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Art Adventures in Outer Space – Spin Art Murals on Tin Foil

23 Nov

Art Adventures in Outer Space with 3 and 4 year oldsForgive me upfront for including a million and one photos but I couldn’t help myself.  This project was so beautiful from start to finish.  Our Art Adventures Class took us to outer space this week and we had a blast! Each child was given a different size cardboard rectangle wrapped in heavy duty tinfoil.  I duct taped the edges on the back to keep it secure.  We talked about all the things we might encounter in outer space and then the kids were invited to use different materials to create their outer space murals.  There was foam paint, which you can also make from shaving cream and tempera, confetti of different types, lots of tissue paper shapes, gold and silver paint, gems and felt strips.  I demonstrated how to use the materials first in front of the group.  I taught the kids to squeeze the magical space glue first so that all the other materials would be able to stick on the mural.  Some kids followed suit, while others went straight for the irresistible foam paint we got straight from outer space!

Art Adventures - Outer Space Muralouterspace3Art Adventures - Outer Space MuralArt Adventures - Outer Space Muralouterspace13Art Adventures - Outer Space MuralAfter we applied all of our space details to the tinfoil background, we applied our spin art planets that we made the week before.  Spin art is so much fun for kids!  You can see how to make spin art here. To prevent the sides from curling up and to remove the drying factor, we covered the spin art paper with clear contact paper and trimmed the edges.  If you ever need anything to dry quickly, this is a great way to take the drying factor out of the equation.  Plus, the art looks like it’s been laminated, which is really nice sometimes.  Some kids added felt strips around their planets and asteroids.  The felt added a great 3 dimensional effect.

outerspace6Art Adventures - Outer Space Muralouterspace10outerspace11outerspace15Art Adventures - Outer Space MuralThere were so many oohs and ahhs during this entire process.  I heard things like “Wow, mine is so beautiful!” and “Meri, take a picture of my outer space.  It’s so cool!”  If I had to do it again, I would make all the cardboard backgrounds no bigger than 9×12 or so.  I made some boards really big, and it wasn’t really necessary.  Overall, it was a fantastic exploratory experience with a bonus gorgeous end product. Happy Art Adventures!


Here Comes Hanukkah – Recycled Dreidel Garland and More Hanukkah Craft Ideas

16 Nov

Hanukkah Dreidel Garland from Recycled Shopping BagsWith Hanukkah fast approaching, I busted out the Hanukkah Dreidel Garland I made with my kindergarten class a few years ago.  It’s a little banged up but still going strong.  I gave the kids templates of a dreidel and they traced them onto recycled shopping bags.  It fees so good to reuse these paper bags.  They really accumulate, especially since I constantly forget our reusable ones in the car! After we cut out the dreidel shapes I put out different scraps of paper, scissors, glue and markers to make characters from the dreidels.  It was really fun and a big hit with the kids.  I attached the dreidels together with the bag handles and tape on the back of the garland.  Really simple.  A super fun and environmentally friendly holiday craft project.  Woo hoo!

dreidela3Here is a list of other Hanukkah craft projects you might want to try out this year or check out my Hanukkah craft list from a few years back.  You can see old pics of this garland when it was all shiny and new.

1.  Make a dreidel abstract art mural from cut out dreidels and other odds and ends on clear contact paper taped up the wall.  (sticky side up)

2.  If you have tons of your child’s art laying around and don’t know what to do with it, you can cut it into Hanukkah shapes like a menorah, dreidel or candles and hang on the wall.

3.  Make a menorah from clay, candles and different gems and feathers.  This might be especially fun or Thanksgivikah this year.  The feathers can represent a turkey.

4.  Make a dreidel necklace from sculpey.

5.  Create a felt story board with Hanukkah symbols to tell the story of the Festival of Lights.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Hanukkah Dreidel Garland from Recycled Shopping BagsHanukkah Dreidel Garland from Recycled Shopping Bags

Art Adventures – Wood Working with Three and Four Year Olds

1 Nov

Reggio inspired wood working with three and four year oldsI recently began teaching a Reggio inspired art enrichment class for three and four year olds.  I set it up as an art adventure.  The first class I asked all the students where they would want to go if they could take an art adventure anywhere in the world.  The responses varied from the beach, to outer space, to everything in between.  Each week we visit a different place and the art we do is related to our visit.  This week we went to Disneyland and each child made their own ride.  It was so much fun!

disney7Reggio Inspired Wood Working for Three and Four Year Olds I set up all the paints the kids had mixed and named our first week of class, along side different blocks of wood, beads and gems.  Our first step was the base of the ride, which we covered with squares of cut up Thomas Guide paper.  The kids called the paper their “maps of Disneyland.”  I love that they made that connection.  After a layer of maps each child was invited to take wood of all shapes and sizes to glue together their ride.  We used a paintbrush, water and glue in little cups to adhere the wood to the base.

Reggio Inspired Wood Working for Three and Four Year Olds Reggio Inspired Wood Working for Three and Four Year Olds disney4After the kids glued together their rides, they added wood beads and paint.  Some kids went directly to the paint they had created, while others were happy to choose whatever color appealed to them that day.  They could move freely back and forth between the supply table to their working station.  Lastly, the kids were invited to glue on gems and add special gold or silver paint with a skinny brush.

disney8Reggio Inspired Wood Working for Three and Four Year Olds Reggio Inspired Wood Working for Three and Four Year Olds Each child described their ride and any important details about it, while I frantically wrote down their words, along with a wonderful helper I have for the class.  This class is only 45 minutes.  We have a lot to get done in a short amount of time!  Though it was a whirlwind, it was a wonderful experience for the kids.  I heard so many ideas being shared, decisions being made, and questions being asked.  I would love to be able to give them another session to work on our Disneyland rides, but we have a lot of places to visit.  Stay tuned for pictures of the self-portrait passports we made to guide us through our art adventures.


Ice Cream Dough – Invitation to Play for Toddlers

31 Oct

ice cream dough - invitation to playThis was seriously, seriously fun!  Well, not so serious.  Last week at play group we kept the sun shining with ice cream dough made from equal parts salt, water, and flour (about a cup each) and a bit of corn meal and food coloring.  The result was a fantastic creamy texture that looked just like old fashioned ice cream.  It was so cool.  I put out some colored cones, ice cream scoopers and sprinkles and the kids had a field day.  They loved everything from scooping up the ice cream to running their fingers through the sprinkles.  I think the best part though, was crunching the cones.  The crackle and crunch was so exciting to the kids.  Not to mention, everything looked so incredibly pretty! This was a super fun activity I can’t wait to do again.  For the next three days Gigi kept saying “Mama, mama, let’s make ice cream!”

ice cream dough - invitation to playice cream dough - invitation to playice cream dough - invitation to playice cream dough - invitation to playice cream dough - invitation to playice cream dough - invitation to playZero to Two Fantastic Play Ideas for Your Baby and Toddler! This ebook is AMAZING!

Spin Art Sun Catchers

26 Oct

spin art sun catchersI am totally in love with these gorgeous spin art sun catchers.  You can do them jack o’ lantern style or plain.  Either way, they are so much fun and so pretty in the window.  My daughter and her sweet friend Sadie, from play group,  just loved making them.  Thanks to Sadie’s amazing nanny, Danielle, for brainstorming the idea with me!

Spin Art Sun CatchersYou will need a clear contact paper, cardboard, bio color paints, and a salad spinner.  I got mine from Ikea.  Cut a circle from cardboard to fit in the salad spinner and cover it with contact paper.  I cut a square of contact paper first and placed it on the cardboard.  This way I could trim off the excess easily to make a circle.  Place the cardboard in the salad spinner and squeeze some bio color paints on top.  You can use nancy bottles for easy squeezing or just squeeze directly out of the bottle.  Cover the spinner and turn as fast as you can.  This part is really fun for the kids!

Spin Art Sun CatchersSpin Art Sun CatchersSpin Art Sun CatchersOpen up and admire your masterpiece then set it aside to dry. I used bio colors to make sure the paint would adhere to the contact paper.  I’m not sure if it would work with plain tempera but definitely worth a try.  When the sun catchers are dry you can peel them right off the cardboard and place them on the window.  They look beautiful!  Everyone loved this project, even this little monkey.

Spin Art Sun Catchersspin art sun catchersSpin Art Sun Catchers

Slimy Pumpkin Fun for Toddlers and Little Ones

20 Oct

Slimy Pumpkin Fun for ToddlersWe had a blast at play group this past Friday with Slimy Sand Dough inspired by Growing a Jeweled Rose’s Quicksand Dough.  If you don’t know this amazing blog already, check it out.  Crystal has amazing ideas and so many of them are from everyday items you have around the house.  Quicksand Dough is made from corn starch, tempera paint, sand and water.  I thought it sounded great but didn’t want the little ones to put tempera paint in their mouths, so I switched the paint to food coloring.  Crystal doesn’t use much water in her recipe so the dough, is, well, doughy.  I added a lot of water to ours so it would be fun to drizzle on the pumpkins.  It turned into the best, totally strange, slimy goodness.  Even the moms couldn’t keep their hands out of it.  When you pick it up and move it, it’s a solid, but as soon as you keep your hand still it turns into a liquid.  It’s totally bazaar and totally fun.  The sand gave it a great texture that added to the sensory fun.  The more water you add, the slimier the quicksand becomes.  It was a super fun activity for everyone.

Slimy Pumpkin Fun for ToddlersSlimy Pumpkin Fun for ToddlersSlimy Pumpkin Fun for ToddlersSlimy Pumpkin Fun for ToddlersSlimy Pumpkin Fun for ToddlersSlimy Pumpkin Fun for ToddlersSlimy Pumpkin Fun for Toddlers

Sensory Boxes for Babies and Toddlers – Part Two

11 Oct

boxes2bSensory boxes from cardboard and duct tape were such a big hit at play group a few weeks ago, I decided to make more.  I would love to make a whole sensory box city some day.  That would be so cool.  Anyway, these were a big hit as well.  The first one was a big box with velcroed shapes on it.  The kids loved pulling the shapes off and putting them back over and over again.  It was great for all ages and I love the educational component.  Once a teacher…

Duct Tape Sensory Boxes for Babies and ToddlersI had a few mini ones that you could pull on either side to make the ribbon go through the box.  The pom poms prevented the ribbon from coming lose.  As you can see, these were especially adored.  This little beauty hugged and pet hers like a dolly for quite some time.

Sensory Boxes Part Two for Babies and Little OnesSensory Boxes Part Two for Toddlers and Babies - duct tape and cardboard boxesSensory Boxes Part Two for Babies and Little OnesThe  last  one was just a big box covered in bubble wrap.  It took the least amount of effort and thought and was definitely the biggest hit.  Isn’t that always how it goes?  The most simple things are always the best.  The kids loved jumping on it, sitting on it, pretending to go night night on it, you name it.  I’ve had it out in the back yard ever since and my kids still haven’t tired of it.  I stuffed it with packing paper so it kept it’s shape.  These sensory boxes are endless and such a good use of all those boxes we throw away.  Now the only problem is, where on earth am I going to keep them???

Sensory Boxes Part Two for Babies and Little OnesSensory Boxes Part Two for Babies and Little OnesZero to Two Fantastic Play Ideas for Your Baby and Toddler! This ebook is AMAZING!