Collage is one of the most versatile art activities you can do with kids and is one of my favorite art activities. Collage for kids and collage for adults is not usually the same. What collage usually is in many preschools and kindergartens is a pasting activity using the left over material from other projects.For adults it is more of an abstract activity using objects, photographs and other personal items.
In this post I am going to be talking about some real creative collage ideas that you can do with children but, they are good for all levels and can be done with older children and even adults. My eBook Developing Your Child’s Inner Artist has a much greater expanded collage section.
I call these collage ideas “art collages” and they can be done with almost any topic, scene or holiday. If you want to make a project for a holiday or a season and you are tempted to do a copycat project because you think there is nothing creative to do, I am going to teach you how you make creative art collages for almost any theme.
When you use collage as just a collections of papers of snippets of other papers from left over paper projects then you are losing out on a tremendous creative and problem solving art activity.
Collage is not supposed to be a haphazard activity. It is supposed to be a process where children are presented with various materials and their job is to think about how to use them in the best possible way. This is for simple collages like simple shape collages and it is for more sophisticated art collages.
Collage ideas for preschoolers may not be very different than collage ideas for older children BUT the results will be drastically different. Not only the ideas will be different but, the manner in which they make their collages will be different. It is indeed the way a child makes a collage that will often tell us educators how that child is doing developmentally.
I would not start these art collages for the very young. For young children who are just getting used to glue or paste, collage project ideas will be based on basic shapes, getting them used to the process and varying the different, simple collages to give them more challenges.
Once children have had lots of experience with basic collage, maybe even in kindergarten, then they can be introduced to art collages.
So what are art collages?
Art collages are collages that get inspiration from real pictures.
Very often there is confusion in the creative art world of children. There are some process only advocates who believe that children should never be given any direction and they should only be given paint and collage and drawing with no direction. I learned however, in later years that sometimes children need some direction. Once they have some direction with plenty of choice and understanding of what they are capable of, then it is an extremely creative activity for kids with less frustration.
Steps to creating art collages:
- I think of the topic or theme I want the children to create art around
- I find pictures of this theme. (city landscapes, fall scenes,vehicles, houses etc)
- I get them either from books, old calendars or the computer (which is the easiest especially if you have a color printer)
- I hang up the pictures
- I tell the children that they are going to make either a vehicle, a city landscape or whatever I have chosen
- I tell them that these images are for ideas only and they can pick and choose from any of the pictures what they want
- I give them materials that SUGGEST the items. If it’s a winter picture I may give white circles. If its vehicles and I see that some boats are sailboats, I may give cut out triangle pieces
- I tell the children to use the materials I have given them to create a picture in any way they like
In the image below the children were exposed to a number of city landscape images. (The topic for this collage was obviously city landscapes).
If you have a color printer( as I said before) all the better as there were some beautiful color schemes in some of these pictures that could not come out in black and white.
For my collages with children I often try to imagine in my mind what are some of the ideas they could use to make their collages and then give them pieces accordingly. Sometimes they use the pieces as I envisioned and more often times often not. Below is only a small portion of the items I made available to the children.
Of course, you don’t have to use exactly what I use and am just showing you to give you some ideas.
The images above are some of the images that were done using this method. Two were of city landscapes and one was of a fall scene. Of the ones below one was a flower collage and one a winter collage.
The results of how these art collages come out will TOTALLY depend on how old the children are. The younger children s work will look like real messes but, you just need to have the patience for them to grow and develop. Sometimes just by having the objects like white circles, the messy collage will look like something even if the child was too young to really create.
I don’t know about you, but my heart swells when I see the amazing pieces that come out of using these collage ideas with children and preschoolers. Collage is truly and expansive and creative art medium for children.
Other Kids Collage Ideas
Another really interesting collage type of idea would torn paper collages which you can find at paper craft ideas where I discuss another favorite collage, torn paper collages. For holidays you can also find Valentines crafts that use only hearts in various sizes and materials.