Transient art, by definition allows children to manipulate, explore, and experiment with patterns and shapes in a completely process oriented way. This evolving art process is a great way for children to experience art in action and most of you have probably done this sort of art with your child without ever realizing.
There are infinite possibilities of way to explore transient art and exploring loose parts with children, any collection of objects can work. Think stones on a beach to marbles in a classroom. Today we are using this way of creating art to also explore the science of magnetism. This invitation cannot help but entice children to set to and create, I dare you not to get creating too!
You will need:
A metal surface (Tin lids work great or a baking tray)
I began by gathering my supplies. I actually spray painted the lids I had collected, I use them to work with in the classroom and wanted to create 'blank canvases' for the kids. This is entirely optional of course.
Here are some of the metal objects we collected, we like to include things with interesting shapes. A few ideas are screws, bolts, springs, washers, paperclips, metal bottle caps, cookie cutters.
I also threw in some non metal objects so the children would be able to explore what items are not attracted to the magnetics. Marbles, plastic bottle caps and plastic discs.
*Small children should ALWAYS be supervised with magnets.
The first set of magnets is a set one of my children was gifted for their birthday. Its good because the larger pieces are easier for young children to handle and the interesting shapes are great for them to explore and use. They also label N and S which if working with older children is a fun concept to explore as magnets attract or repel.
This second set was made up of super strong magnets, the the children really enjoyed working with these. This set is really appropriate for slightly older children and should never be used with those who are still putting things in their mouths. I picked up this set on amazon they are not a toy to be left unsupervised but the strength lends themselves to this creative experimental project really well.
The objects (minus the magnets) were all left mixed together in a tub. I encouraged the children to start by creating this way. They lay out the objects onto the lids as trays in a classic example of loose parts play.
Next I introduced the magnets. I talked about how we have to be safe when using magnets, never put them in your mouth. I demonstrated how you could attach the magnets to either side of the tray and they would still attach. We discussed how magnets are attracted to metal.
The third instruction before they completely dived into creating was showing them the difference between metal and non metal items. Which one of these do you think stays attached as you lift the lid?
After going over the supplies the children were left to create in their own ways. The addition of magnets allows their creations to build upwards and outwards however they desire. My children created and recreated with this FOR DAYS! When I took this along to the 4's art class I teach it was by far the favorite station of the day. I love listening to the conversations that go along with the creating. Kids have boundless imagination.
A Launch Pad