A fun and simple artist-inspired color exercise for kids using scrap paper squares and a grid! | via barley & birch
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All, Make

Make: A Simple Grid for Color Exploration with Kids

A fun and simple color exercise for kids: scrap paper squares and a grid! Inspired by one of my favorite artists, Stanley Whitney. He describes his paintings as dances and the colors as the rhythm, which perfectly sums up exactly what I love about art!

Although Whitney has been working on his super-cool style throughout his lifetime, he gained critical notoriety in the ’90s (visit all of our ’90s week featured arts & crafts here!) and has been celebrating recognition & creating jaw-dropping colorful squares ever since.

A fun and simple artist-inspired color exercise for kids using scrap paper squares and a grid! | via barley & birch
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One look at his paintings will give you a good idea of why his work so easily translates into a wonderful color exploration exercise for kids. By repeating a simple shape, he is free to focus on the combinations of colors, allowing them to determine the direction of each piece.

To make your own color grid, you’ll need:

BASIC SUPPLIES:

  • Scrap construction paper or card stock in a variety of colors
  • Scissors

Simple Color Exploration Grid Instructions:

  1. Make a simple 3×3 square grid on paper

    You can download our free grid template, or make your own by creating a simple 3×3 square grid with a ruler and construction or copy paper.

    A fun and simple artist-inspired color exercise for kids using scrap paper squares and a grid! | via barley & birch
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  2. Cut colorful squares and strips from scrap paper

    Using colorful pieces of scrap paper, cut out multiple squares to fit your grid pieces. 

    A fun and simple artist-inspired color exercise for kids using scrap paper squares and a grid! | via barley & birch
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  3. Create layered compositions!

    The simple, multi-colored grid squares can be arranged and rearranged over and over again – helping kids explore color and composition.

    A fun and simple artist-inspired color exercise for kids using scrap paper squares and a grid! | via barley & birch
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This is a wonderfully quiet activity for a station or table and also great for art class early finishers!  You can laminate the grid and colorful pieces and put the set in a basket to reuse the same grid/s over and over.

A fun and simple artist-inspired color exercise for kids using scrap paper squares and a grid! | via barley & birch
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There are so many ways you could use his beautiful work as inspiration for art projects for all ages…

  • Create color rules (for example, use a monochromatic palette or only cool colors)
  • Swap out the colorful paper squares in our project for oil pastels for a whole new medium experience!

If this simple combination of scrap paper and simple shapes has your heart a-flutter, be sure to check out one of my very favorite spontaneous art exercises – these incredible quick collages! You might also like our scrap stamp shape collages, modern geometric cardboard necklaces, or torn paper landscape art.

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About Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help families discover their creative potential and be inspired to make the world a better place through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. When not playing with ideas, designs and projects for barley & birch, Amanda enjoys working as a modern art curator and managing her own small design business.

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