Blue print designs

We recently spent some extra time exploring the color blue and this particular process of making blue print designs ended up being far more engaging to my students than I ever thought it would. I love it when every child in the classroom takes their time exploring a process…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

Before the children began they found tubs filled with water, heavy blue construction paper shapes, scissors, and heavy white drawing paper all set out on the table…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

To get some of my younger students started, I cut some of the blue construction paper into clouds and snowman shapes. I left the rest of the paper in squares for the children to cut out their own shapes any way they wished…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

To make the blue prints, the children selected or cut out a paper shape then dipped the paper into the tub of water to make sure it was completely wet…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

Once the paper was soaked with water, then the children placed it on their white paper canvas. The children could arrange the wet blue paper shapes anyway they wished on the paper…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

Some of the children created a winter like scene with the blue paper shapes…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

Others added their own drawings as well…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

And others added their blue shapes in all kinds of random ways around their white paper…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

The children stayed focused on getting the paper wet and designing their white canvas for quite some time. Some of the children were fascinated by the way the blue paper seem to change color once it was wet. It definitely turned a darker blue but the children thought the paper turned almost purple in color…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

The paper had a glossy look too once it was wet which the children also found to be quite lovely…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

Lots of wonderful descriptive words to use while the children worked including glossy, shiny, wet, dry, light, shade, dark, soak, drip, and the list goes on…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

After each child was happy with his or her design and ready to set aside to dry, then we pulled out another sheet of heavy white art paper to place over the top of their designs and then set aside to dry in the drying racks…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

There is no glue in the water or anything else that will make the blue designs stay on the paper. The children wonder what will happen when everything dries and soon they will find out. The blue paper will dry and fall from the page and the children can save their cutouts in an envelope if they wish…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

And left behind on the white paper will be a print of their blue designs…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

I took one of the children’s drying papers out of the drying rack to show you how the print is left behind and then put it carefully back together the way the child had designed it and slipped it back in the drying rack to let it dry the rest of the way…

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

The children will return next week to observe their finished work. They can use the print and paper cut outs like a puzzle or they can choose to hang it up on our wall or they can simply take it all home. This process was super simple but has given us many different things to concepts to explore along the way….

Blue print designs by Teach Preschool

By the way, not all construction paper bleeds like this construction paper did so you will want to test your paper before giving it a try.

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By | January 19th, 2014|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

More than just a strawberry

At age two, learning begins with real life experiences. Well actually, for all preschool age children learning begins with real life experiences but for a  two year old, real life experiences are a critical part of bringing authentic meaning into the learning and skill building process..

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

My daughter has the most energy when it comes to giving my grandsons real life experiences. I like to tag along and take pictures and help out where I can. Today, we made our way to the strawberry patch…

More that just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

Kai already knew what a strawberry was but now he had the chance to see first hand and for the first time how a strawberry grows and how to pick it off the vine…

More that just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

And while picking strawberries, we were able to use words like “pick, pull, stem, leaf” and other words related to strawberries and the strawberry patch. As my grandson would pick a strawberry, he would immediately want to “open it” meaning take off the stem so he could eat it…

More that just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

And of course, a two year old is going to want to eat more than he actually puts in the box but we did manage to fill the box with enough strawberries to bring home for later…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

After we got home from the strawberry patch, mom got busy fixing dinner while I took Kai over to the classroom to make a paper strawberry…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

A paper strawberry isn’t nearly as interesting as a real strawberry but because we now had a connection to a real experience with strawberries, it was a good opportunity to introduce the concept of making something he now had an an immediate experience with…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

As I shared in my previous post, Kai has also already explored the use of glue just a bit. As soon as he saw the glue bottle go out on the table, he knew that he was going to get to squeeze that bottle and make the glue come out. I invited Kai to help me make a strawberry. As a reminder, I brought a few of our real strawberries over to the classroom with us to look at and talk about (and eat) as we made our paper strawberry…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

I showed Kai how to flip the paper over and pat it really good so the strawberry and the stem would stick to the white paper. I can tell you that each of these skills from dripping glue on the paper; flipping the paper over; patting the paper down; understanding that the glue will make the paper stick together; and painting fingerprints on the strawberry doesn’t have a lot of meaning to Kai yet but using the trip to the strawberry patch gave us the interest needed to “make a strawberry” which then allowed me to introduce these different skills and each of these processes will begin to make sense over time…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

And after we completed our strawberry, Kai knew that he had made it himself and mommy (or I) had a fun keepsake to save from our day at the strawberry patch…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

If I were to tell you the moral of this story, it would be to make sure you connect real life experiences with the ideas you plan for your classroom. It is for this reason, as a teacher, it is a good idea to find out what kinds of things children are doing at home. Did anyone go to the zoo lately? Did anyone go to the strawberry patch? As you can find out what types of experiences your students have spent time on with their families, then you can build on those experiences in the classroom too…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

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Links to Grow On

Read and it and cook it  from Teach Preschool

Fourth of July Strawberries from Kids Activities Blog

Strawberry Week from Brenna Phillips

Hanging out with an octopus

As I mentioned before, we have been exploring a broad range of under the sea and water type activities and one of our mornings was spent exploring and making the popular sea creature called an octopus!

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

We had two books selected for our study of an octopus but the one the children spent the most time wanting to discuss was “An Octopus is Amazing” by Patricia Lauber.  Mrs. Courtney and I hadn’t planned on actually reading this book to the children but rather take a picture walk to talk about different types of octopuses (or octopi).

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

However, the children (Our Prek Class) asked so many questions as Mrs. Courtney walk them through the illustrations of the book that she pretty much ended up reading the entire book after all…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Some of the facts that were in the book were hard for the children to believe. Like they could not wrap their mind around the fact that octopuses start off as tiny as a flea and that some never grow larger than one to two feet long…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

The children also learned that octopuses have suction cups on their legs they can use to grab hold of things similar to how we use a suction cup to hold up our pictures on the windows. Our book told us that in one study, an octopus is so smart that he used his suction cup to open a jar to get to the crab that was inside the jar. So we tried opening a jar too using a suction cup…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

It always so much fun when one book can lead to so much discussion and discovery. As part of our morning discussion on octopuses, the children made a paper octopus that they could take home at the end of the day…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

The children cut eight legs (seven lines) on their paper stopping right in the middle of their paper. This process was very much a process about following directions and cutting on the lines but my prek students were loving the process from beginning to end…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Then the children added dots to each of the eight legs to represent the suckers we had talked about in our book…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Once the children added as many suckers as they liked to each of the eight legs, the children added a face to their octopus..

 add a string, and whew - the octopus was finished...

Some even ended up with whiskers…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Then the children curled up each of the eight legs…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Stapled the octopus body closed…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Punched two holes, added a string, and whew – the octopus was finished…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Some of the children preferred to put their completed octopuses in their cubbies and some of them chose to hang them in the window for the morning. But everyone took them home at the end of the day…

 add a string, and whew - the octopus was finished...

And what do you think happened after all the time making an octopus?  Well most of the kids went off to play in one of our other centers but this little guy went off to the art center and made another octopus all by himself…

 add a string, and whew - the octopus was finished...

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By | May 23rd, 2013|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

Torn paper strip sticky collage

Before sharing this simple torn paper strip sticky collage with the children, I told them that we needed to work on building stronger hands and fingers and one of the best ways to do that, is by tearing up some paper…

Torn paper strip sticky collage by Teach Preschool

To prepare for our paper strip sticky collage, Mrs. Courtney put three strips of clear packing tape (sticky side up) across a tray for each child.  She tucked each end of the tape under and stuck it to the sides of the trays to hold the tape in place on the trays …

Torn paper strip sticky collage by Teach Preschool

I happened to have some left-over torn paper so we set that paper out in baskets and added more as needed.  To exercise our fingers and hands, the children tore the pieces of paper into smaller pieces and stuck them to their pieces of tape…

Torn paper strip sticky collage by Teach Preschool

I showed the children how all of the tape had to be covered until there was no sticky left showing so that their tape wouldn’t get all stuck together when we hung it in our window….

Torn paper strip sticky collage by Teach Preschool

The children worked with their hands and fingers to tear the paper and stick it on their tape. Covering all the tape was a big challenge but my students were up for the challenge…

Torn paper strip sticky collage by Teach Preschool

The children stayed with it until all the tape was covered by paper. As the children worked on their collages, I heard a few of my students talking about how big their muscles were getting!…

Torn paper strip sticky collage by Teach Preschool

Once the children had all three strips of tape covered with their torn pieces of paper, then Mrs. Courtney and I helped them remove the strips of tape from the trays…

Torn paper strip sticky collage by Teach Preschool

We stuck the ends of the three strips of tape together to create one long torn paper strip collage for each child and added a ribbon to the top so the children could hang their collages up when they took them home…

Torn paper strip sticky collage by Teach Preschool

But for now, our sticky paper collages are hanging in our classroom windows and making our classroom simply beautiful!

Torn paper strip sticky collage by Teach Preschool

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This post is being linked up with No Time for Flashcards Link & Learn!

By | January 18th, 2013|Categories: Fine Motor Skills, motor skills|Tags: , , , , |6 Comments

Glue bottles with brushes and paper collages

In my previous post, I shared with you all about the “Tools We Use in Preschool.”  Another tool we  will use all throughout the school year is glue. We often use two main types of glue – our glue bottles with brushes and our squeezable glue bottles (without brushes). For this post, I am going to share with you how we explored glue bottles with brushes…

We started by setting out a glue bottles with brush for each child along with our cutting scraps from the day before. In addition, we set out scissors and a canvas for each child to work on.  You will notice that our canvas is a small square of foam board.  Covering a large canvas with small pieces of construction paper scraps is hard for young children so we provided a small canvas so they could complete their canvas more easily. We also chose foam board because we happened to have a piece left over and glue can be so soggy on construction paper…

The children started by working on opening their own glue bottles and then they began brushing glue on the canvas…

Then the children added pieces of construction paper on top of the glue…

Although there were plenty of scraps already cut up in the paper bin, some children preferred to use the scissors to cut up more construction paper pieces.  Now we have two process going on – cutting and gluing…

Each child chose the color or colors of paper they wished to add to their canvas…

In my experience, it is not all that unusual for some children to think you need to pour the glue out of the glue bottle first, then use the glue brush to spread the glue around.  This is why it is a good idea to take a few minutes at the beginning of the year to let the children give the glue bottles a try while you are there to give some guidance on how the glue bottles can be used…

All of my students caught on quickly. Now that the children have had this simple introduction, we can plan other activities throughout the school year and let them continue to master the gluing process…

I think the children’s construction paper and glue collages are each uniquely designed…

And are perfect for our very first art display on the wall!

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By | August 30th, 2012|Categories: Back to School|Tags: , , , |8 Comments

Gingerbread shapes and paper houses for preschool

I have to confess, but this is the first year I have ever tried introducing a gingerbread unit in my classroom and I can’t believe what I have been missing….

From gingerbread houses to the gingerbread man to sensory, senses, creative art, math, science – the activities you can do are endless….

For a little taste of gingerbread math, I created these gingerbread houses with shapes that matched the shapes of buttons and pattern blocks I have on hand. I set it all out on the table for the children to explore…

This was super easy for most of my students but they liked the idea of decorating the house since we have been reading about and creating gingerbread houses over the past several days…

Some of my students asked if they could color and stamp shapes on the houses too – I had made plenty of house shapes, so I let them have at it…

At the other table, and on the same day, I set out construction paper house shapes for the children to decorate…

I have a whole basket of left over shapes of all sizes. The children cut the scraps of paper into smaller sizes as they wished and glued them on brown construction paper gingerbread house shapes…

The children kept going back over to the art shelf to choose a different tool they wished to use.  They had out scissors, hole punches, crayons, glue, glue sticks, and I am not sure what else.  This was a simple idea and adding different tools from the art center made the process much more interesting…

I have noticed that my students are becoming more capable at using all the materials we have on our art shelf. They can be trusted to use all the items they select responsibly because they have been given the opportunity to use them so often throughout the school year…

I just loved their construction paper gingerbread houses and the children let me display them on the board – often times, they really want to take their artwork home so my board can start looking a little lonely…

So many colors, so many ways to decorate their houses…

Art in action

My art board doesn’t look so lonely now!

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You can download the Paper Shape House Printable by Clicking Here  >>>> House of Shapes

 

By | December 10th, 2011|Categories: Christmas|Tags: , , , , , |6 Comments

Scrunched paper printing in preschool

This has to be one of the most simple, yet fun and easy to throw together painting activities ever!

Simply set out a variety of paint colors, a piece of paper, and scrap paper…

The children “scrunched” up the scrap paper….

Then dipped the scrunched paper into paint and made prints on their paper canvas…

The “scrunched” paper gets soggy after a bit so having available some fresh pieces of scrap paper to scrunch up as you go along is a good idea…

The children really took their time and stayed engaged in the process of scrunching and printing…

Even some children who don’t normally want to get paint on their hands gave this a try…

And then there were those who love the sensory experience of getting paint on their hands…

We had all kinds of prints in the end and a wonderful experience in the process…

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By | March 4th, 2011|Categories: Painting|Tags: , , |15 Comments