Sunday, December 22, 2013

a preschool classic: pinecone christmas trees

I remember making pinecone trees back in the 70s when I was a wee one. As a preschool teacher I had to have this available for my kiddos, had too! This time around, not only was there glitter but sequins too! 
 We found that it was easier to just pour the glue over the pinecone. Make sure there is wax paper underneath so that your pinecone does not stick.
 Some of the children pinched and dropped their glitter while other dumped a bottle or two onto their wax paper before grabbing as much as they could to sprinkle on top.
Sequins were added to a few as well. I love how the vintage white sequins turned out!
I looped a bit of yarn around the top so that the wee trees could be hung on a tree or elsewhere. The children got to choose between yellow, red, green, or blue yarn. Red was a favorite.Aren't they fun?

pinterest in the classroom

The families that organized our holiday party really did a tremendous job! Each child got their own supplies to create edible snowpeople and Christmas trees. The green frosting might have covered every inch of the children but it did not keep their smiles from beaming through!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

and then we made leaf bowls

This project is ALL over pinterest and the internet. I loved the idea so much that I decided to do it with my school kiddos.
We used a mixture of Mod Podge, white glue and water to start. I prepped the bases (we used buckets) with cooking spray and plastic wrap and set out trays of our glue mixture and dollar store leaves. I also sponged on the first coat of glue so the children could see how what the plan was.
We used sponge brushes to brush the sticky stuff on. Some of the children loved the sticky but others did not. For those who did not, they selected their leaves and placed them on the base while I held the leaves down for them to do the painting of the sticky.
We set them in the windowsill to dry but they were feeling a bit flimsy so I hit up our fabric store for some spray fabric stiffener and did another few rounds of spray for protection (they took about two days to fully dry). The children were super excited about their bowls and their families were also pretty keen. I think I will do this every year if the time and space allows for it. Happy Fall!

Monday, November 25, 2013

thank you pinterest...

...and all you crafty bloggers out there who share your ideas! Last week we read Fletcher and the Falling Leaves and worked on all sorts of Thanksgiving fun found through pinterest!
 This fine motor activity was inspired by Twoodaloo. I used floral foam cut to fit one of our small wooden crates. The picks were made by me, using stickers from Michael's and construction paper. Out of all of these projects, this one took the most prep time but the children loved it! Though it may be that they really loves the sound of the toothpicks going into the foam. Feathers were great too!
 This awesome rainbow button turkey inspired by Raptor Mama. This one I did turn into a color matching game as well as the fine motor aspect of the buttons. My threes had a hard time at first but soon got the hang of it and played with it over and over again.
 This awesome clothespin turkey inspired by Pink and Green Mama. Thank you to mr. a-go-go for drawing me the turkey. I used scrapbook paper for the wings and a glitter paper for the base. I had wanted to do the color matching turkey but our local Michael's was out of rainbow feathers so I went with this instead focusing on the fine motor movement of pinch the clothespins.
And this semi-modern take on the classic handprint turkey from Things to Share and Remember. The children chose their own colors for their turkeys and I painted their hands. They drew in their legs and eyes and selected their beaks and waddles. The backgrounds were painted on the backs of cereal boxes and then hot glue to cardboard. They also painted their noodles for the handles. I love, love, love how they turned out!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

art on their own time

 We have a window ledge reserved for drying artwork. My threes know to put their artwork there and I often find wonderful creations like these just sitting there. I'm lucky enough to have a very small class so that I can tell whose art shows up and I am happy that I keep out the different types of glue, paper punches, stampers, and a variety of papers and scraps  waiting for little hands to be turned into art.

Friday, November 8, 2013

jack o' lantern felt fun

The kiddos at school love themselves a flannel board. For Halloween I had planned on making a jack o' lantern board for them but time ran away from me.
 Then I found this pumpkin placemat decoration thing at either Micheal's, The Dollar Tree, or Target, I cannot remember. Either way, an idea bloomed. All I needed now was to get to work cutting out shapes for funny face making.
 And then that pesky time thing ran away once again but I stumbled upon sticky felt face pieces for pumpkins at Target and I snatched up one of each design. There were four in all.
After backing the sticky bits with regular old felt we were ready to decorate!
I supplemented the pieces with a bunch of circles and triangles cut from felt and popped them into the tray on our sticky easel.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

making apple pie and the best kitchen gadget ever

We did three weeks of apple themed books in the classroom. As I was planning out our days I really wanted to make apple sauce and apple pie. I figured I could use a crock pot to make sauce but how could we bake pies? The school does have a kitchen but I wanted the children to be able to see the pies get made and so, after discovering the pie making capabilities of the cupcake maker I discovered one on super sale and snatched it up. We were going to make apple pie in class! Each kiddo would get to make their very own tiny apple pie. I was super excited!

To make things easier and to allow for more play time, I used Trader Joe's pre-made pie crust (it is super tasty). The children each got a chance at using the rolling pin to roll over the dough...large motor skills!

And then use the crust cutting tool to cut out  circle, shape recognition!

I didn't turn the maker on until we were ready to bake so the children got to select which batter well they wanted their pie to bake in and got to place their crust into the well then use the push tool to press it down after they dunked it into some flour so it would not stick. They then added a few scoops of cooked apples (I made this at home) into their bottom crust (some chose one scoop while others did two, three or even four). Here the children learned new vocabulary words, methods of baking, and used hand-to-eye coordination to place their crust evenly into their wells and drop their apple filling on top.


 After they used the other side of the crust-cutting tool to cut out a smaller circle for their top-crust (more vocabulary and shape recognition going on) they used their "pinching fingers" to pinch up a small amount of sanding sugar for the top (fine motor skills).

The pies baked up in ten minutes and made the room smell delicious for the remainder of the day. We shared our apple pies with the Jr. K class at lunch time and there was nary a crumb left. We are totally going to make pumpkin muffins and corn bread in November!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

going with the flow....

I set up some shaving cream and a couple of primary colors for some color mixing fun. The plan was for some shaving cream exploration with the children using their hands and sharing a piece of paper. One of my kiddos did not wish to touch the shaving cream and so the paint brushes came down and everyone was happy.

Friday, October 18, 2013

how's about a little pom-pom play?

what shall we do with all of this?

poms in raccoon colors

first time using tweezers

and so play begins

the daddy and the mommy

partnering up

arranging by size

big to little

and then the kitties came...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

snip! snip! hooray!

In the three-year-old class we are practicing with scissors.  Construction paper is fairly easy to tear and even easier to cut. I tear strips of paper and mark lines across the width and ask the children to practice cutting along the line.

My aim mostly is to familiarize the children with how scissors are usd and held. We often practice our "thumbs up" mantra when using the scissors  and have more success tearing that last bit than actually cutting it.

Even if the children do not manage to use the scissors all the way through the width of the paper ir even anywhere near a line, the excitement they show when they liberate even the smallest scrap of paper has me offering up a scissors station every day.

Once they cut their pieces they can then choose a section of our paper box to put them into. The same pieces are later incorporated into painting and gluing projects. The sectioned acrylic box came from Target in the dollar section. I have a blue one as well and the children prefer to match their paper with the box and so we cut yellow, and green paper for the green box; and blue, and purple for the blue box.

Snip! Snip! Hooray!

Friday, October 11, 2013

sometimes you just need to squeeze

If you have ever worked with small children you may be familiar with their fondness for glue. They will use as much as you give them and then some. Often, you will have an idea for an art or craft project that involves liquid glue and pretty pieces of paper or other colorful bits and pieces. You have a gleam in your eye as you imagine all the beautiful arting and crafting the children will do and then you hand them the glue and well.....everything changes.

And it is all good. Adults present an art opportunity to well...create art but really what happens is the magnificent exploration of the supplies at hand. Be it beads, colored pasta, strips of paper, play dough, or glue, children need to figure out how it all works on their own.

My three-year-olds had their first art project that involved liquid glue in a bottle. I wanted to give them an opportunity to use a variety of adhesives and so we worked with glue sticks first, then our white glue that comes from a brush bottle where a paintbrush is built into the lid, and then the squeeze bottles came out and sure enough, all other adhesives were abandoned.

The very act of squeezing that bottle is so enticing and exciting, how can we really expect a young child to stop and why should we? Art with young children really is about the process and squeezing a bottle of glue silly is one fantastic process.

I do have a trick involving the glue however and that is that each child receives their "own" bottle of glue. They can use as much or as little but when the bottle is empty and all squeezed out, the glue shop is closed for the day and we move on to another project of their choosing which often involves the washing of some classroom item with oodles of soapy bubbles and plenty o colorful sponges that need to be squeezed out.