Monday, January 7, 2013

Me and Magritte [an Art Project]

The art movement of surrealism can be tough for adults to understand (what's with those melting clocks anyway?). Kids are much more open-minded. To expose my son to the art of Rene Magritte, we read a few great books and then made our own Magritte-esque masterpiece.

Since my son is only seven years old, I let our artist study be self-guided, and didn't try to overwhelm him with a grown-up definition of surrealism. A few great authors brought the movement to life, and helped my son observe the oddities of this art movement.

Dinner at Magritte's is a wonderful story that any child can relate to. Young Pierre is bored so he visits the neighbor's house. He's invited in by the Magrittes and asked to share dinner there with another painter, Salvador Dali. The illustrations in this book imitate the art; my son loved discovering all of the oddities.

The other piece of children's fiction that we read, Magritte's Marvelous Hat, tells the tale of the painter (depicted as a loveable dog) whose new hat unlocks his imagination and gets his creativity flowing. Some of the book is see-through pages, which add to the enjoyment of the story.

When we were done reading, I grabbed a photograph that I'd snapped of my son.

I told him it was time to make a personalized version of one of Magritte's paintings (click here to see the one we mimicked). This is a great activity to talk about positive and negative space.

Once my son's body was carefully cut out of the picture, we glued the empty silhouette to the right side of a piece of cloud-printed scrapbooking paper. To the left of it, we glued his body.

The result is just as curious as the original painting! 


  1. I've been a fan of your blog for a while now (I use your game ideas as inspiration when I'm doing math with my kids and with other elementary aged children). I adapted one of your games (the elevator math one) to include in a parent take-home book for use in parent math games nights in elementary schools (a friend of my husband does training workshops for both teachers and parents, and requested our help with math games). I'm planning to put your blog in as a recommended resource too, so that other parents can find your great learning game ideas! If for any reason you'd rather I didn't put your blog address in the book, please let me know and I'll take it out.

    Thanks for sharing your games and ideas.

    1. Laurel, Feel free to share! That's why I post these activities. I'm glad you've found some inspiration here!! And thanks for following!

  2. Thanks for sharing all of the amazing ideas. What size picture did you use for the Magritte inspired project? Love it!

    1. I think it was 5x7 but you could scale it to whatever size works for you. Have fun!!