Our “Art & Play” program for children ages 2-6 focuses on “process art”. With process art the fun is all in the doing, there are no rules; it involves exploration and tactile learning with no specific outcome. In the end you always end up with a work of art, even if it isn’t planned! We host this program once a month at our Central Library.
For November, we focused on making yogurt silly putty! We gave the kids a plastic bowl filled with a mixture of yogurt and corn starch. Then each child used a spoon to mix the materials until they created a thick paste with the consistency of silly putty or dough! They could squish, push, reshape or pull it apart. We also gave them child-proof cookie cutters to create a variety of shapes. A few latecomers got to experiment with mixing baking powder and shaving cream since we ran out of cornstarch and yogurt. No matter the ingredients, everyone learned and had fun exploring!
Credit: Smart School House – https://www.smartschoolhouse.com/diy-crafts/yogurt-silly-putty
The Art Supplies
We purchased some cornstarch and plain yogurt (the cheapest we could find) for our process art project. We also used sturdy plastic bowls and plastic spoons for mixing the ingredients. All of these ingredients/items can easily be found at discount stores like The Dollar Tree or the 99 Cent Store. If you’re on a really tight budget, you can see if you have any of these items lying around at home. Most of us have a bit of cornstarch in our pantries and maybe even some yogurt, right? [FYI, any yogurt flavor works, we just happened to use plain.]
For children with allergies to dairy products, you can replace the yogurt with shaving cream and the cornstarch with baking powder. It doesn’t give you the same doughy consistency, but children can still have a lot of fun mixing, squishing, pressing and playing.
What can you do with silly putty or dough? What happens when you add too much cornstarch or too little with the yogurt? How can you make your mixture less sticky? How much yogurt and cornstarch makes the perfect dough? What does it feel like to pull the putty apart, to squish it together, to press it flat onto the table and put a cookie cutter through it? Our artists/explorers found the answers to those questions and more!
(Photography Credit: Bernadette Ortiz)
Join us in January for our next Art & Play program! We are taking December off due to the holidays, but we’ll be back “next year” with some cool preschool science AND art fun! Make sure to check out our December/January Off the Shelf Newsletter for dates & details!