When you think of a Van Gogh activity, "Sunflowers" - the classic masterpiece studied by students throughout their education - probably comes to mind. Here, his equally exquisite "Starry Night" is used as the basis for children's creative expression.
What you will need:
- a copy of "Starry Night" either printed or on a large screen
- large black paper, restock here
- battery-powered or real tea lights
- yellow, blue, white & black paints, restock here
- tissue paper, ribbon & tin foil
- PVA glue, restock here
Special thanks to Ruth Mottram, a Field Nursery Teacher with Bright Horizons, for sharing this activity with us.
Preparing the activity
Before you begin, prepare your creative area to inspire the children based upon "Starry Night". Cover a table with the black paper, and dot around some of the tea lights to recreate your own starry night. It is also nice to include a copy of Van Gogh's painting nearby, or cut out segments of it on the starry night table.
Doing the activity:
Begin by encouraging the children to talk about Van Gogh's work. Ideally, have this conversation in a different place from the creative area you've got ready. The painting is ideal for identifying different shapes & colours. You could even ask the children to imagine who might be living in the houses, or what the weather is like in the painting.
Once the children have got their creative juices flowing, and are excited about Van Gogh's work, it's time to move to your pre-prepared creative area. Allow the children to freely explore the different materials as they create their own starry night pictures. Younger children who might be less sure how to begin can be gently encouraged to try recreating some of the swirls and other shapes which they saw in Van Gogh's painting.
Tracking the activity
30 - 50 months
Expressive Arts & Design, Exploring and Using Media & Materials; "Understands that they can use lines to enclose a space, then begin to use these shapes to represent objects"
40 - 60+ months
Expressive Arts & Design, Exploring and Using Media & Materials; "Understands that different media can be combined to create different effects"
Expressive Arts & Design, Exploring and Using Media & Materials; "Explores what happens when they mix colours"
Expressive Arts & Design, Being Imaginative; "Chooses particular colours to use for a purpose"