Saturday, October 14, 2017

mouse paint: drawing mice


When we do guided drawing in the classroom, we first talk about breaking down the thing we wish to draw into manageable shapes. The children tell me how to draw it first.  I use this part of the lesson as a tool for guiding descriptive and prepositional language. Where do the eyes go? Is this the head? Does the nose go above or below the eyes? For Mouse Paint, we drew primary colored mice. We used crayola markers to draw the mice, then painted them in with liquid watercolors. Not every child chooses to join us when we do projects like this. While we encourage participation, we do not buckle down and force anyone to do it. Generally, a child who may be apprehensive about such a task in the beginning, will eventually show interest. When they are ready, we will sit down and invite another firend to help. They always turn out so cool, and the children are always so proud!

Friday, October 13, 2017

mouse paint: color mixing

A little clear hair gel and two primary splashes of liquid water color into a zip bag taped to a tabletop create a fun exploration as the children used the mice (tied to the table) to mix the paint.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

ikea goodness

I picked these little cups up at IKEA about five years ago. They are very inexpensive and can be used in a bunch of different ways. One year, we reserved them for our water cups. They are super small but I had a bunch of kiddos that just refused to drink water...until we brought down our special cups...then everyone had to take a turn or two, or three...After a few years, the cups have made their way to our outside area, They are used to create milkshakes, cupcakes, tea, and more. They are filled with sand, water beads, water, soap suds, leaves, you name it. I need ot make my way to Ikea again for another set or two. We love them!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

and then we painted with cars...

Sometimes we set this up as an invitation to paint, sometimes we do it as a group. This time, we set it up as a group and used our primary colors to see if mixing would happen. We pulled all of the chairs away from the table and gave each kiddo a piece of paper that they began with and carried with them as they moved around the table to the next tray of paint. There is a lot of language when we do this as the children laugh and communicate what the cars are doing on their paper. I love our group projects, I feel they serve a position in our classroom community. That said, we do not always do large group projects like this. In the beginning of the year we do more of them to help guide the children in how to use the materials. Once the children begin to engage with the materials on their own, we step back and watch to see where we can next guide their creativity.

big blocks

I love when I discover towers like this in the block area. These lovely blocks are from Community Playthings and are worth every penny. They are strong and super sturdy and can be stoon on, slid down, stacked up, and not. Sometimes the nooks become houses for our dinosaurs, sometimes the children like to pass items to ech other through them. They can also be put together to create a large platform for the children to perform on. So many ways to be played with, the best is how open-ended they are.

Friday, September 22, 2017

I was asked to guard them...

At the beginning of the school year, the children latch onto the stilts as objects for keeping. They gather them up in pairs or more and create their own games and variations of play with them. At some point in the middle of the year, they progress to balancing and standing on them, and by the end of the year, they are walking on them. I love the time of year when they place such a high level of importance to the stilts that they need guardng.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

mixing paint...tinting things up

When it comes to paint, for most kiddos, the more there is, the happier they are. We like to use paper plates for color mixing as they are both inexpensive and sturdy enough to hold the massive globs of paint the kiddos add to them. Here, we've given a short lesson on tints...adding white to other colors...we've given the kiddos paint palettes with primary colors (there was a discussion as to which blue we should use) and white, and then they were let loose to mix it all up!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

decorating the castle....

When we really wanted the giant Outlast blocks from Community Playthings, but did not have the budget for them, we bought crates instead. Crates are great for building a block happy community. They are lightweight and stackable and provide a multitude of opprtunities for the children to come together with their imaginations and problem solving skills. Yay crates!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

being sneaky...

Sometimes our play yard toys get super ickified....the easiest way for them to get less ickified is to add soap to the water table...we like to use either Dawn or Mrs. Meyers....the kiddos just like the suds...

Monday, May 29, 2017

strawberry science

When we raead The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear, we have a lot of fun with strawberries. Here, the chidren are weighing and comparing their strawberries they brought from home. We have a variety of scales for the children to investigate with.  I bring extra berries that are locally grown for those who forget or are unable to bring one. I haven't had a strawberry allergy yet, but if we do, we of course change the fruit to something safe for everyone.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

scent tubes

I think I found these on zulily, or maybe it was at Tuesday Morning. Either way, I am quite fond of them. The tubes are made of sturdy plastic with screw on tops/bottoms. One lid has holes punched into it so that these make for pretty nifty scent tubes, albeit large tubes. The tubes measure about 15", I think, mayne 13". They are large enough so that the children can only hold one in each hand at a time. I like to add items from my own garden to them so we can begin a discussion of what is in your garden or yard. Our community is designated rural with many of the children very familair with gardening and growing. If I had children in my room with different home environments, the discussion would be different. Here in the tubes we have basil, rosemary, oregano, and lavender.

Friday, May 26, 2017

time for lunch

A dolphin, a striped momkey, and a kimochi, all ready to be fed....this could get interesting...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

classroom canvases

One of the ways I build community in the classroom is through our classroom canvases. Each child gets a flat canvas to create art on but with a twist. The owner of the canvas gets to choose the colors and paints the base however they wish.

We use acrylic paints for our canvases which elevate the process for the children. I keep the acrylics in a cardboard suitcase so they know something fun is afloat when it makes an appearance. Once the original coat is dry, the owner of the canvas selects a new color or two for a classmate to use on their canvas. For me, the fun part is switching out the tools the children use. I place a variety of tools on a tray and the painter selects which one they wish to use. This helps to keep the canvas from getting muddy while alerting the child that this is mindful work.

Some of the tools we've used are strawberry baskets, q-tips, pieces of cardboard, dollar store massage rollers, tp tubes, cups, sponges, toys, the bottoms of cups, toothbrushes, and our fingers.
The evolution of each canvas is pretty magical. We paint on them throughout the year so some may have layers and layers on them, while others might not.

Friday, May 19, 2017

paper plate lions

How cute are these lions? Our paper plate lions are a preschool craft project that gathers the kiddos into a group to work on skills such as cutting, glueing, and following instructions. I want to add that this is not an everyday deal that I do in my classroom. Most of the time we are mixing paint and creating our own art experiences. Sometimes we gather around so I can quickly assess who may need encouragment or who may need a new challenge. We never push and if a child has other plans or really does not want to do the project then that's okay. There a multitude of other ways to see where they are at. A craft such as this is cute and is a fun take home for parents to display. I mean, who wouldn't want a three-eyed lion on their fridge?

Paper plates are a fun and inexpensive resource for kiddo to create with. They are sturdy enough to hold ALL the paint, and have an interesting texture to them. Childre ncan cut them to create other tings, and they are happy to have paint, glue, crayon, marker, pencil, and even play dough spread over them.
Here we have a blue lion, a pink lions, a four-eyed lion, and a classic one or two in the mix. Once the paint dried, the kiddos added mouths or mustaches or design using the much coveted sharpie.
Sometimes though, I have to admit, it;s the paint messy brushes I swoon over.