Little K and I team up to construct his very first set of Valentines for his classmates.
We use a photo from his hammerin’ heartsies experience and mount them on a piece of red construction paper.
I write “hammerin heartsies” on top.
He writes his name on the bottom.
He hasn’t ever really been asked to write his name, and he wasn’t so interested in doing it.
But a mom’s job sometimes, is to give a gentle nudge.
I gave him the schpeel…
“This a way to show your friends that you care, to put your special letters on this paper.”
He wrote his name 20 times.
“This is taking 100 years!”
These are some gentle ways to encourage this activity:
-Demonstrate how to hold the writing tool and how to write out the letters.
-Display the name. I folded a piece of paper that stood at the center of the table. We referred to it many times.
-Keep the project and supplies out so he can return to it at will.
-Add some other supplies that might act as comic relief, like stickers, cool markers and whole punchers.
-Spread the project out over a long period of time, working a little at a time to reach your goal.
-Be supportive by sitting with him/her while he/she works, so you can lend help when needed.
-Respond positively. Little K made a long line across the whole piece of paper as one of “K” parts. He started to look discouraged. I said, “Wow, that letter is so cool. It looked like a Rapunzel letter, it’s so long.”
Little K has started using playdough differently lately. Instead of burying tools and vehicles, he’s started to competently roll the dough out and makes prints with tools. I wanted to set up a provocation for him while we were stuck in the house due to sick family members.
Inspired by the “After Christmas Tree,” the kids and I roll out a large slab of peppermint scented, green playdough. I cut it into a tree shape and add lots of small recycled caps to press into and decorate the tree.
We use our favorite play dough recipe and add peppermint extract. The boys press the caps into the dough, making prints, followed by carving out the shapes to create negative space. With the chunks of dough they pull out, they build other things. Little K makes Angels and Little J makes a sun.
We take all the markers in the house, fat ones, skinny ones, permanent and washable, smelly ones and very expensive art store markers. One by one, we test each marker on paper to see if the ink is dry. We make 2 piles of markers: the ones that still work and the ones that are dry. We have about 30 dry markers when we’re done.
We categorize the markers into 5 color families. Each family goes into a glass of water, upside down without the cap. We leave the markers steeping in water for a full 24 hours.
Voila, free liquid watercolors. For a more thorough tutorial, see finding my marbles.
Warning: permanent markers, make permanent paint. Use caution if you want to keep your skin and clothes from getting stained.
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.
The kids have been so busy and invested in their face painting this summer.
We have a designated mirror that comes out of the garage and lays on the curb of the driveway so the kids can watch themselves change their faces with color.
It’s only natural that eventually, someone thinks to paint the mirror. I quickly set the face paint aside and gather up the little bottles of tempera we received as a birthday gift in June. I put a brush in each container to keep from muddling the colors by accident. The kids fill the whole mirror with swirling, mixing colors with paintbrushes and hands, while a friend is still trying to paint her face.
They mirror painters leave a little corner of mirror clear for our friend.
We use up all the paint. We print painted swirls and scrapes on paper when our friend is finished with her face.
The next day, I set out the now dry painted mirror and 2 scraping sticks from a scratch paper book.
“I see the sky and the trees. It’s like I’m cutting out the glass.”
It’s great to discover the magic of subtractive media.
Then we have a grand series of thunder storms, and all the paint is washed off the mirror.
Time to start all over again.
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?
The local MOMS Club is at it again this summer, hosting an Arts and Crafts Camp every week. Two moms host, come up with a project and provide snack together. Today was the first week of Arts and Crafts Camp. Little J, Little K and I make some Handprint American Flags inspired by and originally posted by Muffin Tin Mom.
It is a simple craft, geared towards any age, friendly to the “creative interpretations” kids like to put on craft instructions, and it’s perfect for this time of year in the U.S. when the fireworks and celebrations of independence commence. We will be going to a friends’ party this weekend, and we plan on waving our little handprint American flags.
Little J did not want to paint his hand, so he painted mine and we printing the flag with my fingers and palm. He enjoyed painting the popsicle stick the best. Little K did not want to paint his hand either, so just applied the red, white and blue paint to the flag. He enjoyed the star stickers the most.
Supplies on the Table:
red, white and blue paint
blue construction paper, cut to 4 by 5 inches
small star stickers
thin ribbon in red, white, or blue
Paint the palm or have the child paint their own hand blue and the fingers red and white alternately.
Place the child’s hand, palm and fingers down, onto the construction paper and let dry.
Apply mini star stickers to the palm area.
Apply glue to the top half of the popsicle stick and paste to the flag
Punch a hole in the upper left corner of the flag.
String whatever combo of the thin ribbon you wish.
Tie the ribbon off and you are ready to celebrate!
We have a paper covered table set up in the kitchen with several jars of paint, each with it’s own paintbrush, some chunky pencils. Wrapping a table in paper, whether it be large poster paper or newspaper, is almost always a simple and winning project. It’s open ended and any age friendly.
The first to notice the table is Miss Lil, age 4. Little K, age 3 quickly follows. They sit shoulder to shoulder, criss crossing arms to reach favorite colors. Miss Lil looks over to Little K’s scribbles of paint, and says, “that’s not how an artist paints. He’s not doing it right.” Miss Lil is at a stage with her art where she is drawing representationally. She paints with with product intention. Little K is still at the stage of feeling as he paints without an intentional end point.
Friend E comes around after Miss Lil and Little K leave the table and he paints spirals and circles with each color, making all the colors blend.
The 5 year old boys join in and are focused on mixing colors. They fill the rest of the paper with color. They choose smaller pieces of paper and make lots of prints.
Here is a representation of painting at different ages.
From the left to the right…Friend E 2 years old, Little K 3 years old, Miss Lil 4 years old.
We string a rope on the sliding doors. The kids use clothes pins, hanging the papers to dry.
Little K is signed up for his first extracurricular class at the YMCA this spring.
The class is called Crazy Concoctions.
The teacher puts about a cup of Karo syrup and food coloring in a few bowls.
The kids use paintbrushes to mix the “concoction” and to explore on paper. The kids swap bowls of colors with one another. The different colors mix well to make new colors.
The deliciously sticky stickiness of the goo begs for fingers and palms.
This crazy medium dries shiny.
If your kids enjoy farm play, you might be interested in what our local CFCE, Coordinated Family and Community Engagement program, had in store for us this Thursday. The CFCE program is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education & Care.
We read 3 farm books that are very silly and highly recommended.
Then, we spread out our beach towels and use them as yoga mats, as we explore a handful of animal yoga poses. The teacher has the children use a small foam ball to help inspire certain movements. The ball is meant to help the kids focus.
Here are yoga animal poses from YoungYogaMasters.com:
Camel Ride – a basic warm-up in Kundalini Yoga, sit in easy pose, hold your ankles, inhale lift your spine forward and up, exhale and relax your spine back – as if you were riding on a camel.
Elephant taking a Shower: stand up and make a trunk with your arms, keep your legs straight and dip your trunk into the imaginary watering hole in front of you, then lift your trunk up and spray the water like a shower.
Frog: squat and stretch your legs like a frog warming up and then jump!
Butterfly Drinking Nectar: sitting, put your feet together and knees bent wide apart. Flutter your legs up and down like a butterfly. Then move your chest to your feet and drink the nectar from a flower in front of you.
Cheetah: move quickly on all fours like a cheetah running across the land
Unicorn: Make your hands into a magical unicorn horn over the centre of your head then gallop.
There is also a craft set out on the table. The materials are farm animals stamps, large stamp pads, glue sticks, construction paper cut out into barn shapes.