Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Recycled Caps on the Light Table

I love finding beauty in recycled materials. We have been experimenting with using more found and natural materials around here. For the last few weeks I have been saving any kind of cap or lid instead of tossing it in the recycle bin. Here is our collection - the diversity of colours, sizes, and textures is interesting and these qualities were evident when I placed the clear bin of lids on our light table.

It's interesting to see how the light from below really illuminates the lids and makes them appear to glow.

It was fun to use these 'loose parts' to explore and create some art.

A truck driving on a sunny day...

A boat floating in the water...

A rainbow...

A silly face...

(According to my daughter) me holding a water bottle...

I'm going to keep these lids for some future art activities. What might your children create with their found and recycled objects?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Outdoor Weaving

It was another beautiful day around here! I wanted to add more outdoor art areas to our backyard so I created a 'weaving area' underneath the kids' climber. I attached a short piece of chicken wire between the two support posts using zip ties.

We used the ribbon from our indoor art area. The kids were really amazed when I brought the ribbon outside - they were surprised that it could be used outdoors too!

I encouraged them to think about what pieces they'd like to use - considering the colours, sizes, and textures of the ribbons when creating their communal art.

Cutting the ribbon and weaving it through the wire were excellent fine motor activities, especially for my three year old son! Because this was a communal piece of art much problem solving and cooperation were needed in order for the kids to be successful.

The result? A beautiful piece of art that can stay outside and be added to every once in a while when the kids feel like weaving! Maybe the birds will borrow some ribbon for their nests!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Environmental Print Alphabet Book

My son has been expressing an interest in alphabet letters lately so I thought it might be fun to create an environmental print alphabet book to keep near the kitchen. Anytime we have labels from our favourite products, I encourage him and his sister to glue them in the alphabet book (which is simply a notebook I purchased at the dollarstore and wrote each letter of the alphabet on a separate page). Not only is Caleb learning his alphabet letters in a fun way, he is also reading the names of his favourite foods and familiar products, encouraging him as an independent reader and building his confidence. 

Our goal is to fill the book as quickly as we can - the kids have been scanning products in the cupboard anticipating what page they will go on in the book once we are done with the food packaging.

This book is kept on our kitchen counter so that we can add to it as needed. I think it would also be a great activity to keep at a snack centre in a classroom so the children could add labels from their lunches to the book whenever possible!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fairy Playscape

I've been trying to get rid of a lot of our overly commercial toys the last several months. We have a plastic dollhouse that the kids haven't been very interested in. 

I have been thinking of a way to update it because I like how open and empty the dollhouse is. There is a lot of potential for creative play because there isn't much prescribed within the body of the house. After some thought I turned the house into a fairy house using natural materials like shells, rocks, and moss.

It took a very long time to hot glue the materials on the dollhouse, but the result was worth it! My daughter was thrilled when she saw it!

I was eager to capitalize on this interest, so I added a few props to enhance the play (fake grass, fabric flowers, large shells) and turned our sensory table into a fairy playscape.

The result? Hours of imaginative play! I'm eager to take this house outdoors into the garden when the flowers bloom and see how the play evolves as more natural elements from the yard and garden can be incorporated into the house.

My daughter decided to add a 'pool' for the fairies which was a shallow plastic bowl filled with water. It was interesting to add the water element to the playscape and created a whole new layer of exploration. The water drew her little brother in too!

Nothing like a dip in the pool to relax after a hard afternoon of imaginative play! My next goal is to encourage my daughter to design and create her own fairies using our art materials.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Foot Painting

It was a beautiful sunny day around here - the perfect weather for doing some very messy painting outside! We had a large piece of cardboard that I was eager to recycle and it was an ideal canvas for outdoor painting. With the gentle breeze blowing outside I knew the cardboard wouldn't lift off the ground or require paper weights to hold it down like traditional painting paper would.

I set out four trays of paint that were large enough for the kids to dip their feet into - one on each side of the canvas. The kids were invited to step into the paint and cover the area with their feet!

What a fun experience! Because we did this outside there was no fear of getting paint on anything and although the kids slipped a few times and fell into the paint, it was washable so I didn't need to worry about their clothing becoming stained.

They were able to observe the colours mixing as they walked, jumped, and danced all over the canvas!

Clean up was easy! I just gave them the hose and they sprayed their legs off. Then I had them take a quick shower to get the remaining paint off their legs and arms.

What a stunning piece of giant artwork!

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