Today was a great day. (gel glue batik)
I’ve wanted to get my girls a light table since the moment I saw one at a local nursery school. They are so awesome it’s kind of ridiculous. Unfortunately, however, they are majorly expensive so I’ve been waiting and waiting to take the plunge. I ended up finding this one on ebay for Gigi’s second birthday. It’s definitely not cheap at 150, but it was less than a lot of the other ones and I like how simple the design is. I think it might be someone’s DIY project because it kind of seems like an Ikea Hacker job. Regardless, we love it! It was super easy to put together and the light works great. Very pleased so far. We’re two days in.
First night I set out some magnatiles and a big crystal, which was pretty cool. We LOVE magnatiles in our house.
The next day, I covered the table with white butcher paper, filled a cup with paint and put down some plastic stencils. Gigi had a blast. We talked about the different shapes and she filled them in with paint to see the stencil. Her favorites were the bottle and the teddy bear. She’s only two, so she didn’t cover all the white space to make the stencil, but it didn’t matter at all. She loved lifting the stencil and looking for the design.
It looks like the listing for this light table is down on ebay. Maybe they make one at a time. If you want to get crafty and make your own, here is a really thorough tutorial and here is a way more basic tutorial. If you just want to go ahead and buy the real deal, this one and this one come highly recommended. I bet they come up on Craigslist from time to time too. Enjoy!
I was searching for projects for my sculpey class and I came across this link. I was inspired by the little guy’s face in the middle and thought he needed some buddies. I made a sample and sure enough the kids in my class were inspired as well. I love the babies they made. On the back is a small round magnet so they can go right on the fridge. So cute.
My class has an age range from 5 to 10. Everyone was successful. We first made a ball for the face, followed by flattened balls for the eyes and skinny snakes for the mouths. The nose is a ball of sorts. The kids had free range on the hair. Most of them tried to create mini versions of themselves. It was fun trying to get the hair to look curly.
For all my teacher friends out there, this turned out to be an awesome all school bulletin board. We asked all the students to bring in one of their favorite books for our Havurot group on Friday. Basically, our whole school separates into small groups of 6 or 7 once a month for the whole year to work on different projects. It’s really nice because kids of all ages get to work together and learn together. Anyway, each student brought in their own book and those that forgot, got to take one out of the library or look up the cover on a computer or iPad. We talked about each book in our group and then had about a half hour to create our own book covers to recommend our books to others.
Some kids created their own art, but most copied the covers. We don’t do copying very often, if ever, but I have to say, they LOVED it. Every age group was successful and the overall effect is pretty spectacular. It’s so much fun to see kids walk by and comment on the different covers. You hear things like “Ohhh, I love that book.” or “Oh man, I wish I did that one. That is so my favorite.” All the parents love to come by and find their child’s cover. Each time I pass I notice a different fantastic cover I hadn’t noticed before. The most popular books wereThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Wonder by R.J. Palacio, which I can’t wait to read this summer. I think eight kids did Wonder. So, if you’re looking for a great bulletin board for your school, here’s a great one. I’ve included the book template to make it easy. We printed it on card stock and only gave the kids sharpies to use.
I’m happy this bulletin will live throughout the summer. I’m going to put up a little envelope on the side with papers and little pencils so that kids can write down which books they are interested for summer reading. Happy summer everyone!
Laurel Burch is a fantastic artist to inspire kids to create. You can read all about her here. I did three Laurel Burch inspired projects last summer and am just getting around to posting them now. I started by showing the kids a video about Laurel and a few examples of her work, like this.
The kids quickly were drawn into Laurel’s world and noticed a ton of details that made her work intriguing, especially the way Laurel painted the cat’s eyes. After our discussion we went on to do directive draw’s on canvases. Each child had their own canvas and followed simple step by step directions to draw their cat. Then they were let free to add whatever details they wanted with paint and then puffy paint. They really enjoyed this process and each kid felt really successful. Directive draws can be really great for so many kids, especially the ones who don’t feel like they are “artists.”
Since the kids were really into the whole Laurel Burch theme we stayed with it and made popsicle stick puzzles with the same design. The kids were excited to practice the cat they had just learned to do. They helped each other a lot with this, reminding one another of different steps. The trick when doing a popsicle stick puzzle is to tape one side with masking tape while you draw so the pieces don’t move.
Lastly, we made sculpey cat pins. I gave the kids a cardstock paper cutout of the cat shape that they carved out of the sculpey. Then we added the details with different sculpey tools. The pins were really cute. I still have mine and love it. Maybe we’ll do paper mache cats this summer or cat shaped pillows. Thank you Laurel. Your inspiration lives on.
Man oh man, salt dough is easy. It’s 1 cup salt, 1 cup water, and 2 cups flour. That’s it! Just mix it up and add food coloring if you want. Gigi and I made it together and it was so much fun. She doesn’t have the whole mixing thing down quite yet but she’s getting there. She loves to add food coloring to absolutely anything so that part was a hit. We did a mix of blue, green and purple.
After we made our dough, I set up a carousel of art supplies including toothpicks, popsicle sticks, wood shapes, beads, sparkles and gems. By far the biggest hit was the toothpick dispenser. Gigi loved shaking it to get the toothpicks out. She also managed to get a few beads on the toothpicks which was a nice surprise. Almost two!
Any book that suggests De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising has to be good right? Unbored – The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun kind of knocked my socks off today. One of my students brought it in as recommended summer reading and I couldn’t get enough of it. There is something in here for every kid. It’s equal boy stuff and girl stuff. There are things to do outside, inside and everyplace in between. There are also great lists of musicals for kids dating back from the 50′s to today. A TON of work went into this book. It’s really something special. So happy to have stumbled upon it. It will be my new go to gift for kids. Highly recommend!
How cute is this little piggy bank? I made this with my second graders today for our math unit and they loved it! The only thing I left out is scotch tape. You can use the glue for gluing the facial features on the pig, but instead of gluing the face to the cup, I recommend taping it. Way easier.
Here are the sizes we used for all the shapes. 1 5×5 hot pink square for the face, 4 2.5×2 hot pink rectangles for the ears, 4 2×1.5 light pink rectangles for the inner ears, 1 1cmx4in hot pink rectangle for the tail, 4 1.5×3 hot pink rectangles for the feet, 2 1cmx1cm black squares for the eyes, 2 1cmx1cm hot pink squares for the nostrils, 1 1×2 light pink rectangle for the snout
First, find a circular object that is almost the size of the 5×5 square. A full roll of masking tape works really well. Trace the circle and cut it out. Cut the 1×2 light pink rectangle into an oval. One of the best tricks I’ve learned for teaching kids to cut circles and ovals is to tell them to cut off the corners of a rectangle or square. If they curve the paper or scissor a little while they are cutting, it creates a really nice round shape. Most second graders are really successful with this step. Cut out the nostrils and eyes from the smallest rectangles by cutting off the corners. Cut out the hot pink and light pink rectangles for the ears. I tell the kids to imagine a center point at the top of the rectangle and to cut off the top two corners towards the center point. Glue on all the piggy features. Make sure to glue the ears to the back of the piggy face by putting a little glue on the bottom front of the ear and gluing it to the back of the face. The cup is the bank. Prior to gluing or taping the face to the cup, exacto a little cut out in the cup for the money to slip through. I did this part, of course. Roll the hot pink legs into tubes, tape together and tape each one to the cup. Last, but definitely not least, curl the skinny tail onto a pencil or marker and tape to the back of the cup.
I demonstrated the whole project from start to finish in front of the class and then sent them off to do it independently. This worked great. I encouraged kids to add their own details. One student added wings, which totally rocked. Kids are so cool.
I’ve read about water beads and seen them countless times on different mom blogs over the past few months. I can finally say I get what all the fuss is about. These things are freaking awesome. First of all, they are gorgeous. I just kept staring at them in the bowl. They look so juicy and delicious. Second, they bounce, which I definitely didn’t expect. I’ve been brainstorming all day on how to create some sort of plexiglass bouncy box for them. Third, they feel so mushy and slippery you just want to jump right in the bowl. As you can see, I couldn’t resist putting my foot in the tub. Gigi did too but she wasn’t as into that part as I was.
I’m not totally sure why I think this is science but I do. I guess because Gigi was exploring new materials and watched a chemical reaction when water was added to these little suckers. Yeah, that’s why.
*Note* If you are going to use water beads, I highly recommend doing it outside or putting down a sheet underneath your child. This can get really messy and you want to enjoy them, not want to kill them. I’ve read they are also super fun in the bath with or without water, but don’t let them down the drain. Enjoy!
Ok, this was seriously fun. Again, I am so thankful to Play at Home Moms. Their “Invitation to Play” post really changed things over here at our house. It’s the weekend (yay) so I have plenty of time to set something up for Gigi before she wakes up. I had ordered these great measuring containers and droppers on Amazon and have been waiting all week to use them. I just added some food coloring and water to each container, cut up some water color paper to look like litmus paper and set out some square papers as well. I love putting everything on a bench. It’s the perfect table for toddlers! When we do this again I will use liquid water colors but I didn’t have any so the food coloring worked fine.
Gigi had the best time playing with all her science tools. It was a little difficult for her to use the droppers because she didn’t want to let go once she squeezed but it didn’t hinder her play. Her favorite was definitely pouring the different colored water together and moving it around from container to container. I had set up a shower curtain I used to use for verymeri displays behind her for pics. About halfway into her science play, Gigi turned it into a whole play area for hide and seek. She ran behind it over and over yelling “mas, mas.” I love when she speaks spanish. It kills me. After peek a boo I was thinking maybe she’d be ready to move on but she got right back into the pouring. It was really fun. I am already brainstorming more ways to do science invites. Any ideas?