Art Appreciation ~ Pollock

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I love the arts, especially the creativity it evokes in young people. However, my own artistic ability, as it relates to visual arts, is very limited, and so I thought a fun way to integrate it into our school plan for the year would be through monthly Art Appreciation projects.


We had a blast exploring a number of messy painting methods, in our attempt to emulate Jackson Pollock’s famous abstract expressionist Drip Painting style.

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To prepare I took out a variety of paint colours, some paint trays and necessary items required, which I have listed in each section. Then we put on some paint clothes and had fun getting messy!

String Art

Required Materials: paint, tray, paper, clothespins and pieces of string (approximately 5cm in length)

First up was String Art. Each child was given their materials and created a masterpiece by dragging the string, clamped in the clothespin, through paint and around the paper.

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Marble Art

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Required Materials: paint, tray, paper, marbles (we used 3)

Next up was Marble Art. Each child was given their materials and created a masterpiece by rolling the marbles through blobs of paint and around the paper.

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Splatter Art

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Required Materials: paint, paper, an assortment of “splatter” instruments (those we used are pictured above)

Finally, we had some fun with Splatter Art. For this one, a nice day and some outdoor/easily washable space is highly recommended. Each child was given their materials and access to any of the instruments. Then they each created a unique masterpiece by using their instruments to splatter paint across their paper.

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This was a fantastic art medium for those active kids, who aren’t always willing to sit still for a typical art lesson or craft.

We were also quite intrigued by the variety of outcomes, as no two masterpieces were alike!

All in all we had a great time appreciating Pollock’s art methods!

Have fun and let us know how you made out, if you decide to try it!

Letter of the Week ~ N

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 Although my personal philosophy of letter learning is that they cannot be studied in isolation and should be learned in the context of words, as this is how we see them most often, we have a letter of the week at Mommy School.

Why, you may ask, do I do something opposite to what I just finished saying I believe in? Well, for one, we don’t study the one letter in isolation. Typically, we complete a letter craft, create a search and find sensory bin using items that begin with that letter, learn about the various sounds the letter makes in different parts of words (because the English language is crazy!) and plan our weekly fieldtrip to somewhere that begins with our letter. Sometimes, I include the letter in other ways throughout our week, but that’s often just a sweet combination of luck and coincidence!


Here’s what we got up to for Letter N Week:

Letter Dictionary:

Each of my older children gets the chance to find a hidden object that begins with our letter of the week from the rice bin. This week Little Momma chose some nail polish and Mr Man selected a Ninja Turtle.

I take a photo of the kids with their chosen objects and then have them complete their dictionary page. Little Momma writes a sentence and illustrates, “N is for nail polish.” and Mr Man copies the upper and lower case letter and then draws his chosen object.

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Letter Craft:

N is for Night.

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To make your own: Pre-cut an upper-case letter N from black construction paper. Provide a moon and some stars cut from yellow paper. And allow the kids to creatively create their very own night sky!

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Field Trip: 

Fort this week’s field-trip Friday we visited the Wild Bird Sanctuary to check out all of the various bird nests they have on display. The kids thought it was lots of fun to match the display eggs with the appropriate bird’s nest and guess how many eggs each bird likely lays.

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And of course before leaving we took a little stroll and fed some of the birds outside!

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Journal Writing: 

To end-off our week the kids each spend some time writing in their journals about our weekly field trip. Often it is pictures for my younger guy with a few scribed sentences, while my eldest will write a few simple sentences on her own, using her word wall, ‘best guess’ spelling and some assistance from myself (she’s my perfectionist!).

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A Snowy Playdate

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Stuck inside on a cold day or just wishing Winter away with some hibernation…here are a few fun ideas to help make it a bit more bearable!

 We had a great little snow-themed play date with some little friends this week. It was nice to enjoy the idea of snow, seeing as ridiculously cold temperatures have been keeping us mostly indoors.

 We began with reading this adorable snowy story about what snowmen get up to while we’re sleeping – the kids thought it was great!

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The littlest and bigger kids alike loved this fine motor activity that consisted of transferring little ‘snowballs’ (cotton balls) into different containers using tongs, tweezers and scoops.

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We even brought some snow inside and enjoyed painting it using squirt bottles, spray bottles, droppers and paint brushes with water and food colouring. It was lots of fun – the kids came up with many different designs and especially loved covering every square inch with vibrant colour!

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Last the kids enjoyed a cute ‘build a snowman’ craft using some small parts (beads, buttons and orange triangle pieces), felt shapes (hats and scarves), googly eyes and round cotton pads. Everyone had access to all of the materials, along with some white glue and a sheet of paper…and no two snowmen were alike!

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Have you done any fun winter crafts or activities lately? Please share – I’d love to see them! 🙂

Art Appreciation: Mosaic

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I love the arts, especially the creativity it evokes in young people. However, my own artistic ability, as it relates to visual arts, is very limited, and so I thought a fun way to integrate it into our school plan for the year would be through monthly Art Appreciation projects.

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Our latest showing of appreciation for great art were our mosaic replicas!

We began with simple paper mosaics. The kids got to ‘draw’ with glue and then piece together a picture from their imagination. Little Momma even helped cut the coloured paper into small squares to get us started.

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I was quite impressed with Little Momma’s creation of Ariel, The Little Mermaid.

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We also gave a try at Byzantine Mosaic style art, using jewels and stickers on cardstock. However the intricate nature of such art work was not completed with the attention span of those 5 and younger 😉

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By far the favourite of our mosaics, were those we created using foods, dried black beans and alphabet pasta. Each child ‘drew’ an object or figure with white glue to be their focal point, which they then covered in the black beans. After completing the focal image they brushed glue around the remaining parts of the paper and sprinkled the pasta on top.

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The contrasting result was quite nice!

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Have fun creating some mosaics of your own! We’d love to see or hear about your works of art!

Art Appreciation: Monet (Impressionism)

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I love the arts, especially the creativity it evokes in young people. However, my own artistic ability, as it relates to visual arts, is very limited, and so I thought a fun way to integrate it into our school plan for the year would be through monthly Art Appreciation projects.

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For November’s Art Appreciation project we were mentored by the Impressionist artist, Monet.

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We began by looking at some Monet paintings and then choosing a colour palate for our painting inspiration, The Holiday Train.

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Using a wet brush to apply paint lightly and a dry brush to give our strokes a fuzzy appearance, Little Momma and I set to work painting The CP Holiday Train from our memory, she had many great details to add, too!

 

Letter of the Week ~ F

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Although my philosophy of letter learning is that they cannot be studied in isolation and should be learned in the context of words, as this is how we see them most often, we have a letter of the week at Mommy School.

Why, you may ask, do I do something opposite to what I just finished saying I believe in? Well, for one, we don’t study the one letter in isolation. Typically, we complete a letter craft, create a search and find sensory bin using items that begin with that letter, learn about the various sounds the letter makes in different parts of words (because the English language is crazy!) and plan our weekly fieldtrip to somewhere that begins with our letter. Sometimes, I include the letter in other ways throughout our week, but that’s often just a sweet combination of luck and coincidence!


Here’s what we got up to for Letter F Week:

Letter Dictionary:

Each of my children gets the chance to find a hidden object that begins with our letter of the week from the rice bin. Little Momma chose some fish eyes and Mr Man selected a firetruck.

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I take a photo of the kids with their chosen objects and then have them complete their dictionary page. Little Momma writes a sentence and illustrates, “F is for fish.” and Mr Man copies the upper and lower case letter and then draws his object.

Letter Craft:

F is for Fire Fighter.

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To make your own: Pre-cut an upper-case letter F from yellow construction paper. Provide a red hat, black boots and gloves and an orange fire hose for the details. The kids also asked for some silver glitter glue this week, to make it look like water was being sprayed from the hose!

Field Trip: 

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Our field trip this week was to an indoor play area called Funhaven! The kids had lots of FUN running, climbing, sliding, building and playing various arcade-type games!

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Painting with nature!

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Each week on our Bush Kinder walk, I try to have the kids focused on some aspect of nature, whether it be based on observing, listening, or collecting. Their favourite, by far, is collecting pieces of nature for future crafting!

This week I had them look for natural items that could be used as paintbrushes for a painting project. They collected leaves, pine needles, a pine cone and some tree bark (my rule is that all collecting must be from that which has fallen naturally to the forest floor, this way we are minimizing our eco-footprint, as well).

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We began by heading out to the yard and setting up with a canvas, a variety of fall paint hues, and our nature finds.

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Then we got to work experimenting with the varying paint strokes, choosing from the natural items we had found.

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Even our youngest artist enjoyed this activity!

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This was a great creative experience and our completed canvases were masterpieces, in my humble opinion!

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Art Appreciation: Van Gogh

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I love the arts, especially the creativity it evokes in young people. However, my own artistic ability, as it relates to visual arts, is very limited, and so I thought a fun way to integrate it into our school plan for the year would be through monthly Art Appreciation projects.

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For September our muse was Vincent van Gogh and a study in Impressionist Art.

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Material Required:

– pastels

– heavy drawing paper (we used cardstock)

– paper towel

– examples of Van Gogh’s paintings (we have some Artist cards and the kids chose to emulate his works The Starry Night and  Sunflowers that we used)

After looking at a number of Van Gogh paintings and labeling their ‘blurry’ appearance as Impressionism, the kids set off studying and replicating their own versions of their chosen paintings.

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Once they were satisfied with their work, they rubbed their drawing vigorously with the paper towel to give it the desired ‘blurry’ or ‘fuzzy’ outcome.

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I was so impressed with the finished products. They were beautiful interpretations of an incredible artist! My offspring may just have been blessed with better drawing skills than my own!

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The Starry Night, By: Mr Man

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Sunflowers, By: Little Momma

 Check back next month to see where our monthly Art Appreciation project takes us!

{Hint: We will be taking to more natural surroundings for inspiration!}

Name Activities

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Learning to recognize and then write their name is one of the earliest (and most exciting) literacy skills for young children. And even once they’ve mastered it, there is a pride that comes in celebrating it again and again! After all, don’t you want them to LOVE the name you spent countless hours mulling over and trying to agree upon with your significant other?!?

Here are some fun and easy (read: minimal prep!) name activities we have done to kick off the new school year!

1) Tracing and writing with pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, etc. – Simple, right?! But this will give you an excellent opportunity to assess your child’s pencil grip and fine motor capabilities, from there you can decide on appropriate letter size and whether tracing or copying is best suited for their level.

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2) Q-Tip Name Tracing – Put out a variety of paint colours (we used crayola glitter paint for some pizazz!) and have your children use q-tips to trace each letter of their name.

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3) Piercing Cardboard with Toothpicks – We had a few great layered cardboard pieces leftover from some IKEA packaging (you could also use Styrofoam or floral foam) that I printed each child’s name on. I then gave them a selection of plastic toothpicks and allowed them to pierce the letters of their names, naming each letter along the way.

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4) Erasing – I printed each child’s name on a mini-whiteboard and allowed them to erase each letter as they spelled out their name. Without realizing, this allows them to practice letter formation by undoing instead of doing for a change!

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5) Blocks – I labeled some mega blocks with the appropriate letters of each of the kids names, then I hid them in the rice table. The kids had to search for their letters and build ther name. Upon completion, I also had them count the blocks to determine the number of letters in their name.

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6) Wax Crayon/Candle and Watercolour Resist – Using a birthday candle (or a white crayon) I printed the kids names onto a sheet of paper and asked them to read it. Both of them told me I was mixed up and needed a pencil not a candle (silly mommy!). I set them up with some watercolour paints and told them they could just paint the paper, since my ‘pencil’ wasn’t working.The wax writing resists the watercolour causing their name to ‘magically’ appear! This one is lots of fun and always a big hit with the kids, as it really seems as though the writing appears from nowhere.

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7) Clothes Peg Matching – Print your child’s name on a sentence strip and then write each letter on a clothe peg. Allow your child to pinch the pegs over the matching letters on the sentence strip to spell their name. This is great for practicing the proper letter order of their name, as well sneaking in some fine motor skills.

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8) Wooden Stick Puzzle – Write one letter of your child’s name on individual Popsicle sticks (or larger wooden craft sticks). Mix them up and have your child order them to spell their name. Little Momma added a picture across her finished puzzle, to make it more ‘puzzle-like’, too.

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There you you have it – some great ways to encourage young writers about how fun writing can be, and all with their very favourite topic…THEMSELVES!!

Back to School Countdown Craft

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Here’s a fun and simple craft to get little ones ready to head back to school! Earlier this week I shared my confliction with public vs home education, and after doing so Little Momma told us she would like to “try school for one day and see how it makes (her) heart feel”. And so we are in the thick of helping her adjust to the arrival of Junior Kindergarten. Preparing children for upcoming events can help to reduce any stress and anxiety they may have, and also gives them a sense of control over its approach.

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This is craft integrates many learning mediums and all you need to get started is: glue, scissors, tape, a black marker (to draw your template) and construction paper (we used orange for the strips, black for the details, yellow for the bus and red for the school house).

Step 1: Draw a template. Little Momma chose a school bus for her Junior Kindergarten countdown. For Mr Man I made a simple school house for him to countdown to the return of Mommy School.

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Step 2: Have your child cut around the shape and glue on the details. Every Kinder teacher will tell you how integral cutting skills are and what kid doesn’t love to glue!

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Step 3: Make your paper chain. For our countdown I wrote the numbers on each strip and had the kids order, link and tape them into place. You could also have your child write the numbers, although just making and attaching the links required lots of fine motor dexterity.

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The taping can be tricky and may call for an extra set of hands!

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Step 4: Attach your paper chain to your chosen template. And voilà, you have a back to school countdown!

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Allow your child to remove one link per day, and watch as the start of school gets nearer and nearer!

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