I was asked by a reader, What is a good way to approach the current issue, Line? She wasn’t quite sure where to start. It’s true, I don’t give a road map to the e-zine, a suggested order of activities or way to approach it. I don’t know where you all are starting from, to begin with, nor your family’s specific interests, materials on hand, or how your four-year-old is feeling the Tuesday afternoon you decide to dive in.
However, I can make some suggestions! I’d say, start with the activity that looks most interesting to you and your kids and/or most do-able. These activities are more like provocations and less like projects (actually, they are not projects at all, in that the outcome is totally open, with no “right” or “wrong” way to do it). Especially with younger children, just put out, for example, some tape and paper and sit back. Start working on your own tape drawing. There’s no need to say, “We’re doing an art project and we’re learning about line here, so treat your tape as line, okay?” Just see what happens. The information on line is there so you have it in your mind, so you can bring it up as appropriate. You might reflect what your child is doing, bringing in some of the terms. “That thick black tape is a very strong line. Can you see how much stronger it looks than those short pieces of thin tape?” Or maybe your child really doesn’t want you to comment on works in progress; in that case, don’t. You know your child. Maybe you can talk about it afterwards. Or maybe his tape drawing will turn into an exploration of color instead, as he uses the lines of tape to create blocks of color. Go with it.
Maybe you’ll put out some wire and clay, and your child will ask for that tape you used last week, ignore the clay, and do something wild with wire and tape. Don’t tell her no! If there’s one direction I can give that could apply to everybody, it would be, Go with the Yes. The activities are designed to highlight use of line, yes, and the information on line is there for you if you need it, but it’s not supposed to be a limiting factor; consider it all a jumping-off point. As I say in the issue’s note to the reader, “Your child may go off in an unanticipated direction. Leave room for those tangents. They are gold.”
I hope that helps. In my family, we explored the books on line (because we read them all; ones that don’t resonate don’t make it into the zine) and really dove into learning about Piet Mondrian. We happily spent a few weeks reading about, talking about, and looking at art by Mondrian. We did the activities last. But that’s just the result of how I put the issue together. I’d love to hear how your family approaches the e-zine—and it might be helpful to share with other readers.
Later this week I’ll share a roundup of previous blog posts featuring line-related activities–more to explore, if your kids seem inclined.