Christmas VBS is an Excellent Reason to do Art!

Christmas Vacation Bible School is an excellent excuse to get together to do art for an afternoon in December. It might be ideal to have each project carefully planned and the schedule beautifully timed moment-by-moment, but I opted for a more fluid (and chaotic) mode of going with the proverbial flow and letting the kids do what they wanted when they wanted.The three hours time-frame for for art was a bit hectic, but there was always plenty for the kids to do.
The kids could choose to do any of the following: hand prints, paint piggy banks, oil pastels on black for Frosty or a Christmas tree, decorate mini Christmas trees, or mixed media art "Symbols of Christmas." The cool part about a fluid schedule for art/anything is the freedom to be creative. It also allows freedom for everyone to choose what they like doing and to skip over what doesn't interest the. We had a total of eight different projects (including decorating Christmas cookies) so there was a little something for everyone.

Red and Green as (Universal) Colors of Christmas

I had no idea how universal the "Christmas colors" are (RED and GREEN) until I did an art project inside a detention center with immigrant women from Central America. I wanted to find out what their Christmas traditions are so that when I returned a few weeks later to do art with the children I would have prepared somewhat appropriately regarding colors and symbols for my Christmas art supplies. I was super surprised to learn that RED and GREEN seem to be universal Christmas colors-at least for Central and North America.
The instructions included (in Spanish) the following:
1.     Use a pen or colored pencil and describe your favorite Christmas from your childhood or country. What colors remind you of Christmas? What are the favorite foods that are served? Who comes to visit (or who do you go to visit)? What is your favorite Christmas song? What special activities do you do during December? What does your family do in preparation for Christmas Eve? Christmas Day? What do you do as a family? What are the smells that remind you of Christmas? What is the one tradition that is the most important to you about Christmas? What is the one food that you think of as a must have for Christmas?
2.     Choose one, two, or three stamps that remind you of Christmas and cover the background (over the words). Clean the stamps with a baby wipe when you are done.
3.     Use pretty papers and the “punch tools” to punch out shapes that remind you of Christmas. Glue the shapes onto the page.
4.     Add a layer of stamped images that tell the story of Christmas in your country.

5.     What do you want in your new country? What memories do you want to create for special Christmases? What are your hopes and dreams for Christmas 2015? Christmas 2016? (Why did you come here, and what do you dream for yourself and your children?)

Puzzles of Home

 Popsicle stick puzzles tell the story of "home." This fun project involves prepping eight Popsicle sticks: simply taping them together with masking tape. The the participants tell the story of home by drawing in the details of their house, trees, and yard. These images were created by women in an immigrant family detention center. The idea was for the moms to draw the images of their homes and then to use the art puzzles with their children to tell the story of home. Remove the tape the the sticks become a puzzle.
 The supplies list is very simple: Popsicle sticks, masking tape, and marker pens.