Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

For those of you who celebrate the holiday, Happy Halloween!

We had a great time trick-or-treating and dressing up this year:

(Thanks to my sister Amber for some of the photos! We had a great time and came home with a TON of candy!) I hope you all had a safe and Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pounding the Pavement (Well, Sidewalk)

Do you use chalk? Do you ever end up with iddy biddy chalk stubs? What do you do with them? I found this great idea from The Chocolate Muffin Tree  and  The Imagination Tree where you can crush them to make paint, but we decided that rather than making paint, we would just SPLAT our stubs all over the wet sidewalk!

The technique is quite simple. Wait for the rain to stop OR go out in the rain... Plop a chalk stub down and hit it with a hammer.... and SPLAT! Lovely bursts of color!
An opportunity to use real tools.
If/when the sidewalk starts to dry up, make sure you have a water bottle available for spraying! 
Spraying, pounding, drawing.... great fun with chalk!
And, when you get tired of chalk, attempt to recreate the plunger print pumpkin patch.....  that the rain washed away! 

Have fun pounding the pavement  sidewalk!

(For more photos of our explorations, don't forget to stop by our Facebook page!)

This post was linked up to:

PreK + K Sharing

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Indian Corn Printing/Painting

A couple of weekends ago, we went to the corn maze with the Boy Scouts and I picked up a half a dozen ears of Indian Corn. The children had fun investigating the corn in our sensory bin. They spent some time husking it and looking at the various parts under the magnifying glasses. 

Then, I set up a station for them to paint and/or print with the corn. 
I decided to put a plexi-glass plate right over the sensory bin. (If you remember the cribs we dismantled, I saved the plexi-glass ends! The plexi-glass makes a great transparent tabletop... and is a wonderful surface to paint on!) I wanted to make sure that the children had ample choice in paint color, and that it was a self-service station. The squeeze bottles of tempera work great for this, and all of that squeezing is great for their fine motor skill development!

 Two children worked at the station at a time. They chose which paints that they wanted to squeeze out onto the surface, and then they started to roll the corn in the paint.
The processes of squeezing the paint and rolling the corn along were enough to keep most of them busy for quite some time.  However, some of the children wanted to roll their corn onto paper too!
 So, when they were ready, each child was given a sweater box sized tote and as much paper as their hearts desired. The could then drop the paint covered corn in and tilt the box to roll the corn back and forth.

 Hmmmmn... I wonder what will happen if I stand the corn up?
 For some of the other children, they were perfectly content to keep squeezing and rolling the paint on the plexi-glass surface.
 Look at all of those beautiful colors that they mixed!
 Rolling the corn made for very messy fingers, which only added to the FUN!
 My fingers are already messy, I think I'm going to finger paint for awhile... 
 Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.... 
 Having two children at the station with shared resources provided a lot of opportunities to use our words and to take turns with colors.  "Sure you can have the yellow, I'm done with it." 
 Look at those lovely colors and lines from the rolling corn!
For some of the children, they really didn't want to roll the corn in the separate bins. They were perfectly content to continue to squeeze and roll on the plexi-glass. This is something that we really need to remember with children and their art. They need time and the freedom to really explore and we need to respect their process. (You can read more on the process of art here.)  
One of the reasons I really like to take photos and to share them with parents is that they can gain a greater understanding of the processes and steps their children take throughout the day.  Even though the child was done with their mixing and rolling of paint, I thought that it would be nice to try to capture some of the color and pattern by pressing paper down on the paint, creating a print of their work:
After I made one print, a couple of the other children decided that they wanted to try this process too.   If the paper picks up the paint and the pattern lines from the corn... What happens if I draw with the paint and then push the paper down?
 And yet.... another experiment, 
What happens if I mix all the color up with my hands and finger paint the corn? 
Some of the children went home with artwork that day... some of them chose to make prints or to paint on paper, while other were more than content to use a temporary canvas.

Like all open-ended, process art activities... each child took the materials and made the process their own. How do you promote process art activities? What are your favorite kinds of process art?  Do you have any great "paint brush" ideas to share! I'm sure that Indian Corn will be requested by my little ones again :).

This was linked up at:
PreK + K Sharing

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sloth Bear Costume

I have an amazing, smart, and creative eight-year old. His uniqueness and creativity has me quite busy this week... sewing.... sewing, creating, and sewing.... (Remember the cowboy alligator last year?) Thus, the blog has taken a serious back seat as I work to create a sloth bear costume.

I started with a pattern- for the jumpsuit, but created and pieced together the rest... and it is still not completely done. I need to finish hand stitching the rest of the front paw claws....

Do you even know what a sloth bear is? In this house hold, they have been the topic of discussion and research for quite some time. Check out this link to google images so that you can see what they look like in real life. Dane did so much research about these bears that he even found out that they have one at the Toledo Zoo, which pretty much determined our route for this past summer's road trip. Yes, we did see a real live sloth bear!

Are you celebrating/dressing up for Halloween this year? 
What are you/your children going to be?

Any guesses as to what I'm going to be????
(I'm off to finish all of our costumes... the clock is ticking....)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A New Button for the Blog!

I made a new button for the blog! 

Here is the html code if you would like to "grab" it:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

I've been awarded the versatile blogger award from some amazing colleagues over the past couple of weeks! I am honored to have been selected by Leanne A from Kreative Resources AND Ayn over at Little Illuminations! What a great way to be recognized during a blogging break (which although I'm blogging today, I wouldn't anticipate my "normal" flow of posts yet for another couple of weeks!)

For me, the best things about blogging awards is that fellow bloggers often recommend blogs that I've never run across, and it provides a great web of inspiration!  Here are the guidelines for the award:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Pass the award on to 10 other bloggers.
4. Contact the other bloggers to let them know they have been nominated.

I add my own personal guideline, and that is.... I NEVER award the same blog more than once! That way, I can share the love and link up previous award nominations to give you oodles of other sources of information!!!! 

So, first. Honestly, if you have not been over to visit Kreative Resources and Little Illuminations take a few moments and pop on over. Leanne and Ayn are great sources of inspiration.  A big THANK YOU to both of these ladies for nominating me.

Seven things about me...... 

1) I have a "new" job. In addition to Child Central Station- the home daycare I run with my husband, I am now providing training sessions for other childcare providers in many of the counties in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I still consider this job/opportunity new as I have only been at it a few months. It has been wonderful to get out and meet other early childhood educators in the "local" area. 

2) I am in the midst of completing my final course for my master's degree in Training, Development, and Performance Improvement. (I completed two master's level certificates in May of 2010, but have been taking one course at at time to complete the research core and project for the full degree).
3) I used to be, still am a, clown. 

4) I don't usually let much stand in my way. Some people might call this stubborn, other determination. You take your pick. If there is a will, there is a way, and if I am passionate enough about something, I'll find that way! In the same token, I don't like to impose limits on other folks be they children or "blown ups." Sometimes this drives my husband nuts.... with the well, "how are you going to do that?" "What do you think you need?" "How can we remove that barrier?"
5) I love to create. I am one of those adults who raises their hands when someone asks for artists and I encourage and engage adults in trying to find their inner artist too. I'm always trying to figure out how I can replicate things myself, trying new tools, and mastering others that I have been using for quite some time. Right now, one of my big projects is a sloth bear costume for Dane this Halloween! Last year, it was a cowboy alligator. Sometimes I have a pattern, and sometimes just a vision.... 

6) I LOVE a good mess! One of my favorite things to do with the children is to give them sensory experiences to make a good mess! Slimes, goops, MUD... you name it, I'm game! Sensory experiences are so soothing, and engaging! I can't wait to try the syrup and sand as recommended by Explorations Early Learning! 

7) I sell educational toys. Being that we live in a rural area, sometimes it is difficult to find unique, high quality educational materials. So, after opening our childcare, I decided to open a small educational toy store as a part of the daycare. It works out well, as parents often want to purchase some of the same materials we have for use at home. Eventually, when I think it is a high enough priority, we will have a fully functional web store.

So, here are the links to my previous blog awards. Please hop on over and check them out... as I am not going to award any of those bloggers today! 

A Blog Award

Blog Awards!

The best part of these award is finding the new inspiration, the worst part is that you can only choose a few to share each time, so please note that I have a blog roll that includes well over 500 blogs! I wouldn't follow a blog if I did not find it valuable in some way, so if you are looking for more inspiration hop on down to the blog roll at the bottom of this page ;). 

Today, I am going to give you a list of 20 in no particular order, being that I was nominated twice. 

1. Time for Play

2. Leptir Montessori Blog

3. Males in Early Childhood Education

4. Jeff's Blog

5. Flights of Whimsy

6. Nurture Store

7. Picklebums

8. The Chocolate Muffin Tree

9. Tinker Lab

10. Zella Said Purple

11. Adventures at Play

12. Casa Maria's Creative Learning Zone

13. Dilly-Dali Art

14. Hands on As We Grow

15. Fairy Dust Teaching

16. Learning for Life

17. Littlest Bird Studio

18. Mama Pea Pod

19. Messy Kids

20. Play Counts!

REMEMBER- there are oodles of other blogs out there that I haven't mentioned YET! Feel free to peruse the blog roll for more inspiration and/or let me know about other great blogs you follow (or write!)

Have a fabulous weekend!

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