This week the Preschool Book Club read Eric Carle’s The Mixed-Up Chameleon. The story tells a tale of a chameleon who keeps wishing to be like the other animals until his body is all mixed up with different body parts quickly realizing that he is happiest when he is himself. Carle’s illustrations are pure magic. I decided to focus this week on creating our own Eric Carle Inspired Mixed Up Creatures based on his techniques. I originally got this idea from my graduate school art teacher, but completely forgot to implement it as a classroom teacher. So happy to have the opportunity with my own children now!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE ERIC CARLE INSPIRED MIXED UP CREATURES
construction paper (or tissue paper if you truly want to be authentic to what Carle used)
tempera paint (red, yellow, blue)
various objects to print with (legos, cards, small rug squares, bubble wrap, kitchen utensils, etc.)
white construction paper or 8 x 11 pieces of butcher paper
googly eyes (optional)
AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT ENHANCED BY MAKING ERIC CARLE INSPIRED MIXED UP CREATURES
Begin by reading Carle’s The Mixed-Up Chameleon. After reading the book you can talk about the how Eric Carle creates his illustrations. Have children look at the illustrations and make observations and predictions. You can watch this slideshow of Eric Carle using his classic techniques. You are welcome to make an authentic version using the exact techniques described, but I thought the fragile nature of tissue paper would prove very frustrating for my children so we opted for colorful construction paper.
TIME TO MAKE ERIC CARLE INSPIRED MIXED UP CREATURES
Now it’s time to make our own creations! Give each child access to a plate or shallow containers with red, yellow and blue tempera paints, a variety of everyday objects to print with and a choice of colored construction paper.
Describe how the children can dip the different materials in the paint and then use on the construction paper to make different textures. Keep this project very open ended. Allow the children the freedom to use the materials however they choose. While the children are working focus your language on their actions.
“Quinn, I notice you are using the car with the red paint. Look at the different lines the car is making. How does it do that?”
“Charlotte, look at the way you are moving your hands back and forth on the paper. How does the paint feel?”
When the children’s masterpieces are complete allow to completely dry. Next cut the papers up into a variety of shapes. These will be used to create the Eric Carle Inspired Mixed Up Creatures. This could easily be a two day project. My early risers made the papers in the morning and then created their creatures in the late afternoon.
To make the creatures give each child a piece of white paper, glue and a variety of paper shapes. Before we made our creatures we talked about the different shapes and what shapes we might use for different body parts. My children loved creating their creatures and talking about the different characteristics.
After my children decided their creatures were complete I gave them the option of adding googly eyes. They all jumped at the chance. I like the whimsy it adds to each work of art. Without prompting my son told me his creature was half fox, half porcupine. I hadn’t thought of having them think of their creatures in this way. I love when a child challenges a project and take it in his own direction!
My daughter Charlotte was so excited about her creature that she gave it to her Grampa as a present. I’m happy I photographed it before it got away!
Looking for more creative ways to explore Eric Carle’s The Mixed-Up Chameleon? Click on the links below.
Camouflaged Chameleon Hunt from Mama Papa Bubba
Math Game for Mixed Up Chameleon from Buggy and Buddy
The Mixed Up Chameleon Sensory Bin from Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
Eric Carle Inspired Chameleon Art from Meri Cherry Blog
The Mixed Up Chameleon Snack Mix Activity from Sugar Aunts
Looking for more ways to explore books through play? Check out the rest of the Preschool Book Club Series!