FRIENDSCAPE play mats; an art activity that becomes a toy

Are you ready?  This is going to be a long one. . .but trust me it’ll be worth it!  What better way to kick off friendship week than with our friends.  Of course around here we call them cousins.  You’ll see their little hands popping up in projects from time to time so let me introduce you.
There’s Little M (Madison) on the far left, from there Big M (Michael), S (Skylar), TL (Taylor), and TJ (Tristyn).  I’m sure if you’ve been reading my posts you are not surprised that Little M had other plans than smiling for the camera. . .but at least she stayed in her seat right?!?!  And now for the activity.

This one is a two parter.  I did them on the same day and it worked out fine.  If your little one has a shorter attention span you might want to space it out between two days.

Part 1:  Making Friends

what you need:  manilla folder or cardstock ~ face shots of friends ~ crayons ~ pencils ~ contact paper ~ glue

To make these head shots I took a picture of each of the kids.  I uploaded them to the computer and cropped them in Picasa.  I pasted them onto word and printed them out.  (I struggle with computer stuff, so if anyone has a better way to do this please post a comment!)  I made 5 of each face, so that each child would have everyone including themselves.  I cut the faces and glued them onto a manilla folder.  I cut them into rectangles, easy for the kids to manage. Once they were ready I asked each kid to add bodies to their friends faces.

S got right to work.  I really liked the way she used pencil to outline the body and then came back with crayon to fill it.

Big M colored glasses on his people, silly boy!  This was actually the first time I had seen him draw a person, he prefers the 4 wheeled drawings.

As they finished up, I was ready with scissors and contact paper.  One by one, I cut around their people and sealed them up.  For the people, I applied contact paper to the front and back.  Didn’t they turn out so cute!!!  I found the idea for these people here, and you will no doubt be seeing them again.  I’ve already used the idea in 3 other projects.

Part 2: Making the Friend Scape

what you need:  scape images ~ water colors ~ paint brushes ~ large construction paper ~ contact paper

I really wanted them to understand what they could do with water colors so I googled “water color cityscape”, then “water color moonscape”, then “water color countryscape” then. . . well you get the idea.   Once your search results are revealed there is a button on the left side that says IMAGE.  I clicked on that and showed the kids a wide range of artwork.  You can do your own search and find the paintings that attract you, or you can click on the ones I found.

Country scape
Mountain scape

I could see their little brains turning as I clicked through the pictures.  Then it was a mad dash to the art table.  The table was set (before I showed them the artwork) with watercolors, paintbrushes, water cups and a large piece of white construction paper.  I have used Lakeshore’s Tempera Blocks as water colors for years.  The colors are brilliant, they last a really long time, and you can divide them up so your kid only get 2 colors instead of 6.

All five of my little artists spent a lot of time, and care to include details into their scape.  When they were finished I covered them with contact paper.

TL used a lot of blue and green to make her Mountain Scape.

TJ didn’t have a title for her scape, but she did have a lot to say about it.  I love the signal off to the side.

S thought to put a dog with a little leash all ready for her people.

Big M made a moonscape and of course he was using his cars along with his floating friends.

Little M started playing with her friends right away!

Tips: 1.  Make sure to have everything ready to go before you call the kids over.  There is so much involved in this activity you’ll want to have everything close by.  2.  If you have the people done first it will be much easier to show the kids how it will work when they are done.  3.  This activity was fun to do with our friends, but it would be very easy to do alone as well.  Just pick 4 or 5 friends and use their pictures.

This post is a part of the Friendship Lesson Plan.

Leave me a comment and tell me how this activity worked for you.  I can’t wait to hear what type of scape your little ones created!


  1. I have a question as am new to this site and preschool on a whole. Since u contact papered the people and the childrens moon or city scapes did the kids just move their people around on the scapes ? i am curious as i am soon to start teaching a preschool class and i am looking for as many ideas as possible. If their are any ideas you would also like to mention please feel free to do so. thank you.

    1. Yes they moved the people around the scapes. Making a few of different scenes and each of the kids would make a really neat center activity! How exciting that you will be teaching preschool, it is so much fun!!! If you have any questions let me know.

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