Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ice play with a twist

We at the 'do! live in a pretty sunny climate. Our winter temps can get pretty chilly at night but for the most part we can get away without a sweater for much of the year. During our week of The Mitten, I thought it would be fun to fill our outside sensory tub with ice and when I found these awesome ice sphere molds from ZOKU on sale an idea was born!
It took me a few days to freeze about 10 spheres mostly because I kept forgetting to do so and partly because it does take quite a few hours. I played with adding a little and/or a lot of food color for variety and got a kick out of each sphere as I removed them from the molds. Really, it takes very little to please me. I wish I had taken photos of them, they were so pretty!
Just before outside play time, I put a little bit of water into our two sensory bins and separated the ice spheres by cool and warm colors (the food color leached out qucikly enough to tint the water so I thought it would be prettier plus we've been working on cool colors and warm colors in the classroom). The kiddos were very curious and there were shouts of "circle ice! spheres! snow balls!"
It did not take long for the kiddos to realize just how cold the spheres actually were and there was a discussion about how to play with them other than dropping them on the ground to see them break (which did happen rather quickly because ice balls!) After a little debate the children realized mittens would work and after much running around was had, one of the kiddos returned with a single mitten on his hand followed by others, each one bearing only one mitten a piece (or a glove). I loved that...thank you happy thrift store mitten find!
After the mittens got completely soaked, the kiddos returned to the room to retrieve another mitten (I am just now wondering where did all those mittens go?) to continue their investigations.
Play narratives came out, color matching, rich language, songs, math, and science all made an appearance. They had so much fun I think I need to make more...once I remember where I put the mittens...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

an elephant parade

Back in October we did a guided drawing project that I had to do twice because I simply could not cut out these amazing elephants like we did last year. So, they drew their elephants and I swooned and then I had them draw a second elephant that they then added their paint to. I have to find those photos but for now lookie what these wee artists drew!

Friday, January 16, 2015

classroom set up: the mitten

A basket of wool pieces (from thrifted sweaters turned headbands) for exploring and playing with along with a mitten matching game picked up from Oriental Trading last year. Half of the mittens are used for a matching game while the other half was treated to the hole punch to hang on our mitten tree.
Another mitten matching game set up on our fine motor table. The kiddos can match by color, size, and/or number.
A happy little bushel of thrifted mittens in the building area. I wondered if the kiddos would use them as decoration or put them on for building. They did neither but they did use them. Pics and post to come soon.
Chopsticks and a glittery bin of rice with mitten erasers hidden throughout. The kiddos can search for the mittens and match them up if they choose to...or they can do something completely different which is what usually happens. Here is what the bin looked like last year.
Mitten painting. I made these mittens last year from my favorite sweater and a thrifted sweatshirt. I set out glossy fingerprint paper and squirted paint onto trays (one tray held warm colors, one held cool colors) and waited to see what would happen. Some of the children jumped right in while others used their hands and/or got paintbrushes. We had cool wintery colors on the easel which is just to the right of the table here so they had many opportunities for all sorts of painting fun. I picked up the doily platter at Michael's last year but noticed they have them this year as well. We also use the trays to hold play dough and play dough tools.
I made these lacing mittens in a feverish fit of productivity the night before we went back to school. I used a mitten template from Teachers Pay Teachers and cut out pairs of mittens from scrapbook paper that was then hole punched, laminated, and re-hole punched. The shoelaces came from The Dollar Tree. The children can lace up the mittens however they choose though I did tie a few together to see if anyone could lace a double set.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

happy new year!

I'm trying to get back my blogging mojo. For now here is a peek at what's happening in the classroom this week!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

fun with dyed chanukah pasta

When I found this happy bag of Chanukah pasta at World Market I scooped it up with a whoop and imagined how pretty it would be dyed in all sorts of happy colors. So I took it home and did just that using this method.
The bag itself isn't too large so each color is only maybe two cups or so of noodles. The teal and purple were accomplished using liquid watercolor while the dark blue and the white needed a little help from some acrylic paint mixed with water. The white and blue got a bit more wet than usual in the shaking process so needed a day to dry with a manual flip in between to get both sides.
Once the noodles are all dry there are oodles of ways for your kiddos to play! Use the pasta as a stand in for gelt during dreidel play. Add it to play dough or color sort onto a sorting mat made from printed/solid paper taped or stitched together. Felt will work for a more permanent mat but happy scrapbook paper will do in a pinch!
Stack the pieces! Have a contest to see who can stack the most in a set time. Up the ante by using only your pinching fingers. Grab a pipecleaner or some yarn and string the noodles up for a pretty necklace or bracelet.
Work on math and patterning by creating various patterns with your kiddos. Set up an art table with glue, paint, and glitter and get to it! There are all sorts of ways you can play! Happy Chanukah!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

gingerbread men round 2

This year the children whipped up their own puffy paint to paint their gingerbread men and/or houses with. After reading more than a dozen recipes for diy puffy paint I came to the conclusion that the ratios did not need to be exact and that all you needed was salt, flour, baking soda, and a little water (plus liquid water color).
We mixed up our paint at circle time. Each kiddo was given a small container and spoon on one of our white plates (I LOVE these plates). Then I talked about the paint we were going to make and how it was a recipe. We've been working on recipes almost every week. The children took turns scooping out their desired amounts of the ingredients and got to mixing.
There were a lot of comments when the children found their paint to be too thick or too thin. After a little experimenting they each came up with their perfect pot of paint.
I poured the paint into small squeeze bottle that made it difficult for the children to get all squeeze happy. They really had to work those squeezing muscles!  Even though they each mixed up their own color we talked about sharing the paint with the rest of the class and how we could accomplish that through kind words and questions.
While I love the idea of using real candy to decorate their cardboard people and houses (like we did last year) I wanted for them to make something that could possibly be kept without attracting critters. To remedy this I spent one television program using various paper punches and a paper pad of holiday paper from Michael's to punch out circles, stars, and hearts of various sizes.
The children delighted in their creations and use oodles of thinking skills when they realized their paint would not puff up when we cooked it  (pop into microwave and cook for 20 seconds or so)if it was covered in paper. I loved seeing and listening to their collaborations and discoveries. Some layered circles and told me it was like "Disky" back from when we did our Kandinsky study, while others talked about shapes, size variations, and practiced their one to one correspondence with one paper shape to each blob of paint that they then counted out.
I mean, lookie how happy these creations are (blurry photos and all)! I used a template the mister made for me last year. I need to transfer to the computer so you all can have a copy if ya like.
Also, the clean up was so pretty I had to take a picture of it as well. We kept the paint out and available for the day. Oh my goodness! I just realized the sticky bottles of paint are in a zip bag somewhere in the casa...where did I put them?  I better find them before they get super ickified! Yikes! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

setting up the festive classroom

our storybasket for the gingerbread baby
Our literature for the two weeks before the winter break is teaming with all sorts of festive goodness. This past week we read The Gingerbread Baby and next week we will be reading Rabbit's Gift. Here's a peak into our classroom for our week of gingerbread...
sorting gingerbread men
investigating area w gingerbread men and pom poms
gingerbread felt fun
candy memory/matching game
decorating our play gingerbread house
exploring our toaster set to accompany our nursery rhyme
dot marker holiday trees
fine motor dreidel fun
fine motor tree decorating