Monday, April 21, 2008

what's with the cream of tartar?

Cream of Tartar, originally uploaded by Cinara's Place.

I just wanted to do a wee bit of clarification for you folks out there who want to whip up a batch of play dough but don't have any cream of tartar.

Guess what? You don't need it! Adding cream of tartar to your play dough assists it a wee bit in adding volume and elasticity, and it acts as a preservative so that you can keep it around for a week or so as long as you store it in a sealed container in a cool, dry place (there is all kinds of science involved but I want to make dough NOW). Other than that, yer play dough is just find without it (though it might be a smidge grainy). So, go ahead, make some dough and have at it!**

**if your dough is on the sticky-side, add a little more flour, one tablespoon at a time and knead it in until you get a consistency you like. Doughs that are cooked on the stovetop tend to be top notch but a hot water dough or a simple flour and salt dough are easy to make. To skip the worry over cream of tartar all together, whip up a batch of cornstarch clay, the texture is fantastic!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Read This!

In between school and the other boring, everyday trappings of my everyday life, I am constantly thinking of scrumdilly-do! There is so much I want to share and do for you all but finding the time is proving to be difficult and I apologize. Here's just a quick book recommendation for you in honor of April being National Poetry Month, here in the States.A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms
Poems Selected by Paul B. Janeczko
Illustrated by Chris Raschka
Published by Candlewick Press 2005

This title is as cool for us grown-ups as it is for the kidlets! I had no idea there were so many specific styles of poetry. Maybe that just shows you how much I remember from my school days or maybe not. This book is wonderful. Each poem style is accompanied by a description of what that type of poem is and a colorful collage by the award winning Chris Rashcka. From old timers such as Ogden Nash, Edward Lear and William Shakespeare to the new stars in children's poetry such as Alice Schertle, Kristine O'Connell George and Paul B. Janeczko himself, A Kick in the Head is a whimsical collection of rhythm and prose. Hopefully I will be able to walk you through a few of the styles so you and your wee ones can play poet this week and next. Here's a sneak peak. Check out your library or find yourself a copy here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Art in Parts

Experimenting with paint, paper and folding. This project can be done in many, many parts. It's a quick fix for a kidlet who wants to "DO SOMETHING" and it can be done over a period of time with little storage or prep work.
What you need:
*big sheets of paper or newspaper
*acrylic or tempera paints (watercolor will also work)
*splat mat or paint friendly surface
*clothespins or paper clips
*paint brushes or sponges or alternatives to paintbrushes
scrumdilly-do it

Set out your supplies and get ready for some experimenting! The first thing you want to do is prep the paper. This involves folding it, not unlike as if you were making a paper fan but staggering the fold so that you can see all the edges you made. It may take a moment to wrap your head around the "HOW" but once you do, it will be fine. You end up doing a small fold then flipping the paper over for the next fold and then flipping it over again. Repeat. This step may best be done by you. Your children can fold their own paper any way they wish for the second adaptation of this project.

Once you're stir crazy with all the folding, clip the folded edges down using paper clips or clothespins. The idea is to keep the folds as flat as possible so that when your kidlet begins painting, they won't be painting under the folds.Hand over the paint brushes or sponges and let them paint their little hearts out. Set aside to dry.
Once dry, or the next time they want to paint, unclip your clips or pins and unfold the paper. There will be neat colorful lines of paint and big stretches of blank paper stripes. Refold the paper in the same style but stagger your folds so that your wee ones will be painting on new batches of white. Clip, paint, repeat.You can keep doing this until all of the paper has been covered in paint or stop whenever you feel like it.

You can also hand your wee one a sheet of paper and have them fold it up like crazy. Clip down all folds and let them paint, paint, paint away. Once dry, unfold and then refold and paint again.
If the paper has been covered with paint, hand over a color that will stand out and let your wee one paint with a stick or car or other alternative paintbrush.

Give them globs of glue and fun things to collage with. Cut the painting up and turn it into a wall hanging. There are endless opportunities here.

The experimenting comes in when your wee one figures out that that paper under the folds won't get painted on, that each time they refold their paper, a whole new painting emerges. Try using just one color scheme each time. Or just one color. It doesn't matter how the paper gets folded. After you do it enough, both sides will be covered in art. I can't wait to see what your wee ones come up with!