We're still working our way, a few chapters each day, through Blue Balliett's The Calder Game. The younger children have been listening along, but I'm not sure how much their getting from the story.
So, I was thrilled to find Tanya Lee Stone's Sandy's Circus, A Story About Alexander Calder, which presents the artist's work, especially during his Paris years, in a preschool friendly, picture book format.
After reading the story, we watched a SchoolTube video clip of Alexander Calder performing his Circus (click the link to view it, too).
Then, we put together a flippy, acrobat toy, loosely following instructions from the Science Toy Maker.
I say loosely, because we changed a few things. Their acrobat requires fun foam, felt, a sheet of thin cardboard, a cardboard toilet paper tube, a large marble, and hot glue.
I wanted to make a simpler version, even the younger children could help out with, so we skipped the felt, substituted construction paper for the cardboard sheet, and fun foam, and used school glue in place of the hot glue.
We cut about an inch, and a half piece off of the cardboard tube, to use as our acrobat's head. Then, we traced around it on the construction paper, cutting two circles, about a half inch bigger than the diameter of the tube, snipping in to the traced circles, to make tabs, to fold up, for gluing on to the tube, as pictured.
After we glued on one of the construction paper circles, we turned the head over, and glued it to the middle of the craft stick, and placed the marble inside.
Then, we glued the other construction paper circle to the top, securing it with a rubber band, until the glue dried.
There is a template on The Science Toy Maker, for the hands, feet, and body. We just cut them freehand from construction paper, and the remains of the cardboard tube, decorating them with marker...
...and gluing them all together, as shown.
When the glue was dry, we were ready to give our acrobat a test run down an inclined plane, which in this case, was a leaf from our table, covered in a table cloth for friction, and leaned against a footstool.
It worked perfectly. It might not be art, in the tradition of Alexander Calder's Circus, but it certainly was a fun craft, and a very nifty toy. Below are a couple of short clips of our acrobat in action.
For more story based arts, and crafts for children, check out this week's stART (story + ART) link-up, at A Mommy's Adventures.
It's great to be a homeschooler.