YOGART STUDIO :: Nurse Stitch

yogart studio

YOGART STUDIO :: Nurse Stitch

I’ve received a lot of lovely feedback on all the photos of art activities I posted here last week so I wanted to share a description of my most used, trusted and kid-approved art experience. My take on, and name (Nurse Stitch) for this activity, is just one of many and there are several variations of it floating around on the web. Feel free to replicate or put your own personal spin on it!

YOGART STUDIO :: Art Activity Idea “Nurse Stitch”

Objective :: Explore, design and create a sculpture from second-hand toys

  • What is a sculpture?
  • What types of materials do artists use to create sculptures?

Description :: Children will be introduced to sculpture as a three dimensional form of art.  Next, the Exquisite Corpse technique will be introduced as a form of processing to allow children to begin to consider extraordinary assemblage. Finally, the toys and instructions for planning their toy sculpture will be introduced.

Materials ::

Exquisite Corpose

  • paper (the bigger the better but 8 x 11 will do just fine)
  • mark making tools (pencils, markers, pencil crayons, etc.)

Toy Sculptures

  • variety of second hand toys (dolls, soft toys, plastic toys, cars, action figures, etc.)
  • tools to take apart toys (scissors, mini screwdrivers, pliers, etc.)
  • hot glue gun
  • googly eyes (variety of sizes)
  • fabric scraps
  • yarn, buttons, pipe-cleaners, pom-poms, ribbon, sequins, odds & ends

Instructions ::

1 Have children work in groups of 3 to sketch the head, body, and legs of an Exquisite Corpse. I usually like to have children create 3 Exquisite Corpse’s per group in order to allow each child a turn to sketch each section and have enough final drawings so that each child may take one home.

2 Introduce the materials that will be used to create the toy sculpture. Remind children that the toys you will be using are for art-making purposes and that it would be wrong to take apart or glue together their own toys at home without the permission of an adult caregiver. Have the children work in groups in two to begin taking apart the toys. Walk around in order to assist children with any tricky pieces that need to be taken apart.

3 Once the toys have been disassembled, have the children place all of the pieces on one table to prepare for selection. Remind children that the toys they took apart are not necessarily the toys they will be working with. I like to call 2 or 3 kids at a time to begin selecting their toy pieces. Once each child has been called up at least twice and has 4-6 pieces, I let kids know that they may trade in their pieces for any that are left or discard pieces they may not want to use.

4 Encourage children to start planning their toy sculpture. Introduce the other available materials (yarn, buttons, etc.) and remind kids that art isn’t always “beautiful”…sometimes it’s just plain ol’ weird 🙂

Once children have decided on their planned toy sculpture they may bring all the toys parts to the hot glue gun station where an adult is available to glue all the pieces under the direct instruction of the child. I also like to explain what a glue gun is and how it works so that children have a good sense of why assistance from an adult is necessary in this step. However, if you are working with children 8 years of age or older, there are low-heat glue guns available that they could use themselves (with adult supervision).

Once the toy sculptures are complete there are a number of extended activities such as: sketching their sculpture, writing a narrative, turning it into a stop-motion animation, or arranging them on display in your home or classroom and having children “curate” an exhibit complete with artwork labels  and artist statements.

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Exquisite Corpses on display

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A variety of materials to accentuate the toy sculptures

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A toy massacre

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And the processing begins…

Final products made by my 5 to 7 year old AGO campers…

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