Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. – Marion C. Garretty
Ever since seeing Meri Cherry’s lovely Mother’s Day Banners (head over to her website for a full list of materials and instructions) I wanted to give them a try myself, adjusting them slightly to suit a younger age group. Since my toddler art group was into drawing and color-mixing this project seemed like the perfect opportunity for an open-ended art exploration while possibly ending up with a lovely present for mom!
“What do you like doing with your mom?”,
“What is something you love your mom does?”,
“What is your mom best at?”,
“What would you like to tell your mom?”,
“Is there anything you’d like to say thank you for?” etc.
Most of the children wanted to tell their mom’s how much they love them and drew a heart. Some children drew one of their favorite activities that mommy does with them. Other’s decided to draw themselves and mommy and then their whole family, using mommy’s favorite colors. One child drew a butterfly because it’s the very best she can draw and also, it’s her mom’s favorite animal. No matter what each child drew, much love and consideration went into these banners and everyone found at least one good memory or something special that mommy does that makes them feel oh so loved!
Tip: Remind your children to handle the Sharpies carefully, trying not to touch skin or clothes. Also, some children might start to color their whole banner with Sharpies. Leave it up to them but explain that they don’t need to color everything in, we’ll use the Sharpies for making lines and want to leave some space because we will still paint our banner with watercolors (which lets the Sharpies shine through). Most children won’t resist the watercolors once you put them out.
Tip: Add a heart template. Some of the younger children really wanted to draw a heart for their mommies but got frustrated with their drawing abilities (read more about what you can do when children ask you to draw something for them in this post). Since none of my usual responses seemed to help the children in our mixed age group that were still frustrated with their unrecognizable hearts, I simply cut out a heart template that they could tape to their canvas to trace around or color in which everyone seemed to be happy with. Plus, we got to practice those fine motor skills along the way.
Once the children were done drawing, I set out cups of liquid watercolors and put a foam brush in each color (mix some water with just a few drops of liquid watercolors until you like the hue and intensity of the color). I also use these trays to keep our tables clean which makes clean-up much easier.
Take one color at a time and paint right over the sharpies which will still shine through. This is a perfect opportunity to practice sharing and for asking each other for turns with the colors. Point out how the colors bleed into the canvas, how beautifully they blend and which colors make brown together. To encourage color-mixing I sometimes say things like: “I wonder what color that would make with…?”.
To complete our banner we attached wire and beads to our canvas. I already strung the canvas to the wood dowels ahead of time so we were able to finish our banner in one session.
GIFT WRAP OPTION:
Since there’s nothing better than a nicely wrapped surprise we also made some handmade gift wrapping. For that I simply set out colored paper bags and a few inviting and nicely displayed decorating supplies (tissue paper, feathers foam shapes, sequins etc.) as well as some round gift tags with wire to attach beads and to draw on.
I showed the children how to use all these materials (e.g. I put the school glue in cups and explained how to make a little glue dot for the decoration and press one item at a time into it before the glue dries etc.), left the materials on our gift wrap table for the day and let the children decide when they wanted to come over to make their gift bag.
Let dry briefly, fill with your Mother’s Day gift and staple your gift tag to the bag, voilà!
Did we tell you how much we love you? Happy Mother’s Day!