Ideas for Activities

  • Build Your Own Model
    At the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, you can build your own model of a historic Illinois home or building. For example, build a model of the Gardner Museum in Quincy, a Romanesque Revival style building designed in 1888, or the Old Main building in Galesburg, where Lincoln and Douglas held debates in 1858. Print out the model and construct the building by adhering the building pictures to cardstock, cutting them out, and fitting them together. There are tabs to secure the pieces. Lots of directions.
  • Loaves – Painting Composition Activity
    An online art activity called Loaves – Painting Composition Activity uses Illinois artist Macena Barton’s painting in the Illinois State Museum collection for inspiration and guidance.
  • Cast of Characters: Three Chicago Painters Activity
    The Illinois State Museum's educational resources features works by Gertrude Abercrombie and Julia Thecla from the 1930s. Their self-portraits are compared in the exercise called Self-ish Subject. What do these self-portraits tell you about the artist’s self-image? The Lost in Space activity describes how these artists create space and mood in their paintings. The World is a Stage treats paintings as a stage set. Activities and Resources provides ideas for projects to try.
  • Rain Forest Explorer
    Young children examine a mural painted by Ethel Spears in 1939 and learn about the mural’s subject, botanist Carl von Linne. Then they become explorers and classifiers of a natural environment, the rain forest, and apply what they learned about observing in several activities. For more information please visit Chicago - The City in Art
  • Artist Antoinette Hollister's Art and Nature Project

    Developed in 1900 by artist and teacher Antoinette Hollister, this project combines the study of science, nature and literature with art-making. It was designed for Winnetka, IL teachers and parents and published with the title Art Expression for Primary Grades in The Course of Study, a Monthly Publication for Teachers and Parents:

    "The art expression for primary grades will grow principally out of the work done in nature study. The topography of the Winnetka region is to be crudely represented in miniature by a clay model. For this work the children will be divided into groups, and each group will model in the field one of the areas, all of the groups co-operating afterward in making the model of the whole region.

    "Material will be brought from the field to illustrate the characteristic flora of these various areas, and careful studies will be made of them at school.

    "In the later work in the field, sketches will be made of trees, shrubs, or herbs whose presence in this region is significant.

    "Studies in detail of these plants will show their adaptation to soil and atmospheric conditions.

    "At the same time the children will study the animal life of this locality and the inter-relation of the plant and animal life, recording with paint or clay their observations as to how the plants are aided by the animals, how injured by them, and with what devices nature protects plants from the ravages of animals.

    In order to show the manner and rate of growth of twigs and plants, they will be painted or modeled repeatedly at intervals from the beginning to the end of the school term.

    "Literature--Children will be encouraged to reinforce oral expression with art expression, to illustrate stories as they tell them. They will express, also, in this way the throught acquired from the printed page.

    "Some of this work will be given in the form of games."