Storyteller Ed Boxall tells us how he introduces little ones to art and exhibitions at the DLWP.
I like to base sessions for the pre-schoolers at Tales For Toddlers on coinciding exhibitions at the De La Warr. So, inspired by the Hayv Kahraman exhibition, Tales for Toddlers for February was all about pattern. Pattern appears in all sorts of ways in her work- the fabric of the clothes, the rhythms of the bodies.
The link to the exhibition needs of course to be right for the age group. With toddlers, we’re not ‘educating about art’ but experiencing the fundamental processes involved. In the long run, we might be helping children to get in the habit of delightful artistic processes and perhaps seeing a connection between what they do and things they see in galleries.
We had the space ready for the children by covering the floor with giant paper. You need something for children to do if they arrive early so they started by drawing round bits of their bodies with bright oil crayons on the paper while everyone arrived. They could repeat patterns with hands, fingers, feet and whole body shapes.
When everyone was ready, we moved onto pattern in poetry and enjoyed Brian Moses’ ‘Walking My Iguana’, which has a great chorus to repeat. Next, musical instruments were handed out and we noisily got to know our chosen instrument. We all joined in with my song ‘Yellow Cars’ which has a nice loud/quiet pattern from verse to verse.
We went back to the big paper for the remainder of the session but with some more pattern based processes to use. I brought rubbers to print with, stamp pads, patterned gift wrap and textured wallpaper. The stamp pads are great when you want to print but don’t quite want the full on mess of printing ink.
The children were probably unaware that we were ‘exploring pattern’ but I hope had a great time doing so and parents and children left with some easy things to try at home.
More Tales For Toddlers workshops with different storytellers and workshop leaders will take place on March 11, April 8 and May 13. See our full workshop list and sign up here.
Images courtesy of Matthew Harmer