Make & Play: Creative Art & Play Props

Experience Curriculum offers two different methods for creating visual arts including Make & Play and Invitation to Create. Make & Play Creative Arts are art projects children can play with. Creating and then playing with the prop extends learning.

READ: Why are music and art so important?

What are Visual Arts?

There are 4 areas of Creative Arts: Visual Arts, Dance & Movement, Drama and Music. 

Visual arts invite children to use artistic tools, materials and media to create art and communicate ideas. It includes producing and evaluating drawings, paintings, clay sculptures, collages and other representations. 

What is Make & Play?

A Make & Play is a creative art activity to engineer a prop related to a study for the purposes of learning through play. Make & Plays are based on the makerspace concept. Makerspaces are part of the maker movement, which started in the early 2000s. The maker movement emphasized hands-on discovery in a world that had become increasingly automated.

“The maker movement is a cultural trend that places value on an individual’s ability to be a creator of things as well as a consumer of things.” 

While the supplies are provided that the children will use, they are welcome to create as desired, developing their fine motor skills, and using their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to assemble their props.

The example below shows a unicorn puppet the children assembled and used to talk to other unicorns about their feelings.

Make & Play Examples

During the Bubbles Boats and Floats theme, children created a “Fish on a Line”.

The Fish On a Line Make & Play involved coloring or decorating the fish as the child desired and using fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination to lace the yarn through it. Then they could play with their fish, pretending to catch a fish.

Grandma’s Glasses are a fun wearable prop for dramatic play.

Pizzas are fun to make and pretend to serve and deliver in pizzeria dramatic play center. Children watched and documented the growth of a sweet potato after prepping it to grow roots in a cup.

Pet turtles are fun to take care of and build homes for.  Children dance and move with homemade musical bear shakers.

Focus on Play

Allow the child to create the prop as independently as possible. The prop might not look exactly like the picture, and we know this is developmentally appropriate. The child should be allowed to create as much as they can without assistance, as they are learning valuable fine motor, creative and problem-solving skills. If you assist with gluing or cutting, the emphasis can also be on the play that occurs after the prop is made.

Be sure to read the prompt in the Teacher Guide and allow time for the children to engage in play with their Make & Play props.

Experience Early Learning provides Music, Dance & Movement, Visual Arts and Drama opportunities each month.  

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