Kindergarten Classroom Project

Kids crack me up. I’ve had so much fun working with two classes at McKinley Elementary to make classroom art projects for the school auction. I’ve worked in the kindergarten class as well as a second grade class. And what you learn from those children! Goodness! I now know one little girl wants a baby brother and is trying hard to find her mom a “good man”. I know all about one dad’s band and what type of music he plays and I hear children announcing their status of best friends. Such wonderful relationships and personalities make up these classes and it’s been a blast to see what these kiddos have created.

I designed a fun project for the kindergarten class. The objective is to make two mosaic bird houses made from junk. And the best part is that we’ll incorporate artwork into the mosaic. I know you are wondering how we’ll do it. Two words for ya…shrinky dinks. Do you remember shrinky dinks from your childhood? I do.

shrinky dinks, mosaic, class projectSimply draw a picture or rubberstamp a design onto the rough side of the shrinky dink paper. Cut out your image and then pop them into the oven for a few minutes.

They will shrink down to 1/3 of their size and get super strong. The kids are thrilled when I show them their shrunken creations and I know they will be even more excited when I show them what we are doing with them.

The next step is to collect lots of junk and recyclables. Of course I have a huge collection of stuff from creating artbots (and here) but most of my finds were saved before I threw them into the recycle bin and others came from rummage sales. So you too can hoard a parts pile! Despite the looks Mr. Wonderful gives me, I keep collecting (“look honey, this is for the school so the kids can have assemblies and go on field trips…it’s for the children!”). Warning collect at your own risk.

Just make sure you have a good, strong base for the mosaic since the glass, grout, and mortar mix gets heavy. I using an old coffee can for one and a tin for another. Then drill a hole in it for a bird. Make sure there are no sharp edges or little hands as well as birds might get injured.

Then spread an exterior mortar mix in a thickness of 1/4 inch onto the surface, working in small areas. Add broken tile, marbles, glass, and metal finds to the base. With the shrinky dinks you’ll need to add mortar directly on the back of the artwork before you add it to the surface. Shrinky dinks although thick, is thinner than the glass. By adding the extra mortar you ensure that it sits at the same level as all the other mosaic pieces. Here’s what I have so far:

shrinky dink mosaic birdfeeder, class projectIn my stash of stuff I do not have exterior grout so I’m off to the store to go pick some up. Oh and Angela, if you are reading this, you may be able to pick out some tiles that you gave me in that fabulous loot of mosaic stuff you brought by awhile ago. And Cheryl, do you see the key? I added some glass and rhinestone jewelry too! I know both of you will be quite pleased that it is going toward education! “It’s for the children.”

I’ll be sure to share the progress of the projects with you.

If you have other ideas for classroom projects, I’d love to hear them. Incorporating artwork from 30 or so kiddos is not an easy feat, so I’m all ears!

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