27 September 2014

Looking for an easy art activity different aged children can do together? School holidays are upon us again so today I wanted to share with you all an art activity I did with my three children recently.  I know how hard it can be to find an activity that caters for multi-aged children but this is one they all enjoyed and has a certain amount of wonder built in to keep everyone engaged.  Easy to set-up with materials most people have at home and quick to clean up.  


Dip Dying Art - a perfect multi-age art activity for children from materials easily found at home!




It started after we walked through our too-long spring grass and past some clover flowers sitting up above it all.  So we picked some and brought them inside to paint with but they held a lot of paint (we were using liquid watercolours to start with) and the paper we were using wasn't very absorbent leaving the paint sitting on the surface, mixing slightly.  I suggested using paper towels knowing from past experience that this will soon get very messy.


Dip Dying Art - a perfect multi-age art activity for children from materials easily found at home!

 Now most people have done drip painting onto paper towel.  My kids love it and it remains a great way to explore primary colours and how they make other colours.  

Last year I wrote about teaching shapes in early childhood and how paper folding can be used to explore shape.  So I showed my children a technique I had used at preschool earlier in the year.  Instead of painting on the square shaped paper towel we folded it over and over on itself until it was a fraction of the original size before dipping a corner at a time into the paint.

Dip Dying Art - a perfect multi-age art activity for children from materials easily found at home!

Dip Dying Art - a perfect multi-age art activity for children from materials easily found at home!

The watery paint is quickly absorbed by the paper towel and where the colours meet, new colours form just as they do when you're drip painting.

Dip Dying Art - a perfect multi-age art activity for children from materials easily found at home!

The wow moment comes when you unfold the paper towel and you see the patterns formed by the paint because of the folds in the towel.  Very kaleidoscope!


Dip Dying Art - a perfect multi-age art activity for children from materials easily found at home!

Dip Dying Art - a perfect multi-age art activity for children from materials easily found at home!

Depending on how you fold your paper towel, different shapes and patterns appear which lead to much exploration.  All triangular or mix it up with some squares then triangles.  Try bigger and smaller or concertina for a rainbow effect like my 8yr old did. 

After using up the liquid water colours we already had out, we changed to water coloured with food colouring so you can easily do this activity at home yourself and the colours are just as vibrant as the paint versions.
Dip Dying Art - a perfect multi-age art activity for children from materials easily found at home!


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19 September 2014

This week I heard some happy news - that one of my favourite picture books from last summer now has a sequel!  Journey - the first of a trilogy, is a elaborately illustrated wordless book that follows a lonely girl on her journey as she escapes the boredom of her bedroom into a magical world.  You can watch this short video about how the book Journey was made. It's amazing being able to watch Aaron work. 

Quest is the second book of the series by Aaron Becker and will definitely be amongst our pile of new books this Christmas.

It made me think about the other wordless books we love -



Wonderful wordless picture book list.  Visit http://youclevermonkey.com



(This post includes some affiliate links - please visit my 'About Me' page to read the full disclosure policy)

Belonging (or if you're in the US - Home) by Jeannie Baker.  Baker has a very distinctive style creating collages for her picture books.  In Belonging we get to follow the changing landscape and re-greening of a city as we watch a little girl grow up.  I really like her book Window too.

Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage we loved from the moment we saw this clip and the book doesn't disappoint.  Kids love trying to spot the walrus after he escapes from the zoo.  He wears many disguises trying to evade the zookeeper - a fun book for younger children particularly.

Zoom by Istvan Banyai we gifted to a family member earlier in the year.  It's so cleverly done - a page will zoom out detail featured on the previous page and so the layers build.

Leaf by Stephen Michael King is another beautifully illustrated watercolour book that has you watching time pass after a seed lands on the head of a wilful young boy who was evading a haircut.

Sunshine and Moonlight by Jan Ormerod are two books each of my three children have loved because they can see themselves in the story which is of a little girls day from first light to late at night.
Changes, Changes by Pat Hutchins I bought after seeing a post on Teach Preschool a while back.  I'm always on the hunt for good books that invite action or encourage experimentation and Changes, Changes is a great addition to a block area.


A Long Piece of String by William Wondriska is a older book originally published in the 1960's but I love an alphabet book and this one is unique.

Anno's Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno is, I admit, technically not a wordless book but it's one that I remember loving when I was a kid so for old times sake, I'm including it here!  My youngest has just discovered this book from our shelves and is fascinated by the changing scenes on each page. 

The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney is one that sat on my wishlist for a long time.  I'd read a review that raved about the illustrations but only recently added this book to our collection.  The review was right - the illustrations in this book, a re-telling of an Aesop's tale, are amazing.

Why add a wordless book to your library?  For many reasons that Jackie from My Little Bookcase explains perfectly in her post on Using and Enjoying Wordless Books.  You can read her post by clicking here.  For me, it's because the illustrations become the star. Reading a normal picture book you don't always spend time looking at the artwork, turning the page as the words end.


Wonderful wordless picture book list.  Visit http://youclevermonkey.com

But as Jackie points out, without words, there is no cue to turn the page leaving you more time to absorb the images in front of you.  

I also like wordless books as they allow even the youngest child the opportunity to read a book to someone instead of being read to.  They can decide on the narrative which can change from reading to reading.

Do you have any wordless books in your collection?  What do you love about them?


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13 September 2014

Followers of this page will already know how much I and my kids love using sensory bins for play. Every so often the discussion about using food vs non-food in sensory bins pops up in discussions around the web. We use both but when it comes to food, I will try and use expired or out of date food or like the day a new 2kg bag of flour fell of the top shelf of our pantry and onto the floor, food that would have only made it to the bin otherwise. Of course, cooking with your kids is a fantastic way to experience hands-on play with food in a respectful manner.

Sometimes it's just not practical to use food stuffs as a sensory bin base whether it's because you're in a classroom setting with too many germy hands or it attracts pests like here a few years ago when field mice were in plague proportions.  This doesn't mean your children have to miss out on rich sensory play, it just means looking for non-food alternatives.  Today I thought I'd share some favourite materials for non-food sensory play.


Favourite non-food sensory play ideas shared by http://youclevermonkey.com


Rock salt
Favourite non-food sensory play ideas shared by http://youclevermonkey.com

Rocks
Favourite non-food sensory play ideas shared by http://youclevermonkey.com

Kinetic sand 
Favourite non-food sensory play ideas shared by http://youclevermonkey.com

Shaving cream  
Favourite non-food sensory play ideas shared by http://youclevermonkey.com

Shaving cream and ice
Favourite non-food sensory play ideas shared by http://youclevermonkey.com

Frozen blocks of ice
Favourite non-food sensory play ideas shared by http://youclevermonkey.com

Fake snow
Favourite non-food sensory play ideas shared by http://youclevermonkey.com

Paint
Favourite non-food sensory play ideas shared by http://youclevermonkey.com

Found objects
Favourite non-food sensory play ideas shared by http://youclevermonkey.com

Play dough
Favourite non-food sensory play ideas shared by http://youclevermonkey.com

Paper pulp
Favourite non-food sensory play ideas shared by http://youclevermonkey.com

Shredded paper
video



What has been your favourite non-food base for sensory play?  No photos but water beads should be in this list too - we love playing with those and super foamy bubbles, shells, glass gems, birdseed, fresh glass clippings, pom poms and coloured sand.  What would you add?

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