Monday, March 21, 2011

let's bounce!

As the father of 2 young kids, I have been recently introduced to the beauty of the bounce house. Hours of entertainment for the kiddos with limited bumps and bruises to show for it, and the parents get to kick back and enjoy the company of other grown ups.

It was a treat that I came across the work of the Australian digital design team of Toby and Pete recently. The image below introduced me to their work and immediately brought a smile to my face. I realized that I needed to do a bounce house drawing project with my first graders.

When I shared this with my classes they were as blown away as I was. I talked to them about identifying the light and dark sides of the shapes in the image and how it is important to include these elements if they want to make a drawing that looks more real. When I told them that the image is not a real bouncy, but one created and "drawn" with a computer, many were in disbelief. Again, I reminded them of the importance of showing light and shadow in an artwork to make it look 3d and real.

Before starting on their own jumpys I have the students practice writing their names softly with their pencils so that they can better understand the importance of hand pressure when making colors light on their paper.

We go through the basic shape design of the bounce house together, but I emphasize the importance of making theirs unique and different from the student working next to them. I talk about thinking of where shapes will go and how big or small those shapes will be. After the bounce houses are drawn then students add light and shadow by pressing light and hard across their shapes.

Last year I did an Audrey Flack inspired still life with 1st graders when introducing light and shadow. The kids did well with it, but I think this drawing was much more entertaining for them while hitting on the same art standards.

Thanks for the inspiration Toby and Pete!


  1. The dynamic duo of Toby and Pete took time out to write to the kids.

    Hi Don!

    The drawings are fantastic!
    I hope the kids had as much fun as we did making our jumping castle. It was a great problem solving exercise for us, trying to keep the name readable and yet still looking like a bouncy castle.

    That image had a great response for us from around the world (according to the blogs anyway :) ) and we're glad that it's been appreciated by such a broad group of people although I must say that elementary school kids was the most unexpected audience!

    We'd hate to play favourites when they're all so cool but we especially love the last one on your blog , the one that looks like a giant robot (we have a thing for robots).


  2. Don,

    I really was blown away by the bouncy house photo! Like your students, I can't beleive it's not real! Love your blog by the way-


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