Thursday, August 14, 2014

chalkboard butterflies in the classroom

 When I was shopping for butterflies the first time around, I spied these already-made chalkboard butterflies at Michaels for three dollars and scooped one up for the children to draw and color on.
The chalkboard came with a twine hanger threaded and knotted through the holes at the top. I cut the twine off so we could use the butterfly at our art table. The set up was really pretty simple. Just the chalkboard and the chalk in one of my insect trays from Cost Plus World Market (from 2011). I mean really, look how pretty the chalk looks...all those happy colors. The children had a damp sponge and/or a piece of flannel to wipe the board clean. One of my industrious kiddos got a hold of a wet wipe to wash the chalk dust off his hands and continued to use it as an eraser. While a lot of fun, this board did not work as well when wet. You know how vibrant chalk looks on a wet board, or wet chalk looks on a board? It didn't work on this board...I have no idea why but that did not deter the kiddos at all.
Sorry about the blurry photo. This is the only one I managed to get of the set up. Even though I wiped it down you can still see evidence of the chalk all over the surface. For some reason, the children also preferred the brown chalk above all the other colors. Go figure. You can find chalkboards in all shapes and sizes now. I have chalkboard teapots, pumpkins,  birds, many!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

diy magnetic butterfly {that is also a chalkboard and a felt board}

This project is a favorite of mine and the children's! There are three ways the children can interact with them. They are a both a magnet board and a chalkboard and the backs are covered in felt to use as a felt board. I came up with is on the spot at Michaels once I saw these butterflies.
These wooden butterflies were a great size, not too small, not too large. They were thick and sturdy and while I wish they were flat, the details were not too cumbersome. At two dollars a pop, I snatched two up and ran to the paint section to search for magnetic paint. The only magnetic paint they had was from Martha Stewart. It was a bit on the pricey side but I really wanted to make this project and was very happy I had a coupon to use so I justified the purchase and popped it into my basket. I gave the butterflies two coats of magnet paint and one coat of black chalkboard paint that I had previously purchased from Michaels as well. It was a small bottle, 2 oz, from CraftSmart. While the paint was drying, I glued magnets to happy colored shape buttons purchased from Oriental Trading, and cut out tiny shapes from colored scraps of felt I had from another project. To finish it off, I glued orange felt to the back of one butterfly, and yellow felt to the back of the other.
We covered our  butterflies in buttons, colored them with chalk, pretended they were sandwiches and practiced our symmetry (for some of the children I designed one side of the butterfly while they matched the other and vice versa). We also sorted out our magnetic buttons into cool and warm colors (which was an impromptu project when one of the children asked me if purple was a cool color, how awesome is that?) We never got out the felt pieces for the back as the task of covering the entire surface with brown chalk (and only brown chalk) was much too enticing for ALL of the children.
I am really really pleased with how this project turned out and how the children engaged with it. Now I have to think of some other projects for my magnetic paint. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

bubble wrap butterfly prints

The week before we did this activity we had bubble wrap on the easel. It was such a popular center that I wanted to keep it but felt hat it needed a fresh twist when I remembered back to my toddler art class days and how we covered the table with bubblewrap and pulled prints from the colorful mess! Let's make butterflies! We had our bubble wrap in two parts taped together. I took advantage of the taped seam, folding it all in half and free cutting a butterfly half from the seam out to the edges. Once unfolded I had a nifty bubble wrap butterfly waiting to be painted on!
The children were really excited to practice painting butterfly designs onto the bubble wrap. One of my kiddos got really into our lessons on symmetry and painted/printed up some awesome symmetrical butterflies! Another kiddo must have painted/printed up over a dozen butterflies. Our classroom looked so festive!
We changed out the colors each day to add a bit of variety to the project. I wish I had more photos, they looked so nifty! I'm glad I captured these small moments. A three year old classroom is always a very busy place!