The best DIY easel ever!

I just had to share this DIY easel with you all because it was so simple to put together and yet it ended up being the best easel ever.

To make your own, start with a good, sturdy, cardboard box. Glue a set of clothespins around the top. We used E6000 glue as it hold so much better than using a hot glue gun. Let the glue dry overnight and your easel is ready for paper and paint.

We set out small paper plates with paint and paint brushes for today’s process but just like any kind of easel, the possibilities for types paint and brushes is endless.

A main attraction for this easel painting experience was being able to paint in your own space and yet still feel like you were painting with a friend. There was lots of talking with each other and the children enjoyed sneaking a peak at what each other were doing.

All kinds of painting approaches were going on depending on each child’s interest.

The children loved using the paint palette to mix up the colors as well.

We kept the DIY box easel out all week long and had lots of beautiful painting created each day. The inspiration for our box easel came from reading one of my favorite children’s book, “Not a Box” by Antionette Portis.

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Tic-Tac-Bow: Simple games for the holidays

My staff and I enjoy whipping up simple games around the classroom all year long but the holidays offer up so many fun trinkets and symbols that it makes whipping up simple holiday games just so easy to do.

When working with young children, you quickly learn to keep all games open-ended even if you have modeled it after a traditional game like tic-tac-toe. The children will definitely think of their own rules for play which helps keep them interested in playing the game.

Miss Abby added a writing component to inspire the children to make their marks. As the children played the game, they kept “score”.  Now I don’t know what “winning the game” or “keeping score” meant to each child but as you can see, we had some great score keeping going on!

The focus of simple DIY games is to promote conversation, cooperation, taking turns, building friendships, and exposing the children to a variety of games that invite them to strategize, problem solve, think, and make decisions.

Leaving the games out so the children can come back to them over several days or weeks also helps the children master their skills and understanding for how to play a game with each other.

In the end, simple games for preschoolers should be…. well, simple! The more you have to explain “how to play the game,” then chances are the children will be less inclined to choose to play the game on their own.

When the game is simple and there is no pressure to win or follow specific rules, the children will take ownership of the game playing experience which leads them think “I can do this,” and “playing games is fun!”

Gingerbread Matching Game

You can view a short video of our gingerbread matching game on Instagram or Facebook!

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Simple DIY family puzzles for preschool

If you want to capture a young child’s attention, then focus on the things that matter the most to the child and one of those things is the child’s family.

DIY Family Puzzles!

Our preschoolers have a way of reminding us about what matters most to them through their everyday conversations and interactions.

Playing with babies

And although any time throughout the school year is a good time to celebrate families, the holidays are especially a good time to focus on the things that really matter.

Taking care of baby

Many of our student’s families are growing. It seems new babies are being born every time I turn around. So as you can see, playing with babies is one way they can explore the role of different family members. The children also explored families by putting together their own simple DIY family puzzles.

DIY Family Puzzles

Miss Abby invited the parents to email her a family photo which she then printed out and cut a part. All the children’s family members were mixed up and placed in a basket. The children were invited to sort through the photos to find the members of their family and create their own family puzzle or collage.

DIY Family Puzzles

While searching for family members, the children shared their found photos with each other. What a wonderful opportunity to build community, conversation, and celebrate families all together.

DIY Family Puzzles

The children easily stayed with this process because the process was built around what matters the most them. Yes, if you want to engage a child in any process, find out what matters to the child and start from there.

DIY Family Puzzles

What a joy it is to celebrate the families of these sweet young children with them!

diy-family-puzzles2046

How to make the easiest DIY liquid watercolor ever!

It’s summer and a rainy day here which is the perfect kind of day for me to sit at my kitchen table and tinker around with new ideas. And that is how I figured out how to make the easiest DIY liquid water color ever.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

What you need…

You will need a set of colored craft sticks, some clear cups, and water.

Now the kind of colored craft sticks you buy can make a difference in the strength or vibrancy of the color. I used a package by Horizon Group which is the simple colored craft sticks available at most Walmart stores. I tried a more expensive brand and they didn’t work as well. So for this, go with the cheap stuff.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

Clear cups are not a must have but this is the kind of process that is so much cooler when you can really see the color change in progress.

Water is a must. Just use tap water or bottled water. If you want to make a bunch and store it, then go with bottled water so it keeps its clarity longer.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

What you do…

Invite your students to help you sort the sticks by color. Yes, this is a great exercise for math, science, and art! Then invite your little ones to fill clear cups with water. How much water is really up to you. I just filled my small cups up about 3/4 full so the ends of the craft sticks stayed rather dry. Then drop the craft sticks in the water and let them soak for a bit. The water will start to turn color immediately if you have nice cheap colored craft sticks.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

Of course, the more craft sticks you add, the more color you will get but in my case, four or five craft sticks worked fine but then I got carried away and just added the whole bag. And the longer you leave the craft sticks in the water, the more vibrant the color will be. I left my craft sticks in the water all morning but these photos were taken within five minutes from the time I placed them in the water.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

When you are ready to use your DIY Liquid Water Color then take the craft sticks out and set them on a paper towel to dry. The craft sticks will still be useable after they dry out and still have color.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

I also found that there was so much dye in these craft sticks, that I was able to even make a whole second batch of liquid water color using the same craft sticks.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

And that is it! Your DIY Liquid Water Color is ready for exploration.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

What you need to know…

If you handle the wet colored craft sticks, your hands will turn colors. But the diluted color (liquid water color) doesn’t turn your hands color unless you make the color super duper strong. So just keep that in mind.

What is so cool…

The cool part of this whole thing is that you can do an entire lesson involving the colored craft sticks from counting, sorting, patterning, designing, crafting, and ending things up with this fabulous process. The second cool thing is that you probably have a set of these colored sticks up in a cabinet somewhere but if you don’t, then keep a set handy for one of those days when you just don’t have time or money to go out and buy the expensive liquid water color or you just want to add a quick little water color to your day then you can just grab a few colored craft sticks and you have all the color you need.

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

What you can do with DIY Liquid Water Color…

You can paint with it for starters. The paint will be a little more runny than a tempera paint but it great paint for wood, water color paper, and paper towels…

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

Definitely use liquid water color for adding color to your water play table, shave cream play, or other sensory play ideas. Then there is exploring color mixing. My grand children spent about an hour just mixing colors and dropping color on paper towels. My eldest grandson was determined to make the color black…

How to make the easiest DIY Liquid Watercolor ever!

If you follow me on Facebook, then you might like to see the video I have shared there as well or see below…

Links to Grow On!

DIY Magnetic Craft Sticks

Craft Stick Rainbow Puzzles

Lining Up Colored Craft Sticks

 

DIY under game for preschoolers

No matter how we try it or what we use, my student’s love playing the very simple game that I refer to as “the under game!”

The Under Game by Teach Preschool

The under game is simple and there are many ways to play it but this is how my students play it. First we gather our cups. It doesn’t matter how many cups we use but we like to use between six and eight. Miss Abby painted our cups brown to represent “under the ground” for our continued study of vegetables that grow under the ground…

The Under Game by Teach Preschool

Next pick an object. We used a stuffed felt carrot as our chosen vegetable for our underground cups. We could have used a real carrot or even more than one carrot but we thought this carrot would be fun for today…

The Under Game by Teach Preschool

Our students make up their own rules for playing this game as they go along. Usually, one child closes his or her eyes while the other child hides the carrot under a cup…

The Under Game by Teach Preschool

Then the child opens his or her eyes and tries to guess where the carrot is hidden. Sometimes several children play at once which leads to a race to find the carrot…

The Under Game by Teach Preschool

Some of the children search under each cup as fast as he or she can to find the carrot as fast as possible. Other children are more thoughtful about it and try to guess which cup the carrot my actually be in before lifting up to find out. And other children peek during the hiding part of the game and know exactly where that carrot is hidden…

The Under Game by Teach Preschool

No matter how the children choose to play the game, they always enjoy it. It’s the kind of guessing game that has no winners or losers but it does lead to feeling like a winner once you find that carrot!

The Under Game by Teach Preschool

Links to Grow On

You Can’t Have Too Many Carrots by Teach Preschool

A Day of Exploring Carrots by Teach Preschool

A Simple Bean Bag Game for Preschoolers by Teach Preschool