Thursday, July 24, 2014

rainbow discovery bottles

I've been busy with a couple of summer teaching projects so here is a mini post to share! For our week of A Rainbow of My Own, I whipped up a batch of RAINBOW DISCOVERY BOTTLES for the kiddos to enjoy. Each one was made with warm water and clear glue with extra bits of color added for well...discovery.
The red bottle had glitter, orange had buttons, yellow...a chunky gold glitter, green...marbles, blue more glitter, and purple...beads. The children loved these. LOVED these! They practiced arranging them in rainbow order, naming the colors, and counting the bottles. They also carried them around the room, played with them all day long, and asked me all sorts of questions about what was inside each bottle, often bringing a bottle to me randomly throughout the day to proclaim that "Blue has glitter, Purple has beads." It was super fun!  They are now in our BIG window and make the room just a little more happy.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

foil tape resist rainbows

This was a last minute project, one of those where you fly by the seat of your pants. I wanted to set up a rainbow painting station but we had already had our dot markers at the easel and our rainbow paints at the easel. I had a short stack of cardboard left over from another project and some foil left over from our painting with cars activity and thought to wrap the foil around the cardboard and see what the kiddos come up with.
After giving each paint cup a hefty dose of dish soap, I spied our roll of painter's tape and thought "Oh, yes, the kiddos will love this". My class kids adore tape, They love to wrap things and stick tape onto paper both for fun and for painting over so the set up was had.
We did this in both of our classes of three year olds and the variety of fun was lovely. Most of the children taped up their foil all willy-nilly and then painted all over it. There were quite a few brown paintings to be had as well and there were a few lovely rainbows all arced up and painted in rainbow order. I love how each kiddo takes a process and makes it their own. I wish I had photos of the finished. I'm pretty sure I do but I can't find them. Once I do though, I will post them. they were so happy! 

**Don't forget to add dish soap to the paint so it sticks. We used painter's tape and tempera colors. The children loved peeling off the tape almost as much as putting it on.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

fine motor rainbow play

This was one of the magical ideas that came to me as I was running out the door to sub a preschool class last summer. Back then I used a couple of oh-so-lovely toilet paper tubes which only kinda worked as the bands were to springy and powerful the tubes got quite a bit wonky. This time I grab a cylinder block and set it up at our fine motor table to see what would happen.
I teach threes and this was a tricky project for them to tackle. I need to find a way to give the cylinder some staying power...maybe I should glue it to a board. The slipperyness of the cylinder caused a lot of frustration for my students. Some tried once and then abandoned it after the third hair holder flew across the room. That in itself was super delightful to the kiddos. Some gathered up all the holders and stretched them over their own arms to create bracelets. One of them, this one, worked and worked and worked, exclaiming when it got tricky (her words not mine) but persevering until she got one of each color carefully placed around the cylinder. 
I love the look of this project and how it creates an activity to use those fine motors and to problem solve. I will definitely do this again next year. Hey lookie, I'm not the only one who pounced on this idea!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

investigating plants and flowers

This project and center came about when we were studying plants, flowers, and sequencing. You can see that our sunflowers had begun sprouting in their egg cartons. The children were really excited about that and it gave us an opportunity to talk about the parts of a plant. I had previously left the sprouts out so that my co-teachers could help me keep and eye out and water them when I was not there. By co-teachers, I mean we share a room. There are three of us in the room and three separate classes. Two of our classes run with the same themes and book titles while the third is a camp class of sorts and is always full of fun happenings. Our Friday teacher set this up on our science table thinking we would like to do this with our kiddos as well and she was totally right. Since it was also our week of A Rainbow of My Own, I swapped out the trays or rainbow colors and added our polka tray in the center to hold the parts. I brought in flowers from my garden at home and culled from the leftover plants we had from the previous week and set them out to for the kiddos to explore.

We talked about the parts of the plants and went through the various names as each child selected something from the polka dot tray. On our tray, was an assortment of the renegade bean plants that sprout when we "accidentally" leave black beans in the sand box after sensory play. One of the kiddos totally made the connection and insisted on going outside to harvest the remaining plants. Of course this led to others wanting to plant more so out came the tub of black beans as the children carefully planted them in our sandbox.

Monday, July 14, 2014

fun with rainbow rice

 For our week of A Rainbow of My Own, we buried ourselves in rainbows and colors. One of our families graciously made us a batch of rainbow rice that matched the colors in the book (mostly). I asked for lime, teal, and pink, instead of magenta, blue, and yellow but still...all very happy and the children made the connection!
I set up the rice in a shallow bin on top of one of our tables. Along with the rice there were funnels, empty yogurt containers, spoons, pie pans, and ice cube trays. We poured the rice into the tray so that each color was in its own band and then the children got to mix it up. It was really pretty and the children LOVED it!
 In case you are wondering, yes, the rice does get everywhere! We have a small dust pan and broom that the children love to use to sweep up our floors. They voluntarily will get to sweeping complete with tucking the broom and dust pan back into its happy home.
It may be a mess but at least it is a happy, colorful mess. Our rice was dyed with liquid watercolors much in the same way as our pasta, craft sticks, blocks, and clothespins.

Friday, July 11, 2014

fun with rainbow dough

If you haven't noticed by now I am a bit of a rainbow freak. I love using the rainbow in the classroom to teach color, sequencing, and pre-reading skills. If you think about it, understanding the order of the colors in the rainbow from left to right is a precursor to reading. Plus, in nature and science, the order of the colors is always the same.
 I used my favorite stove top dough recipe (which you can find here) and made a single batch for each color. I used liquid watercolor (so much happy color to be had) to tint the dough. For set up, I placed a small ball (about half a batch of each so that each class could experience the colors separately before they got mixed to that glorious shade of brown that dough tends to get when all the colors are mixed) of each color on top of a sheet of blue construction paper that had been laminated with clear contact paper. I placed the dough colors in rainbow order.
Next to the happy dough, I set out a collection of dyed craft sticks and cubes. The craft sticks and cubes were purchased at a few different craft stores. I had been collecting them gradually just for this project (inspiration came from fun at home with kids) as wood pieces tend to be a bit on the pricier side of things. Thank goodness for sales!
 The children oohed and aahed when they saw the happy set up. Weirdly, the colors remained unmixed for two weeks. Mostly they stacked the colors on top of each other then jabbed various sticks and cubes into the mess. A few of the children color sorted all the bits and created ice cream cones and rainbows even. We actually used this dough all the way through the end of the year though by that time it was a lovely shade of rust. The craft sticks and cubes visited many areas of the classroom as lollipops, tickets, money, magic cubes, and more. The children had a lot of fun playing with our rainbow dough!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

diy: rainbow clothespins

For our week of rainbow I dyed up a batch of wooden clothespins using the same method I use for dying pasta.
While I was at it, I dyed large craft sticks and small wooden cubes as well. These are not colorfast and do bleed onto paper and play dough when wet (maybe they would be colorfast if I had added rubbing alcohol). But that's okay, I think that only adds to their charm. 
 I set the rainbow pins up on one of my favorite trays along with a wooden storage box made of a thin veneer. I hoped the children would figure out that they could balance the clothespin on the side of the box and they did! I made multiples of each color so that they could sort or arrange as they wished.

Some of the children noticed that all of the colors of the rainbow were represented. Others counted out how many pins there were. The clothespins migrated all over the classroom but mostly they were balanced on the edge of the box. Fun!