Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Gryphon House - Global Art - Activities, Projects, and Inventions From Around the World - A Review

All it took for me to get excited about this review was the sight of one of the authors' name, MaryAnn F. Kohl. I don't think that I've seen that name in a lot of years. The reason for my enthusiasm is that I associate her with a few of my very favorite art books for young children. I've spent a lot of time paging through her books, and enjoying various crafts and projects with many a preschooler in my care.
This time around, Gryphon House sent me a copy of the book Global Art - Activities, Projects, and Inventions From Around the World to read and implement with my children.

When the book arrived in the mail, I thought I heard giggling when I opened the package. I realized it was me :) I soon had three children crowded around me, clamoring to get hold of this paperback delight. The combination of a book and art, oh it doesn't get any better than that! They share my love of arts and crafts, so their reaction was no surprise.

Now for the details. With nearly 200 pages, this book is filled with all kinds of crafts, cooking projects, and lots of artsy stuff from all over the world. But, this is not a typical art book that may come to mind when you think of the subject.
It's divided into sections by continent and/or cultural group. For example, there are sections to represent Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and so on.

The art projects come from regional customs, celebrations, and often simply things native to a particular culture.
The emphasis in the book is to focus on the process of the art, not the product. That phrase is deeply ingrained in my mind from all of the early childhood classes I took in college. And I remember it from this very author, whose other art books I have long enjoyed. These activities offer the basic idea, but your child's imagination can take it even further. I've been watching that very thing happen as my girls have been trying out different things in this book.

The beginning of the book includes a key for icons that are include in every project. These include 1 to 3 stars, indicating the experience level, with 1 being easiest.
Then there are icons to see at a glance what medium will be used, whether it be painting, sculpture, collage, or other.
The other icons are a 1,2, or 3, which indicate how easy or difficult it will be in prepping for the activity.

Each individual activity provides a brief description of what the child will do to complete the activity. Then, on the side of the page, is a little cultural note or fact about the region where the art originated. The girls have been just as interested as I have been in reading these little paragraphs and learning new things about other parts of the world.

This book could be used in so many different ways. The obvious way being alongside a world history curriculum.
Of course, using it as we have been this month, in a laid back, just learning for the fun of it during the summer months, has been fun for us too. Look at a few of the things we've been working on. . .

                                               Scarab stones from Egypt.

                                              Hands around the world paper dolls.

Drying out apple heads for apple dolls.
Next up, sugar cube snow sculptures :)

The verdict? Love, love love! This is a great art resource that covers a bunch of grade levels, and certainly can be adapted for even a toddler. It's versatility allows it to be used alone or in conjunction with a history curriculum.  I'm planning my list of other books to purchase from this author and publisher. I am so happy to have been reacquainted with this group of books. Check them out!

Gryphon House

Global Art - Activities, Projects, and Inventions From Around the World

Ages: K-5

Price: $16.95

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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