Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Spray Painted Nature Voids

VOID - "completely empty. blank, bare, free, unfilled." 

This is the word we learned today while painting. Spray painting, actually. I got this art activity idea from Martha Stewart, and we tweaked it a little. We talked about how when we paint, we usually paint a picture. But what would happen if we painted to create the absence of a picture? To explain this concept, we broke out the liquid water colors…in a brand new way. 

What You Need:
  • water color paper
  • liquid water colors
  • water
  • spray bottles (from the dollar store)
  • rocks, sticks, leaves, pebbles, etc. 
  • a tray, paper bag, trash bag or drop cloth to keep your driveway from being painted
What To Do:
  1. Fill the spray bottles with a few squirts of liquid water colors then add water to dilute.
  2. Put the water color paper on the tray and place your nature items on the paper. Tilt the tray up a little so when you spray the paint, the spray bottle works and doesn't start to sputter.
  3. Spray the paint on the paper and nature materials, alternating colors. 
  4. Once the paint has dried a little, remove the rocks, leaves, sticks, etc. 
  5. Once materials have been removed, you will see the void left behind from where the paint was blocked from the paper!! 
This is how it started...

Busy spray painted the rocks
There is the void! 
Then she tried it with a giant leaf.

She made sure to spray with the wind when the bottle needed
a refreshed pump.
There's the void again! This one is my favorite :)
And finally she made a collage of nature materials.

I love how she didn't try to fit the entire shape of each object
on the paper.

This was such a success! We will definitely be doing this one again!!

Nature Weaving

Today is a beautiful day so Busy and I decided to do some collecting while the Beans was napping. She wanted to collect rocks of different sizes, sticks of different lengths and leaves of different shapes. As she kept picking up various sticks, I noticed a few really good ones that we could use to make the loom we have been talking about. So with weaving in mind, we finished collecting some things and headed back in to get to work. 

What You Need:
  • sticks - you need 4 good sturdy sticks for the frame
  • leaves
  • branches - the more pliable, the better
  • scissors
  • yarn or string
What To Do:
  1. After collecting the materials, lay out your 4 frame sticks in a square with the ends overlapping.
  2. Using the string or yarn, tie each frame corner together. Tie the ends in a knot to secure it. 
  3. Tie one end of another piece of string to one corner of the frame and start winding the string from top to bottom on the frame.
  4. Tie the other end of the string to the opposite corner of the frame. You may have to adjust the string to make it tight enough to hold the weaving materials in place. 
  5. Start weaving! Think 'over, under, over, under.' The do the opposite on the next material used. 
  6. When they are finished, they can hang their masterpiece in the window and watch the sun shine through! 

The finished frame
As we were winding the string from top to bottom we noticed that the string was not staying in place! So I turned to to solve our problem. She suggested wrapping the string twice at each loop to keep the string from sliding around. It also helps keep in tight. She does a much better job explaining how to do that here :)

I braided some lily leaves together for her to weave through
The bamboo branches worked really well! 

This is also a great fine motor activity! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Shaving Cream On A Mirror

It's raining cats and dogs out there!!! I had planned for a nature walk and scavenger hunt this morning while Super Dad was playing golf, followed by a family picnic lunch. Well shame on me for not checking the weather! The storms came through last night and didn't let up until mid day, so needless to say, plans changed. Instead of the walk, we had a dance party in the playroom complete with costumes (there was a ballerina and an astronaut!). And instead of a scavenger hunt, we played t-ball with a beach ball and golf club (not one of my better parenting decisions considering my son, turns out, has a pretty good batting average ;) Then to get the troops settled and in a calmer mode for lunch, we decided to break out the shaving cream for some sensory play. And we added a new element to our shaving cream this time: a mirror. And this is how it all went down…

What You Need:

  • shaving cream (or whip cream for the ones who still like to put things in their mouth)
  • water beads (or tapioca balls for the ones who still like to put things in their mouth)
  • a mirror.
What To Do:
  1. Put the mirror on a flat surface. Then I always start out by reviewing the expectations. 1. The shaving cream stays on the mirror. 2. The water beads stay on the mirror 3. Accidents happen, simply fix the problem if one comes up (clean up a spill, throw away a broken water bead, etc.)
  2. Spray shaving cream on the mirror in front of each child (you may notice that I drew a line down the middle of the mirror to separate his side from hers - he didn't want shaving cream at first)
  3. Put a few water beads on the mirror. 
  4. Let them play! 

Busy started bouncing the water beads and quickly
learned that she needed to hold the bead close to the
mirror to keep the bead from bouncing off the counter.
Beansie eventually wanted shaving cream on
his side as well. 
Busy then made the observation that the shaving cream looked like icing so they asked if they could add some sprinkles and food coloring and they made their own cupcakes! Creative little boogers ;)

And don't forget you can do this with the tiny tots! Just use whipped cream and tapioca balls (or leave out the balls all together). You can also use pudding instead of shaving cream! And doing it all on a mirror adds another sensory experience. If you don't have a mirror like this one, you can put shaving cream on the bathroom mirror :) When finished, wipe it clean with a damp paper towel. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fine Motor Practice

After a lot of traveling, this morning we were finally able to relax, play, create and just be together. Just a mom and my kids doing what we like best. After some drawing and making a new dress up closet (post to come), the Beans came out of the art room with a water color palette, a paint brush and some paper and asked for some water in a bowl :) After watching him create his masterpiece, it was time for some more fine motor practice. 

We have been doing some things with Beansie to help with fine motor skills. Today I set out a small drying rack with some clothes pins and left the activity open. He pinched the clothes pins open and closed then started attaching them to the drying rack. I then asked him to take them all off again and rearrange them, which he did, then took them off again and put them away. All you need is a drying rack and some clothes pins :)

 Fine motor is "the ability to coordinate the small muscles of the hand." Strength, dexterity and hand-eye coordination are needed before being able to manipulate a pencil. Fine motor practice is a good way to help develop these hand muscles for future success. For more fine motor practice ideas, check out this post or click the Tiny Tots tab at the top of the Busy and The Beans home page. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Our Week in Review

Wow! What a week!! 
We headed to Oklahoma for the 4th of July week and had a blast! These pictures offer a glimpse into our week and how much fun we had with some pretty amazing people :)

This was our amazing home for the week! 

The girls had so much fun on the Gator.

Busy couldn't get enough of all the horses :) She made special
friends with this horse she named "Keen" because he liked
to sniff and nibble on her Keen shoes. 

This sweet mama and baby (Keen's baby) were always close by.

Then again, he could have been named "Crocs"

The kids played with Silly String

Beansie found some turtles

We had such a great time! Busy is already asking when we get to go back to see Keen :) We hope you had a great 4th of July week as well and that everything stayed safe. Now back to life…at least for the week ;)