Monday, July 21, 2014

Watercolor Letter Art

(4 Years)

Is it too hot or too wet to go outside?  Are you looking for a calming project?  This one would be perfect!  Watercolor Letter Art
Materials needed:
Watercolor paper
Watercolor paint
Thin paintbrushes

The project itself was very simple to set up.  I drew a large block letter in marker on watercolor paper, and then inside the block letter drew squares and rectangles in pen.  My plan was for them to carefully paint inside the lines (something we have never worked on) and to remember to choose a different neighboring color when painting.  I wasn't sure how this project was going to go.  Were they going to want to work on it?  Will they like it?

I showed them the model that I made.  We discussed how I must have had to carefully paint to stay within the lines.  We talked about how the same color isn't repeated in an adjacent box.  I asked if they wanted to create their own, and to my surprise they did!

Little Miss methodically chose the colors according to their placement in the watercolor tray to make sure that she didn't choose the same color twice (brilliant!).  Wild One chose randomly (that's how I did it too).

When I saw the smiles, I knew they would finish the project in one sitting.  

Look at them practicing for writing!  They are trying to control where the paint goes, just like when printing (you need that fine motor control).

Calming, quiet work.  Concentrating on staying within the lines and not using the same color in an adjacent spot.  Practicing for writing.  Enjoying color mixing and painting.  Creating beautiful art.

 Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Preschool Paper Mache

(4 Years)

Paper mache!  It screams childhood.  Ripping paper.  Mixing flour and water.  Putting your hands in a goopy solution.  Painting the dried creation.  Fun!  Making a paper mache project is a great way to work on so many skills at once, in a playful way of courseripping in strips (it's harder than it looks for a four-year old),  following directions, hand-eye coordination, measuring, pouring, mixing, transferring, using a paint brush (great practice for writing with a pencil), color mixing, and of course developing those fine motor skills.

They liked the fact that they got to rip paper.  We haven't ripped paper (other than wrapping paper) in a long time.
Look at that smile!  That's right my little one, rip the paper, develop your pincer grip to prepare you for writing.
Measuring the flour and pouring in the water.  We used a 1:1 ratio.  We also added in a teaspoon of salt, it's supposed to make the mixture resistant to mold- at least that's what I was told in school.

Wild One getting wild mixing his solution together.  
I think he thinks that he is one of the kid chefs on Master Chef Jr.  

"It's fun to mix fast.  Do you want to try it?"
"No.  I like mixing slow."
Twins?  Really?
I wrapped a small glass bowl in plastic cling wrap.  Turned it over and modeled how to dip in the strip of paper, squeeze it out between two fingers and then place and smooth the strip down on the bowl, and they were off! 

Look at that concentration!  Wild One is squeezing it out perfectly.  
Little Miss found a short strip of paper to begin with, she loves tiny things.


Ta da!  On the left is the one Little Miss created, on the right is Wild One's. There was about three coats of strips on their bowls.  Let them air dry for two days.

Carefully, pull the cling wrap until the paper mache bowl starts to release.  If the inside of the bowl feels damp, continue to let dry.  Ours was ready after the two days.  I grabbed 
our Dollar Tree muffin tin, some paint, paint brushes and called the kiddos over.

Little Miss was stunned that the paper hardened into a bowl.  She loves painting.  If you don't want to see any of the newsprint, I'd recommend spray painting the bowl a base color first.  

 At first Wild One didn't want to paint.  He changed his mind a few minutes later.

She is painting the rim of her bowl a contrasting color.

Wild One is excited because he created gray.  

He's holding his paint brush like a magic wand.

We let our painted bowls dry and then I sprayed them with a clear coat of spray paint.  Now we have beautiful handmade catch-alls to hold some of most-used art supplies.  They are remarkably sturdy.  I thought we would have to be careful with these, but they dry into a pretty rigid bowl.
When they saw how beautiful they turned out, they asked to do this again.  Yay!  
I just love zero-added cost projects, don't you?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rainbow Snowballs

(4 Years)

This is so much fun!!!  Have you seen what happens to a bar of Ivory soap when you put it in the microwave?  We've been watching Sid the Science Kid, and Little Miss and Wild One love the science journals that Sid and his classmates use.  "We can do that." I tell them.  Little Miss, sadly says that we can't because we don't know how to write a lot of words.  I rewind and freeze the movie, on the part where Teacher Suzie has the class write (draw) in their science journals.  Wild One shouts, "Look it's all drawings!  No words!"  Little Miss smiled and cheered, "We can do it!  We can do it!"  Prep for this is quick- if you have Ivory in the house, I knew we would do this one day, so I already purchased two bars at The Dollar Store, I love The Dollar Store.

Materials needed:
Ivory soap (we cut ours in half)
Microwave-safe plate
Trays or baking sheets (to help contain the mess)
Liquid food dye or liquid water color
Ice cube tray or water color palate
Medicine droppers or pipettes

I've seen the Ivory Experiments all over the internet.  However, I found this great journal idea on 5 Orange Potatoes (she even has a free booklet that you can download).  I made a modified one for us, you can grab it here.

They were so excited that they were writing a journal entry, just like on Sid the Science Kid.  When I asked, if they thought the bar will stay the same or change.  They both said, "Change!"  Little Miss said, "It will melt"; Wild One chimed in with a "Yeah, melt."

We cut our bar in half, because I've seen how large this thing will swell.  We placed it on a dinner plate (microwave-safe).  Pressed two minutes on the microwave and stood back.  The first ten seconds, nothing happened.  They looked at me with disappointment in their eyes,
 and then .

 Once it starts expanding, it grows pretty quickly.  We stopped ours around 45 seconds.
"I can't watch.  It's too exciting!"

Wild One was hopping up and down so much, saying, "Look!  Look!"  
That she couldn't resist, first peeking and then smiling too.

That's a full-size dinner plate, with only half a bar of Ivory on it!  
Be careful, it is HOT when it first comes out of the microwave.    
It sadly also deflates, just a little, as soon as you stop the microwave.

While we were waiting for it to cool off, we finished our science journal entry.  

 They drew a picture of what the soap looks like after it came out of the microwave. 

Once cooled off (it only took a few minutes for ours to cool off), I asked if they thought it will be hard or soft.  They both said soft.  It looks soft, just like shaving cream.  They were surprised to feel that it was hard.  We used some old medicine syringes to add just a little water at a time to the soap to shape it into mini snowballs.

Little Miss wondered out loud (I'm constantly thinking out loud - it's amazing how things I did in the classroom I'm still doing today) what would happen if we used a bowl of water instead of just the medicines (the syringes).  You know what would happen, I knew what would happen, but for her it's a learning opportunity, so break out the plastic bowls.

"Ooohhh, it's getting gooey."

Her next wondering question that she asked with so much excitement, "What if we use seltzer water?"  I asked her what she thought might happen.  "It will get bubbly, because there are bubbles in seltzer water."  Ok, I see that.  Again, you know what will happen and I knew what would happen.  It is another learning opportunity, so off I go to get her seltzer in a bowl.
"Nope.  It's the same."  Meanwhile Wild One was working so hard 
on wetting and molding his snowballs.

While the kids washed their hands - no soap needed.  I put a drop of liquid food dye into the well of the pallet, added some water, stirred carefully.  By the time the kids were done washing their hands the next part of the project was ready.  Now to make our snowballs into rainbow snowballs.

They love using these little medicine droppers.  

 Here come the secondary colors.

 These little medicine droppers are great for developing fine motor skills.
Now we have pretty little rainbow snowballs to play with in the bathtub.