Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Record Player Art (and Associated Experiments)

Record Player Art

Do you have an old, sturdy record player hanging around?  Use it to make some fun art!

We have two, large, heavy, institutional-type record players that we use for art.  One still has a needle, so we tape down the arms securely.  Since these things are heavy-duty we let the kids control the turntable.  One of them even lets you change the speed.

In general we use paper plates because the turntables are grooved and regular paper won’t sit well on them.  I’m lazy, so I just push the plate on the knob that sticks up from the turntable.  Other teachers punch holes in advance, which does make it a bit easier for the kids.  You can use anything that draws, but markers seem to work better than crayons because you don’t need to press as hard.

Of course, eventually someone will put something on the turntable while it’s spinning.  Usually we spend some time experimenting with different objects and speeds to see what it takes to make something fly off.  Much giggling follows each successful trial, as you can imagine.  Luckily these things don’t get far or fly fast. 

You can also use record players as spin art machines, but you have to be careful not to get any paint on the machine while not blocking the air holes.  Use thinned paint to get it to spread the farthest, and test it before the kids arrive.

What about actual records?  We don’t have any at school anymore, unfortunately.  My own son, when he was in preschool, was asked by a classmate if he knew what a record was (the teachers were overheard talking about them).  In typical kid fashion, he replied:

“I think records are really big CDs for old people.”

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