One of my favorite projects to do with kindergarten is my gyotaku fish bowls. The word "gyotaku" is Japanese, and refers to the process of creating fish prints.
Here's a link to a short video by the artist Naoki: http://youtu.be/vkaK48urU8o
While searching through the Nasco catalog, I found a set of simple rubber fish used for "gyotaku" stamping for kids. The were the same size and shape, which saved on students fighting over which fish was better, and even though they're different colors, I tell the students that the color of the fish doesn't matter, it's the color ink you use to make your print.
The materials you need:
-10.5" x 16" white paper, cut to form a fish bowl shape (see finished example for shape)
-12" x 18" colored paper for frame
-Markers (I choose crayola washable, the students will get their hands covered in marker ink, there's no way around that!)
-Gyotaku fishies (I ordered mine through Nasco, order enough to be sure each student receives one)
(Hint: You can order in a set of seven and get a package of markers with it to start you off)
I start off the project by showing my students pictures of Gyotaku fish prints,a nd explain how fisherman would use this process to record their catch out at sea (since they didn't have cameras back then!) After explaining about the process, I show students how to decorate their fish bowl with crayons.
Shapes: Show the students how to repeat circle for stones at the bottom, or how a rectangle and a rainbow connect together to make a treasure chest. I teach this project to the kindergarteners in the beginning f the school year, about three weeks in (I see them once a week), so they're excited to make a bowl, but still learning their shapes.
Lines: I show students how to use wavy lines for water and for water plants, like seaweed. Again, since it's a beginning of the year project for me, the students are still learning their lines.
Color: I tell the students that before I give them their fish for stamping, They need to color their fishbowl...nicely! In my district, many students have not had preschool or early childhood experience, so they're still learning to color in the lines. Most of my projects reinforce the practice of coloring in the lines to improve craftsmanship, as well as patience.
Once the students finish their coloring, I give them a fish. I tell them to color the side without the letters, since Nasco fish have "nasco" printed on one side. I do have students that forget, so I get a bunch of "nasco" fish in their bowls.
I tell the students to print as many fish as they can in many different colors. The students are shown how to use markers to color the textured part of the fish, then how to turn the fish over to create the stamp. The end result looks like this:
Not every fish bowl will look like this, but the students will have tons of fun stamping! If you travel, remember to bring your fish with you from school to school, or make sure you order some to keep at every school. It's an easy project for traveling, and the students have a ton of fun making it!