Friday, January 24, 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Process based art is a favorite around here- and the bookmarks we made by painting with beans is a prime example of a process based art experience with a stunning product!
Basically, we took a couple of scoops of mixed beans and put them into a small container.
Then we cover the beans in paint. I like to use squeeze bottles for the children to add the paint. It helps them to build up the muscles in their hands which is important for their fine motor skills. If you are looking for some refillable squeeze bottles, click here for the (affiliate) link to order some of your own: PLASTIC EMPTY TWIST TOP Bottles.
After you have covered the beans in paint, take a moment and mix them up.
Then we place our paper, in this case a piece of hard cardboard into a box. This time around we used a shoe box sized plastic tote. I like to use plastic boxes for these types of projects because they are easy to clean. Here is an (affiliate) link to the type of box we used for this project: Sterilite Storage Box, White Lid with See-Through Base.
Then, you carefully put the lid on the container. If you noticed, we did not tape the paper down. This was intentional as we want to make sure that when we shake the box- the beans will paint both sides of the cardboard/paper.
Then, you get a little bit of a workout! You get to shake the box! We usually stand up, shake, dance, and sing! Art, Music and Muscle Development all at once!
When we are done shaking the beans around, we remove the paper and let it dry before adding the next color. We also scoop out all of the beans and put them back into a small container. We continue with the same steps until we have added as much paint and as many colors as we would like. We are also careful to take our time and give the box a few minutes to dry between colors. (This prevents the colors from mixing).
Our final works of art can be used for a wide range of things! This time around, we turned our art into book marks. We simply added a hole with a punch and a tassel with a few strands of yarn.
If you are looking for some other great process art ideas you might want to check out some of the posts from our archives: (I've chosen to highlight 5- there are many, many more!)
Do you have a favorite process based art experience?
I'd love to hear about it!
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The first thing we did to get ready was to collect some of our dinosaur bones. You don't necessarily have to have "bones" as the children will have just as much fun digging other items out of the ice. The bones we used came from some of the excavation kits we have previously used (most of them come with a dirt or clay for you to dig through). If you dinosaur bones and you are interested in purchasing some, here is a list of some of the (affiliate link) Dinosaur Excavation Kits we have used in the past. Over at P is for Preschool, they did a similar activity but used plastic dinosaurs instead of bones, you can read more about it by clicking here.
To prep for the excavation I used 2 different large bowls. One was round and one was square. You can use any large container that you can add water to freeze. I recommend large bowls as it is easy to add the water and bones, but more importantly it is easy to extract the frozen ice.
I filled the bowls about 1/3 of the way with water and a little bit of food coloring. Then I added some "bones." I placed the bowls out on my front porch to freeze. When the layer was frozen, I added another couple inches of water, a different color, and more bones. I repeated the process of freezing colored layers with bones until the bowls were completely filled. (Remember that water expands when it freezes, so leave a little bit of space in the bowl). You don't have to add coloring to the water. My son thought it would be fun to add the colored layers like different layers of the soil or rock that bones may be found in. It is also not necessary to freeze in layers, but without layers, all of your bones will end up on the bottom of the bowl.
When the water is completely frozen, you are ready to set up your excavation. I ran the bottom of the bowls under hot water and the ice hunks popped right out!
I also collected some tools to add: plastic hammers, plastic knives, turkey basters, small pipettes, and a few containers of water. (I added some salt to some of the water). Here you can see the final set up prior to the children beginning their exploration.
The children jumped in immediately to start excavating!
The children in our program are very accustomed to asking for what they need- and it was quickly determined that salt was needed in addition to the tools already available.
After adding the salt and pounding away at the hunks of ice- some of the children started to reveal "bones"
The children worked at the excavation site for quite some time. (I think we had it set up for about 3 hours). Some of the children were persistent in continuing to excavate bones, others came and went as they pleased.
Dinosaurs seem to be a pretty popular item of interest for young children, I know that the children are always requesting to read more about and explore dinosaurs!
Here are a few posts from fellow bloggers that may help you extend your dinosaur explorations:
Discover and Explore Dinosaur Eggs from Teach Preschool
Cardboard Dinosaurs from Powerful Mothering
A Dinosaur Dig from Teachers of Good Things
Dinosaurs for Preschool and Kindergarten from Afterschool for Smarty Pants
Dinosaur Picture Books from Beyond the Cover
Montessori Inspired Dinosaur Unit from Living Montessori Now
Dinosaur Weekend with Playdough and More from Powerful Mothering
Dinosaur Land in the Sand Table from Teach Preschool
You might also want to check out our archives for dinosaur posts!
Thursday, January 9, 2014
The tried and true recipe we use comes from an old elementary school cookbook- you can find it in this old blog post. The only difference is, for the eucalyptus play dough you add green food coloring and some eucalyptus oil. (I usually add a few drops of the oil after the play dough is complete.)
The dough is soft and pliable. The children love to play with it.
Sometimes we cut it;
Sometimes we squish it.
It is the perfect play dough for days with super drippy noses!
This recipe is great for other essential oils as well.
One of my personal favorites is lavender.
Do you have a favorite type of play dough?
I'd love to hear about it!
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
We have a number of young children who are going to become big brothers or sisters for the first or second time over the next couple of months. We have been reading a number of books about new babies and we have been practicing holding and caring for our baby dolls.
As a home based childcare professional- I work with a number of families and young children as they prepare for new little ones to come into their lives. One of the biggest things I have found to help children as they become siblings is to give them an opportunity to mimic and care for their own little one. Through children's pretend play - they work to make sense of the world, and they have an opportunity to practice and to learn.
Sometimes older siblings are still too young to be able to help with all of the tasks of taking care of a real baby, but giving them a baby doll to practice with helps them fell as though they are more of a part of what is going on.
One of the easiest and simple sensory table experiences you can set up for the children is a baby bath!
We fill our table up with water and a little bit of soap. I usually give the children washcloths and bath puffs- and they add their baby dolls to the tub.
We practice talking softly and singing to the baby. We talk about the temperature of the water, we talk about body parts- like arms, legs, fingers, and toes.... We practice gently washing our babies. Then, when the water starts to get too cold- we take the babies out and dry them off.
Most of the time, our babies go to sleep after they have a nice warm bath. Some of the children still find the tub to be appealing, so we usually add a bit more warm water, some more soap, and wire whisks! Our baby bath turns into a giant bubble tub for more exploration and fun!
Do you have any great tips for helping young children welcome a new baby?
I'd love to hear about them!
Thursday, January 2, 2014
I bet the suspense is killing you, so I won't keep you waiting any longer-
The TOP post,
the VERY BEST post of 2013
here at Child Central Station based upon reader views is:
Today, I'm joining forces with one of the most amazing groups on the planet- The Kid Blogger Network to bring you The Very Best Kids Activities of 2013 Blog Hop! Please take a moment and "Hop Around" to check out all of the wonderful posts and activities being shared, and if you are a blogger please link up your best post of 2013 as well!
Powerful Mothering, The Good Long Road, All Done Monkey, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, B-Inspired Mama, Babble Dabble Do, Bits of Positivity, Boy Mama Teacher Mama, Caution! Twins at Play, Child Central Station, Creative Family Fun, Creative World of Varya, Cute and Peculiar, Dirt and Boogers, Edventures with Kids, The European Mama, The Eyes of a Boy, The Fairy and the Frog, Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails, Fun-A-Day!, Glittering Muffins, , Growing Book by Book, Hands on: as we grow, Here Come The Girls, iGame Mom, I Heart Crafty Things, Inspiration Laboratories, Kid World Citizen, Kiddie Foodies, Kids Yoga Stories, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, Lalymom, Lemon Lime Adventures, Let's Play Music, Living Montessori Now, Makeovers and Motherhood, Mama Smiles, Multicultural Kids Blog, My Little 3 and Me, P is for Preschooler, Peakle Pie, Pennies of Time, Playdough to Plato, PlayDrMom, Preschool Powol Packets, Racheous - Lovable Learning, Still Playing School, Smiling Like Sunshine, Stir the Wonder, Teach Me Mommy, Teach Preschool, There's Just One Mommy, Toddler Approved, True Aim Education, Tutus and Tea Parties, Where Imagination Grows, and Wildflower Ramblings.
Here's to celebrating all of the wonder in 2013
and to moving on to all that lies ahead in 2014!
Below you'll find over 50 Kid Blogger Network members coming together for The KBN Best Of 2013 Blog Hop. We know you'll find tons of wonderful ideas to browse, pin and share. We'd love for you to join the blog hop and share your favorite activity of 2013 too, and make sure you're following the Kid Blogger Network on Pinterest.
Last week, a colleague of mine asked, "What does a child-led, play based program look like for infants and toddlers?" For man...
Welcome to this week's edition of What Would You Do With It? Wednesday. This week's item(s) are paper tubes. You most often find th...
We usually make our moon sand with cornstarch , sand, and baby oil. However a blog reader commented that when they make their moon s...
How may times have you heard, "Ms. (fill your name in here), this marker doesn't work!" I know I hear it all the time. S...
Fairy Dust Teaching shared a great post on making moon sand the other day , and I realized that we had not made any of ours in a long t...