Monday, December 23, 2013

watercolor christmas trees with fingerprint ornaments

Painting with liquid watercolors is always fun. Add some quality watercolor paper and painters tape and you get a party out of it! 
 I had torn pieces of tape ready for the children to shape on their paper. We talked about triangles and the shape of a triangle. We talked about how a triangle has three sides and worked together to place our tape to create a triangle shape. I presented this project as one where we follow instructions. After we did our trees, the children were given free reign of the tape and painted up all sorts of fun. Some opted to keep their tape on their paper while others wanted to peel it off. All of them wanted to add as much glitter and epsom salt as we had. It was really fun!
 The paint palettes held liquid watercolor in two shades of green, yellow, and teal. The children picked the colors as a group. The focus was to paint their entire triangle with the watercolor.
After they filled in their triangles, they added epsom salt that had been mixed with fine glitter. I think this was their favorite part. They used it all up. I need to make more...and get more glitter.
The paintings were set up on the windowsill to dry. The next day they were ready to be decked out with ornaments. The children used their fingers to add tempera paint ornaments. They used a length of cardboard to stamp a trunk under their tree. We were going to add paper punched stars as well but things got busy and that never happened.

While the brightness of the tempera paint did notremain, the glitz and sparkle are there! Finish each tree painting by trimming paper to size (Kiddo often place their tape at the very bottom of the paper) and adding a washi tape frame.

paint a wooden ornament {and wrap it up!}

Blank wooden ornaments can be found at most craft stores. Usually fairly priced as $2 or $3 they can pack a lot of punch without breaking your piggy bank. If you pick them up now for next year you can get them for under fifty-cents (I need to do this)!
Use acrylic paints for the ornaments and let your kiddos choose two or three colors. I had the children at school pick two similar colors and we added white. We are always talking about the color wheel and complimentary colors. For this project we first talked about warm and cool colors and then the children got to decide of they wanted warm or cool colored paint for their ornaments. Young children love to mix paint together and they will mix any and all colors they can. This is science at its best and the children have ample opportunity to mix away in the classroom For this project however we focused on our colorwheel and went with colors that would not muddy up.
Use wax paper to lay the ornaments down to dry. The ornaments won't stick too much and any drippy paint will be left on the paper and not on your table. If we had any glitter left, I am certain the children would have glittered their ornaments up. Even without, the ornaments are snazzy, don't ya think?
After the ornaments were dry, it was time to wrap them up. We used plain white paper (their painted wrapping paper was a gift to take home) and washi tape. I placed each ornament on its own sqaure of paper and had the children fold and crease their presents. They chose which washi tape they wanted to use and I helped them tear off pieces in the size they indicated.
Next up was yarn. They chose the yarn and I tied it around their presents  (unless they wanted to o it) as they hit up the giftwrap table for a bow. After peeling off the back paper they stuck their bow where they wanted and proudly posed for a photo before running the present to their cubby. So cool!

it's a wrap!

In Rabbit's Gift, each animal in the story returns home with a different type of vegetable. To add to the literature, the children used various vegetables to create their own wrapping paper to take home for the holidays.
I brought in my acrylic paints and let each child choose up to three colors. To keep the paper from getting muddy, we kept each vegetable to one color with the children choosing which veggie got which color.
One child worked at a time at our smaller art table. I kept an eye out and rotated the paper a little to keep the stamping an all over process rather than a cluster in one place. Some children chose to stand and walk around as they stamped.
We rolled up their paper and secured it with a pipe cleaner to take home on the last day before winter break. Some of the parents in other classrooms were really dazzled by how modern the paper looked.

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?

bows, bows, and more bows...

Our last week before winter break we read Rabbit's Gift. To tie in the literature we had a lot of bow play going on (even though there were no wrapped presents in the book the children talked about presents and what they looked like so bows it was).
We had magnetic bows to sort and match and bows to count and measure with.
We had a table of boxes and bows to create gifts with which the children thoroughly enjoyed. I must have received a dozen boxes of dinosaurs, cars, acorns, and rubber insects!

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!

painting christmas trees on the easel

I put out paint in Christmas Tree colors at our easel. I asked if the children wanted to paint a picture of a Christmas tree. This is what I found on the easel, star on top and all.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

holiday play dough fun

My co-teacher whipped up a batch of gingerbread playdough for the kiddos to enjoy while I brought in a bag of tiny bows. We piled it all onto a thrifted tray (my magic place) with as many holiday cookie cutters as we could find and let the play begin!

painting with holiday bows

We painted with our bow brushes using our tempera paints on fingerpaint paper. The glossiness of the paper gave our paintings a fun bit of shine. The children enjoyed painting with our bow brushes and took it upon themselves not to mix the paint up. I had done this before years ago with the children dipping their bows in paint. I wish I had thought of gluing them to craft sticks but then again it was so long ago you needed to save your popsicle sticks if you wanted some. So happy I found the idea and this pin


our felt christmas trees

This tree is a place mat from either Target, The Dollar Tree, or Michael's...I cannot remember where. The ornaments are from Michael's and had sticky backs. The children worked their fine motor skills peeling off the backs. We had the tree out for two weeks and it got a lot of play. Some children decorated it by themselves while others worked together on a plan.
I wish I had a picture of the tree with all the buttons on it. The classroom was super busy, it's pretty astounding I got as many photos as I did during the week. Each child had a different technique with the buttons. Some dumped them on top or put one button on each point while others only put the red buttons on, or very carefully filled in each tree. Yay for felt trees!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

hanging snowflakes on our classroom tree

Our apple tree has turned into a classroom tree. From apples to autumn to winter, the children love hanging whatever ornaments they find at its base. Last week it was felt snowflakes made from a pack of felt snowflakes I found at Michael's. After our break we just might be hanging mittens on it!