Wabi Sabi Simple camp curriculum (K-5th Grade)

Summer Camp Curriculum by Amanda E. Gross

Theme: Wabi Sabi Simple: Japanese Art and Inventions

Rationale: Children and parents will like this theme because beyond fun, hands-on, art projects, children will expand their global understanding. “Japanese” as a cultural term will be taught as something real and fluid, with examples from a variety of time periods and contexts. Due to the feeling of connectedness among students and teachers, and the safe environment in which to reflect and investigate, art and science camp classes are an ideal place to explore other cultures.

Brief: Children will be introduced to the concept of “wabi sabi,” where value is placed on minimalism and transience. Children will enhance fine motor skills in manipulating a variety of media, and will be empowered to think critically, resourcefully, and use their imaginations. Discussions will be an important component of each class, and visual resources will include maps, books, and photos referencing Japanese culture and arts.

Age-appropriate projects: 

Preschool + Kindergarten:

  • Natural material pattern collages
  • Vegetable stamp paintings/prints
  • Warm/cool color landscape collages.
  • Critter habitats with natural materials
  • Mini gardens with natural materials
  • Woodblock prints

1st + 2nd Grade:

  • Critter habitats with natural materials
  • Mini gardens with natural materials
  • Woodblock prints
  • Fish/carp hanging windsocks
  • Kokeshi dolls with colorful kimonos
  • Nature drawings in pencil or charcoal
  • Expressive sumi ink paintings.

3rd through 5th Grade:

  • Mobile sculptures using natural materials
  • Sumi ink nature paintings
  • Origami animals
  • Paper lamps
  • Transformation drawings
  • Minimal flower arrangement + still life drawing (ikebana)
  • Collaborative sumi ink paintings
  • Simple 3-step comics
  • Write haikus to place into waba sabi collage books

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