Archive for the 'preschooler' Category

Summer Art 2012: Play Date #6

Photobucket
This is our last summer art play date!  In the next two weeks most of our group will be starting kindergarten at various schools in our area.  I think they’re ready.  They get along along together the vast majority of our play time.  They can manipulate and do the art almost on their own most of the time.  They are very interested in reading and writing… So, I guess that I should be ready, too, right?!  While I am looking forward to some alone time with just my little Nancy, it will be strange to not have Clara home with me all day every day.  I’m already looking at the pace of our life changing dramatically as well.  We have to be up early, fed breakfast, lunch packed, and ready to be out the door by 7:45.  Adam is going to be assistant coaching soccer for Clara, too, so our evening schedules will be hectic, too. As much as I run around with the girls and play in the summer, I’m wary that I haven’t spent enough time going slowing in the past five years when I could.   But such is the way of  motherhood… not enough time to enjoy everything and too much time to not fill it up with fun.

This week we did all sorts of fun things, but they were all very simple and kid directed.  I learned my lesson from the fireflies at the last play date.  Our projects were: Birdie pencils, car painting, car bubble washing, and play dough.

Birdie Pencils

Photobucket

These were super fun and easy to make as a back-to-school craft.  All you need are pencils fluffy pipe cleaners, googlie eyes, orange foam cut into triangles, feathers, and a bit of tacky glue.  First you  hold the feathers onto the pencil, then wrap the pipe cleaner around the pencil and feathers tightly.  Continue wrapping until the pipe cleaner is completely secure, then glue on the eyes and the beak.  Done!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Car Painting
Photobucket
This was a very easy project and fun for all ages. I simply set out some paper plates of tempera paint and some little cars from Dollar Tree. The cars drove through the paint, then drove on our painting paper.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Bubble Car Wash
Photobucket
Our sensory bin this time was full of bubbles (made just with dish washing soap), water, and sponges. At first we just played with the bubbles and made more bubbles with the sponges, then when we had cars that needed the paint washed off, we brought them over and added them to the bin to get cleaned up!
Photobucket

Playdough
Finally, we had more playdough! It is always a hit. Some kids start there every time, and others finish there every time. Love it!
Photobucket

Summer Art 2012: Play date #5

I have had this blog on hold for the last two weeks for no real reason other than I have not been feeling like blogging.  It was hot, we were busy, we went out of town for the weekend, and mostly, I’ve been reading smut.  But, now that I have finished the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and I am past the insidious, repetitive prose, but delicious filth that I could not put down, I can resume writing blogs.  Hopefully my writing is somewhat better than hers!  But anyway, back to arts and crafts….

This was our fifth summer art play date this summer!  We had a great time with a jello sensory bin, clay birds, easter eggs fireflies, and sand paper drawing.

Jello Sensory Bin
Photobucket
Isn’t that pretty?! I loved this idea, which I got from No Time For Flashcards in this post. I followed her recipe and made gelatin using plain gelatin packets, kool-aid packets, and a bit of food coloring. The kids immediately dug in and loved playing with it, smelling it, and sorting it. It was good that they tried it immediately because since this was pretty much the hottest week of the year, it immediately started melting. Apparently, you cannot leave gelatin out in the sunshine.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Clay Birds
Photobucket
Years ago, before Clara had hair, I did a project with a bunch of kids that was exactly like this. Except this time the clay turned out better. But, it is a really easy and fun project that kids of all ages can enjoy. All you need is a batch of cornstarch clay (I used food coloring to make mine pink and yellow), feathers, googlie eyes, and orange foam cut into little triangles for beaks. Then the kids can make them however they like. They are pretty stinking adorable, too.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Easter Egg Fireflies
Photobucket
You know, sometimes I get more excited about a project than the kids do. This was one of those projects. In theory, it was going to be awesome. But, the execution was quite hard to manage. The kids really couldn’t do it themselves at all. Oh well. Live and learn. But, they are quite cute anyway. I do have to thank my sister’s sister-in-law, Brie for helping the entire play date to pull these off.

This idea came from this post and used a plastic Easter egg, a battery powered tea light (from Dollar Tree), some pipe cleaners, and some stick on googlie eyes. The hard part was that you have to punch holes with a push pin (and then we ended up changing to a screw) in the egg for the arms, legs, and antenna. So, parent involvement was a must. And the kids were only somewhat patient. But they sure were cute when we finished and their little bottoms light up!
Photobucket

Sand Paper Coloring
Photobucket
One of my kids’ obsessions this past spring was drawing on sand paper with crayons. How simple is that?! So, I put that out as an activity at the art playdate, and it turns out that everyone like it. We went through thirty-six pieces of sand paper. By the end of the play date, though, the crayons started melting, so if you’re doing this outside, do it on a cooler day!
Photobucket
Photobucket

Summer Art 2012: Play Date #4

Welcome to August!  We’ll have three art play dates this month to tell you about, so keep a watch out for the others.  This week we had a great time doing some syringe painting, using cornstarch clay, playing with cloud dough, and beading butterflies.

Syringe Painting

Photobucket
Photobucket
My husband is a wonderful nurse in the G.I. lab at our local teaching hospital.  So, he has access to IV syringes (the needle-less kind).  So I thought I would exploit that fact.  I asked him to bring home about a half-dozen of them and then, using watered down paint, we sucked and squirted!  It was actually super fun.  Each of the kids had a huge piece of paper (poster size) and they laid them down on the grass and took their syringe full of paint over to it, then came back for more paint when they were done.  I think that I was the only one who got accidentally squirted and that was because I was walking in between the projects.  Then we hung them up to dry on the laundry line.

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Cloud Dough
Photobucket
Our sensory bin was filled with cloud dough this time.  I got the recipe here.  This is wonderful stuff.  It is just flour and baby oil that is mixed together (8 cups flour to 1 cup baby oil), but it is fun because even though it will hold its shape, it falls apart and back into a more flour-like consistency rather easily.  I threw some spoons, silicone molds, cups, etc. in to  play with.

Photobucket
Photobucket

Beaded Butterflies

This idea came from this post (via Pinterest). These took quite a bit of concentration which for the little ones was hard to come by. Most of them just added a few beads to a pipe cleaner, wore them as a bracelet, and called it good. The big kids, if they stuck it out, had a good time with this, though.
Photobucket
They each filled two pipe cleaners with beads, then, with adult help, twisted them into circle eights whereby the ends of the pipe cleaners came out of the middle of the eight (does that make sense?). Then they threaded those ends through the spring of a clothes pin. They added antennae by folding half a pipe cleaner in half and attaching a bead to each end, then glueing it onto the clothes pin. I think I’ll hot glue some magnet to the back of Clara’s to keep important school papers on the fridge.
Photobucket
Photobucket

Cornstarch Clay

Somehow I got no pictures of anybody actually making anything with the cornstarch clay, but since the blog I got the recipe from is fabulous, there are lots of cool pictures there.  This clay feels to me like Model Magic clay from Crayola except that it leaves a slight film on your hands as you work.  It is a huge amount cheaper than Model Magic, though, so I highly recommend it.  I think we will be using this recipe again later in the month.

To make this, combine 1 cup corn starch, 2 cups baking soda, and 1 1/2 cups water in a pot.  Cook it on medium heat until it looks like mashed potatoes, then dump it out, let it cool, and knead it a little.  When we were not working with this, I put  it in a plastic container with a wet wash cloth on top of the clay, then put the lid on.  In the sun and wind outside, this had a tendency to get dry pretty quick.

I gave the kids balls of the clay and had them make flat shapes, then I had a box of rubber stamps out for them to stamp pictures in them and chopsticks to poke holes.  These then air/sun-dried for a while and they actually harden up quite well after about 24 hours.  My girls are planning to paint theirs at some point in the near future.

Photobucket

Summer Art 2012: Play date #3

Hooray!  Summer art play date number three was today!  I thought that rain might cancel it, but it turned out that there was only about five minutes of “mist” and that was it.  So far we have had no cancelled play dates, which is amazing!  Today we made bug catcher necklaces and Fruit Loop rainbows and we played with play dough and water beads in shaving cream.

Bug Catcher Necklaces

Photobucket
When I saw this idea, I knew that the kids would love it.  The idea came from this post and then I later saw it in Disney Family Fun Magazine, but it took me a while to find the right toy capsules to make them. I finally ended up buying 25 from a vendor on Atomic Mall and they were listed under “Empty Vending Capsles” (example here).  To prep this, I poked holes in the tops of each capsule with a push pin, then drilled one big hole in the middle that two strands of my beading cord would fit snugly through.  I also cut the cord to length so that they were ready to go for the kids.  The kids beaded their cords, then we put the two ends through the drilled hole and knotted them together (so the knot is inside the capsule when it is closed) and put the capsule together.  After the kids made them, these were quickly filled with pill bugs, slugs, and other crawly insects!

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Fruit Loop Rainbows

This was a super easy craft.  I got the idea here.  I printed out some clip art of a rainbow and then had it photocopied onto blue paper.  Then I set them out with a big bowl of Fruit Loops, some glue, and some cotton balls.   Much eating ensued!  And a few fun rainbows came out of the fray.

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Water Beads and Shaving Cream

I had a bunch of water beads left from our first play date.  Instead of putting them out and letting the kids smash them to bits again, I decided to try a new tact.  I put the water beads in our sensory bin and them squirted a whole can of shaving cream on top.  The kids really enjoyed this, especially the little ones.  They kept coming over and putting their hands in to play, then running over to the water bucket to rinse them off, then coming back and starting over again.  Super fun and cute!

Photobucket
Photobucket

Play Dough
Finally, we had our ubiquitous play dough again! Always a hit and I made a new batch so it was extra fresh and squishy! Recipe here.
Photobucket

Our summer so far…

We have just over a month left of summer!  Can you believe that?  Then my little girl is going off to real school every day… tear.  We have been having so much fun and the girls have been exhausted to say the least almost every day.  Here’s what we’ve done so far from our summer fun list:

    • We camped out in the backyard with our cousins (there were many problems getting to sleep, but once everyone was asleep it went well).
    • We made a water wall with the help of my fabulous brother-in-law,  Andy (inspiration here).

Photobucket

    • Clara is successfully riding her bike that Grandma and Grandpa got her for her birthday (albeit with training wheels).

Photobucket

    • We have been to the zoo three times.
    • We are halfway through our library’s summer reading program.
    • We  roasted marshmallows and hot dogs (over the bbq) during our backyard campout.

Photobucket

    • We went to a fabulous concert in the park and danced our butts off.

Photobucket

    • We have had two summer art play dates with four more to go!
    • We have had a picnic almost every day this summer.
    • We found a new playground that we adore!
    • We have made popsicle.  Our favorite recipes: are Strawberry Creamsicles and pureed, then frozen watermelon and strawberries.
    • We had a fabulous time at YMCA Camp Silver Creek.

Photobucket

  • We flew kites with friends at the park on Father’s Day.
  • We have had quite a few fun hikes in the woods.

There are still quite a few things left on our list and I am hopeful to get to most all of them in the next month!

Summer Art 2012~ Play date #2

Yikes! It has already been a week since our last summer art play date and I have not posted anything yet! I guess that I’m still trying to catch my breath after a super fifth birthday party three day weekend for Clara, super fun summer action, and getting ready to take off for camp next week.

We had a fun-filled and low-key summer art play date with about half the number of kids as our first play date had. The more the merrier, but I do have to say that I was able to enjoy myself a little more this time. We had four activities: bubble painting, bubble snakes, pool noodle creatures, and flubber!

Bubble Painting
I’m not gonna lie. This activity was not the hit that I was hoping for. It was very hard for the kids to blow the bubbles through the straw and not suck up the paint, soap, and water solution. Some of the older kids (4-5) had some success, but it had to be well supervised. Nancy had a major issue with sucking up the paint both times she tried and then trying to throw it up… not so fun. Luckily, everything was non-toxic. So, bottom line, if you try this, do it with older kids. In the end, I ended up just getting some paint brushes out for the little kids to use instead of the bubbles.

Anyway, the way it worked was I put some soap, water, and paint into pie pans. Then the kids were to blow with straws into the solution to make bubbles.
Photobucket
Then they gently placed the paper on the very top of the bubbles and let them pop onto the paper. Fun sounding, right?!
Photobucket
When done correctly, they look gorgeous, like this:
Photobucket

Bubble Snakes
This is just a fantastic idea that I can take absolutely no credit for. This came to me via Pinterest from Come Together Kids and I have to say that it is one of the best ideas using recycled trash that I have found lately. You cut the bottom off of a plastic soda or water bottle, cut a circle of terry cloth (I used an old towel that my Mommy gave me–Thanks, Moo!), and rubber band that circle onto the bottom of the bottle. Then you dip it into bubble solution (or just really soapy water) and blow through the top. The bubbles just don’t stop!
I put out a big tub of bubble solution a few of these bubble snakes and some other assorted bubble wands that I had in my shed and I think that the bubble station may have been the most popular of all the activities this time.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Pool Noodle Creatures

You’ll remember that we used pool noodles at our last summer art play date. Well, I bought four pool noodles with the intention of using them for the painting and for this craft. Both of theses crafts allowed me to joyously cut them up with a bread knife after my kids played with them for a few weeks and a) smacked all sorts of things and each other with them and b) pretended that they were alternatively tails, and phallic body parts. I was not sad to see them go. Both crafts turned out quite well, though.

This idea came from this Pin. When I saw it I thought it was both brilliant and easy at the same time. This craft was easy for both the little toddlers and the bigger preschoolers to do together with little to no help. I cut the pool noodles into about six inch lengths and set them out with a big bag of golf tees, some pipe cleaners that were cut in half, a bunch of googlie eyes in various sizes, some decorative gems, glue sticks, and some dot and square stickers. Then the kids just got to create as they saw fit!
Photobucket
Photobucket

Flubber
You may remember our obsession with flubber this spring. I knew that it had to be revived during summer art, so our tactile table this time had flubber, scissors, chop sticks, various plastic animals on it. Recipe for flubber here!
Photobucket
Photobucket

Velcro Dots and Tongue Depressors

Photobucket
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.
Photobucket
Photobucket