Using stencils is a great way to enhance hand-eye coordination and strengthen fine motor skills.  With stencils, preschool children can also learn about different geometric shapes and pattern making.

Paper based stencils were first developed by the Chinese around 105 AD. The stencils were used to expand their printing techniques. Later, stenciling was used on cloth to create colorful patterns that were sewn onto garments. In the eighteen century, craftsmen used stencils to paint creative designs on furniture and floors. Later, in the visual arts field, stenciling became popular through a procedure known as “pochoir.”  This is a technique used to add color to pre-existing prints.

One of the more artistic uses of stencils is aerography. Many spray-paint artists use a three-dimensional object in place of a typical “stencil” to create a “negative” of the object (instead of a positive of a stencil design.) This technique actually began before the aerosol can was even invented! In 10,000 BC, artists sprayed pigment around objects by using a hollow bone, blown by mouth to direct a stream of pigment to create outlines of human forms.

The key advantage of a stencil is that it can be reused to repeatedly and rapidly produce the same letters or design. At Apple Hill Academy, we use stenciling for children’s “repeated” learning and fun!