This series of blogs about including art in the Sunday Church School will offer a variety of art techniques and ideas. Each week will focus on one medium, offering a tutorial for one project (which can be used at multiple age levels), as well as several other suggested ways to incorporate the medium in other projects. The purpose of the series is to offer Sunday Church School teachers ideas which they can keep in mind for future reference as they plan to use art in their classroom. Each technique can be applied to a variety of lessons, whether Bible stories, Church history, lessons on the Faith, etc. For the purpose of keeping it simple, the cross will be used in each illustration throughout the series.
Creating three dimensional art in your Sunday Church School classroom is a fairly easy process: but it will require a bit of planning ahead of time in case you do not have all of the materials needed for the project. 3-D art can be created for its own sake (to practice the creativity God has given each person), as a response to a lesson, or even in advance of the lesson (for example, if you are creating sculptures or puppets that will be used to present the lesson itself).
One way to create 3-D art in your Sunday Church School classroom is to allow students to sculpt with air-drying clay. This clay is easily attained at a craft store, dries in the air (doesn’t need to be baked), and can be painted when it is finished or just left as it is.
Before giving your students the opportunity to sculpt something with clay, cover your work surface and gather all the items you will need. For this cross project, we will need air-drying clay, a cardboard cross shape, a bottle or block to roll the clay flat, a plastic knife, a piece of cardboard, newspaper, and some toothpicks (or other clay-decorating tools if you have them).
Begin by rolling the clay to a ⅛” to ¼” thickness on the piece of cardboard.
Place the cardboard shape on top of the clay.
Cut around the shape with the plastic knife. Remove excess clay from the shape; set it aside for later use. (This is a good time to have your students write their name on the piece of cardboard where their cross will be drying.)
Use the excess clay to decorate the top surface of the cross: roll it between your hands to create long “strings” of clay that can be used for lines or coiled for concentric circles and then gently pressed into the top of the cross. Or create small balls of clay that can be smashed to create clay disks to be used in the decorating. It is up to you and your young artists!
Set the cross aside to dry. When the crosses are dry, you can leave them as they are, or paint them: it is up to you and your students! (You can also glaze them to better preserve them if desired.)
Note: this project was inspired by this one: http://emmeticeramiche.blogspot.com/2011/09/in-otto-semplici-mosse.html?spref=fb
Following are a variety of ideas to incorporate 3-D art in the Sunday Church School classroom.
One way to use 3-D art in your Sunday Church School class is to have students make “people” that can be used to act out the week’s Bible or saint stories. Here are a few ideas of ways to do so:
They can create the actors by crafting “paper friends” downloadable from Making Friends: http://www.makingfriends.com/f_Friends.htm (the Bible-time costumes for the “friends” can be found at http://www.makingfriends.com/friends/f_spiritual.htm).
The actors can be crafted from cardboard tubes as found here: http://happyhooligans.ca/toilet-roll-nativity-set/ or here http://www.redtedart.com/2012/03/25/cardboard-tube-people-pirates-grannies-robbers/
Or, they can be crafted from recycled plastic bottles as suggested here: http://www.freekidscrafts.com/recycled-bottle-people/
Clothespins can be used to create 3-D art: animals, people, angels, etc.: http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/64885/50-creative-clothespin-crafts
Colorful duct tape can be used to create so many things, both useful and just-for-fun: http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/62648/20-duct-tape-crafts-kids-will-love
Create 3-D art with your students by allowing them to sculpt with sticks:
They can make actual stick people a la http://www.danyabanya.com/stick-people/.
Or, they can make popsicle stick puppets as shown in the picture here: http://teawagontales.blogspot.ie/2012/08/miss-lolly-dollyhow-to.html.
You can allow your students to create art with seashells: http://fun-a-day.com/summer-art-for-kids-shell-craft/ or http://fun-a-day.com/shell-painting-easy-ocean-art-for-kids/
If one week’s Sunday Church School lesson includes animals, no problem! Use paper, cardboard, etc. to make some 3-D animals as demonstrated at these pages: http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/61715/25-zoo-animal-crafts-recipes, http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/63924/paper-plate-birds-movable-wings
Create beautiful sculptures with plaster of paris:
Hand squeeze free-form shapes in balloons which can be painted when they dry: http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Colors/plasterfreeformsculpture/plasterfreeformsculpture.html or this http://artfulparent.com/2014/01/plaster-balloon-sculptures-with-kids.html
“Freeze” God’s own beautiful artwork by making leaf prints with plaster of paris as demonstrated here: http://artfulparent.com/2012/08/leaf-casting-with-plaster-of-paris.html.