In 1940 kids searching for buried treasure in France found a gigantic set of cave drawings instead. The drawings were over 17,000 years old. My youngest asked, “Is that older than you Mommy?” Sigh. Today we talked about the beginnings of art, and why people might have made such early drawings. Were they telling a story about a hunt they had, or recording how they lived? An easy activity to let kids explore their inner cave man is to create cave drawings.
Materials needed: black crayons or pastels and brown paper bags.
- Cut a square of brown paper.
- Squish it up into a ball, to make texture.
- Look at cave drawings in the books suggested, or talk about what your kids imagine a caveman would want to draw.
- Use black crayon to make your drawings. You can smudge it up with either a light wash of paint or tea, or dirt to make the paintings look old.
Books: The Secret Cave: Discovering Lascaux by Caldecott Medalist Emily Arnold McCully (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2010) is a 40-page account of the real boys that found the French cave. For older kids try Painting from the Cave: Three Novella by Gary Paulsen. This set of stories is actually about art transforming urban kids whose homes have been dominated by fear and violence. Again, not for the younger crowd, but Gary Paulsen’s a Newbery Honor winner and master of middle-grade.