Swimmy Stamp Painting

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Stamp painting project to go along with the Leo Lionni book, Swimmy.  Dreamy ocean colors, cheerful fish, and a variety of things to stamp with make this a beautiful process art project for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and elementary children.

As part of our author study about Leo Lionni, we have read Swimmy over and over again recently.  It is beautiful story about teamwork, and about finding the courage to do new things with the help of your friends.  My favorite part about Swimmy is the artwork.  The illustrations are done with a stamping technique, resulting in a dreamy ocean atmosphere.

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

I set up this Swimmy stamp painting project for the girls and they absolutely LOVED it!  And I absolutely LOVE when the girls produce art that is genuinely beautiful!

At the time we did this project, Maggie was almost 4 and Lena was 5 1/2.

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

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We started by reading the story (again) and focusing on the illustrations.  I asked questions like:
  • How do you think Leo Lionni painted this scene?  
  • Does it look like he used a brush?
  • What colors do you see?  Are they happy or sad colors?  Are they dark or light?
  • What kinds of things do you think were used to paint this scene?
Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

After we had read the book and talked about the artwork, we moved to a table where I had set up their painting project.  I decided to make this a BIG project, but you could easily recreate it on a smaller scale.  I cut a length from our big paper roll and taped it to our craft table.

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

Nearby, I had a small table set up with paint and several things that could be used as stamping tools-- aluminum foil, waxed paper, cling wrap, old rags, sponges (different textures on each side), and sponge rollers. 

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

I let the girls mix their colors.  We talked about how to make a very light blue, and deliberately left it sort of swirly to create some variation in the color as the girls painted.

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

First, Lena and Maggie covered the whole paper in light blue to make the ocean.  They loved experimenting with the different items to paint with.  They crumbled the aluminum foil, waxed paper, and cling wrap and bunched up the rags.  We talked about how stamping up and down left the texture nice and varied, but swiping or smearing the sponges didn't produce the same effect.

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

Next the girls mixed up some brown and used smaller rags and cotton balls to make a rocky ocean floor.

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

I loved watching them collaborate (not always their strongest suit)!  They said things like, "I'll do this side, and you do that side," and, "Lets put a big pile of rocks over here."

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

Then we were ready to add some seaweed.

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

Mix up some light bluish green.  Again, keep it swirly!

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

The side of a sponge made a perfect shape for seaweed.  The girls especially loved how the extra scrubby side of the sponge made a darker line.

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

Finally it was time for the little fish!  Luckily, I had an old foam fish stamp from an inexpensive set from the craft store.  This set looks like it would do the job.

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

I was fully prepared to have 2 Swimmys in black paint - I thought Lena and Maggie would each one to stamp one.  After such a big project, though, Maggie was just about over the whole thing and ready for a snack.  She happily let Lena add the one little black Swimmy fish.

Swimmy stamp painting project for a Leo Lionni study.  Also great for an ocean or fish theme.

Isn't it pretty?!  The girls are SO proud of their work, and they really enjoyed exploring a different painting technique.

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Cutting Tiny Bites: Swimmy Stamp Painting
Swimmy Stamp Painting
Stamp painting project to go along with the Leo Lionni book, Swimmy. Dreamy ocean colors, cheerful fish, and a variety of things to stamp with make this a beautiful process art project for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and elementary children.
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Cutting Tiny Bites
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