The girls favorite book changes weekly – lately, they’ve been on an Elmer kick. For those unfamiliar with the story, Elmer is a brightly colored patchwork elephant, who just wants to look like all the other elephants, but ultimately celebrates his unique look. At the end of the story, all the other elephants celebrate Elmer as well by painting themselves with their own unique patterns – many of which remind me of famous artists. As we continue our studies of Famous Artists for Kids, all I could see when I looked at Elmer was Kandinsky and his famous painting, Squares with Concentric Circles.
Elmer Meets Kandinsky
Elmer is a classic read for preschoolers. The story of a patchwork elephant, Elmer just wants to look like all the other elephants, only to ultimately discover he misses standing out in the crowd. It is a great story to teach children to celebrate their differences and the character traits that make them unique.
The book also ends with a great invitation to create – once a year, all the elephants paint themselves with intricate designs and patterns (many of which may resemble famous works of art). The Ms and I seized this invitation to create by making our own Kandinsky-inspired Elmers!
To create our own Kandinsky-inspired elephants, we only used a few basic supplies.
Cost: Less than $5
Prep Time: Less than 10 minutes
Clean-Up Time: Less than 5 minutes
Big M is now back in preschool 3 mornings a week, so I set this project up for Lil’ M on one of our solo mornings. I used my favorite Dollar Store dip tray as a sorting tray to hold all the materials. I used one sheet of construction paper in each of the colors of Elmer: red, white, black, orange, blue, green, purple, yellow and pink. I cut two strips each of 1″ squares, then used my 1″ and 0.5″ circle punches to punch circles out of the remaining construction paper.
I set Lil’ M up at her craft table with the sorting tray of pre-cut materials, a glue stick and a sheet of white cardstock. The heavier weight paper holds up better to the toddler art abuse! I showed her the Elmer book, and pulled up Kandinsky’s Squares with Concentric Circles on my iPad for inspiration.
Her attention span is shorter than Big M’s, and she played at it for awhile, then went off to play. I left all the materials out on the table though. After quiet time, Big M saw them and ever my little artist, wanted to make an Elmer too. And since whatever big sister does, little sister wants to do too… Lil’ M returned to finish hers as well!
While they worked on their designs, I drew an Elmer template and applied it to my own Kandinsky-inspired design. The Printable Elmer template, along with all our templates, are emailed to our newsletter subscribers every Friday. You can sign up for PGPB Guru Weekly, featuring all our posts for the week, printables, as well as a weekly special offer, with the form below!
Using the template, I traced it over our designs and cut out our Kandinsky-inspired Elmers!
Wassily Kandinsky (1866 – 1944) was a Russian artist and is credited with painting the first, truly abstract art. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky initially pursued a career in law and economics, though from early childhood was always fascinated and inspired by color.
At the age of 30, he gave up his promising career teaching law and economics to study art in Germany. He was one of the first artists to paint abstract pictures, believing that compositions of colors and shapes could be just as powerful and moving as any other works of art, a founding father of Expressionism.
What design would you make on your Elmer? If you enjoyed this post, you can find all the posts in our Art History for Preschool series here, where we explore a variety of Famous Artists and their masterpieces reproduced by kids. You can also find them all, along with other favorites I have discovered from around the web on our Art for Kids board on Pinterest.
And since Kandinsky is so much fun, stay tuned for our next project also inspired by Kandinsky and featuring another new favorite book: The Noisy Paint Box. For more Kandinsky-inspired activities for kids, check out: