Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Leaf Rubbings and Exploring Pastels

For our final week of the session, we focused on leaf rubbings and pastels. The children first learned how to create an imprint of a leaf by placing it under the paper then rubbing on top of the paper with the side of a crayon.

After trying out the leaf rubbings, I offered the children chalk pastels to explore.
They experimented with rubbing, drawing, and blending this soft, dusty medium.
Then I offered them water and a brush to see what would happen if the pastel got wet. As they painted their drawings with water, the chalk dust mixed with the water and turned it into a colorful paint.

After wetting their papers, they drew again with the pastel and noticed how the colors became darker against the water.
Being our first drawing project for the youngest 1s class, we focused on making marks with oil pastels, then trying out liquid watercolor over the drawings.

No matter what age, all the classes love to paint, mix, and pour watercolors. Especially when glitter is involved!

The 1s classes also got to do some major sensory painting with foam paint.
Foam paint on the acrylic easel adds a twist to this sensory experience!

Remember the clay etching experiment in the 3s/4s class? The clay was dry and finally ready for the 3rd step to complete the process. In order to try to rub off some of the top paint, the children moved sand paper around in circles on top of their clay. The hope was that this would roughen up the top, leaving mostly the paint inside the scratches, so their design would stand out.

It was a little hard to sand off the top layer of paint, but they did manage to achieve a cool effect!
Thanks everyone for a great school year and final session. I had a blast!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Foam Scratch Prints

This week the 3s/4s class worked on printmaking using styrofoam scratch boards. This foam is similar to the type that often comes with pre-packaged meat. If you have any at home, you can give this a try!
The children first used ball point pens to draw a design in the foam. I had to encourage them to press hard so their drawing would be indented into the foam.

After drawing, they rolled paint onto their foam, flipped it over onto a piece of paper, then peeled it up to reveal their print.
They tried this in a few different colors to see how they could create the same print in a different color using their foam drawing.

The children also worked on the second phase of their clay etching projects from last week. Now that their clay has dried, they painted it, making sure to get the paint deep into the scratched drawings. Next week they do the final step!
A couple of the painted projects...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Collage Treasure Hunt!

Before beginning our monochromatic collages, we began by going on a "treasure hunt" to find our collage materials. The children each chose a color, then searched around the yard for treasures in their specific color.

When the kids found a color other than their own, they immediately ran to give it to the person looking for that color. What great teamwork!
The 1s class also went on a treasure hunt, but it wasn't limited by color. Most of them were just trying to understand the concept of collecting and keeping the treasure in their baskets!

After our treasure hunt, we returned to the studio to create a collage using glue and our new found materials. I think the treasure hunt helped to get the children excited about using only one color. After the hard work of hunting, they formed a special bond with their color!

 The 1s class used colored glue to add to their colorful collages.

After making our collages, we worked on a variety of projects. Some children squeezed colored glue into plastic tops- which will dry and become translucent window hangings.
Other children worked at the easels...

painted the window...
and some got messy outside with gross motor tools: bouncy bean bags, child-sized mops and a broom!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clay: One Medium, Many Techniques

This week we explored clay in many different ways! Each class focused on a different clay technique, based on the ages of the kids. The youngest 1s class had their first clay experience- mostly poking, pinching, cutting, and getting to know the clay.

The older 1s/early 2s class started off learning about leaf prints. They used a rolling pin to press leaves into the clay to make a print. Later on, I offered them some "treasures" (buttons, rhinestones, and popsicle sticks) to decorate their leaf prints.

The 2s class started off making pinch pots. They shaped the pots by pinching with their thumbs and fingers, then they decorated their pots with buttons, rhinestones, and glitter.

They were so proud of their pinch pots!!
The older 2s/early 3s class worked on building sculptures with toothpicks and wooden skewers. I showed them how to shape the clay into balls and coils while they tinkered with connecting and stabilizing the shapes. We did this same activity a few months ago and it's so great to see how their composition and ability to construct has evolved.

In the oldest class (3s/4s) we experimented with clay etching. This will be a three week process before the final product is ready to take home. First the children drew a design with a toothpick into a block of clay. Next week they will paint the clay and let it dry. Finally on the last week, they will sand down the top layer, leaving only the deep lines painted. I've never tried this before, so I'm super curious to see how it will turn out!

After each class worked on these very different techniques, they were all given new clay for the chance to play around and experiment in their own ways. Learning technique is important, but it's not worth much if the kids don't get a chance to mess around afterward and test all that they have learned.

And of course water is a very important addition to the clay free-play time!

If you ever are looking for an activity that is guaranteed to keep kids busy for at least an hour, just give them some silky modeling clay, and plenty of water. The sensory experience is addictive!