Robert Indiana was a central figure in American Pop Art. He is most know for his LOVE paintings and sculptures, made famous in the 1970's on postage stamps. Indiana used simple roman numerals and letters in his "sign paintings" focusing on American themes at times making social statements using Americana images.
For the purposes of our children's art project we are going to use examples of Indiana's work focusing on elements he used
not social statements.
The Robert Indiana Play dough project is going to focus on elements he used in his work. The basic forms of letter and numbers, color and composition (how he arranged his elements). This is a great project to work on with your toddler or preschooler who is already starting to learn, or you're trying to teach letters and numbers to.
Turn this fun activity not only into an art project but also a hands on learning lesson by pairing the letters of a word with the object. Keep reading and I'll show you how.
- Play dough (homemade play dough tutorial)
- Cookie cutters with letters, numbers and simple shapes
- Rolling pin or play dough rolling tool
- We started with Indiana's famous love image. I picked out each letter of LOVE naming it and showing it to Cy as I found it. I then asked him to pick out the heart shape for love.
- Have your child pick which color of play dough they'd like for each letter and have them pat out a small clump and roll it flat. Just like you would cookie dough don't worry about the thickness you don't have to bake these, just so you can get the cookie cutter through it.
- We designated a plate for our finished cut out dough pieces. You could use a thick piece of paper, cardboard or the surface you're already working on.
- Viola! As soon as your child has finished stamping out each of the letters and object just arrange them, and there you go here's your Robert Indiana Play dough project. We chose, or I should say Cyrus let me stick with Indiana's composition two letters on top of two letters.
- If your child would like to arrange them this way, inspired by Indiana's work that's great, if not no big deal. It's their project just let them have fun and create!
- We went on to pick a few more words to spell out and pair with an object. I stuck to words that were 3 to 4 letters long; car, star, cat, four, Cyrus was the exception at the end. This way we could also fit in a little letter/ spelling lesson.
- We worked together first saying the word we were going to spell and then looking for the letters. Cy stamped out each letter and I helped arrange them correctly to spell the word.
- We paired the letters with the object of the word to help illustrate what the word was. Not a feature of Indiana's work but when your working with 3-4 year olds this helps connect what the word is while you're spelling it. Don't forget to try a few out with numbers, another feature of Indiana's work.
This project like any art project is meant to be fun, while utilizing familiar children's play materials. Letting your children explore art with familiar objects and materials like play dough will help them to be comfortable and open to the idea and wide world of art. Remember what Picasso said: Every child is an artist.
Till next week, have fun creating..... try and look around your house to find a few everyday objects you can use as art tools. Stop by for my Friday find this week: everyday objects as art tools!