Preschool Open-Ended Art Activities

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These open-ended art activities ideas were shared by providers and teachers on the Child Care Lounge message board.

The class went on a nature walk. After collecting items from outside they were asked to arrange them on paper using the items from the art center and from the nature walk.

I have also placed glue sticks, paper, crayons, markers, cotton balls, paint, balls, cars, etc. on table and asked children to create.
- JaiCeeDee

Box of different shapes - circles, rectangles, triangles, etc. Give the children a piece of paper and glue, asking them to create a picture using shapes. Then discuss with them what they created and why. 
- Pramage

The kids in my daycare love to finger paint so I provide them with many different textures to paint with. Their favorite is Corn syrup painting. I Add food coloring to corn syrup because when it dries it stays shinny. they also like to paint with colored glue (glue with food coloring on dark colored paper shows up best) because you can add sand, salt, kitchen spices like cinnamon which they love because their pictures smell like cinnamon when they are done. 
- E. Cisneros

Students have been given fuzzy stix along with beads and/or cereal (Froot Loops, Apple Jacks) and they decide if they are making bracelets, necklaces, ect.. They then decide what they will use. This is done after talking about jewelry comes in all shapes, forms, color etc... 
- Romi

Last week we made "trees" out of whatever materials the children wanted to use (popsicle sticks, toilet paper tubes, pipe cleaners, streamers, etc)--the children had a blast (though I let them do it while I was setting up snack & wasn't supervising well enough--still trying to figure out how to get glued-on pieces of paper off the wall effectively). I made a tree bulletin board & was going to have the children do handprint leaves, but then decided I'd rather be more open ended with that as well--so in a couple of weeks I'm going to have the kids come up with their own ideas for making leaves for the trees. 
- Hrisme

A couple of neat ideas that we did in our class last night (we do small group activity plans and share with the class) are, a rolled egg painting. It's just like marble painting, except you use a hard boiled egg. Just place a sheet of paper in the bottom of a box, squeeze some paint on the paper, place the egg in and let the kids roll the egg around. It's like two projects in one, the colored egg and the painted paper.
- PamH38

Another project shared was to use nylons and put dried rice or beans in them and tie them shut. Then you can either do individual pictures, or place a large sheet of paper on the floor and have the kids dip the nylon into the paint, then bounce them on the paper. The beans or rice leave neat imprints on the paper.
- PamH38