During one of my internships as an OT student we did an art project we called “circle art”. It can be done by people of nearly any age and level of physical ability as long as they have the ability to grasp objects and are given the appropriate level of supervision.
All you have to do is gather together household objects that possess any sort of circular shape and use them as stamps. A quick rummage through your recycling bin should yield sufficient results.
In the picture below you’ll see the wide variety of materials we used (the project was originally done with adults with physical and developmental disabilities): gatorade bottle, wine bottle, soda lid, mini soda can, wine corks, paper coffee cups cut into various sizes, plastic cups, screw tops of various sizes, toilet paper rolls, spice bottles, a roll of tape, and more. The variety of materials make for an interestingly diverse selection of designs, especially all the bumps on the bottom of the wine bottle. Make sure you only offer materials you know the kids will be able to work with safely.
Have each child (or group of children) choose one color of paint (or one mixture of two colors) plus the color black. Squirt the paint on a flat dipping surface (like a paper plate or plastic paint dish), mix as needed, and then it’s time to begin stamping!
Some kids will only needed verbal cues to complete the task and try different sizes of stamps. Others will require maximum hand-over-hand assistance. It just depends on how good they are at following directions and how comfortable they are with the paints and stamping materials. The great thing about this project, though, is that every child can engage in it because all they need is the ability to hold onto the stamp and, as an added bonus, the final products all look great!
Here’s a glimpse of some of the finished products from a few years ago:
You can make this craft as educational as you want, depending on your objective. Encourage kids to talk about the colors and materials they’re using (“What do you use a ______ for?”). Challenge them to see what happens when they stamp over and over again without re-dipping their stamp. Engage them in conversation about things that are round. Have them make pictures using only the assortment of round items (such as snowman, caterpillar, happy face). Did you know that a circle is the first shape a child should learn to make (after lines and scribbles, but before squares and triangles)? That means this activity is in the ballpark of pre-writing! Bring in some pre-math skills and ask them to make different patterns such as ABAB or AABB. You preschool and Kindergarten teachers know what I’m talking about! Talk about the sound of the letter “O” or words that start with the letter “O”. You can even discuss the value of recycling and begin to teach them what sorts of items are recyclable.
Allow them to get creative with their art and their conversation, and make sure you have plenty of paper towels and sponges on hand so they can help you clean up!