Preschool is a time for young children to learn and develop artistic fundamentals. Art activities are engaging for preschoolers because they are opportunity for hands-on creation, which is how children retain information most effectively and efficiently at this age. Motor skills and eye-hand coordination skills are also developed through preschool art activities.
According to Scholastic, children should leave preschool knowing how to identify the primary colors -- red, blue and yellow -- and how to mix two colors to create a third color. For instance, children should learn that mixing the primary colors yellow and blue produces the secondary color green. Art activities for color knowledge can include color identification games and activities in which preschoolers create colors by mixing primary paints together in egg crates.
Art helps children understand themes and how colors are used to express feelings and create a mood. Explain that a theme influences what the artist creates by setting the tone for the art piece. Instruct preschoolers to create various types of art based on specific themes. For instance, if you give your students a sad theme, they might incorporate lots of blue and purple colors, whereas a cheery theme would inspire them to use bright yellows and oranges. Discuss various holidays throughout the year, such as Halloween and Valentine's Day. Ask students to identify the colors associated with the day or season.
Increasing Fine Motor Skills
Many art projects can help students increase dexterity when working with their hands. Safely working with blunt scissors, sculpting clay, coloring with crayons and drawing with markers supports development of fine motor skills. You can also use art to teach preschoolers about another subject while they're simultaneously fine-tuning motor skills. For instance, when teaching preschoolers about the history of Thanksgiving, have them color images of pilgrims or make paper turkeys by tracing their hands. Science lessons can include drawing tadpoles or butterflies, for example.
Working with Different Media
A important goal in preschool art education is familiarizing students with different art media. Many children especially enjoy the tactile stimulation of finger paint. Preschool art activities should expose students to to drawing, painting, working with clay, making collages and gluing objects onto pictures. Students learn what the various media are and experiment by combining them to create something different. Using different media encourages children to innovate and try new things.
One of the objectives of preschool art activities should be for students to express themselves and not just copy what other students are doing. Self-expression is important in building character and identity and learning to represent an inner feeling creatively. For an art activity, you can play music, such as Mozart, and tell students to draw what they feel from the music; or you can have them think about something that makes them happy -- or sad or scared -- and draw a picture of it.