I am a huge fan of the blog Play at Home Mom. The moms who write the blog believe in play based learning and are really inspiring. I recently came across their post about “invitations to play” and it made a huge impression on me. ”An invitation to play is a way to either build upon existing knowledge and delve deeper into the interests and curiosities of our children, or a way to inspire engaged exploration.” I have been doing so many activities with Gigi that I knew were worthwhile, but somehow reading this really helped me understand a deeper level of the importance of her play. The idea of an “invitation” has challenged me to create interesting open ended activities and to be less attached to the outcome. It’s been really nice. I’ve been using a white board to set up different materials that I hope are engaging to her. It’s really nice because I can set them up in the morning while she’s still sleeping, which gives me time to have a clear head while creating the board. I used to set them up with her waiting and watching. This works so much better. When she sees the board she gives out a big “oooooh,” and it’s the cutest thing going.
Gigi’s grandma Libby is responsible for this invitation. Thanks gram! She sent the girls these great abc blocks from FatBrainToys. Fortunately for Gigi, maybe not the environment, they came individually wrapped in tissue paper. I thought she would enjoy unwrapping each one and playing with the tissue paper. She did and it added an enthusiasm to the play that I think would have been missed if I just placed the blocks on the board. After she unwrapped all the blocks she stacked them up and knocked them down, her favorite part of course. We talked about the different letters and colors on the blocks and then moved on to who knows what. I’m really looking forward to future invitations and am constantly on the lookout for new materials that might be interesting. Tomorrow’s invitation will start with old game pieces and a spinner. I have a feeling the spinner is going to be a big hit.
This was not an easy project. I see these hot air balloons all over pinterest and different blogs and for some reason no one seems to be mentioning how labor intensive they are. So either I did this in a really complicated way or my fellow art bloggers just aren’t fessing up. Regardless, I’m glad we did it. The kids loved the final result but it definitely was challenging getting those layers on the balloons. We were going to paint them but I couldn’t bring myself to ask the kids to do another layer of newspaper, so we cheated a little and used tissue paper for our last layer. We also had issues with the balloons deflating before the papermache dried. I will say, we figured out a pretty genius move by popping the balloon and then blowing another one inside the drying papermache. I was all busy congratulating myself on my great idea when the second time I did it the balloon busted right through the papermache and we had to do some major surgery. Oy. So much for genius. If anyone has any tips on this project, please let me know. I’m jealous of all those beautiful painted hot air balloons for kids I see all over the place!
Every year we help the kids make a chanukah project for their families. This year we found candles at the 99 cent store and will modgepodge them with tissue paper squares and dreidels. This is the sample I made today. It looks really pretty. The only bummer was when someone pointed out the candles are actually religious memorial candles. Oops. Hope we don’t offend anyone.
I love this project! I’ve posted about it before. If you want the step by step directions click here. We made these in kindergarten today for our Thanksgiving tables. I meant for the color choices to be a bit more “fall,” but we didn’t have any brown tissue paper so now they just look festive. The most important thing to remember is to pop the balloons as soon as they feel dry. If you let them sit too long air comes out of the balloons and it all goes down hill quickly from there. The kids loved watching the pop and hearing the crackle of the balloon removing itself from the modge podged tissue paper. So much fun!
We started our own balloon bowls this morning for B week. The kids had a blast. Every child was engaged and successful. We worked in small groups for about 15 minutes per group. First step was to apply the mod podge to the balloons. I had the kids think about what size bowl they wanted and if they wanted to spend a little time covering the balloon (small bowl) or an extended time (large bowl). It was interesting to see them think this through. Plus, it’s great because now they are committed to whatever duration/experience they have. I did make one error that I will correct next time. I used containers instead of cups to tape the balloons onto. The containers turned out to be almost too big for their little hands to hold. Back to cups next time. For step by step directions click here.