Archive for June, 2012

Velcro Dots and Tongue Depressors

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One of the things I love about the internet and blogs are all of the ideas that you can find and either fill your mind with, then forget or use as your own.  I tend to forget unless it is something really good.  Which is why I love pinterest.  Because just because I don’t think its a really good idea today doesn’t mean it won’t be a few days down the road, when I’ve already forgotten it.  But, if I pin it, then I can always come back to it.  This was one of those ideas.  I saw a pin, pinned it on my board, then forgot about it.  Then summer rolled around with lots of time to fill and I went back to my board and there it was!  Just waiting for me.  So, I went to the original post and read it.  I had the tongue depressors and I had velcro dots.  I did n’t have any lids handy, but I figured that they were optional anyway.  So, Clara and I put a fun new toy together.  And it has been a hit.  It also is great for fitting in my purse and kids of all ages seem to dig it.
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Welcome to Summer Art 2012

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I’m thrilled that summer art is back this year! It was a raucous, rowdy, and resourceful morning with twenty plus kids in our back yard yesterday. And boy did I have fun. I think that I have worked out some of the kinks that annoyed me last summer and everything pretty much went off without a hitch!

This year, instead of just two art projects, I’m going to do two projects (one for toddlers and one for preschoolers, but of course both can be done by everyone), some sort of sensory bin for the toddlers (but as you’ll see below, the preschoolers love them, too), and one tactile activity (like play dough). I think that the wider range of activities will keep everyone productively playing a little more.

Don’t worry. There was still a ton of bug, slug, and snail, and spider hunting. There was also a lot of running, playing monster, and pretending of all sorts. Everyone had a great time, I think.

Our activities this time were pool noodle painting, picture frame mosaics, play dough, and water beads.

Pool Noodle Painting
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This project was meant to be primarily for the little kids, but everyone participated. I simply cut up a pool noodle that was shaped like a flower into two inch lengths, put out some bowls of tempera paint, and let them stamp and paint on paper with the noodle pieces. It was simple, easy, and do-able even for those down around 18 months. This idea came from here via Pinterest.
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Picture Frame Mosaics
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For this project I asked everyone to bring a picture frame and then I supplied the glue, foam brushes, and glass gems (found in the flower arranging section of Michaels or Walmart or Dollar Tree). The kids painted glue all over the front of the glass of their frames. Then they added glass gems of all colors to their hearts’ content. When they were done, they let them dry, then took the backing off to create suncatching mosaics for windows. I think that most of them used a sufficient amount of glue that the glass won’t fall out but a little hot glue or super glue may be in order on some. This idea was from Homeschool Mom via pinterest.
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Play Dough
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Next we had our ubiquitous play dough table, which I’ll be mixing up a bit as the summer goes on. I put it up by the snack table and it seems like a good place for some quiet down time in between running games or for a little bit of warming up to the crowd. I used this recipe (as always).

Water Beads
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Finally, our last activity was a sensory bin of water beads. Water beads are a non-toxic polymer that soaks up water and are typically used for floral decorations. They are all over the blog-o-sphere and if you google water bead sensory bin you will have a ton of cool hits. I bought ours at Dollar Tree (pre-soaked) and at Walmart (dry). Then I soaked the ones that needed to be soaked and put all 8 quarts into a storage bin with measuring cups, tongs, containers for sorting, etc. I put a sheet ($2 at Value Village) down on the ground and staked it some tent stakes to try to keep the water beads from bouncing all over the place (they are crazy bouncy) and so that when we were done I could just lift the whole thing up and shake it into the trash can. The kids LOVED the water beads, but unfortunately really also liked smashing them up. So, afterward I spent about an hour fishing the whole beads out of the smashed ones and then throwing the smashed ones away. By the way, make sure that you do not dump these down the drain because despite the fact that they are full of water, they will clog your system. Throw them in the trash! Nevertheless, they were a “smash hit” (I know, I’m hilarious!) and the left overs will show up again later in the summer.