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A fun way to teach kids to use their imagination

As most of you know by now, nothing makes my heart sing more than seeing kids understand the power of their imagination.

In my class yesterday I introduced abstraction to my class by using some simple shapes that I had made. Okay I'll admit I took the shape making a little far and really had fun with it, but it was worth it in the end.

I had some old watercolor experiments and drawings that I upcycled for the purpose of this class and then I made some new ones as well. I used watercolor paper with ink, paint pens, inktense pencil crayons, sharpies and watercolor paint to decorate the shapes.

Here were the old paintings I made:

and the new ones:

It took a while but I finally got them all cut out (there's about 100 of them!)

When I got to class I told the kids that we would be using our imagination and these shapes to make some images. First I brought all the kids over to one table and showed them an example. I asked them what they thought the shape looked like, I got lots of different ideas but I chose fish!

So I drew the fish fins around the shape.

I gave the kids each a piece of paper and a shape and they could choose what they thought it could be.

Some of the ideas where wonderful! At first many of the children were unsure what they could do with their shape, but with a little encouragement and some brainstorming with me and their classmates they started to get the idea.

Here were some of the results:

This lesson is good for kids of all ages (my youngest was 5 and my oldest was 12 in this class).

All you need is:

Watercolor paper (or heavy paper)

Ink, markers, paints (whatever works best for you to decorate the paper with)


Cartridge paper

Glue (optional if you decide to reuse the shapes you can just photograph the images that the kids made and save their drawings).

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