Activity: Loose Parts Mosaic

Activity Plan

Number of Children: 1 to 4

Age Range of Children: 2.6 to 3 years

Originating Idea Based on Observation:

While working on Creature Maths, Child W laid out the googly eyes in a line on her animal. Meanwhile, Child E picked out all her animal’s eyes and put them back in the container. She then proceeded to pick up all the other eyes on the table and dropped them in the container. Child T folded her animal paper in half to put away.

This activity builds on the children’s interests in putting together or pulling apart loose materials to create what they desire.


Learning Anticipated & Developmental Significance:


“4.3 Representation

  • beginning to use art media and tools to express their ideas, feelings and experiences
  • using a variety of materials to build with and express their ideas
  • generating alternative ideas
  • talking about the story or meaning of artwork
  • connecting artwork to their past experiences or to emotions, feelings and thoughts”

(Best Start Expert Panel on Early Learning, 2007, p. 52)


F) Creative Arts

“40.  Art: Children express and represent what they observe, think, imagine, and feel through two- and three-dimensional art.”

(High Scope, 2010)


Where & When Will the Activity Take Place

  • at the Art Table
  • during Work Time/Program-Planned Activities


  • contact paper (size 5×5; 15 pieces)
  • painter’s tape (1 roll)
  • scissors (4 pairs)
  • buttons
  • string/yarn
  • loose paper (cut into small pieces)
  • googly eyes
  • sticks/pipe cleaners
  • stones
  • baskets (8, medium-sized)


  • Write each child’s name on a small piece of apper with the date of the activity for labeling their work.
  • Place all loose parts in baskets and set them in the middle of the table for easy reach.
  • Tape the contact paper onto the table, sticky side up.
  • Invite the children to create anything they want by placing the loose parts onto the contact paper and showing them how you can build or design anything.


  • The children will combine the loose parts and create two- and three-dimensional representations of their ideas, feelings, and experiences. I will encourage them to express this in words as well.
  • Some children may choose only one type of material to use. I will provide observational comments such as, “You’ve used all the yarn for your design. That’s a big spiral.” Then, I will allow the child to take the lead from there and describe what he/she is creating.
  • Other children may not want to place anything on the contact paper and simply lay out some of the loose materials in front of them. I will ask, “What are you creating?” and engage them in a discussion about their artwork. This will allow them to think of what they do as a representation no matter how they interact with the materials.


  • Five minutes before the end of the activity, I will tell the children that we will give the other boys and girls a chance to create their own mosaics. Or that we will be cleaning up soon to get ready for the next activity.
  • I will let them know that the materials will be available again during the next work period.
  • I will assist the children in removing the tape off their contact paper and, if possible, ask them to fold their contact paper in the middle to seal it. (If not possible, I will provide another piece of contact paper to place over their artwork.

Observations & Reflections

  • Child M poured all the contents of several containers onto the table.


  • Several children went back to the table and placed loose materials onto someone else’s mosaic after they have had their turns.
  • Child K said that she is making “a dinosaur” as she placed pieces of paper and letter beads onto her mosaic.
  • Child E said, “Look, Camille, twinkle twinkle!” as she held up a star gem for me to see.
  • Child R laid out a string diagonally across her contact paper and layered it with (almost) alternating pieces of orange and red paper.


  • Child J dumped strings, beads, eyes, pebbles, and buttons onto his project.


  • Child B mainly used buttons for his mosaic while Child E gathered all the letter beads for hers and Child O took all the googly eyes.



  • I feel good about having the educators take part and show interest in the activity. It showed me that this activity, although simple, can engage anyone regardless of age.
  • I struggled with connecting with the children and having conversations with them as they created their mosaics because I got caught up in the transitioning of children as one leaves and another comes in. I could have been more efficient and more available for conversations by placing the finished mosaics to the side and sealing them at the end of the activity when everyone has finished.
  • Using contact paper not only eliminated the mess glue can leave, but it also provided an added window-catcher-style effect to the art projects.
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