Kids Get Crafty – Faces

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:


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