Being a private art teacher, I do not teach a fixed number of students or during a school year. I do have children joining in the middle of the term occasionally and I’m always looking for new colour and line lessons that need to be simple enough for the new kids and at the same time, add new concepts to the current students. In that way, here’s the latest colour and pattern lesson for my 4-5 year old group.
I’ve had this idea in mind for quite long but I happened to change my plans at the last minute and didn’t have much time to look for a book to go with it. Instead I read Art by Patrick McDonnell and went on with the lesson. In fact, this lesson is one of the most forgiving and simplest in terms of planning involved.
I did, however, find Mooshka, A Quilt Story the day after the lesson and found it most suitable to have got the kids inspired before the lesson. In fact, each page is filled with beautiful colours and patterns of the special, talking quilt and each pattern has it’s own story to tell making it a perfect way for kids to understand the importance of making unique designs in their art. But that’s not what the book is all about. It talks about family history and and bonding, bringing the siblings together towards the end.
What you’ll need
- A sheet of paper (I use an A3 sheet to provide enough space for the kids to explore)
- Tempera or watercolour paint (I used crayola washable paint) – primary colours
- Oil pastels or water resistant markers (sharpies would do great) – any colours + black
That’s all you need and you are good to go.
To start the lesson, I quickly demonstrated a few lines and patterns and dropped some hints as to what they might want to fill their paper with. I instructed them to divide their paper into squares as evenly as they can using a black oil pastel and start making patterns with other colours. The only restriction I set was that each square should have a different pattern. I was teaching the 4-5 years old group and some kids need more help than others in deciding the patterns despite the hints given earlier. But there are also others who just gracefully move through the whole lesson occasionally stopping to get an affirmation from you. The picture below was done by a girl who is just 4 years old and she already has a way of combining more than one element in each pattern.
And then it’s time to add paint. Being a lesson focusing on colours too, I provided only primary colours and encouraged the kids to mix their own colours. I didn’t insist what colours they mixed so at the end of the second lesson, I ended up with sheets filled with a rainbow of colours along with a variety of neutral browns.
The kids drew short strokes all along the edge of the paper to finish up their beautiful patchwork quilts.