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Friday, 29 April 2016

School Holidays Project 27: Doing More Advanced Mosaics with Kids

In a previous blog on crafting with kids, I have shared some ideas for introducing very young children to the art of mosaics. In today's blog we take mosaics a step further. This time they work on a shaped background. They also work with differently shaped tiles, pebbles and tiles of different heights. I also opened the scope of available tiles substantially so that they had to think about colours and layouts more than was required for the previous blog. The biggest challenge here is to convince the interested adults to stand back and allow the kids to do this by themselves. If you have onlookers, I suggest you hand them each their own project as well.

I had bought each of the three little kids in my life their own die-cut initial. They were then given free choice of selecting some decoupaged glass tiles to use as starting blocks for their projects. The 4-year old chose the cute fish tiles, but ended up not using them.

The 9-year old immediately went for decorative tiles, rather than picture tiles.

I also opened up the bottle with tiles left over from other projects; a real odds and ends collection of tiles.

I then went in search of some pebbles around the house.

Their granny showed up with these bright yellow pebbles when she heard what was going on. They were also allowed to use any of the other tiles I had in my stash.

The 4-year old astonished me with this layout!

This little lady is developing into a very neat little artist and her skills continue to impress me. She is very able to control the flow of glue and can put tiny dots on the backs of the tiles to stick them down.

You have to appreciate the concentration that goes into achieving these results!

The 9-year old always choose multi-colored layouts and it did not surprise me when she once again opted for including as many colours as possible.

At 9, I had no doubt she could glue down her own tiles and could leave her up to her own devices, leaving me free to assist the little ones more.

What I really loved about this layout, is how this child did not hesitate to work outside the borders of the letter, realizing full well that nothing was lost by 'coloring outside the lines.' Good for her! I love the risks she is starting to take with her art.

This little man, 5 years old, initially did not want to join, as the older cousins were helping their grandfather fix the lawnmower and he loves delving into engines, especially when they are attached to lawnmowers. The girls were just finishing up when he showed up, the men having failed to get the motor started. He candidly informed me that he was now ready to do his mosaic as well.

I actually prefer to work separately with him and his sister as they are two completely different children and require wholly different approaches. This is a very active little boy who likes to keep moving. He also loves creating things with his hands, but he wants to achieve results much faster than his abilities allow at this stage of his life. This often results in projects that had started very well, but got rushed in the end, turning into a bit of a mess. We shall have to teach him to pace himself. This layout illustrated clearly the point I am making. You can see how widely spread the tiles are in comparison to the two girls before him. He quickly packed the tiles and then reached for the glue.

I stopped him and moved his tiles up, sticking to his original layout. I then suggested adding more tiles in the same pattern. He liked the results and readily agreed to the changes.

When gluing the tiles down, we again approach things differently. I advised him to unpack his tiles three at a time. He then glued the surface and repacked the tiles.

This is him spreading the glue evenly with his finger, something his little sister hates to do as she does not like getting her hands dirty. For him, this was the best part of the project!

And that little face tells you exactly how proud he is of what he has achieved. The projects were now set aside to dry over night as it was already late in the afternoon. We would do the grouting the following day.

When I finally get the kids together again, my little man helped me to mix some grout powder with water.

He then insisted on mixing it himself.

I had my hands full during the actual grouting process and could not take any photos, but this is what the projects looked like once the kids had grouted it. We left it in the sun to dry a little.

Once it was a little drier, we wiped the grout off the tiles with a damp cloth, taking care not to wipe the grout out of the grooves.

As these mosaics consisted of oddly shaped elements of varying heights, it was necessary to work clumps of grout away with a palette knife in some places.

Once cleaned up, their initials looked spectacular! I am certainly dealing with three very different individuals here!

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