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.