Handprint and Footprint Tracing Craft + Talking about Art History with Kids

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Making handprint and footprint art is something many parents do. In this informal activity, my toddler loved having mommy trace her hands and feet repeatedly onto a large roll of paper. She later added her own coloring and marks.

This went on and on and was a relaxing and fun collaboration between parent and child.

Depending on the age of your child, it can be fun to open up an art book and look at artists who have used similar techniques of repetition, layering, and even printmaking (in our case, my daughter’s hands and feet were the “printing block”). Andy Warhol was one fun example I shared with my girls, particularly his Dance Diagram paintings.

The following items were featured in this video:

Melissa and Doug Easel Paper Roll (2 pack) – we use this CONSTANTLY both on the floor and draped over my art table for the girls:

Art from the Postmodern Era, by Irving Sandler: https://amzn.to/2wx6mxg

Warhol, by David Bourdon: https://amzn.to/2PVSTbc

If you add in the elements of crossing out, erasing and coloring again, the technique of a Palimpsest is also evoked (and is a super interesting term and phenomenon in both art and literature). For an older child, this can be a fun exploration to see what first layers are visible through the top layers of your picture.

I hope you enjoy doing art and discussing art history with your child. I think it’s never too early and for my kids and myself as a child, I know it elevated the way I thought about my own artwork to a higher level, when I could see that I was doing things similar to famous artists in Art History books and museums.

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