for Flashcards)
Wild West Sunset
You won’t believe what we made these sunsets out of – it was so simple and fun, and as you can see, it turned out beautifully! I traced each child’s hand to make a cactus, and we tore brown strips of paper for the ground. For more details, see the instructions I wrote back when we actually made it!
Cow Sponge Painting
All you need for this fun art project is white paper, black paint, a shower loofah (yep, they have them at the Dollar Store), and a willing toddler! They dipped and dabbed and smeared and spread – easy and enjoyable!
Now we get into the hard stuff – fine motor skills hard at work here! I recommend a thick woolen yarn for this project. It is hard work grasping a small “lasso” like this and running it through the paint! Nevertheless, our little ones were eager to try (though sometimes we ended up with more handprints than lasso lines…) (idea adapted from Alphabet Academy - wish we had such an awesome outdoor classroom!)
OK, I know this isn’t process art, but the parents raved about this keepsake. And what’s the wild west without some horses? Just paint the hand (upside down) brown, and draw on a mane, tail, and face. Easy peasy! (idea from Glued to my Crafts)
Cactus Comb Paintings
For some reason in my wild west brainstorm, I kept being inspired by cactuses. I saw crafts for older children involving the gluing of toothpick prickles and tissue paper blossoms onto a cactus shape, but this was more our speed – we painted with a comb! Painting with different objects is always fascinating and exciting, and we got some interesting textures out of the “teeth” of the comb. (idea from TippyToe Crafts)
Bonus: “Wanted” Poster Room Decorations
After seeing this idea, I worked up my own individualized "wanted" posters (I think I used Google Image search to find an aged template background and then just inserted the children's pictures and typed the text with the font Playbill. The photos worked out really well since it was my first week with these kids, so they weren’t quite used to my excessive photography of them and hadn’t learned to smile for the camera yet. They did get a lot of smiles from the resident adults, however!