Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Invitation to Play - Pipes

While we were at Home Depot last week, I made a quick stop by the PVC pipe isle and picked up some tubes for exploring. I got a long piece for $5 and had them cut it in 12" sections. It made enough for some at home and some for us to take to school. I first let Beansie decorate his pipe then used painters tape to secure the pipe to the banister at the bottom of the stairs and set out materials to use with the pipes. I set out some glass beads, craft sticks, and pouf balls of all sizes.

The Beans experimented with different materials in the tube for about 30 minutes! He started with the glass beads. "These go fast!" Then he used the craft sticks. Then he put the beads and the sticks in together and tried the small pouf balls.

Then he put the largest pouf ball in the pipe and got it stuck. After a minute of trying to reach the pouf with his fingers, he looked at the rest of his materials and grabbed a craft stick. He poked the stick in the pipe until it lodged in the center of the pipe. 

After a minute more of poking, I asked him if he remembered how we got the train out of the box when it got stuck (that happened a few days earlier). He said "You pushed really really hard and it popped out! But I pushed hard and now it can't reach!!" 

So I asked him how to make more pressure on the pouf ball in the center of the pipe to push if he can't reach it, fully expecting him to say he needed to make the sticks longer. But his solution was to start putting the glass beads in the pipe. When he had no more beads and nothing had happened, he went to get more. 

After more beads were dropped in the pipe, the pouf ball was finally pushed free! "I did it!! The pouf ball came out!!" After high fives and hugs, we talked about what he did and why it worked. Then I demonstrated another way to solve his problem (taped craft sticks together) to which he replied "Actually, I never thought of that!" 

Love that kid :)

**Sorry I didn't get any more pictures of problem solving! I was so in the moment that I completely forgot to pick up the camera for most of it ;)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sight Word Rocks

Sight Word Rocks

I told you that we like to paint on anything! Today Busy wanted to paint rocks and not missing a learning opportunity, we turned the painted masterpieces into sight word and number rocks ;)

What You Need:
  • Rocks
  • Paint and brushes (we used liquid watercolors)
  • A chalkboard marker (optional) You can also use white paint or a Sharpie marker

What To Do:

  1. Collect rocks and give them a good washing then dry them thoroughly. 
  2. Paint each rock, and get creative with the colors and patterns! 

3. Once the paint has dried, write a sight word on each rock. You can flip the rocks over and write more words on the backs. Or do what we did and write numbers on the back! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Painting on Bubble Wrap

There is nothing you can't paint! And my kids love to paint on all sorts of surfaces. We paint on paper, sticks, rocks, skin, windows, styrofoam…really the list goes on and on. It's great to let them paint on all different types of surfaces and open up a whole new world of language and vocabulary. This weekend we painted on bubble wrap. We have both finger paint and tempura paint, and both have the same end result of the paint chipping and flaking off once it has dried. So this project is all about the process and not the end product, which is the most important part anyway :)

What you need:

  • paint
  • bubble wrap

What To Do:

It's really quite simple. All you do is paint! 

FYI - The kids preferred painting with their hands and fingers on the bubble wrap as opposed to using paint brushes. The texture of the bubble wrap is far more interesting when you can touch it. 

We talked about the texture of the bubble wrap and how it felt when we used our fingers as a brush.

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I painted one, too!
I couldn't take any photos of Busy during
her painting process due to the fact that
she refused to wear clothes :/

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Liquid Watercolor Circles

I am in love with liquid watercolors. Regular water colors are convenient and easy and nice for traveling, but liquid watercolors are awesome! The colors are more vibrant and rich and the effect of liquid watercolors on watercolor paper is beautiful. A while back Busy did a mini artist study on Kandinsky using oil pastels. We had talked specifically about his Concentric Circles. She really enjoyed doing this activity at such a young age that I decided it was time to revisit that post with her and create another work of art inspired by Kandinsky using liquid watercolors. I went about it a little differently this time since I was inspired by the Art Bar Blog when she did this guest post for Small For Big.

This is how it started…

  1. I made a grid on watercolor paper with 12 squares.
  2. I put out the paint brushes, bowl of water and paper towel for blotting.
  3. Then I set our the watercolors in our paint tray (it's called a cupcake palette from JoAnns). You can use whatever you usually put paint in for art projects. 
When Busy sat down I gave her only one rule: when drawing your circle, make sure it touches each side of the square (top, right, bottom, left). As she started to make her first circle, it was apparent that drawing a circle inside of a square where all sides of that square must make contact with the circle was actually very difficult for a 4 year old to accomplish spatially. It made much more sense to start with a small circle in the middle (not touching the sides of the square). She was then able to expand her circle out to the square edges perfectly :) 

As she painted we talked about how each circle could touch the one next to it so that they mixed a little creating a new color in between. I asked her what color was her favorite by itself and what colors she liked blended together. And she sat in silence to work as well. "Mommy, sometimes I work better when you don't ask me so many questions." Well alrighty then… ;) 

When she was finished we looked back on the Kandinsky post from a year and a half ago and compared her works of art. She said for her next project she wants to use both oil pastels and watercolors! Stay tuned...

And in case you want to know what products we like…

The watercolors we use are from
Discount School Supply HERE

And our watercolor paper is from
Discount School Supply HERE