Frye Families: Express Yourself with Small Frye

Small Frye is a free monthly program for preschoolers and their caregivers. If you are not able to attend with your kiddo, you can check back here every month for a different artmaking activity inspired by a work of art or storybook. To learn more about the program, including how to register, visit our programs page

In November, we looked at a favorite from the Frye Founding Collection and monkeyed around with clay. Take a moment to look at this work of art with your child and use the questions below to talk about it. 

Gabriel von Max. Botaniker (The Botanists), ca. 1900-1915.

Gabriel von Max. Botaniker (The Botanists), ca. 1900-1915. Oil on canvas. 25 x 31 3/4 in. Frye Art Museum, Founding Collection, Gift of Charles and Emma Frye, 1952.117. Photo: Eduardo Calderón


What’s going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? What more can we find? 

Can you pose like one of the monkeys? How do you feel when you make that pose? Do you think the monkey feels the same way? Why or why not? 

Let’s make different expressions like the monkeys! What face would you make if you were happy? Sad? Excited? Confused? Thoughtful? 



At Small Frye, we used this airdry clay, but you can use crayons, markers, or colored pencils and paper at home.  

After you practiced expressing different moods or emotions with your bodies and faces, you can work on expressing them through drawing or sculpting. Choose one mood or emotion and ask your kiddo to recreate that through art. You might suggest they draw a memory that makes them feel happy, create a proud self-portrait, or use cool colors to make a sad sculpture. Remember that all emotions are normal and OK, and we can use art to help us understand them better and express ourselves in a healthy way! 

When your kiddo is finished with their artwork, ask them about it! What did they express? How did they decide on a certain color or texture? How do they feel about the work they’ve made?