Overcoming frustration through creative art – tape activity

On occasion, my daughter invites several young families to my house for a life group meeting. The families bring their children and when I think about it, I try to provide an activity for the preschool age children to do.

On this particular evening, only two young boys came. Having seen all the wonderful ideas on tape creativity by Teacher Tom and others, I decided to try it myself. I set out several rolls of colored tape, some paper, and some crayons on the dining room table. I left the paper and tape there to see if the boys would notice it – kind of like setting up an interest center.

Eventually the boys wondered in the room and inqured about the tape and paper. I didn’t give any specific directions, I just helped the boys pull out a strip of tape and they began to stick the tape to the paper.

The younger of the two brothers became immediately frustrated because his tape got all tangled and he wanted to quit. I said, “let’s try again only this time, you pull on the end of the tape.” He pulled on the end of the tape and then looked up at me. He then pulled a little more and looked at me again…  then a little more… and a little more… then he said “I’m finished.”  I tore the end off and he worked to get the tape stuck to the paper but once again, it got rather tangled.

This time, however, instead of getting frustrated, he quickly asked for another color of tape. Again, I held the end, and he pulled… and pulled.  Then he discovered that if he stood still and I walked backwards, he could even get a longer strip of tape. He directed me around the room and then would eventually say “stop.” After a few times of this, he decided that he rather have shorter pieces of tape so he could stick them to his paper.

Meanwhile, the older brother caught on quickly. I started to show the older brother how to tear the tape with his fingers but he found out that if he pulled really hard, the tape would snap apart. He wasn’t interested in hearing about my two finger tearing tape apart technique:) Both of the boys discovered something about the process that interested them and both of them were engaged in the process.

I want to make sure that everyone understands the key point here. It wasn’t making the picture that was fun at first. What made this activity fun was manipulating the tape. Once the boys figured out how to manipulate the tape, then they began to have an interest in creating their picture.

The younger brother no longer became frustrated with the project once he was given freedom to just explore the tape. Now it was a fun idea and in the process he began to learn how to manipulate the tape. The younger brother went from giving up to being engaged – from having a lack of tape handling skills to being quite proficient – all in a matter of 20 to 30 minutes of time.

As we manipulated and created with tape, the parents came upstairs that they got involved too. In the end, both brothers made a wonderful tape picture and gave it to their dad as a present.

I enjoyed the process too. I learned that I don’t need to teach kids how to create. Instead – I just need to facilitate the opportunity and then take note of what types of learning are taking place as the process unfolds.


View more on what kids learn from experiences with tape….

International Early Childhood Education Tape-off Challenge

Casa Maria

Bakers and Astronauts

Leaves and Branches, and Trunks and Roots

Check out the McLinky over at Mom Tried it and see her fabulous Tape Dispenser!

By | February 22nd, 2010|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , |0 Comments

Musical instruments in the preschool classroom

There are a variety of ways you can use musical instruments in the classroom.

Create a music center and try adding…

  • Baskets of musical instruments
  • A CD Player
  • A pretend microphone
  • A mirror
  • A little platform for a stage (square)
  • Posters and books about music, composers, notes, and nursery rhymes.
  • Staple together little books of notation paper and add drawing tools for children to create their own songs.
  • Baskets of movement props like paper plates, ribbon sticks, and scarves.
  • Home made instruments: Check out these awesome homemade drums and drumming activities from Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning!
  • See this music book from Fleet of Fun
Music Box

Create a music box. Choose a different type of instrument to put in the music box each week. If you choose to use a music box – make sure you have plenty of instruments to go around because it will be a big hit.

Rhythm Stick

In your circle time, add musical instruments to a familiar song. Here are a few examples:

  • Add a rainstick to the song “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.  Let the children shake the rain stick back and forth to make the sound of the rain.
  • Add a rythm stick for tapping noises to songs like “Johnny Works with One Hammer” or “One Little Hammer Went Tap Tap Tap!”
  • Add instruments to songs like … “If you’re happy and you know it” (ring a bell) (tap a drum) (shake a maraca).
Telling stories

Try adding musical sound effects when retelling favorite stories or making up new ones.  For example, “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you hear?  I hear a tambourine shaking in my ear!”

Instead of children telling you a story – try having them dictate to you a song.

Instrument Games
Play an instrument and see if the children can guess what it is.
How else do you use musical instruments in your classroom?

Using puppets in the preschool classroom

Puppets are a wonderful tool to use in the preschool classroom for all ages.  It doesn’t really matter what kind of puppet you use – in fact you can just talk with your hand and kids find it funny and they pay attention. Have you ever watched a live puppet show? There is just something about having a little puppet talking to you that draws you in.

Puppets can be used as part of the classroom experience in numerous ways…

Creative art
Children can make their own paper bag puppets, stick puppets, string puppets, and finger puppets.

Children just love to sing along with a puppet. No need to have a fancy puppet or stage, just throw a puppet on your hand and make it sing. Let the children join you in the song by making their own puppets sing. If you don’t like everyone watching you sing – no worries. The children would rather watch the puppet!

Performance and Leadership
Some children do not like to stand in front of the other children, but a puppet might help with this. Puppets foster leadership, performance, and sometimes, even the courage to stand in front of our peers. Older students can put on a puppet show for the younger students and younger students can even put on a puppet show for the older students. The funny thing about puppets, is the children don’t care if the mouth is moving right or the actions make sense – they just love puppets.

Other types of learning going on
Puppets also foster social interaction, communication, role playing, imagination, story telling, listening, and much more. Don’t think your students are too old or too young for puppets because preschoolers of all ages are intrigued by puppets.

Puppet Stage
You don’t have to use a puppet stage. In fact, when first introducing puppets, it might be best if you don’t . The battle of keeping children from sneaking behind the stage might scare you off from trying puppets out.  I recommend just introducing the puppets and letting the children explore them with you for awhile.

I then recommend adding a puppet stage. You can buy one or make one. I use a foam display board like those used in science projects. I set it up when I need it and when I don’t – I just fold it up and stash it in the corner. When I am speaking, I can take my puppet stage with me:)

Circle Time for younger preschoolers
One of the great things about using a simple puppet stage like this is that it really captures the interest of young children. Set up a little stage, add a puppet, and then let the puppet introduce the letter A! Let the puppet lead the children in a song. Let the puppet count out loud, say the days of the week, spell the kid’s names, and so on. Preschoolers love puppets and you can use puppets to introduce many wonderful concepts and keep the children having fun in the process.

Check out this cute home puppet stage too!

Paper bag puppets

You can sing the frog song too!

By | February 8th, 2010|Categories: Story Telling, The Value of Play|Tags: |0 Comments