Arts Makerspace Ideas
That is arts with an “s,” because the Makerspaces need to include a variety of arts, not just visual art. Check with your local art and music teachers to see what they use for standards, if you don’t see any in your school district’s curriculum guide. You may not have done a lot with the arts in the school library previously, but these Makerspaces give students a new vibe for the library. Enjoy the chance to spread your educational wings and try new things.
A fun first art Makerspace is making bracelets with the cheapest beads you can find or make and hemp string. Watch for sales to provide large quantities of beads or make them with drying clay. There are recipes on the Internet, if you want your students to make their own clay. You can also connect to math standards that focus on patterns. Put out books about making jewelry along with the materials so they can see other jewelry making opportunities. The boys love this creative opportunity, as much as the girls.
Origami, the art of paper folding, can be enjoyed by all ages. You’ll need to provide paper and directions. There are lots of books with directions, but you will also find support by searching the Internet and looking at video postings. Seeing finished work can really help youngsters to better visualize what they are trying to accomplish. Depending upon the age of the children in your school, a literature connection could be Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes. If you would Page 52 | Top of Articlelike a more light-hearted type of connecting literature, try Lissy’s Friends or The Pirate’s Girl’s Treasure. Of course, you can connect to math standards with the measuring needed to create origami.
Students love to perform plays! If you have stuffed animals or puppets in your library as reading buddies, here is a new way to use them. This can blend with language arts standards of writing, if the students create their own scripts. If they choose to use an already created script, the language arts standards of speaking and listening can still be met through this Makerspace. If you have a small stage area in the library, it would be the perfect place to have the plays. If not, just make a stage area by rearranging furniture to create a small area for an audience. Students could make advertising flyers or commercials to let others know about it. If you have Reader’s Theater Scripts, they can be another source to share with your young actors.
Children love to use tools. Makerspaces provide a space to use tools that they may not have access to at home. For example, you can provide them a special experience with a sewing machine. At one time, that tool would have been in most homes or there were home economics classes to help students learn how to sew. This Makerspace combines art and math skills. Make a connection with a store that has fabric sample books. Ask them to donate those sample books to your Makerspaces, when they get new ones. Take the books apart and then organize the samples by color or design. They can be used for pillows, bracelets, purses, etc. The math skills come to the forefront when the students start to plan, cut, and put together their fabric in new ways.
If you have students who are involved in dance, they can utilize their skills in a Makerspace. You may not have space to dance in the library, but you have equipment that can be used by students. They can use a tablet or phone to store music. Practice their performance outside the library. Then use another device to take pictures or videos of their performance. Twenty-firstcentury technology has created an expectation of selfies for 21-st-century youngsters. Post them wherever your district gives approval.
Depending upon your tolerance for noise, you can put out commercially made musical instruments and let students explore with them. If you would like to add a keyboard, guitar, or small drum to your collection, take a look in the local second-hand store. Use a tablet to record the creative compositions. Once children are excited about music, they might want to create their own musical instrument. Add empty containers to make drums and bells, chenille sticks to make bell sticks, and toilet paper rolls, rice, and washi tape to make maracas. Of course, include books about music play in that Makerspace.
Most elementary students have experiences with crayons, but they may not have gotten to use a lot of other media. Examine your collection to see Page 53 | Top of Articlewhich of your books are illustrated with chalk or markers. Include them as a part of this art Makerspace. Chalk is relatively inexpensive, which makes it a good choice for Makerspaces. It can change appearances depending upon the paper it is used on. Include colored paper as well as white paper for students to use. Cut the paper in half and it will last longer. Children love to use markers and dry erase markers can provide hours of entertainment. If you go to one of the big box stores, they will cut a big sheet of white board into individual sheets that can be used in your Makerspace.
Children hear sound effects when they listen to movies, TV, or video games. Give them a chance to try and make their own sound effects and use them in their writing and video productions. Provide sound effects for them to hear. Give them directions for a few simple sound effects. Let them have a chance to experiment with a variety of materials to create their own sound effects. Students can take those skills and add them to their stories or videos.
Many children use colored pencils, but not very many have used watercolor colored pencils. They are so much less messy to use that they are a great choice for a Makerspace. Be sure the package clearly identifies them as watercolor colored pencils. When using them, color with the pencils as normal. Then use a small brush and add just a little water to the drawing. It gives a different look than either straight watercolor or colored pencil. Collage is a striking illustration style and it is one that students enjoy doing. You can set up the opportunity by providing a variety of papers and glue, and paper and pencils. The paper and pencils provide the tools to sketch a draft. The papers and glue allow Makers to create the actual collage.
For those schools that have music teachers, children get lots of opportunity to sing. However, for those students who don’t have the opportunity to receive music instruction, we can offer them a chance to share their musical skills. Our collections can include books of songs and recordings that children can enjoy. Then we can create a Makerspace where youngsters can practice and share their talent. Provide some sound tracks for your Makers to use as background music. Talk to your music teacher about what tools he or she has available and would be willing to share with you.
The arts are so broad. They allow children the chance to express their individuality and develop some skills that could develop into adult hobbies. Unfortunately, they are sometimes eliminated from elementary schools. Makerspaces can provide an opportunity for children to enjoy those activities. For additional arts curriculum ideas, explore these websites.
Kennedy Center ArtsEdge — http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators/standards.aspx
Standards are divided by K-4, 5-8, and 9-12 configurations. You can search by grade band and arts genre.
National Association for Music Education — http://www.nafme.org/my-classroom/standards/
There is a searchable link at this site to better access the 2014 Music Standards.
National Art Education Association — https://www.arteducators.org
Standards and lesson plans are included on this site.
National Core Arts Standards — http://www.nationalartsstandards.org
Standards for dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts are included here.