When I was little, my Great Grandmother had a framed mosaic in her kitchen made entirely of colored corn and various beans. As a kid, it always inspired me to want to make my own colored corn mosaic. So this week, with the girls (ages 4 and 2), I finally did! These mosaics would be a great addition to a harvest or Thanksgiving theme.
Small Pieces and Fine Motor Skills
Creating corn mosaic art requires only basic materials. But it also requires a tremendous amount of patience and dexterity, two challenges for little hands. The small corn pieces are great for reinforcing pincher grip, while squeezing out the glue strengthens hands and fingers. Building these small muscles helps with writing, tying shoes, and other important life skills.
Corn Mosaic Process Art
Process art with kids is always an awesome experience to see where their level of development and imaginations, which are so much freer than our own, will take them. These art experiences can let kids explore materials and their own ideas.
- 6 cups colored corn (Plain popcorn, Vinegar, Water, Food coloring, Ziplock bags)
- Sorting tray
- Card stock or other heavyweight paper
To create a colored corn mosaic, coloring the corn is the most time-intensive part. I would recommend making it at least 2 days before you plan to use it to allow ample drying time. Add 1 cup corn, 1 cup warm water, 2-3 TBSP of vinegar, and 20-30 drops of food coloring to a Ziplock bag. The corn needs time to absorb the color, so I recommend letting it soak overnight. Then, drain the liquid from the corn, and spread out on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels to dry for 6+ hours. Note: A cup of corn is a lot of corn and should be plenty for 12-15 preschoolers to use for mosaics.
Once the corn is dry, place it in a sorting tray. Give each child a bottle of glue, a piece of card stock, and let them create away. The only instructions were to make pictures with the colored corn. To make it stick, kids need to put down glue first, and then the corn on the glue.
For Lil’ M (age 2), we are working on color identification. She still says everything is yellow or purple. For her, the project was about exerting her independence, doing the glue ‘myself,’ and identifying the various colors of corn as she applied them. She wanted no help or intervention.
For Big M (age 4), she turned it into an exercise about shapes, requesting help with the glue to outline large shapes she specified, and then decorating them with the colored corn. You could also encourage children to create patterns, or for a slightly more structured approach, provide images for them to use. Kids could also use a pencil to lightly draw shapes or designs before using the glue.
And, I must admit, I had some fun of my own as well!
BIO: Meghan is a former hedge fund professional turned SAHM to Big M (4), Lil’ M (2), and Baby M (1 month). She writes at Playground Parkbench, where she shares at-home activities for kids, parenting tips, and financial savvy for the household CEO. Find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!