Spring has sprung, and artistic inspiration is everywhere! This season, spend some time getting crafty while focusing on STEAM projects—science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Check out these four springtime crafts that feature both artistic and scientific elements to get started.
Learn about UV rays and make some fun artwork outside! Using direct sunlight, found objects, and paper, your student can create no-mess silhouette artwork easily.
The supplies are pretty simple: you can buy special solar-print paper for visually stunning results, or save some money and use colorful construction paper. Have your student place the objects—try flowers and leaves to reinforce the springtime theme—on the paper and secure them with rocks or other heavy objects. Then leave the paper in direct sunlight for the day. (If it hasn’t faded enough, put it back out for a second day.) Whatever space is not covered by objects will change color in the sun, leaving the silhouette of the objects as the finished piece!
While you wait for your paper to fade, ask your student why he or she thinks the paper will fade. You can even look up a video about the role the sun plays in our ecosystem as well as the dangers of UV rays.
Is anything more fitting for spring than planting flowers? Decorate a terra cotta pot together using any myriad of supplies: paint, rhinestones, twine, etc. If you need a little more direction to get started, have your little learner paint what insects he or she thinks will come near the plant. Will it attract butterflies? Bumblebees? Ladybugs?
When you’re done decorating the pot, plant something together. This opens a great opportunity for discussion on plants native to your area, how plants and insects work together, photosynthesis, and/or the growth cycle.
Watercolor Crayon Resists
Watercolors and crayons don’t mix—and that’s the point! Using a white crayon before adding watercolor paint creates areas of resist, or parts of the paper where the paint will not stick.
Have your little artist color on watercolor paper using white crayons. (Tip: make sure he or she uses a heavy hand here, as you want the crayon to be thick in the areas you’d like to stay white.) Depending on age, he or she can draw the piece in advance and apply white crayon in intentional locations or simply scribble in white crayon across the page. Once the white crayon is applied, it is time to add the watercolors. Whatever is covered in crayon will stay white, while the rest of the paper will absorb the watercolor.
When you’re done, ask your little scientist why he or she thinks the paint would not stick over the crayon. What other materials are waterproof? What do those materials have in common?
Rain Cloud Mobiles
April showers bring May flowers! Take advantage of a rainy day and make rain cloud mobiles. Cut out cloud and raindrop shapes from thick paper and attach using yarn; you can hang the raindrops from the cloud, or hang all pieces individually from a base like a dowel or hanger. Your young student can then decorate the cloud and raindrops with supplies like crayons, cotton balls, and glitter.
While you work together on the project, talk about the hydrological cycle. What does your student think a cloud would feel like? How does he or she think the water got into the cloud? What happens to the raindrops after they hit the ground?
For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit varsitytutors.com.