The kids spent a couple of days observing fireflies. One way they observe is to draw pictures of the insects.
We scan the drawings of dragonflies and make copies of the originals.
These make perfect DIY coloring pages. Have you ever made copies of kids’ drawings for them to color?
Just my opinion, I don’t like coloring books that much. They take up a lot of space and aren’t attractive for that long. The pages that the kids aren’t interested in coloring get wasted. You have to rip pages off if you want to save a page and it’s difficult to find really well drawn coloring books that aren’t of commercial characters.
We use colored pencils, then slippery crayons, then markers and also some sharpies with out dragon fly drawings.
We cut out our dragonflies and attach to our clippy mobile.
And it’s good we find a replacement for our real fireflies because they are starting to decompose and smell really bad.
My Friend Jess introduces us to Nature Print Paper this week at our Art Playgroup.
Jess procured the special stack of paper at Dick Blick, about $10 per pack. Each pack has 30 sheets of 5 by 7 papers that are light sensitive. You can make photographic prints by laying objects flat onto the paper and exposing it to the sun. You stop the exposure process by giving the paper a water bath. There are no dark rooms or chemicals involved in the process.
The simple instructions, the potential for experimentation and the magic of the process hook my kids immediately. After the first guided attempt to work with natural materials, they want to do more.
They gather little dinosaurs, use their hands for prints and Jess brings out a magnifying glass to further the investigation with the paper.
These are usually the boys that would rather run around, climb, dig and jump, than focus on a small motor activity. If you combine art with experimentation, they are in, hands down.
Of course, my mind immediately goes to asking, how is this paper made and could we make it ourselves?
I was scanning a copy of my license to sign myself up to volunteer to be a parent helper and Little J’s summer camp.
Whenever that scanner makes it’s tell tale scanner sound, the boys come running like a stampede of puppies, asking for their hands to be scanned and copied.
I set up the copies of their scanned hand with some slippery crayons (oil pastels), and they set to work adding their creative edge to the scan.
Photocopies and scans make great coloring pages.
This idea is inspired by Artful Parent. Jean buys transparent, colorful notebook dividers at the dollar store for snipping and using on contact paper. The finished product looks beautiful when hung on a window with light shining through the pieces. Seeing this caused me to be on the hunt for some dividers for use with our overhead projector.
When I find some, I open the package and lay out the colored pieces next to a box of sharpie markers and rolls of colored tape. The boys scribble on the dividers, we work together cutting the dividers into shapes and I put a border of tape around the edges.
Now, we can arrange the pieces the way we like on the overhead projector. When the overhead projector gets played out, we can hang the transparent shapes on the windows or make a mobile with the pieces.
This is the transparencies projected onto our ceiling.
There is a local photography contest on the grounds of a nature sanctuary this spring.
We go into the woods today with a tripod and small digital camera.
The kids take turns lugging around the tripod with camera,
taking photos when they find something they like. I find using the tripod grounds the kids and allows them to use the camera in a more careful, focused way.
Children welcome the opportunity to try their hands at this technology and when given time, they use the camera as one of their 100 creative languages, telling stories with their photos, adding props and dress up.
Little K finds a maple tree with sap buckets and takes 4 photos…the left of the tree, the center, to the right and then he tilted the camera upwards towards the top branches.
Friend A has the idea to bring a prop. He would like to put a blue jay somewhere on the path and take a photo of it. So the boys giggle as they set up the birds and take lots of photos of the birds every place they can think of.
When a child takes a photo their ideas of what is interesting, beautiful, what is worthy of investigation becomes clear.
Their eyes and mind frame the photo. We begin to understand their thinking process when we look at the world through their lens.
The child is made of one hundred.
The child has a hundred languages,
a hundred hands,
a hundred thoughts,
a hundred ways of thinking, of playing, of speaking.
A hundred, always a hundred,
ways of listening,
a hundred joys for singing and understanding,
a hundred worlds to discover,
a hundred worlds to invent,
a hundred worlds to dream.
The child has a hundred languages (and a hundred hundred hundred more),
but they steal ninety nine.
The school and the culture separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands,
do without heads,
to listen and not to speak,
to understand without joy,
to love and to marvel…only at Easter and Christmas.
They tell the child:
to discover the world already there and of the hundred they steal ninety nine.
They tell the child:
that work and play,
reality and fantasy,
science and imagination,
sky and earth,
reason and dream,
are things that do not belong together.
And thus they tell the child that the hundred is not there.
The child says no way. The hundred is there.
Loris Malaguzzi, Italian Early Childhood Education Specialist, 1994.
Our local nature sanctuary is having a photo contest for kids and adults this spring.
We’ll be taking a hike on their grounds with cameras and tripods today.
All the batteries are charges in the digitals, my 35mm is loaded with film and we are ready to find some beautiful shots.
I have a small, 5 year old, Cannon Powershot that the kids have adopted as their own. It’s super resilient and takes surprisingly interesting pictures. I can’t wait to see what they come out with.
When I take out the film for my 35mm, Little K says, “What’s that?”
The Book with a Hole by Herve Tullet
I find this book at the library…not sure the librarian is aware that it is meant to be a coloring book, an occupational hazard for the book, I think.
The kids know just what to do with the book.
We take photos of each other with our faces in our favorite pages. We print them out.
And use our prints as coloring pages since we wouldn’t like to deface our book rental.
Happy Longest Night of the Year…Happy Solstice!
I buy an overhead projector for the kids for $20 on Craig’s List. It is an outdated piece of equipment, but we can put it to good use, combining the machine with the colored and cut #6 plastic from the day before.
It’s a small surface, the kids have to share or take turns. Sharing and taking turns has been a huge part of our work lately, so it’s a great opportunity to practice our team skills.
The first thing the kids are interested in exploring is the machine’s working parts: knobs, buttons, fans, flaps, lenses.
They experiment with changing the focus, changing the image to shine on the wall or the ceiling, moving objects around on the lighted surface to see what happens to the reversed image. They move the whole machine across the floor to enlarge and shrink the projection.
Letting the kids master the machine helps to encourage independence and competence. The only rule I enforce is to be gentle with the machine so we don’t break it and can continue to explore.
They use their # 6 plastic pieces. They use Sharpies and plastic sheets right on the surface of the overhead projector.
I cover the lighted surface with Staples transparency paper.
K pretends some of the plastic is a rocket, he calls rockets, airports, He drives the piece around while he watches the enlargement.
The boys experiment with clear paper versus construction paper. J arranges construction paper that he has snipped into pieces and builds a Christmas tree.
Hey Look! We’re not the only ones out there with the overhead projector out for the longest night of the year…Projector and Christmas tree.
When the kids get tired of the #6 plastic, we’ll shrink the colored and cut pieces in the toaster oven, like Shrinky Dinks.
Next provocation with the overhead projector will be translusent beautiful stuff from our recycled art supply collection.
Auntie K asked us to send her a pic of the kids hands. She’s a crafty lady and I trust she has something fabulous planned. So instead of tracing hands or taking a pic, I decide to bring out the scanner that we hardly ever use. My idea is inspired by Tinkerlab fun. We scan the kids hands.
This starts a whole game of find something to put in the scanner and let me see it!
My graphic design teacher asked us to do this for an assignment when I was an undergrad studying fine arts. I remember the students in the class having so much fun with this assignment! We all acted like 2 and 3 year olds, scanning our faces and anything else we could find.
The scans have a special quality, not unlike a filter you might find on Photoshop. I love them so much I print out a couple of Little J’s favorites and hang them in his room. I also scan Little K’s favorite snuggly and hang it in his room.
So the other day, Little J was having a sleep in, and I wanted to use the scanner for it’s intended use. I scanned a photo of Big K as a baby. Isn’t he so cute?
Little K was on my lap and remembered our scanning game. He asked to scan his hand over and over again. Beautiful.