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!

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! 🙂

Letter of the Week ~ I

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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 I 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 Indian corn and Mr Man selected an ice-cream scoop.

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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, “I is for Indian corn.” and Mr Man copies the upper and lower case letter and then draws his chosen object.

 

Letter Craft:

I is for Iguana.

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To make your own: Pre-cut an upper-case letter I from green construction paper. Provide an iguana’s head and tail, googly eyes and of course a red tongue for the details.

 

Field Trip: 

Our field trip this week was to our local Reptile Zoo and Insectarium, Little Ray’s Reptiles. The kids enjoyed looking at the insect display and then learned more when the zoo keepers did a special presentation on insects and the amphibians and reptiles which feed on insects!

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We picked up a fun package of insects as a souvenir of our trip and the kids really loved sorting them and making imprints in playdough!

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Journal Writing: 

To end-off our week the kids each spend some time writing in their journals about our 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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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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Cooking with Kids: Bread

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Homemade bread…yum! Tastes delicious and had me feeling extra accomplished, despite the numerous steps and time consumption!

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It was also a fun recipe to make with the kids given the many sensory opportunities found in the hand mixing and kneading of the dough!

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We followed the white sandwich bread recipe from here, the bread was AH-MAZING and we will be making it again…soon!

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ABC Search & Find Sensory Bag

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Do have a tactile learner? Are you looking for a fun way to learn or review letters and letter sounds with your child(ren)? This ABC search & find sensory bag is quick and easy to make, you can even have your child assemble the bag contents to add to the excitement!

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To get started, all you will need is:

  • 1 large size ziploc bag
  • foam alphabet letters
  • glitter or confetti
  • 1 bottle of hair gel (we used blue, Dollar Store brand)
  • clear packing tape

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Begin by selecting an assortment of letters. Little Momma helped assemble this one and chose to include the letters of both she and her brother’s names, as well as a random handful of upper and lower case letters.

Add glitter and the bottle of hair gel. Zip the bag, combine contents and remove air. Then fold the top over once or twice and secure it firmly, to avoid accidental spillage, with the clear tape.

And voilà – you have a new resource to add to your learning repertoire, it can even be included in your busy bag stash as an independent activity for your older toddler, preschooler or kinder-aged child.

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To use, simply have your child find a letter, then depending on your child’s level, ask them to name the letter and/or sound, think of a word that begins with that letter, string together simple words or challenge them to find and identify specific letters. The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Summer Book Club: A Bad Case of the Stripes

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If there is one thing I would REALLY love to pass on to my children, it is my love of reading and books! There is so much fun and adventure awaiting in every book and this summer we will focus on one book a week (some of my personal faves!) to share, along with some activities and/or crafts you can do with your own littles at home!

Week 5: A Bad Case of Stripes (Scholastic Bookshelf) by David Shannon

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With the start of a new school year, and Little Momma beginning Kindergarten soon, our August books are focusing on back to school themes, anxieties and excitement. This book is a cute story about a little girl who is so worried about what people think of her that she breaks out in a case of the stripes! It is a wonderful reminder of the importance of staying true to yourself and the beauty in being unique!

Story Extensions:

Face Painting

The kids chose what their ‘case of the stripes’ would look like. I attempted an airplane for Mr Man, while Hubby had a go at a pig for Little Momma! FYI: We used costume/Halloween face paint sticks from the dollar store and they wiped off with ease.

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Stripe Building

Using Mega Blocks, the kids were set with the task of building stripey towers.

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Lima Bean Counting (and tasting!)

We opened up a can of Lima beans (in the story the main character, Camilla Cream, is embarrassed by the fact that she LOVES Lima beans!) and the kids each tried one. Both kids said the had no worry about breaking out in stripes, seeing as they didn’t like Lima beans at all! I poured the can into a bowl and let the kids feel the slimy beans too, this STILL did not win them over ;P

I had been planning to use dried Lima beans with the chalkboard as a counting surface, but I got too excited about the sensory portion that I ended up just covering my prepped chalkboard with plastic wrap! I wrote numbers, 1-10 for Mr Man (who is 3) and 11-20 for Little Momma (who is 4.5), inside circles and had the kids count the appropriate number of beans for each number, for some simple one-to-one correspondence.

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B&W Photos

Colouring black and white pictures of themselves was a favourite for my little narcissists 😉 We used markers to add colour to the photos, with each kid giving themselves a unique case of the stripes!

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What are you reading this week? 

Check out our past Summer Book Club reads:

The Troll

Amazing Grace

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Is There Really a Human Race?