If you’re still looking for holiday gifts for any creative little ones in your life, stop the search, this new book from Shannon Merenstein is it! We are firm believers that kids can never have enough books, and that’s especially the case for anything creativity-related. Not only does Collage Workshop for Kids encourage creativity, it also introduces new concepts like contrast and spaces, prompts imaginations, and gets kids investigating, experimenting, and making choices.
The book features instructions and project ideas from Reggio-inspired Merenstein paired with expert advice from The Carle’s educators on creating art with children. Chapters explore favorite artistic themes and demonstrate how to work with colored tissue paper, newspaper, fabric, and buttons, painted paper, torn paper, and more. Alexandra Kennedy, Executive Director of The Carle, penned the foreword, and as she writes, “It’s the perfect way to kick off an art-making adventure. Happy collaging!”
We chatted with author Shannon Merenstein about the book, creativity and more – take a look at her thoughtful advice below! And keep reading to see a sneak peak into the book – we’re sharing one of our favorite projects from the book “Faces Two Ways”. You and your kids will love it!
Do you have a favorite part of the collage process?
In my book, I talk about thinking about the collage process in 3 parts- collecting, arranging, and attaching. I think each phase is appealing in its own way- collecting all sorts of treasures and organizing them into an enticing buffet for children, arranging loose parts and papers into interesting combinations and compositions, and then of course the goodness that comes from committing ideas to paper with a trusty glue stick!
How were you first introduced to the art of Eric Carle? Do you have a favorite work or one that has a special meaning to you?
I think Eric Carle is one of the most iconic illustrators of picture books. Can you believe the Hungry Caterpillar is already 50 years old? As a teacher, I’ve always loved his process, and I absolutely loved getting to know more about it when I visited the Carle Museum, which is meant to look like his books, lots of open white space with pops of beautiful color. I love the Very Clumsy Click Beetle, because its all about perseverance and Papa, Please Get Me the Moon for the magical illustrations of the parent child relationship.
How would you explain the Reggio Emilia Approach to people who are not already familiar?
I am most inspired by the human-centeredness of the Reggio Emilia Approach. Every stakeholder in the preschool system is honored and has rights and is treated as a unique individual with recognized strengths, traits, preferences. In the Reggio approach, this shows up in the emergent curriculum-meaning the experiences emerge from the children’s play and conservations. Art (and music and other creative forms) is described as a language children use to share about their ideas and world around them. I love learning more and more about Reggio, but also find inspiration in so many other practices and processes.
What is your favorite part about owning & running Hatch Art Studio?
I love coming up with ideas and experiences that I know our Hatch families will enjoy and seeing children delight in new experiences for the first time! There is nothing more magical.
What advice do you have for parents who want to encourage creativity in their kids’ lives?
Let kids lead the way. If your child approaches you about doing something creative together, whether its banging on some pots and pans in the kitchen or squishing some play dough or building a cardboard fort, try your hardest to give it time and attention even if just for a few minutes. Show your child that creative endeavors are valued in your home. I find my older son Graham can really dig into something when I show him just how excited I am to be right along side him, as an observer or a helper or just a partner in our creative endeavors together!