Making Mobiles

Making Mobiles

Location: indoor or outdoor

Materials: coat hangers, string, paper, tape, other found objects

Inspired by the art of Alexander Calder, who used wire and metal to create beautiful hanging mobiles, this is an example of a project that includes both engineering and art.

It can be helpful to either print out pictures of Calder's work or make an example of your own to inspire your children in their creation. One way to introduce this activity is to work together as a group to create a mobile by inviting each child to choose an element to add. Then, during free choice time you can invite children to either continue adding on to the class mobile or invite children to make their own.

This is an example of a very open-ended art project. Yes, you will end up with mobiles at the end, however there is a huge amount of freedom in what that looks like. You can include found objects, elements from nature like leaves and flowers, different paper shapes, cardboard, and more. The sky is the limit!

Display your mobiles near a window or fan and observe how they move throughout the day.

Mixed-Age Guide:

Infants may:

  • observe other children in this activity
  • want to interact with the mobile while it's being made (touching it to make it move, observing its movement)

Toddlers may:

  • benefit from working on one project as a group, you could either do it all together and have each child take a turn helping or invite children over one at a time to help
  • benefit from having pieces pre-cut
  • need support in using tools and materials (ie: scissors, tape, glue, etc.)

Preschoolers may:

  • want to create a mobile of their own
  • be more independent in the planning and execution of their project (ie: cutting out shapes, using tape, adding drawings, etc.)
  • require support for some of the more technical construction tasks (ie: tying knots, etc.)
  • be ready for some of the engineering aspects of this project (ie: how to make different pieces balance, how length of string impacts shape and weight of mobile)

What We're Learning

  • self-expression and creativity
  • making and following a plan
  • collaboration
  • hand-eye coordination
  • cause and effect