August 2, 2012

Spring is Time for Water Balloon Art

Spring is Time for Water Balloon Art

We've been having some unusually hot spring weather, and Calvin was looking for a way to stay cool while playing outdoors.  I decided to see what he would do with water balloons.  Could he use the balloons to make art?


  • I filled several water balloons with water, tied them shut, and put them in a tub.  Then I set the tub in front of Clavin.

  • Calvin tried picking up a balloon as if it were a ball, but he squeezed too hard and it burst. He held the second balloon too loosely, and it slipped out of his hand. Then he  picked up the third balloon by its stem, using his pincher grasp.  Success!

  • What would he do next?  That was a 'no-brainer'. He threw the balloon. Splat!  Water sprayed everywhere.  So he did it again and again and again.  Look at his face: that's the look of a toddler having soooo much fun.

  • He threw balloons around the porch until they were all gone.

  • The porch looked like the photo below. We're all familiar with geometric shapes: triangles, circles, squares, etc. But these shapes weren't geometric shapes. They were free-form shapes. Calvin had created a design of free form shapes.  

  • Jackson Pollock was an artist who worked in almost the same manner. He would:
                    1. spread his canvas on the floor.  
                    2. get a brush or rag or stick full of paint 
                    3. drip, fling, and splatter paint all over the canvas

Most of the time Pollock made lines, but sometimes he'd make free form shapes. 

The You Tube video below is 3:41 minutes long. It shows many of Pollock's paintings.

Extend the Activity:

Here are two books about creating art with free form shapes.

  • Action Jackson is a book for children ages 6 and up.  It tells the story of how Pollock created his art.

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  • It Looked Like Spilled Milk is a book for children ages 4 and up.  It's full of free form shapes. The reader is not sure what's making the shapes until the surprise ending.
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Do you have a comment or a suggestion? I'd love to hear from you.

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