Not only are vegetables good for nutrition but they can also become tools used to design interesting art projects. Introduce your budding artists to a new way of creating art. As an added bonus, young children will be learning about the vegetables they use. Here are four activities to try.
The art of printing with fruits and vegetables is not new –teachers and parents have used the idea in classrooms and at home for generations– but it will never be boring as children learn about food while printing with paint. Children can make a print of the vegetable as is or use the shape to make other designs.
Celery Rose Print
In this first print, a cluster of celery produces a floral effect with paint on paper. Take a full stalk and cut it down to three to four inches in height (easy to fit into a child’s hand). You will have several layers to create a floral effect. Wrap a rubber band around the celery layers to keep them in place if needed.
Place a dollop of paint onto a paper plate to use as your painting palette. Invite the child to dip the ends of the celery cluster into the paint and then print on paper. Make a few flowers and set this aside to dry. Later, use green markers or crayons to add stems and leaves to the printed flowers.
Broccoli florets are fun items to use as natural paintbrushes, as well. Make this tree project and use the broccoli to paint the wispy foliage. Think of the season you wish to portray. This photo is one of a tree during the fall with autumnal colors.
First, draw a tree trunk and limb with a brown marker. Give the artist a few florets (one for each color on the paper plate pallet). Dip the floret into the paint and dab it onto the paper. Dip and dab, overlaying colors until you get the desired fall tree effect. Use this same method for spring blossoms and green summer trees.
Kids love pizza and making this hands-on art project is a fun activity, also teaching about the vegetables than can be added as toppings.
- Paper plate
- Tempera paints (brown, white, yellow, green and red)
- Vegetables (pepper ring, mushroom slices, plum tomato half)
- Mix small amounts of brown, white, and yellow tempera paints in a small container until you reach the desired color to resemble pizza dough.
- Invite the children to paint their paper plate with this pizza dough paint. Set aside to dry.
- Prepare the vegetables for printing. The children may enjoy slicing the vegetables with you using plastic knives under supervision.
- Place dollops of several paint colors onto a clean paper plate to use as the artist palette: green for the pepper, yellow for the mushrooms and red for the tomato.
- Challenge the kids to dip and dab veggie prints onto their pizza plate.
Carrots are a favorite among children. This carrot art project has a special green top made from the child’s handprint.
- White card stock or poster board
- Green construction paper
- Dried red lentils
- Safety scissors
- School glue
- Tape (optional)
- Draw a carrot shape on card stock. Have the child cut out this piece.
- Trace around the child’s hand on the green construction paper. Invite the child to cut out the handprint following the pencil lines.
- Glue or tape the handprint to the top of the carrot shape to represent the green foliage on top of the vegetable. Explain that the carrot grows underground and the green leaves are visible above the soil.
- Spread white school glue in a thin layer on top of the carrot shape.
- Sprinkle small red lentils (which are actually orange in color) all over the shape. Let dry and then shake off the excess.
Variations: Instead of using lentils, you could create the orange carrot with torn construction paper or tissue paper pieces. Overlapping red and yellow tissue paper makes an interesting collage effect.