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Living Stones, Abstracts and Legos

Updated: Mar 3, 2019

Quite often I hear myself say, "This is my favorite!" when I create a new project with kids! But, that's probably much like God. Whoever His eyes are on... well, that IS His favorite! Because, He has poured Himself into each of us. We are His favorite! The art projects we create are meaningful because we create them together and spiritual truths are often knit into the process! I LOVE how the same projects all end up so very different yet equally beautiful. I really like how Fisher's project looks like an abstract work of art! Comparison tends to try to rear it's ugly head every time we create together. So, I showed Fisher some abstract art and now he realizes how cool his art is!

This art assignment was to draw something you collect or would like to collect. The kiddos both decided they would like to have a rock collection. Having a short amount of time to complete this project, we rushed quickly. But it was super fun! Even though we didn't finish before Ella had to go home, I loved how they had so much fun creating and making there own unique rocks.

We used real rocks and studied their designs and patterns. Fisher wanted to show Ella how the rocks beauty are enhanced when wet (much like God's presence in our lives), so he used a spray bottle and they marveled at the magical way the rocks became even more intriguing and interesting. Then we studied photos online. There are gorgeous photos online of rocks. We talked about how we are God's living stones and each of us wonderfully unique and different (a common topic when we create).

On this project I wanted to let the kids learn about crayon resist and how the wax in the crayons repels the water and causes cool patterns and designs. This method also allows the ability to create texture which is an element of art. What I like best about this project is you really can't mess up and it is very relaxing because there is a lot of experimentation involved.

My sweet neighbor had given Cooper some rocks from Lake Michigan. Ms. Libby taught us about the different treasures that are found on the shores of Lake Michigan. Leland blues and petoskey stones are two of our favorite kind of rocks now. The petoskey stones are coral fossils that have been around Michigan for 350 million years.

After the pencil drawings of their rocks we traced them with crayons. I also got out some oil pastels so they could experiment and use two different mediums. When they finished tracing they created texture and lines on their stones they each applied watercolor paint on the top of their rocks. The kids thought it was really neat how the watercolor paint would slide off of the wax crayons and oil pastels.

On a whim I decided to do a quick science experiment and show them how oil and water repel one another. Their eyes widened at the interesting designs the oil made as it began settling to the top of the jar after we shook it up.

Just as beautiful was the stone like effect the oil made as it settled on top of the water. There is beautiful symbolism in this experiment. When opposites are next to each other beautiful things can happen.

Though the masterpieces weren't finished at the end of the day, the result of experimenting with different art mediums made for a great project! What I loved just as much was weaving God's truths in as we colored and painted. For me that is the most important thing I hope they remember. I only mentioned the scriptures briefly because these two treasures were totally absorbed in the creative process. I trust God to grow the small seeds I drop!

We usually get some silly photos while taking the "real" photos. But the silly ones usually end up being some of my favorites!

I finished my stones that night after Fisher was in bed. I used acrylic glitter paint and glitter pens to fill the stones with texture. It is best to experiment with paint colors on another sheet of paper. I also found it important to water down the watercolor and acrylic paint so that the crayon and oil pastels showed up. I could go into detail, but really I just experimented and played with supplies I had on hand. That's what I love about this project you get to play and have fun! When you experiment you make the journey your own. This is very relaxing project and I found myself getting lost in discovering ways to create different textured stones!

More experienced students can work on shading and trying to make stones a little bit more 3-D looking by softly shading the edges. This can be done by light layers of watercolor or using light pressure while working with colored pencils. I think the stones in the unfinished phase are just as lovely as the final project.

Honestly, if it wasn't for the fact I had told the kiddos we were going to do a crayon resist lesson using watercolor at the end I would have been content to stop with the crayon. But, both kids love painting so we tried to finish with paint. Their art with crayon alone, before even adding watercolor, was really intriguing and beautiful. It made me think about the beauty of our lives "in process". When God gazes upon us "in process" he sees beauty and greatness! Just know that if all you have on hand is crayons, your project can be equally as beautiful!

I tried to create dimension by adding a mixture of colors around the rocks using dark blue, brown and black crayons and colored pencils. I wanted to give the illusion of dirt or water below the rocks beneath the rocks. When I felt pleased with the appearance of the rocks, I added a glossy matte medium round the rocks where the water below might be (you could probably use Elmer's glue since it is a little shiny when dry). I liked how the glossy medium gave the appearance of water because it was slightly shiny. I also applied a light layer of black glitter paint to a couple of rocks because I how some rocks seem to sparkle in the light.

The next morning I was looking up scriptures about living stones. I wanted to figure out how to make the words "living stones" more applicable to my sweet treasures lives and hearts. I began reading 1 Peter 2:5. "As you come to Him, the living stone, rejected by men but chosen and precious in God’s sight, you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood..." Verse 6 goes on to say: "See, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and precious cornerstone; and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame."

So, we went to Fisher's Lego area and found a white lego. I talked with Fisher about how Jesus is called the Lamb of God and He is the Cornerstone. I recounted the story of Abraham and Issac and how beautiful that Jesus gave His life to take away our sins. That act of selflessness is like a cornerstone... the foundation of our faith.

To help give a visual example, I placed the white lego on one corner of a green base. Then I placed a few legos side by side next to the white one. I mentioned, again, how different we all are (like the different colored legos). I made the comparison that the yellow lego might be like Ms. Kelley (Ella's mom) and her joyful spirit, the blue would might be Ella because she has a gentle spirit and red might be one of Fisher's outgoing and bold friends Mateo. I then stepped away and let him work on building a lego house.

When a door was added to Fisher's lego structure we talked about how Jesus is also like a a door because He is the door to salvation and eternal life. The wonderful thing about how this lesson organically unfolded is that studying rocks, or looking at the painting of the stones or lego time to bring back to the kiddos hearts that Jesus is the cornerstone, we are His living stones and Jesus is the door! There are great memories wrapped around all three of these things!

This is a lesson that can be revisited each time we play with legos together. I also think I want to try to do this same project every year because it is so fun and relaxing. Seeing the progression of the kiddos skills developing will be super cool and there are so many dialogues that can unfold from this one little project. How did the stones get smooth? How does that parallel to our own lives? What kind of stones did David use to slay Goliath? There are so many directions these talks can go. My mind spins with excitement at all the wonderful ways I can point these precious kiddos back to God. I hope you and your kiddos have a great time doing this same project!

Some supplies I used on my stones to bring dimension and interest:

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