Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Flour Power!

When I taught preschool having a sensory table was a must.  Sensory play is part of the scientific process and helps kids learn pre-math and science skills.  Keeping it filled with an interesting activity was the difficult part.  Sure, most teachers are familiar with sand, water, and even birdseed, but there are so many more things you can put in a sensory table to make it interesting.  Last year I found a tub of flour in the shed, left by another school, meant for the sensory table.  I decided to give it a try.  Boy did the kids love it!  For weeks they fought to be at that table every time I opened it.

Now I'm home and I don't own an expensive sensory table.  Many of you probably don't.  But putting one together is simple and cheap and so is filling it.  You can easily alternate what's in it every couple of months.  Today we are using flour.

What you need:
  1. 23 QT lidded box from Target or Wal-Mart $4.99
  2. 10 lbs. cheap flour (like Market Pantry from Target) $3.49
  3. Various sized measuring cups, plastic cups, shovels and scoops.  These can usually be found at the dollar store.
  4. Confetti treasures (craft store or Wal-Mart), stones, small toys, dinosaurs, whatever strikes your fancy.
I happen to have a kid-sized card table and chair set I picked up at a bargain store for $20.  It's easy to move in and out of the house.  It works perfect for placing a sensory box on.  If you don't have something like this, use a T.V. tray, put it in the grass, or lay a tarp down, because it will cause a mess.

What Your Child is Learning:

  1. Pre-math: Measuring (How many little cups can fit into this big one?)
  2. Science: Investigating, Observing, and Classifying    
  3. Art: Creativity 
  4. Fine Motor Skills: If you hide treasures or stones in the flour, your child will pick them out, developing those finger pinching muscles.  
Flour is messy!  It's even messier if you have an imaginative child who decides the flour is snow and has a snowball fight.  I suggest some monitoring with this activity or your patio, pets, and children may look a little something like this:

Shared on: 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If Van Gogh Had Q-Tips

Q-tip painting is something I started doing when I taught preschool.  Sometimes I would give brushes to the kids to apply glue and getting them clean was always an ordeal.  So when I didn't have brushes, I would give the kids Q-tips.  They often looked at me confused and unsure, until I explained that we don't have to use only brushes in painting; there are a lot of different ways to paint that can be unique and fun.  The kids I painted with today gave me the same blank stare as I tried to explain the project.

I decided to try Q-tip painting out on the kids in my mom's group.  We had a play date at the park, so I packed up my supplies and headed out with my son to see if I could gather any interest.  The kids seemed excited (once they understood the method to my madness) and the parents were just glad the glitter I brought wasn't going all over the table at their house.  And I learned that for traveling art projects, I should always bring wet wipes.

So here's what you need:

Q-tip Painting (Winter Theme)
  • Q-tips
  • Blue, White, and/or Black Paper
  • White and/or Light Blue Paint Tempera Paint
  • Silver or Iridescent Glitter  
Small plates work best for the paint because the Q-tips are short.  Yogurt cups or paint cups are fine but be prepared for paint on the hands.  Always place a bit of dishwasher liquid in the paint to help it wash easier. Placing glitter on small plates is good too.  You can teach the kids how to sprinkle the glitter on their painting rather then dumping it from a canister.  No plates?  Then let them sprinkle from the canister.  Excess glitter can be dumped into a cup then saved in a baggie for another project.

  1. Give the kids a couple of Q-tips and explain that they will use them like a brush.  Then, stand back and let them paint.  Nothing they do is wrong.  They can scribble, draw, and drip to their heart's content.  Don't feel you need to ask them, "what is it?"  It doesn't matter.  If they want it to be something, they will tell you.   
  2. When they are done painting, show them how to sprinkle glitter onto the wet paint.  Then take the picture rolling it slightly, and dump the excess glitter back onto the plate.
There will always be some kid that finds it fun to use their hands.  Don't freak out.  It's OK.  You can try to explain to them that, "this time we are using Q-tips.  We'll paint with our hands another day." Chances are it's too late.  Let it be apart of their art.  Some kids like the extra sensory.  This is why we put dishsoap into the paint.


Link Party Thursdays

Monday, January 17, 2011

Never Underestimate Ceramic Animals

Most kids love to paint and although I'm more for free expression, sometimes with older children ceramics can have a special allure.  My daughter especially loves to paint little critters, like cats and horses.  Inexpensively purchased at a Michael's craft store or Wal-mart, these small ceramic statues are great to have lying around for rainy (or hot) days and even to share with friends.  Tempera paint can be used.  I allow my daughter to use my acrylic paints as I have them readily available.  I do recommend laying down paper on the table if you don't want it to get messy.  And please, don't squelch your child's creativity.  Let them paint how they choose with whatever colors they pick.  Gently suggest brush sizes appropriate for such an activity, as well as filling in the gaps, but if they choose not to do so, then let it be.  It's their creation, not yours.

Welcome and Why I Started This Blog....

I've been working with kids in different settings for over 15 years now.  As a former preschool teacher, my favorite activity was art.  I was never the kind of teacher who enjoyed using templates, but rather would allow my children to create art from whatever I could pull out of my...hat...that day.  To me, art is about the process of exploring materials and textures without the constant hounding of "don't put that there!"  It's about the entire creative process.  And if it doesn't "look" like anything, then that's O.K.  I was excited in my last year of preschool because the company that purchased us agreed with my way of thinking, and Process Art became the desired form to be displayed.  Although parents were confused by what their children were creating, often asking, "what is it?" the children were excited about getting messy and just being kids.

I've decided to start this blog with the hopes to reach out to other teachers and show them that templates are bad.  Get creative!  Look around your classroom and let it speak to you.  Worried about themes?  Not a problem, you'd be surprised with what you can come up with on a whim and make it work to your theme.  I am here to help!  Besides art, I'll also share ideas for sensory play and music and movement.  This is about fun.

If you have ideas, share them with me and I'll try them out, take pictures, and post.  Sharing is learning.  Join me on this adventure and if you like what I have to offer, then please, share my blog with others.

"Imagination is the seed of dreams.  Nurture it and you will harvest its rewards." - Flavia  


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...