Yarn Maze Activity for Kids. Great for teaching the art element of line.
I did this yarn maze activity with my students in the summer of 2023 during a summer art camp that was focused on Art Elements (line, shape, color, space, and texture). Kids loved following the yarn maze “lines” to reveal their art supplies for the week. Then, we used the yarn for an art project called Yarn Yaks (available in the Extra Credit).
This project has extra credit! Check it out!
This project is part of a collection!
An anticipatory set is an activity that aligns with your learning objective — it sets the stage for kids and engages them right away.
I think of the anticipatory set as “the hook” for a unit. As educators, we seek ways to engage and grab our students’ attention. These days, it seems harder because attention spans seem to be getting shorter and shorter.
It’s not always possible to have the perfect anticipatory set for every unit. However, if you are teaching a unit on the art element of line, this yarn maze activity for kids will be perfect!
Humor always works to get kids’ attention, too. Here is a little “line” joke you can share with them.
Parallel lines have so much in common. Sadly, they will never meet. 🤣
The inspiration for this yarn maze activity dates back three years prior to its integration into my art teaching curriculum. It all began in October 2020, a time marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and the approaching Halloween season. In a quest to find alternatives for trick-or-treating, my friends and I, each with young children, embarked on a creative journey.
One of my friends proposed transforming her home into a labyrinth of yarn, with enticing treats awaiting the kids at the end of each colorful strand of yarn – each “line.”
The children eagerly followed their designated yarn lines, threading their way through the house in pursuit of the coveted Halloween candy. The joy and excitement that bubbled from their experience were palpable and much needed at that time.
In fact, this was such a popular Halloween activity that the kids asked to do it again in 2021. With some valuable lessons learned from the previous year’s adventure—particularly those concerning unintended collisions with delicate household items! Armed with newfound wisdom, we made necessary adjustments and recreated the yarn maze experience in October 2021.
Steve Jobs once said that creativity was about connecting things. It took me two years to have my “ah-ha” moment — to “connect” things I learned from the Halloween experience and an upcoming art camp about the art element of line. I started to wonder, “What if?” my students followed yarn lines to reach the treasure trove of art “goodies” waiting at the end—a bag filled with the materials we’d be exploring throughout the week. Don’t worry, I gave them all a little candy as well—I know kids 😉
If you’d like to try this yarn maze activity with your students, here are the steps I followed and the things I learned. I hope this will help you to be successful with this fun activity.
This activity does take some time to prepare. However, it’s worth it. I went in on the weekend and strung the lines of yarn through my studio. I have two classrooms in my studio, so I strung the yarn in both rooms and then had it all come together in the hallway on my chalkboard.
Being the first time I had done this in my studio, I did make the mistake of striving all the yarn BEFORE I printed some of the handouts I needed for the first day. That would have been fine, except the printer was in the back corner of my large classroom. That means every time I printed something, I had to crawl under, over, and through the yarn to get the pages from the printer. It’s kind of funny – but something I would do differently next time. I did, however, leave myself a path to the coffee maker (I mean—priorities, people!).
To do this yarn maze activity, I filled a bag with art supplies, camp t-shirts, and a binder with my Art Elements 101 course content. I put a bag in each of the chairs. I tied one end of the yarn to the handles of the bags. Then, I worked backward from the chair to the hallway, putting each child’s name on a name tag and attaching them (with magnets) to my chalkboard. Of course, the first few strands of yarn were pretty easy, but as you can imagine – as the lines grew, so did the maze. I got really good at going through the yarn lines. If you have someone to help you, this would probably be easier!
When my students arrived on Monday, I knew they’d be a little nervous for their first day of art camp. Having this activity to get them moving right away was a great way to get started, and of course, it did what it was intended to do—physically demonstrate what a “line” can be.
Each child found their name on the name tags in the hallway, and then they followed their “line” over, under, and through the classrooms until they reached their seat—where they found their bag full of their art “goodies.”
The kids had to work together to unravel their yarn when intersecting with other “lines.” Of course, kids are very smart, so it didn’t take much for them to “get it” when we moved from our yarn maze activity into our art project on the art element of line.
After the kids finished this yarn maze activity, we used the yarn (I had them roll it up as they went through their maze) to create Yarn Yaks. This is a lesson I designed for my Art Elements 101 course: Unit #1: Line (available below in the Extra Credit section). Kids shared their yarn colors with one another, and we further explored the idea of “line” with various activities and our Yarn Yak project.
The kids had such a great time with the yarn maze and the Yarn Yaks. I hope your students will as well. Please remember to tag me on social media (@artwithjennyk) if you do any of my projects—I love to cheer your students on!
Art Elements 101 course, unit #1: Line.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this unit is for students to learn about the art element of LINE.
Students will learn about this art element through direct instruction, looking at examples, and practicing the concepts. Finally, students will apply their knowledge with an art lesson focusing on the art element.
Once students are finished, they will understand the art element, LINE, and how it is used in art.
My Yarn Yak art project is included in this unit.
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