Bumpy ball painting

Around here you can find bumpy balls at just about any store. I picked up eight bumpy balls from the Dollar Tree which were fairly squishy (kind of like a thick bumpy balloon) for my classroom and then set them aside for a few weeks trying to decide what to do with them…

Bumpy Ball Painting by Teach Preschool

I finally decided that the bumpy balls would make a great painting tool and so we set them out with different colors of paint, crayons, and paper…

Bumpy Ball Painting by Teach Preschool

On this particular day, we were also exploring lots of flowers around the classroom so you will notice that some of my students used the bumpy balls and crayons to make flowers…

Bumpy Ball Painting by Teach Preschool

Bumpy balls are also called sensory balls, knobby balls, spiky balls, and probably other terms I am not familiar with…

Bumpy Ball Painting by Teach Preschool

The best part about bumpy ball painting is the texture. It is all about sensory and texture as the children feel the bumps on the ball, discover the bumpy paint prints left behind on paper, and enjoy the squishy feeling when pushing down or pulling up while printing or painting with the balls…

Bumpy Ball Painting by Teach Preschool

Many of my students spent quite some time exploring the process of bumpy ball painting Some of the children just used one color and some painted with all the different colors…

Bumpy Ball Painting by Teach Preschool

The prints left behind were simply beautiful and the experience led to plenty of opportunities to reinforce descriptive language as the children painted…

Bumpy Ball Painting by Teach Preschool

Some of my students who don’t always choose to paint found painting with a bumpy ball irresistible…

Bumpy Ball Painting by Teach Preschool

Of course, bumpy balls would be a fabulous texture to add to the water table so after the children completed their paintings, I washed up the bumpy balls and set them aside for another day of bumpy ball explorations…

Bumpy Ball Painting by Teach Preschool

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By | April 13th, 2014|Categories: Painting, Sensory Play|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Exploring textured water play

While I was organizing all the school supplies I keep in my garage, my grandson was running around taking them out to play. He was particularly interested in the bags of corn seed, rice, and other materials I save for sensory play. So I decided it would be better to join in the play than to keep saying “no” so we set up a textured water play table…

Texture water play by Teach Preschool

My grandson has moved past the days of having to put everything in his mouth so I wasn’t worried about him eating our textured water play and once I mixed most of these items in a tub of water, the desire to play and feel the water was far more interesting to my grandson than trying to drink or eat the water…

Texture water play by Teach Preschool

For our textured water play, I set out four small tubs and in each of the tubs I added a different sensory play material. I used about 1/2 cup (I didn’t measure) of corn seeds, rice, water beads, sand, and added plenty of water for pouring and swishing…

Texture water play by Teach Preschool

As my grandson explored the materials, I took a few photos but mostly stayed out of his way. My grandson was in the “play zone” and when he gets extremely focused, I have found that it is best that I let him explore without interruption. When he is so completely focused on his play and I do interrupt, he often will either lose interest or will say, “bye Mema!”

Texture water play by Teach Preschool

Part of his play included adding a few additional toys, pouring and mixing the sensory materials, playing with his elephants or cars in each tub, feeling the material with his hands, and…

Texture water play by Teach Preschool

Checking out the water beads that fell down to the ground…

Texture water play by Teach Preschool

A fun and interesting exploration of texture, sensory, and water all wrapped into one afternoon of the play zone!

Texture water play by Teach Preschool

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By | August 5th, 2013|Categories: Outdoor Play, Sensory Play|Tags: , , , |8 Comments

Fantastic foil fold-over paintings

Young children love the beautiful and colorful results of paint rubbings. It is like magic when you put different colors of paint on a piece of paper, fold it over, rub it, then open it back up to see all the beautiful  blended colors. Today, my Pre-K students enjoyed a different kind of paint rubbing which I like to call foil fold-over painting…

To set up our foil fold-over painting center, I set different colors of paint and aluminum foil out on the table. One of the many things that I love about this process is that it requires so little preparation and very few materials and yet it is a process that is very engaging…

To begin the process, my students started by tearing off a sheet of aluminum foil.  I had to show some of my students how to lift up on the foil to pull out the length they wanted then pull down on the foil to tear it off…

The children caught on quickly to tearing off their own sheets of foil and it didn’t matter if their sheet of foil was long or short, the process still worked out pretty much the same…

Once the children had a sheet of foil off of the roll, they set the foil on the table and begin to make paint designs on top of their foil…

Some of my older students chose to draw a picture with the paint bottles but most of my students chose to squeeze lines or dots of paint out randomly all over their sheet of foil…

Once the children had the desired amount of paint on their sheet of foil, then they folded the foil in half…

Once the foil was folded in half, the children rubbed their hands all over the outside of the foil for a few seconds…

After rubbing the outside of the folded foil, then the children opened up their foil to see the magical way their colors blended together…

Some of my students enjoyed the process so much that they chose to keep on going and many of the children made two to four different foil fold-over paintings…

Along the way, some of our pieces of foil would get wrinkled up during the folding or rubbing process, but my students didn’t care – we found that it added texture to our paintings…

And some of our sheets of foil might rip a little around the edges but my students didn’t care because the painting inside was still quite beautiful. And any time a child wanted, they could make another one.  All of my students did an amazing job of painting, folding, rubbing, and unfolding their sheets of aluminum foil all by themselves. As the children completed their paintings, they set them in their drying rack to dry overnight…

This was a wonderful process that involved the use of fine motor skills and an excellent way to invite exploration in color, texture, and design…

Questions you might ask…

  • The paint bottles are condiment bottles that I picked up at Walmart in their kitchen department.
  • We didn’t use up all of our foil – I think we still have over half the box of foil left.
  • The children wrote their names on the paintings using a thin black permanent marker.

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By | November 1st, 2012|Categories: Painting|Tags: , , , , , , |21 Comments

Feeling the texture of fall

We have been exploring fall with an emphasis on the changing colors of leaves around our preschool but this time, we used our hands to explore the leaves and not just our eyes…

Each child chose a leaf from our collection of leaves on the table and set it on a square of cardboard (I cut up the cardboard squares from an old box). The children used their hands to determine which side of the leaf had veins that you could feel the best (usually the back of the leaf) and placed that side of the leaf facing up…

Then the children placed a sheet of foil over their leaf…

At this point, I want to tell you that it would be better if you have the children go ahead and wrap their foil all the way around their cardboard so the foil doesn’t slide around as the children rub their hands on the foil.  Some of my students wrapped their foil all the way around the cardboard and some didn’t – but in the future, I would have them all wrap the foil first.  Once the foil was on top of the leaves with the edges wrapped around the back of the cardboard, then it is time to rub the foil or smooth out the foil over the leaf until the veins of the leaf can be seen…

The children did a wonderful job rubbing the foil so the imprint of the leaves would show. For some of the children, we started over and wrapped their foil around their cardboard squares so the foil and the leaf would not slide around as the children rubbed over the leaf. It was hard to get a photo of the leaf imprints in the foil but the children were very interested in this entire process and loved it when their leaf veins begin to appear…

This activity was a part of a five senses unit we are also doing so our focus for this process was more on touch and feeling with our hands than on what we could see but we were able to see the imprint of our leaves as well…

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By | October 19th, 2012|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , , , , |3 Comments

Touch and Feel Scarecrows

I recently had a student make a special request that we make a scarecrow at school.  So to honor this request, I did a little research and planning and we celebrated scarecrows!  You know, I have never explored a scarecrow unit in my class before and I have to say, we had a wonderful time exploring our scarecrows….

We didn’t jump right into a scarecrow unit because it took me a week or so to find something for the children to make that I really thought they could do and enjoy doing.  Today, I want to share with you some of the little extras I put together to go along with the making of our scarecrows…

We read the book titled, “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything” by Linda D. Williams.  I have owned this book for years but again, it never occurred to me to partner it up with a scarecrow unit.  This is a wonderful book – full of rhyme, action, patterns, sequencing and just a touch of scary, depending on how you read it, with a not so scary ending…

After reading the book, I gave each child what I call a story book token.  A story book token is something I usually make and give to each child to spark their memory of the book we read in class that day. For this story, I made and gave each child a tiny scarecrow. Some of the children carried their scarecrows around with them all day and others put their scarecrows in their cubby. All the children took their tiny scarecrow home with them at the end of the day…

While making the story book scarecrows, I also made a simple scarecrow texture game.  Scarecrows are packed full of texture  from the straw and sticks for arms and legs to the patches on their clothing so I thought we would explore the textures just a bit as part of our study of scarecrows…

After reading our story, the children put their hand in our mystery box and pulled out a scarecrow….

Each scarecrow was dressed in something different (sandpaper, foam, felt, burlap) and we talked about whether the scarecrow was soft, bumpy, rough, smooth, and so forth…

A fun way to explore the clothing that scarecrows wear and at the same time, promote new vocabulary as we played our touch and feel scarecrow game…

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By | October 4th, 2012|Categories: Children's Books, Games|Tags: , , , , , |10 Comments

At play with Baby: an outdoor texture walk

My grandson and I went on a little outdoor texture walk.  I made an interesting discovery on this nature walk that I hadn’t expected…

For our outdoor texture walk, I walked my grandson around the yard and we stopped to touch different types of nature items.  In the process of our texture walk, I discovered that there are some things my grandson does not like to touch…

It is funny because in the house, my grandson will touch almost anything – even things he isn’t supposed to touch. But outside, he didn’t like to touch the grass. At one point in our walk, we sat down together in the grass and he didn’t reach out to move. It took me a few minutes before I realized that my grandson doesn’t yet like the texture of grass on his hands…

My grandson was happy to reach out to grab a leaf or to feel a tree but he didn’t want to touch that grass. So we moved on to other textures instead…

There are plenty of textures to explore outside. As I watched my grandson explore each texture, I couldn’t help but feel so grateful to be a part of my grandson’s first experiences in exploring nature…

We found many different items to touch but don’t worry – I didn’t just leave my grandson with a big stick. He touched it with his hands and gave it a good look over, then we tossed it aside and continued on our texture walk…

It was a beautiful day and a fun way to spend time “turning on life” with my grandson…

This post is a part of our screen-free week experiences. Turn off the screen and turn on life! (CCFC)

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Making nature paint to explore the colors and textures of nature

As a continuing part of our focus on Earth Day, our class had a little fun this week whipping up a batch of nature paint…

First, we went outside and collected some baggies of dirt, grass, and yellow dandelions…

Once we had collected our nature items, we went right to work on making some nature paint…

To make dirt paint, we  mixed dirt in with some brown tempera paint. The dirt paint was thick and gooey – we made it just a little too thick at first but easily fixed it by adding just a touch more brown paint…

To make grass paint, we mixed up pieces of grass with some green paint.  The grass paint was not as thick as the dirt paint but it had long blades of grass that had to be really mixed up well in order to get them all mixed with the green paint. The grass paint was stringy…

To make dandelion paint, we plucked off the top of dandelions and mixed them in with our yellow paint. The dandelion paint was lumpy…

And because we happen to have some leftover grass seeds, we also made some green grass seed paint. the grass seed paint was gritty…

Later, we took our nature paints to the outdoor classroom and used them to paint in a variety of ways and on a variety of nature items…

The children used the nature paint to paint on paper….

And to paint on rocks…

And to paint on sticks…

It was an interesting and creative day of exploring items of nature, the painting process, the texture of nature, and the colors of nature…

 

Available on Amazon

By | April 21st, 2012|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , , , , , |3 Comments

The wonders of bright and colorful gelatin

Gelatin  squares create a fascinating and interesting exploration in color and texture through water play, science, and discovery…

The gelatin squares are cool and rubbery to the touch and because there is no sugar involved, they are not sticky….

To make gelatin squares, I followed the directions on the box of Knox Gelatine but reduced the amount of water so that the gelatin would be more play friendly. For each color, I used…
  • 1 package of Knox original unflavored Gelatine
  • 1/2 cup of cold water
  • 1/2 cup of boiling water
  • Food color

After mixing all the ingredients, following the directions on the Knox Gelatine box, I poured each color into an ice tray and refrigerated it for almost 2 weeks.  In the future, I think I will just pour each color into a cake pan and refrigerate then cut them into squares so it is easier to remove them from the pan. Removing them from the ice trays was a bit challenging….

I let the children help me remove the Gelatin squares from the ice trays and play with them as they went along.  The children loved feeling the texture and trying to stack up the squares as we took them out of the trays…

As you can see, some of the squares didn’t come out all that perfect but most of them did.  Some of the children used plastic knives to slice the squares.  We explored the squares in many ways so I wasn’t worried about making perfect squares for this process…

And some of the children made shapes on the table with the gelatin squares…

Although we stacked the squares together, they did not stick together. After exploring all the squares on the table for a bit, I set out a tub of COLD water and invited the children to explore the gelatin squares in the water.  They LOVED this and while playing in the water, the children made the observation that the gelatin squares were not changing the color of the water…

The children used their hands to explore the squares in the water and they also used plastic strainers (which I saved from frozen steamer dinner trays) to pick up the squares from the water.

The cold water did start to turn slightly green from the squares of gelatin but the children wanted to explore more color melting so we added a second tub of warm water. The children wondered if hot water would melt the gelatin faster so after we had played with the squares in cold water for awhile, I set out a second tub of very warm water (almost hot) for the children to see what would happen to the squares…

And we saw an immediate reaction to the warm water. The colors began to bleed out into the water as the gelatin squares started to melt…

Obviously we were not going to be using the gelatin squares for more than one day of exploration but it was all worthwhile and because it was such an interesting material to explore – I will gladly make more squares for future play…

As the gelatin squares were added to the warm water tub, theycontinued to melt until our warm water tub turned to a dark green…

This process provided a rich experience in language, science, fine motor development, and play. If you wanted to make the process last longer, then wait to add the warm water and just let the children explore the gelatin squares in several tubs of cold water….

In the end, our warm water tub turned a dark green from all the colors mixed together.  I also think we could have set out several tubs of warm water and had the children sort the gelatin squares by color into the different warm water tubs before mixing all the colors together….

Lots of opportunity to change this process up for future play and discovery!

 

Links to grow on…

Rainbow Gelatin Sensory Tub from No Time for Flashcards

Sensory Play with Jelly from Learning 4 Kids

Books available on Amazon…


DIY: Pizza box textured puzzles

Every so often, I spend a weekend making new games and activities for my class to explore. The problem is, once I start making some of these games, I end up with partially completed “works-in-progress” all over my house. I start on the dining room table, then when I run out of space there, I head to the kitchen table or the floor or where ever there is another space…

This game making session included painting some pizza boxes that were donated to me by our local Noblesville Pizza King. I used acrylic paint to paint the boxes bright colors and used some of the boxes to make pizza box puzzles…

After painting the boxes, I hot glued blank craft puzzle frames to the boxes. These boxes were the perfect size for the craft puzzle frames that I hot glued both on top and inside the boxes…

I used the inside of the pizza boxes to store the textured puzzle pieces I made. To make the textured puzzles, I hot glued scraps of different materials or objects to the puzzle pieces….

Craft puzzles are available at most craft stores but the type of puzzle will vary in size and number of pieces. I purchased my craft puzzles from our local United Arts and Education but you can also find craft puzzles at Amazon: Inovart Puzzle-It Blank Puzzles 12 Piece 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ – 24 Pieces Per Package

I wanted the puzzles to have different textures for the children to feel and explore as they put the puzzles together. I used sand paper, fabric, cotton balls, pompoms, bubble wrap, lids, Styrofoam, felt, sponges, and straws for this set of puzzle pieces…

This is the kind of game that I will add to our puzzle center for the children to explore in different ways for awhile. I introduced the puzzles to the children today by just setting them out on the table to check out on their own…

I started out with eight puzzle pieces in each box but this confused the children so we narrowed down to four pieces in each box  – I will add the other pieces later when the children are ready for a more complex process…

We will also use the puzzle pieces at other times, like circle time, to discuss texture and for counting games…

The more open ended the homemade game is, the more uses you can find for it in the classroom…

By the way, these puzzle pieces are all the same shape so they fit together in any box.

By | February 19th, 2012|Categories: Activity Boxes, DIY|Tags: , , , , |24 Comments