Action Art: Hands-On Active Art Adventures

Action Art: Hands-On Active Art Adventures

by MaryAnn F. Kohl, Barbara Zaborowski


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Action Art: Hands-On Active Art Adventures by MaryAnn F. Kohl, Barbara Zaborowski

Action Art: Hands-On Active Art Adventures is A Collection of Over 100 Active Hands-On Art Experiences for Children 2-12, Full of Adventure, Movement, and Discovery.


Over 100 action-packed art activities bring discovery and adventurous creativity to children’s art experiences that will delight and challenge kids of all ages. Each child-tested art activity is grouped into engaging action categories including:

  1. Smacking • Squeezing • Tapping 
  2. Rolling • Spinning • Swinging 
  3. Blowing • Exploding • Smooshing 
  4. Tools • Toys • Utensils 
  5. Up • Down • All Around

Full color photographs highlight all activities including painting, photography, collage and sculpture, each with helpful icons indicating levels for both children and adults. Action Art experiences are built on the knowledge that art for children is a creative process and not just a finished product. MaryAnn Kohl is famous around the world for encouraging children to experience creative art exploration best known as “process art”.

Action Art offers 5 chapters of exciting and adventurous creative art activities, all with surprise outcomes, including – Blowing Glitter, Dancing Blottos, Bubble Wrap, Boot Walk, Clear Color Squish

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780935607345
Publisher: Bright Ring Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/09/2015
Series: Bright Ideas for Learning (TM) Series
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 811,701
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 2 - 12 Years

About the Author

MaryAnn F. Kohl and Barbara Zaborowski have invented and refined the activities in Action Art with the belief that children actively explore and discover art as a process of creating. The finished product is the unique outcome of their involvement. Expect to see involved participation, inspired imagination, and a deeper challenge to their thinking.

Read an Excerpt

An Activity from Chapter 3: Blowing • Exploding • Smooshing

Clear Color Squish

Get into the action of squishing colorful pieces of non-hardening modeling clay between two clear acrylic frames or panels of Plexiglas to see the flattening and mixing of colors.

• Non-hardening modeling clay, or play clay
• Two pieces of clear acrylic plastic or Plexiglas, about 8” x 10” or smaller
Safety Note: Cheap low quality acrylic frames that are too thin might break during the pressing step, so be cautious. Thicker acrylic frames or Plexiglas are best.

Process Action
1. Soften the play clay by hand. Make a ball of each color.
2. Pull a small pinch from one of the colors, and stick it on one of the clear plastic panels. The clay should not be overly thick. A quarter inch is thick enough. Add more small balls and pinches of clay. Some artists place the clay randomly, and other will create a scene or picture. All efforts are acceptable.
3. Take the second sheet of clear plastic and place it over the first, lining up the edges slightly.
4. Now for the action and seeing the fascinating way the clay will change! Leaving the clay panel flat on the table, press the top panel down with strong even pressure, using both hands to cover the top piece. Press and press downward to flatten the clay balls. The clay will squish and flatten slowly and surely.
5. For more action, rock the plastic with both hands pressing down, just a little, to achieve even more flattening and mixing of the balls of play clay. Try a twisting motion to further spread color in a new way.
6. When the squishing is complete, the art is complete as well. The play clay will not harden, so it may be displayed for a very long time. However, it’s usually best to let the artists know in advance that this is a temporary art activity, and the sheets will be pulled apart at some point, and the clay peeled away, and most likely used again. Some art is like that!
7. Continue exploring the squishing technique, and removing clay for yet another try.
Note on Cleaning the Plastic: The clear plastic will get smeared and cloudy after awhile, so when ready, wash with soapy hot water to remove residue.

• The same squishing activity can be done with tempera paints. Paint on one plastic panel and then press the second panel down over the painting.
• Squish pieces of play clay between two sheets of clear plastic wrap (saran wrap) or in a plastic baggie. A rolling pin is fun to try.

Ava is a child who usually watches and thinks before deciding if she will participate. Today she was watching closely, and before the artist next to her fully realized the action of blending colors in his clay, Ava's eyes widened, and she reached for the materials that awaited her. She took no time in getting into the action. All she needed was a moment to see what was going on around her. Ava takes less and less time to start exploring art than she did several weeks ago when preschool started. Her confidence level is much higher the more she explores and enjoys creativity in art. Today was evidence of a split second of decision making and full confidence of exploration.

Table of Contents

Icon Guide,
Table of Contents,

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