During the month of October we covered the letter "O" in our preschool curriculum, so our theme for that week was "Owls." This was a fun theme in general, but it was also perfect for the week before Halloween, as owls are enchanting and they play well in spookier themes.
Any time we have such a specific theme, though, Art becomes a little more challenging because I have to generate a lot of variety around one animal. The upside, however, is that we get to go more in-depth with each project and explore Owls in more detail! Here are the projects we did:
Our first project was "'O' is for Owl." We started by tracing and cutting a large white letter O and then we used dot-markers to cover the O in polka dots (sort of a play on a Spotted Owl.) Then the kids glued the forehead feathers, the yellow eyes, and the feet onto their O. Last, they used the markers to put the pupils into the large eyes.
Our next project was a "Texture Owl," and obviously the point of this project was to explore texture. While feathers are an obvious choice for any type of bird, torn up scraps of paper allowed the kids to have some fine-motor practice tearing, and they were just a nice change-up to the project. I cut out all the body background pieces from black paper, and the kids ripped up and glued scraps of brown craft paper to the background to cover it. They glued the eyes, the beak, the feet, and then they glued the entire owl onto a small crooked paper tree branch. Again, we used dot-markers for the pupils.
Our last project was easel painting! We painted a large owl, but with a twist: "Hands Owl-Over." That's right, we used our hands to create a feathery texture on the owl after we painted. First, I helped each child paint the outline of the body and wings, then they filled in the body with brown paint. Next, I went around and painted their hands brown, and they used their hands to press and stamp their owl's body and create texture in the paint that looked like feathers. Last, they painted the eyes, the beak, and the feet on their owls. As you can see, some of the kids kept their hands entirely inside the outline, and some touched around the edges to make their owls look "fluffy."
Each week we do a cooking project centered on our theme. This week's snack was "Owl Snack." We spread marshmallow fluff over a whole graham cracker (to be the head). Then they took two banana slices and placed those on the fluff as the eyes, they placed raisins over the bananas as the pupils, and they placed one last raisin at the bottom of the cracker to be the beak. I always make a snack along with them to show them how to make it, and to model trying new foods-- this snack was pretty good!
For our afternoon language lessons, we focused on what owls eat, where they live, and we also learned that owls are nocturnal. The kids were excited to know that owls sleep while we're at school, and they wake up and fly around at night. The best part, as a teacher, was having the kids run up to me later in the week during recess and remind me that "right now the owls are sleeping because it's daytime!" Lesson to self: never assume kids are too young to understand! Seeing them wrap their brains around the concept of nocturnal animals was awesome, and we had fun making a list of all the other nocturnal animals we could think of!
These projects made for a perfect "Owls" week, but you can, of course, fit any of them into your "Forest animals" or "Birds" units. Happy teaching!