Montessori Art: A book review of Let Out the Sunshine and Art for the Very Young
Let Out the Sunshine: a Montessori Approach to Creative Activities by Regina Reynolds Barnett for ages 2-6 uses a Montessori approach to doing art in a classroom (or home/home school) environment. It introduces various art materials and tools, and teaches simple, practical art and fine motor skills. There are a total of 45 Montessori art activities. The book is 170 pages long, spiral bound, with black and white photos. The book is intensive, with lots of reading material (65 pages to "read"). Few materials are needed for the activities, which is great if you are on a tight budget. I was highly impressed by the breadth of this book, the detail involved, and the simplicity of the activities that focus on developing art skills.
Art for the Very Young
Art for the Very Young by Elizabeth Kelly & Joanne McConville is for ages 3-6 (and I would include ages 2-3). There are a total of 60 art (and some sensorial) activities in the book. The book is 128 pages long with small, black and white drawings. The subject matter is less intensive than Let Out the Sunshine but it has more of a variety of activities in which more materials are needed, typically. The book has eight sections that focus on the following elements: line, shape, color, space, form, texture, value, and composition.
Each section, and most of the activities, site artists who "exemplify those elements" introduced in the book, and in some cases, show how to integrate art appreciation with other disciplines, like math and science.There is a one-page introduction for each section of the book, and there are three major themes in each section: children should look at and talk about art; children should have ample opportunities to create art; and children need to become aware of art in their every day lives. The goal of the book is to "have the children learn to see things differently, look more closely at artwork, and enjoy creative experiences."
I was really excited about the variety of the fun activities in this book, and I liked how they were grouped together by element so that the child can learn about (have a "sensorial" experience of) these artistic elements. There are also children's picture books, and in some cases, books about a certain artist, sighted throughout the book that you can get from the library.
Examples of activities by section: make a painted foot path (line section); tissue paper shapes, squeezing shapes--sensorial (shape section); ice cube painting, rainbow curtain--sensorial (color section); painting negative space (space section); free form bag sculpture, stuffed feet--sensorial (form section); milk paintings, cave art (texture section); and multicultural faces, drip and spread (value section).
How to use this book: Sticking with our 12-week example, you can choose to do one or two activities per week, from each section of the book (there are anywhere from five to 12 activities per section). This means you will have a choice of what activities you want to do in each section. All in all I am VERY HAPPY with these books! If you have to choose only one, good luck! They could not be any more different from each other! It might boil down to how much time you can devote to doing art projects throughout the week! If you can only do one or two per week, choose Art for the Very Young, if you can do three or four per week, choose Sunshine.
If you have a two-year-old or a young three-year-old I recommend both books so you will get to do more activities since having only one of the books will limit how many age-appropriate activities you can do.
If you choose both books, that means doing four to seven art (and in some cases sensorial) activities per week over a 12-week period. To learn more about these books please click on the following affiliate links:
Let Out the Sunshine: a Montessori Approach to Creative Activities Item #A105 on MontessoriServices.com; Art for the Very Young, my affiliate link on Amazon.com
Please note: I received free copies of these books from Montessori Services, and with whom I am also an affiliate. I get a small commission if you make a purchase from the links provided. Thank you!
Looking for online Montessori lessons and activities? Visit my website Montessori for the Earth!