Sunday, July 31, 2011

Box Painting and 3D Picture Display

In my last post, I covered our experience with painting cardboard flaps. But what to do with the left over boxes? Well, we painted those, too, of course! 

Children need an upright easel to practice hand dominance and the proper pencil grasp. This child displays the  mature 3 finger pencil grip.

For more information on building pencil grasp, please visit this website, called OT Mom.

When the box was dry, I decided to use it as a 3D picture art display.

For now, I put pictures of the children painting on cardboard...

...but this can be re-used to display pictures of any activity, and displayed around the room.

I even stapled it to one, bare corner of the classroom, just above the children's eye level. We hung children's art from the bottom of the box. Now it's being displayed in the hallway just outside the classroom. 
How have you found ways to display children's art/ photos in your class? I'm interested in hearing about it! 

Happy playing!

Water Colors on Cardboard Squares

  The children made this gorgeous display with box flaps and paint!

I saved two large, white cardboard boxes from the recycling bin. My co-teacher, Mr. Matt, cut off the flaps, and then cut them into equal squares. This was done while the children slept, and the squares were saved for a future project.

All you need is just a squirt of liquid water color, some small paint brushes, and white crayons.

 Whenever you do an art project with young preschoolers, it is important to have enough supplies for each child to participate at the same time.
To make enough paint available, I put out about 12 jars for a table of 8. Each jar had 2-3 paint brushes in it, so there was no bickering over "my paint." 

Each child had their own crayon, and there were enough cardboard squares for them to make multiple masterpieces.

Smocks are made available, but no one is forced.

 I don't know why, but some children will LEAVE the art table if I even suggest a smock, as if the smock will somehow hinder their creative process!
Fear not, parents! Everything we use is washable.

There is something very personal about creating art. Each piece is unique and beautiful.
Art allows us to express ourselves and our feelings. 
Each piece of art is like a snapshot of how we were feeling at that moment.
The liquid colors blend, and make surprising new colors.
Speaking of surprises, the white crayon resists the paint, and pops out.

 Happy playing!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dancing with Glowsticks

When you have glow sticks, you just HAVE to try dancing with the dark!

I love this. We busted out the wild dance mix CD, turned out the lights, and went cRaZy!
If you're wondering where all the other kids were, they were probably in the boxes. There was shaking...
...hoola hooping...
...and jumping!
You can also tape the glow sticks to the children's clothes, but my children were too wiggly. I chose to keep it simple.

Happy playing!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Glow Sticks in Big Boxes!

Fun with glow sticks just don't stop!
...especially when you have large boxes to create dark, cozy spaces.
The view from inside.
This is what it looks like with flash...The kids brought pillows and blankets inside to make it cozy.
This is what it looks like with no flash!
What is the purpose of glow sticks? I guess there is none, other than they are really fun! I guess that is what a play-based classroom is all about...learning while having FUN.
You can almost see their smiling faces. :)
Christopher connected several glow sticks together, building fine motor skills. The kids used the connectors to create bracelets, necklaces, and...
...a WHIP!

The shorter box was juuust big enough for the little ones to crawl into.
While the bigger box could comfortably fit 3 children, and still "close the doors," which was their favorite part, of course.
I had to take pictures through the cracks in the doors...which was pretty tricky!
If they weren't able to close the doors themselves, they had friends help (pro-social behavior). They also used heavy objects as props to hold the flaps shut (inquiry and problem solving). These are skills that were encouraged not through the teacher coaching...rather by simply adding to the environment. 
Children need cozy spaces to "get away" from the noisiness of a busy classroom. I experienced this first-hand, when I had an extra teacher. I crawled inside the smaller box (only half of my torso could fit), along with Braeden, and instantly, the noises from the classroom were muted. It was just me and Braeden, making happy faces with glow sticks.
All children need a space where they can "get away," even if it's just to explore glow sticks with your best buddies.
I love the bracelets!
As to be expected, there were a few scraps over who would get a turn...
...this was quickly remedied by the use of 3 minute sand timers (I had them flip them over twice so each group got a six minute turn).
But even this was not enough. I quickly realized we needed yet another dark, cozy space...
So I put a large table cloth over a table, added some carpet squares on the floor, and voila! Another dark, cozy area for glow stick play. It wasn't as dark as the boxes of course, but still fun. This photo was taken without the flash.
When parents came in to drop off a child, they would ask, "Where are all the kids?" :)
My classroom looked almost empty for three days, and with the lights off, it must have seemed that way!
This is a view from inside the large box. They finally opened the doors, and I got a few sneaky pictures of the glow stick magic...

Happy playing! 

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