Texture Scavenger Hunt

I wasn’t very good at all about getting pictures for this activity, so bear with me, I’ll try to describe as best as I can. Our little art group got together and we learned about texture. First we talked about what the word “texture” meant. Then read a book about texture (it wasn’t really good, so I won’t give you the title), then we decided to find as many textures as we could around the yard. We found smooth things (skin), bumpy things (rocks), rough things (concrete wall), pokey things (pine needles), crunchy things (leaves), and so many more I can’t list them all. I think my favorite thing was hearing Little O say new words like “texture,” “pokey,” “bumpy,” and “crunchy.” He still yells “crunchy!” and runs to stomp on all the leaves every time we go outside.

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We gathered up some of the outside textures (leaves and pine needles), and came inside to add them to some inside textures that I  had already collected and were waiting on the art table. The kids had fun making texture collages, though I think the most exciting thing was getting to use safety scissors. Moms spread the glue around, and kids chose different things to stick on their paper.

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We also tried doing rubbings with the leaves, but in my case I ended up doing most of the rubbing. The older kids were better able to understand the concept of using the crayon on its side, rather than using the point.

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The Inevitable

The other day at the end of the day I was sitting on the couch doing some inane thing like checking Facebook while Little O was busily engaged in running his trucks on the kitchen floor.  So I thought.  I looked up from my device and saw this:

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Well, technically I didn’t see that, because I was sitting on the couch, and from my vantage point I can’t see that part of the wall. But I did see Little O with a crayon in hand gleefully coloring all over the wall near the bathroom. He must have found a crayon that escaped my notice. Most of them were secure in the Ziploc bag on the table. Upon further inspection, he had colored near the bathroom, down the wall in the living room, and in the kitchen as pictured above.

20130809_173207 Here we are five minutes later after a good wipe with the magic eraser.  No harm done, but let this be a lesson to me–count the crayons!

Scribble Station: round two

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about turning your coffee table into a scribble station.  Our original scribble station quickly became a paper-ripping station, and when I decided to cover the table with paper again I had a brilliant idea! The paper that I had used to cover our table required two widths to get the job done.  I taped the first layer down with small pieces of tape, and then used one long piece of tape to tape the top piece down.  I noticed that when I was scribbling with Little O, I was drawn to scribble over the pieces of tape because I liked the texture that resulted.  It was like I was doing a rubbing.  For Scribble Station: round two, I decided it would be fun to put tape down on the table before I put the paper on.  Stickers or vinyl would also work, but I had tape so that’s what I went with.

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Stripes were the easiest thing to do, so down they went.  Little O had fun taking the tape off as fast as I was putting it on.

Round two stayed on the table longer than the first version, and I kept the crayons on the table.  I noticed that pretty much everyone who came over commented on the table if they didn’t try it out.  We had several contributors.

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You can see where the tape is in the top left corner (I turned the table and took the picture from a different angle than the one above).  I couldn’t resist it.  You can also see that Little O turned this into a paper-ripping station again, and I got this photo just in the nick of time!  Here the adults’ scribbles are easily seen; but be assured that Little O’s scribbles cover the perimeter of the table–he just doesn’t press as hard so his marks are harder to see in the photo.

If you do this project, I would recommend using painter’s tape–it comes off much easier than masking tape.  They even have a version now for freshly painted surfaces which I imagine would be the least sticky of all, but work fine for creating texture underneath your paper.

Cardboard City

My friend Amanda has four kids, ages 6, 4, 2, and 9 months.  She comes from an early childhood education background, and she has some parenting habits that I think are awesome.  For example, she has “art time” every day with her kids.  Talk about fostering creativity!

Anyway, I told Amanda that I had to get in on this “art time” with her, and the other day we had our first play date.  She was focusing on the theme “construction” with her kids this particular week.

We decided to help the kids create a cardboard city.  First we talked with them about what kinds of buildings they’d find in a city.  Peter (6) immediately said that we could find a skyscraper in a city.  Penny Lane (4) said a house, and Lucy (2) went with her sister’s suggestion.

Each of the kids picked out a box they wanted to work with, and immediately got to work putting on windows, doors, roofs, sidewalks, etc.

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Peter decided to make some roads and everyone chose a spot for their building.

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Penny Lane decided the city needed a horse.  Is that a stable she’s building?

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And of course we needed cars.  I think I just might be in love with that round tower. Marina Towers in Chicago, anyone?

Scribble Station

Little O is a few days away from his first birthday.  He hasn’t started walking yet, but he loves to pull himself up and walk around the coffee table.  Lately he’s been grabbing pens out of my hand while I’m writing and tries to mimic me.  It’s so cute to see him try to write!

Since he has an interest in making marks and the table is just his height, I decided to make a scribble station for him.

I got some rolls of newsprint from a local newspaper for $2 each.  (They can’t use the rolls once there is less than about an inch of paper on them, so they sell them for cheap–and there is a lot of paper left…perfect for scribbling or scratch paper or paper for the floor during painting.)

Then I wrapped my table like a gift, and taped down all the edges. (Little O loves to rip paper and I wanted to keep this as a scribble station for as long as possible.)

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I added crayons and let the scribbling begin!

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If you need convincing that your child’s scribbling is important, read this article by researcher Susan Rich Sheridan who says that scribbling 1) helps your child to pay attention and sustain attention, 2) stimulates cells in the visual cortex of the brain that focus on line and shape, 3) helps child practice organizing patterns of thought and 4) prepares the mind for literacy.

I think this scribble station is going to be a main-stay at my house.