Saturday, May 26, 2018

the weighing table

The white kitchen scale only lasted a week before it stopped working, drats! I need to shell out for a nicer one. The tray to the right of the white scale holds our people blocks (blocks of the children themselves), the cylinders are weighted, and the cute little wooden balance scale on the right drives me batty as the tin plates fall off ALL THE TIME.
But, that doesn't keep the children from playing with it so I guess it's okay. The best part is when they run off to another area in the room and bring back new items to weigh. We also have a balance scale out in our play yard, and an old school step-on scale that has seen better days.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

paint mixing...

After mixing up pink to paint our classroom chair, the children had mixing on their mind. We mixed up paint in a variety of ways for a number of different activities. After we discussed warm and cool colors, the children got to mix their own classroom paint. Some went for warm, most went for cool, and they mixed, mixed, mixed away to create their own paint. I think their favorite part was naming it. We will use this paint for the rest of the year, re-mixing when we need to. I can't wait!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Sometimes our rainbow hair is seen in our minds eye....I think I may love self-portraits by the young even more than their elepehants.

who says...

That painting is for flat surfaces only? We found this chair just in time for a reading of Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats. The children spent most of the day mixing up their own pink and working together cooperatively to paint our classroom chair.  The next school day, they wanted to paint it some more and so they did. We're gonna need another chair for next year!

Friday, January 26, 2018

make a mystery bag

The preschool I work at is a play and literature based school. Each week we focus on one book and build our other centers around it. My kiddos are young threes who will sometimes sit for a story or two or three and sometimes will...not. To strengthen the foundation of the story I am reading and to give them an opportunity for language I pull out the mystery bag.

Any drawstring bag will do, you can use this diy here and use a larger fabric piece to make your bag bigger. I can work on a more specific bag diy sometime in October, right now I will just share the fun of the mystery bag.

Before I turned my fabric square into a bag, I appliqued a large question mark on each side of the bag. When I bring out the bag the children often ask what the question mark is. I will say this is a symbol we call a question mark. A question mark shows us that someone has a qeustion to ask. When the children ask me questions, I repeat that they are asking me a question and I refer back to the question mark on our mystery bag.

The contents of the mystery bag change each week. I fill the bag with small items and goodies that go along with our story. Small animal figurines, alphabet flashcards, buttons, animal cards, colored pom-poms, etc.

On the first day of the mystery bag, I will pull items out and see if the children can name them and/or just listen to what they want to tell me about each item. I will dialogue with them to show that the item is the same as what is in our story. The first week we did The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and inside our bag was a stuffed raccoon, a few raccoon figurines, the letter R flashcard, small wooden acorns and painted hearts. After a few rounds with the mystery bag, the children will connect the dots between the items in the bag and and how they relate to the story.

After I go through the bag, we put everything back in and then the children take turns removing items. They will exclaim over their items and proceed to sort them in a variety of ways. Often times the children will choose to go through the bag on their own and tell me what the items are.

The mystery bag is a great tool for engaging your children in language and literature. You can also use it to teach math (sorting), art (color recognition), and science (animal facts). The best part is the bag can easily change contents to keep it new and fresh while also maintaining a familiarity.

This week we are reading Ten Red Apples. Can you guess what is in the bag?

circle circus

This is a project I did in when I was in first grade class with a visiting art teacher. We created our circles with black paint and used crayon to add our color. I recently happened upon my happy paper of circles and thought how much fun it would be to revisit it with brighter colors and markers for a more fine line feel to it all. Are you ready?

large sheet of sturdy weight paper 
acrylic or tempera paint in three shades of one color 
shallow dish or paper plate 
assortment of cylindrical containers such as yogurt containers, paper cups, etc 
Set up your plates with your paint. Here we used two shades of blue and two different sized containers. Dip your container into the paint. And make a print on your paper.
Repeat the printing process until you have covered your paper with a circus of paint-happy circles. Here is where you can change it up by using only one color, two colors or a trio of happy colors.
Gather your markers and get to doodling. You can have your kiddo stick with dots or stripes or they can jazz up the spaces with squiggles and stars. Use all the colors in the markers pack or use just one or two colors. 

Your kiddos can make one ENORMOUS piece of art or several all summer long. Try making one in each color of the rainbow. Save the artwork and repurpose it as gift wrap. Make a tiny print using a drinking straw for your circles and toothpicks dipped in watercolor for your designs. Happy summer!