May 6, 2008

Review - Preschool Art by MaryAnn Khol

I might as well get my bias for this out of the way and say I ADORE this book.
It embraces the philosophy about early childhood creative arts that I believe; i.e. the process of creating, experimenting and discovering is more important than the finished product.

It has hundreds of great visual arts activities that cover a range of material from collage to painting to model making. Some of them will turn out to be beautiful artworks, others with just look like a big mess, but all of them will be fun to do and inspire young children to be creative with art materials.

Each activity has clear instructions which sets out what materials are needed, approximately how long each activity will take and also an approximate age range. There are variations for many of the activities so that you have even more activities to enjoy with young children and also hints to help the art experience run more smoothly (possibly from previous experience). Most of the materials used are around your house already or they can easily be bought (e.g. foil, detergent, chalk, paper, paint, crayons, wool)

I bought this book because it looked like a fabulous resource for an early childhood teacher – and it is. It is written so the activities can be done by a small group of children with a teacher which translates well to using the activities at home. You don’t need any art experience or expertise to implement the activities. I’ve been able to adapt many of the ideas for my Sunday school class, or use them when babysitting.

The book is a little expensive ( I bought it from an early childhood book store so it was more expensive than on Amazon), but is actually a few books published as one so you could consider buying the painting or drawing one to start off with. (However it works out cheaper to buy the one volume rather than all the books individually). If you are part of a playgroup or know a place that lends out books to parents of young children I’d encourage you to recommend it to them to buy and then share around. Or buy it for yourself - it is well worth the investment.

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