Collage Play, Outer Space

Moon Phase Collage Play

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This week, we’ve been exploring and reading all about outer space. This project was a fun way for Mr. 3.5 to play with the idea of moon phases.

I think this project holds a great example of why process art is important. The phases of the moon have very distinct visuals that I, as an adult, am familiar with. I had to resist the urge to project my ideas of what this artwork “should” look like onto my little artist. If I did, I would be robbing him of the opportunity to play with the concept and shapes in his own way—making his own choices and exploring his own process.

When the child directs their own process, it is a more valuable experience. My little artist is three, and he has no interest in creating a realistic depiction of the phases of the moon. If I guided him to do so, it would be for my benefit, and not his. Ultimately, he was able to explore the concept in his own way as he guided an investigation into negative and positive space relationships, design and contrast.

This wayward pom pom was found on the ground and added to the collage


  • Black paper taped to a wall or table
  • White and black moon shapes pre cut by adult (we’re already doing gluing practice in this process—if your child has mastered cutting you can encourage them to do this themselves)
  • Small yellow paper bits for contrast within the collage
  • Sponge in a bowl with watery glue and/or a glue stick (we used both)

Set it all up as an invitation to create, model the possibility of how the materials could be used and let your little artist explore.

Remember, art play for children is about the process, not the product. When your child is “done”, the paper could look different than you envisioned it would. Celebrate their process (and the resulting product) as it is.

I leave a project like this set up for an entire day. Mr. 3.5 leaves and comes back to it several times.

I hope this gives you some inspiration to set up a collage play invitation for your little one to explore the phases of the moon, too. Have fun!

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