Ingredients:  Sheets of a range of different materials – fabric, baking parchment, foil, cellophane, newspaper, black paper, bubble wrap, wrapping paper etc…,  needle and thread, a range of mark-making tools

The Big Sell: Bored in the summer holidays? Create your own Imagination Goggles Sketchbook

Strategy:  First an explanation of the term ‘Imagination goggles’. In every workshop I run with children I begin by asking them if they have remembered to bring their imagination goggles. Children do NOT question this – they immediately copy me by putting their fingers up to their eyes to make goggle shapes. I then lead an activity asking them to prove they are wearing their goggles properly – often this means producing an everyday object from my magic bag and inviting them to turn it into something different, or using their bodies to mime something completely different. This sets the scene for our workshop – anything is possible if you enter into your imagination.

As part of the reward system for my current Artspip group (ages 5 – 8) I have promised to give them each a special homemade gift IF they get 20 names on the leaves on our Artspip Tree (our Behaviour Contract) which are awarded for exceptional listening, sharing, thinking and having fun.  This homemade gift (shhh, don’t tell them yet!) is an Imagination Goggles Sketchbook for the holidays.

Homemade sketchbooks are easy to make. Simply collect a range of different interesting materials and sew together. This will invite the mark-maker to look at them in resourceful ways in order to make an impact on their book. They could choose to make a coherent story from start to end, to treat each page as a separate work of art, or have a theme. They could mark them with crayons, scissors, charcoal, collage; they could fray them, fold them, put lipstick marks on them… literally anything!

The verdict: Learning the art of recording your thoughts in innovative ways is an incredibly powerful life skill and you are never too young or old to learn to start. This is a great way of using up odds and ends around the house and the making of the sketchbook can be as fun as the completion of it.

I will interested to see if my Artspips have fun filling theirs in and bringing them back to show each other in September. I hope each one is as individually expressive as their makers.

Catchphrase: There are no such thing as mistakes in these sketchbooks – make it your own.

Left wanting more?

  • I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s so brilliant I’ll recommend it again. If you are teaching children how to respond creatively to homemade sketchbooks you MUST read them ‘Beautiful Oops’ by Barney Saltzberg, published by Workman. It is the Bible of this type of practice.
  • Last week, my first short story written for children was published by the charity Access Art – it’s called ‘The Incredible Finvention’ and you can download it FREE for i-pad or as a PDF. It’s carries the same message of the process of creating being more important than the end product. Enjoy!

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