Kids Get Crafty - Faces - Red Ted Art's Blog : Red Ted Art's Blog

Kids Get Crafty – Faces

| March 9, 2011 | 48 Comments

I mentioned in Spring Get Crafty, that I love the amazingly creative Lilla A and her wonderful carnivals – she takes a crafty carnival just a step further. So, I was very pleased to see her upcoming “self portrait” carnival and REALLY wanted to take part with Red Ted (3). Now Red Ted is only JUST 3 and already can be a bit of a perfectionist, resulting in lots of “you do it”s. I have tried self portraits with him before, with mixed results. I am not an expert in child development, but I “know” that self portraits are very important in the development of young children. I don’t know the theory, but I know it “is”. Honest. So, I was determined to succeed this time.

Oh and here is a great post by Cathy from Nurturestore on the topic!!

The Book

Funny Face Gesichter machen Funny Faces, Nicola Smee. As an aid, I have a wonderful wonderful book – “Gesichter Machen“, to my excitement, it does exist in English: Funny Faces. Seriously, if you fancy a book about emotions, feelings and faces, you can’t go wrong with this one and we HIGHLY recommend it.

It tells the story of a little boy playing with his ball when the big bear comes… each page or stage of the story is accompanied by a “Happy Face” or a “Surprised Face” or a “Scared Face” etc – perfect for talking to your children about emotions, why we feel them (the bear is coming: scared)  and how we show  them on our face (eyer brows up, mouth down).  At the end the little reader is rewarded with their own face in a mirror.

Both Red Ted (3) and Pip Squeak (1.5) benefit from the book. Pip Squeak LOVES the faces and of course the mirror and Red Ted listens to the stories and learns about emotions. It is lovely how they are currently enjoying a range of books together, albeit for different reason!

(here is one of my favourite photos of Pip Squeak, reading Gesichter Machen, aged 7mths)

The Craft

We made several attempts.

1) Drawing

2) Painting

3) Sticking

The only “downside” of the fabulous book above, is that instead of “focussing” on the mirror at the end, Red Ted wants to “draw and paint” the other faces on the page opposite, including the dog. He said he really wanted to draw the angry face as well as the crying face.

1)  When we draw faces with crayons, Red Ted has a tendency to place 2 tiny dots and possibly a line – in a circle, which he often insist I draw first. Though he had a go (in purple here). I was able to “persuade him” that we may need some hair… and he did his characteristically tiny dots.

2) I thought we could try with paint. And we ended up with the below. Interestingly, when I said to daddy “This is Red Ted”, Red Ted said “No, that is not me” (*phew* more of a little piggy me thinks). It was a rather unsatisfying sessions – as Red Ted didn’t really want to do it and only just about tolerated my suggestions of “do we need eyes?” etc. He refused to try different colours or different paintprushes. Still, we have a face, eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth and some hair. He only wanted to paint a dog and nothing else (there is a dog in the story). So he did well!

3) Finally, we came up with a process that worked for a 3yrs old: Sticking! We prepped a paper plate in pink. I got some coloured paper and our Emotions book and this time Red Ted fully engaged:

  • Me: what colour is your hair – RT: Yellow!
  • I asked whether he wanted to stick some on- RT: Yes! (So I cut some hair and he stuck it on. He wanted to stick it all around the face, but I told him to look at his reflect and asked him whether he had hair everywhere, RT: No.
  • Me: Shall we do some eyes – RT: Yes
  • Me: What colour – RT: Blue. Me: do we need some white too? – RT: Yes. So I cut some white and blue shapes. He stuck them togther and on the face
  • Me: what do we need now? RT: a mouth. Me: What colour is the mouth – RT: Red. Me: is it happy or sad etc


You catch my drift! In this way, we added teeth, a blue (his idea) nose, ears and even an “ouch” he currently has by his mouth (I was rather impressed that he wanted to add this detail). And interestingly/ not surprisingly, he added it to the “wrong side” – i.e. in his reflection it is on the right, in real life it is on his left side. It will be interesting to see at what age he understa nds that a reflection is a reverse of himself.

He also, erm, added a belly button (that is the red dot below the blue nose) – well it IS his picture, so why not. Ta Da:

It is funny how we both really enjoyed the process this time (compared to Piggy above) and how the result was therefore much more satisfying. I *think* that maybe “free” painting is still a little daunting for him and therefore he either wants to just paint a mix up picture or not at all.

Lesson: try different ways of doing something until you find what works for you!

(Oh and here is the dog, I drew the outline, Red Ted added the detail, he even added a blue Ouch by the eye):

Have you made some self portraits in the past? I would love to see them and hear how you approached them! ALL kids related crafts very welcome – but especially faces!

For more Kid’s Craft ideas, click here for a full list.

If you have been crafty with your kid’s be it at home, in the kitchen or outdoors, I would love for you to link up:


If you enjoy blog hops and link up parties.. do go and the fabulous Play Academy & Something for the Weekend every Friday and Monkeys Doodles every Monday! Just click on the badges below!

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  1. Kate says:

    What fun. I’ve been wanting to do funny faces with J for a while but he is just too little still. I was thinking about just having him stand in front of a mirror and pull different faces. He is just starting to enjoy his own reflection so I think we might be able to do it soon :)

  2. Red Ted Art says:

    Good point/ idea Kate, I should spend more time in front of mirror with Pip Squeak!

  3. sunnymama says:

    That’s a great self-portrait and the pictures of RT looking in the mirror book are so sweet! :)

  4. Jill says:

    I love this! LOL at the bellybutton on his face. My son would probably do the same thing.

  5. maryanne says:

    We have a baby book with faces of babies expressing various emotions, and then a mirror at the end like this to show a happy baby. It’s a favorite of all three of my kids’!

    We haven’t drawn portraits, but maybe we will this week!

  6. se7en says:

    We are still busy with hours – they are taking days!!! What a cute belly button!!! My just three year old painted a brown splat on her face and when we asked what it was… with great authority: “My sevral chins”!!!

  7. Michelle says:

    Thanks for hosting again. This is such a fun link up. I love getting craft ideas for me and the kids. What a cute book and project. I love the mirror in the book!

  8. Red Ted Art says:

    Aaah se7en, that is simply too cute!! Several chins indeed!! :-)

    And thanks for the fab comments everyone!

  9. So cute! What a great project! I will have to try some self portraits with my daughter!

  10. Angela says:

    I love this post. The painting so reminds me of trying to do any art or craft with my nearly-3-yr-old, who has her own ideas of what she wants to do, which rarely tally exactly with what Mummy wants. Red Ted’s drawings sound just like hers, too, as she’s very into drawing tiny circles at the moment, and tends to put a couple of them into a bigger circle as “eyes”, before adding a few more for good measure!

    My favourite book on feelings and expressions is a Baby Einstein one called “See How I Feel”, which has got it all – cartoons of Van Gogh paintings, pictures of Baby Vincent in different moods with short explanations of why he feels that way, and a mirror on each page for the child to see if they can make the same face. We got it for my daughter when she was quite young, when she just liked the mirrors, but now she really enjoys the whole thing, and of course Mummy has to do all the different faces as well!

    • Red Ted Art says:

      Oh Angela – always great to hear how others are “getting on craft wise” with toddlers – it is a mystery what goes on their heads, but guess they are practising their fine motorskills! The Baby Einstein book sounds great! Thank you.

  11. Esther says:

    Wow! thanks for sharing the book and the project. I guess my daughter will love it. She likes Happy faces!

  12. Nicole says:

    I love his finished artwork! I also love that you had the patience to keep trying new things with him – what a wonderful mama. :) I am saving this idea to try with Matthew – he draws pictures of himself, but has never really taken a good look in the mirror while doing it. I’m really looking forward to trying this!

  13. I just love the look of that baby’s face in the mirror book! This is such a great idea. I am a new follower! My son is on his way over right now to show us…hahaha there goes the garage door HE IS HERE!!! to show us pictures of the ultra sound they had done yesterday. This is our first grandbaby!!

    I will be interest in a lot of fun crafts for the future for sure.

  14. Maggy!

    You inspired me to do a self portrait with my daughter! (Isn’t this what were supposed to do?—inspire!)
    I also looked at Lilla a and then it really convinced me! Now, I have an entry for her carnival! Thanks for the inspiration and I may even do a post with drawing a self portrait with your child. We used oil pastels and it turned out great!! You never know what your child will do! I’m so happy! Thanks! You are awesome!

  15. Red Ted Art says:

    Ah Melissa!!! You are lovely kind lady!!! Thank you SO MUCH for leaving that fabulous comment. Makes me all warm and fuzzy and glowing inside!!! And puts a huge grin on my face! Would LOVE to see your portraits – please please please DO write a post :-))))))

    Wanda – CONGRATULATIONS – how exciting a first grandbaby!!! Wonderful news.

    Nicole – oooh would love to here how Matthew does with a mirror!!

  16. Amy says:

    I love this idea. I wanted to say Thanks for stopping by and sharing for my Round Robin.. Have a great weekend..

  17. Thank you, we have this book at home too, in Dutch! We shall be making some funny faces with the leftover christmas plates.
    Funny how lots of us crafting with books this week!

  18. Thanks so much for the compliments about my daughter’s portrait! You made my day! Love the expression:
    “chuffed to bits”! Not something I hear every day! Love it!

  19. Oh well done! Portraits are such fun! I have a post lined up for the Me meme which is a picture of me by BB (and one by DS2) but I haven’t written it yet :-( Thanks so much for linking this treasure trove! x

  20. Holly says:

    Love the self-portrait! When my 5-year-old was that age, all he wanted to do was write letters, not color or draw. To get him to do a self-portrait I taught him how to make faces with letters (O for the head; C & backwards C for ears; O’s for eyes; U or L for nose; lots of W’s for hair; and a big U for a smile). It worked!

  21. Rachel says:

    That is so cute!!!!
    Thanks for sharing at the For the Kids Friday Link Party at Sun Scholars! I look forward to having you back this Friday!

    And thanks for the invite to your Kids Get Crafty Party! I’ll be linking up starting this week!!

  22. Natalie says:

    What a wonderful project, and I like how you tried different techniques to engage Red Ted. We loved emotions books here too.

  23. Pinkoddy says:

    Brilliant thank you. Will pin this on my Autism board. Will look to buy the book too.

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