According to education expert Chip Woods, boys aged eight to 10 gravitate toward active projects and same-sex group activities. During this preadolescent stage of development, they also naturally begin to address ethical and social issues, such as environmentalism and social justice. Presenting projects with a public audience will motivate students to put in extra effort.
Environmental Art Projects
Preteens are natural activists. You can address topics explored in science classes, like pollution, climate change and recycling, in arts and crafts projects. Possible activities to raise public awareness include posters, buttons, T-shirts, banners, bumper stickers and postcards. Students will enjoy making decisions, researching topics and presenting their work publicly. Teachers and parents need to provide some support, while fostering independence.
Preteen boys may be insecure about their drawing skills. Making stencils based on photographs provides a tool to help them overcome their self-doubt. Images for stencils can be photographs of themselves or historical figures from social studies class. Students, like contemporary artists and designers, can use stencils to create images on murals, T-shirts, mixed-media drawings and various other surfaces.
A large tie-dye banner will keep a group of boys busy for hours. Show them how they can carefully arrange rubber bands to create designs, and let them experiment. Use vats of fabric dye, diluted acrylic paint in squeeze bottles or artificially colored fruit beverages to apply a rainbow of colors to the tied fabric. Once dry and wrinkle-free, the tie-dye sheet provides a good surface for a flag, banner or mural. Teachers and parents should find a prominent place to display their work of art.
Fiona Fearey has an undergraduate degree from Temple University and a master's degree from New York University. She has been a freelance writer and editor for over five years. She has written for Pluck on Demand and various other websites. Other professional experience includes education, the arts and decorative painting.