Art Net | Sometimes Cheap is Effective

Feb 9, 2013 by

By Shara Lawrence-Weiss

Art net

Art net…read below for details.

We purchased the domain for this site about two years ago. I decided to jump in and launch the site last month. I wasn’t quite ready but as someone once said, “There’s no time like the present.” So much of what I’m doing on this site is simply based on my years as a nanny, a classroom aide, an education major, and a mother of four. I’m not a brain scientist and I don’t have a PhD.

All the same, I’m really having fun delving into different ideas from my past, as they currently collide with my present.

We recently moved into a new home and I’ve been digging around in my old literacy workshop materials, early childhood boxes and so on.

I found something today that I had made for my eldest son. He’s now 14 and for the first 8 years, he was my only child. I was a single mom for 3.5 years and as you can guess, I was pretty broke. I loved to find inexpensive ways to keep my son learning and having fun. I went to the Dollar Store one day and purchased a small piece of wood. I had my son paint it. We then attached 6 clothespins so we could display his artwork or photos. He loved it!

Photo board for playroom

That was 12 (or more) years ago…and I still have our creation here, in tact.

Back of board

This creation worked fine for my son, as he was an only child back then. I have four kids now, however, and a mountain or artwork to display. I can no longer rely on one 6-slot design to harbor their masterpieces (haha).

So…

In a previous post (Littering the Environment) I mentioned Dr. Sally’s art nets. Today, we made a concentrated effort to get the art net hung and off to a start. This is the second time I’ve used an art net. We used the first net in our previous home, for a few months, in the kitchen. This time we’ve hung the net in the children’s corner of our home, to display the artwork (and more) that they produce. We attached the net with push pins and we can hang the images with wooden clothes pins. {I will note: I prefer to use the wooden clothes pins over plastic ones because my kids can paint them – that’s one more art project they can enjoy together!}

Close up art net

Here’s a little tie-in for emergent literacy: hang words or letters that your kids create. My younger son isn’t writing words yet so he draws pictures for the net. My six year old daughter creates pictures but she also loves to write words and short letters. Today she drew a picture of a garden and wrote a note to her neighbor friend:

To _____. From _____. Happy garden day!

There’s no such thing as garden day, as far as I know. What does it matter, right?

Art net with letter

I’m guessing that art and crafts can tie in with language development and later, with reading skills. I’m going to see if I can dig up a study on that…more to come.

In the meantime I mailed my thoughts to Dr. Sally and she shared these insightful tips:

Yes, I used to call this an educational display. On the simplest level, it promotes self-esteem–a place to display excellent and meaningful work. Next it provides the opportunity for others to comment about what has been posted in interesting, positive, and enriching ways. In addition, each supportive comment invites your child to continue to express him or herself and create more to display. Completing the circuit, each creative project then serves to stimulate more. Last but not least, reading, writing, understanding, and speaking, the four “elements of emergent literacy,” are all built right into this system.

Here are some other net perks:

* Plastic clothes pins are used for safe and easy posting.

* Nets provide more display space than the other popular alternatives–push pins on a cork board, tape on walls (messy), one long extended rope, or space on a refrigerator.

* Low access makes it easy for children to put up and take down all different types of artwork.

Once I came of with this concept, one of my friends nick-named it “More than a Refrigerator.” Shara, I am so very glad you and your children are enjoying this net in so many ways.

Thanks, Sally! I always enjoy your ideas, thoughts, input and wisdom.

Readers, here’s a fun resource you might enjoy: Mom to Madre Kid’s Artwork. Connie is wonderful and will soon be writing a guest article for this site. Stay tuned!

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