Learning about kindness, friendship, empathy, feelings, strengths, giving, sharing and love are arguably some of the most valuable experiences in Early Childhood. When wondering about Mother’s Day (see last post) most children really wanted to let their mommies know how much they love them which led us to further wonder about “What is love and how can we show love?”:
“Love is… when you share your toys and favorite dresses.”
“Love is… hugs and kisses and getting candy.”
“Love is… when my mommy shares her paint with me.”
“Love is… my mommy bringing me to school every morning.”
“Love is… when my mommy plays soccer with me.”
Most of the children’s thoughts about love were centered around sharing something valuable: time, precious items, gestures of affection. Their answers were so very serious and thoughtful that we had to use them within an art project to give as a gift on Mother’s Day. Luckily we found Meri Cherry’s wonderful post about personalized photo art, perfect for toddlers. For step-by-step instructions and a full list of supplies head over there.
To create our canvas we were inspired by the book “My Many Colored Days” (Dr. Seuss) and talked about how colors can show different feelings and asked questions like “What’s your favorite color?” and “How does this color make you feel?”.
“Pink makes me feel like a princess!”, “Red makes me happy!”, “Black is stronger than all the other colors!”.
Why explore feelings?
Art can be a powerful medium to connect with ideas, thoughts, knowledge and emotions. Letting children create and express themselves allows them not only to connect to their feelings and emotions but also builds self awareness and an early sense of “self”. As children are becoming their own little persons and want to understand their place in the world I strive to help them build a deep connection to their feelings, their individuality and the ability to find their own voices. By the time young children begin to express and recognize themselves as enduring, differentiated and unique “beings”, they also begin to show major advances in their understanding of others people’s needs and feelings and might care more of how others perceive them: Maybe you’ve heard “But I, not my sister made this!” or “I’m strong too!” etc. At this age it can still be difficult for children to understand or communicate their thoughts and emotions which is why we strive to help them understand what they’re feeling, thinking and how they see the world and themselves.
After comparing and relating colors to many different feelings we went on to color our own canvas – using colors that we like best, that show how we feel right in this moment or simply make us feel good.
We also picked one photo out of the three that we felt represents us best and glued it on our canvas together with each child’s thoughts to the questions “What is love – how can we show love?”.
The children were so proud of their canvas and so focussed in creating something meaningful and personal of themselves for their mommies that I had to share these photos. Really, is there a more meaningful present?
Happy Mother’s Day!