Circles and Fish: Finger Painting Part 1

Preschool art series, continued…

Last fall, I discovered the simple way to paint a picture: use a paper plate!

At the time, we were doing a preschool art program at our community center. Two of the four projects used paper plate circles. One circle became a pumpkin, and the other a moon. The plate was both the canvas and the image.

If you look up paper-plate art projects, there are dozens or hundreds of ways to use a paper plate (or some similar circle): add triangles for ears and paint an animal, add strings and make a hot-air balloon, or add cotton balls to the center to create a flower.

I've created a relatively simple project that combines this circle art with some easy scissor practice. We started with the basic circle, and then cut it into sections, gluing the sections together to create a fish.

You can keep things simple by using a paper plate. I traced a circle onto painting paper, partly to add some extra scissor practice to our project.

(Art tip for preschoolers: I start my kids off with just two colors, preferably primary colors. This lets us practice mixing colors, without muddying them up too much. We do add more colors, though, as we go along. 

Art tip #2: Try adding the paint in small droplets directly to the paper. That way, there's no need to worry about tubs tipping over and creating massive puddles!)

So, let's make a fish!

  1. Start with a circle--either a flat paper plate, or a circle traced onto paper.
  2. Paint one side of the circle.
  3. Once the paint has dried, cut out the circle.
  4. Fold the circle in half, unfold it, and cut it in half along the fold line.
  5. Take one of the halves, fold that section in half again, and cut it into halves.
  6. You now have a half section, and two quarter sections.
  7. Line the sections up. Place the curved edge of the quarter sections pointing one way, and place the curved edge of the half section pointing the opposite direction.
  8. Glue one of the quarter sections over the curved edge of the half-circle.
  9. Glue the other quarter section under the straight edge of the half.
  10. Optional: add a paper circle or a googly eye to your fish.

To finish off, use a paper punch to make a hole in one of the fish's fins. Add a string and find a place to hang the fish and show it off!

Or, you can make a hole where the fish's nose would be. In this case, you can use the string to 'swim' the fish across the floor.

Have you done paper-plate art before? What kind of projects have you done?