Robotic Shape Prints: Two Ways (April 2013)

Shape-printing is a great project for very young children, especially those who are not yet drawing confidently, because the technique produces such immediate results and bold imagery, particularly when working in monochrome. White or metallic paints look really effective contrasted against a black paper background. (For another shape-printing project please click here.)

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My preschoolers loved creating robots from geometric shapes, printed with the help of all sorts of household objects, from circular yogurt pots, toilet roll tubes and corks, to triangular Toblerone boxes, hexagonal Smarties tubes and rectangular matchboxes. The straight edges of heavy cardboard are great for printing straight lines.

Everyone’s favourite printing tool was an old contact lens case. The catalytic disc has an intricate shape like a cog (below), which was perfect for this robotic project.


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We started by looking at some pictures of real robots, robot toys and famous movie robots such as WALL.E and R2D2, and then the kids began making their own mechanical figures!

My younger group, aged three and four, worked together to create one giant robot!

I taped two large sheets of black paper together on the floor, and the children took it in turns to choose an object, stamp it in gold acrylic paint and print shapes on the paper. We built the robot gradually, starting with the head which was outlined first, using strips of thick cardboard, before adding other details such as eyes, arms, legs, antennae, buttons and lights (see below).

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The finished collaborative robot
































My older group, aged between four and six years old, created their own individual robots using the same method and the same range of objects as the younger group.

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Here are the individual robots…



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