Large-Scale Painting

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This was such a simple activity, and so much fun! After seeing how much fun it was to paint large-scale with our feet, I decided to try painting large on the wall. Simply tape a large sheet of paper on the wall (in this case newsprint), and add some large brushes and rollers. N has a roller and was stretching and standing on his tippy-toes to get all the way to the top of the paper and on the wall! I really liked how the roller and 2-inch brushes got these boys practicing their gross-motor skills.

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Here Little O is having a go with the roller. You can’t quite tell, but his little tongue is sticking out in concentration.

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Painting up and down, flexing those wrists.

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Did you notice that it was camo pant day?

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The finished product. Overall I really loved this activity. The boys were up and moving around in their natural state of being, rather than constantly getting up and down when seated at a table. They got to stretch and reach and flex their arms and wrists while using the rollers and brushes, and as a bonus, there really was a very minimal mess!

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Searching for a great finger-paint recipe: Part 2; and dance party painting!

Well, I realized that it has been ten months (!) since I tried a finger-paint recipe, and since the last post indicated that I was searching for a really good recipe, I thought I’d better try a new one. This recipe is really simple. Just two ingredients. Well, three if you count pigment. Flour, water, and food coloring are all you are going to need to whip up a batch of paint.

We decided to use this paint at a dance party session (Little O is in love with dance parties). We kicked it up a notch by adding paint.

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I put the paint on wax paper which was taped to the floor at one end of the paper. You could also use a cookie sheet, aluminum foil, or any other large flat surface that you’ve got kicking around. You could even put it directly on the floor, but I was lazy and didn’t want to mop.

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I liked this paint better than the cornstarch paint. It was a little thick, but it felt more like paint and didn’t get lumpy. The pigment was okay, but I wanted more staying power…it didn’t transfer to the paper like you’d really want, so the paint had to be very thick on the paper to be vibrant. Overall it was a good recipe, and I think the boys had fun stomping around in it. With the music and squishy paint on feet, I think it is a great sensory activity for toddlers.

I found the recipe over on TinkerLab, so head on over there if you want to make it, she’s got a great tutorial on how to make it.

Credit Cards, Easter Eggs, and Legos

Little O has two friends that he absolutely adores. He will ask for them repeatedly, and can’t stop saying their names once they’ve gone home. The other day their mom brought the two of them over for a play date. Little O was ecstatic. We decided to paint with some objects other than paint brushes. I love to see how the kids experiment with each object to figure out what kinds of marks can be made with them.

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Here is C-man experimenting with a huge Duplo block. You can see a paint brush in this picture, I know, I know…it was produced to satisfy a request. Most of the time, I’d rather avoid a tantrum than stand my ground.

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Here is Little O experimenting with a credit card from an old, closed account. I should have shredded it ages ago, but since I still had it I thought we’d put it to good use. You can also used exhausted gift cards, rewards cards that you never use, or the library card still in your wallet from three moves ago. Notice the halves of plastic Easter eggs nearby. We also used those with great success, but unfortunately I didn’t get a picture. Little O mostly scraped them across the surface of the paper, but you can use them to make circles, too.

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Here are the finished pieces. I especially love C-man’s choice to add black circles. I think they really pop. My apologies to Princess E. She was indeed part of the play date but I didn’t get a good picture of her or her work.

Snow Painting

A friend of mine needed some last-minute babysitting. I wasn’t busy, so I said, “sure! bring them on over.” (Plus I owed her a favor as she had done some last-minute babysitting for me a few weeks earlier. My only dilemma was how to keep the kids happy while they were over at my house. Luckily we had some fresh snow, so I mixed up some spray bottles with water and food coloring, and let the kids go crazy in the back yard. It was a hit.

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I’ve seen people do this activity with eye-droppers or condiment bottles. These kids were perfectly thrilled with the spray bottles. We put them on the “stream” setting and tried to get them to go as far as we could. The littlest one had a bit of a hard time getting her fingers around the trigger, so I wished that I would have had a squeeze bottle for her. Alas, not one was to be found at my house. I’ll need to pick some up at the dollar store next time I go.

Next time we do this I think I’ll mix up the type of dispensers and have a spray bottle, a squeeze bottle, and maybe a watering can (Little O cannot get enough of the watering can.) If you do this, prepare yourself from the cold as the kids won’t want to come back inside, and make sure the kids are wearing coats with a synthetic material on the outside. That way if the colored water gets on their coat it will wipe right off.

Easy Keepsake Christmas Ornaments

I’m pretty sure I would feel like I’m depriving my son of a normal childhood if I never gave him the opportunity to make a Christmas ornament for the tree. He’s fascinated with the ornaments (though we don’t even have a real tree with lights–just a decorated potted plant!). He loves taking them off the tree and walking around the house with them. By the end of the day I’ve usually got a little pile of ornaments I’ve collected that need to be re-hung.

When I was choosing ornaments for the art play date to make, I wanted to choose things that were very easily done by a large group of kids at different ages and skill levels, and also I wanted them to be beautiful enough that mommies would want to save them for at least 30 years. Here’s what we did:

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This is your typical hand print ornament, however instead of using salt dough or baking soda dough which can weigh down branches and are breakable when dry, we used Crayola’s Model Magic. Model Magic is a bit expensive, but you don’t need much for an ornament. It’s lightweight and won’t break easily. It stays kind of spongy even after it has dried, it’s paint-able, etc, etc. I thought it was the perfect medium for our little hands. I painted ours with gold acrylic paint and gold glitter once it had dried out well enough (the package says 3 days, but I’m pretty sure mine took a week before I was satisfied that it was dry enough to paint).

Here’s little Penny posing with our second project, a simple popsicle stick star. (You can see two more on her tree, just above the crook of her elbow.)

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I hot-glued the sticks together before the kids got there, and they got to decorate them with markers, yarn, glittery pipe cleaners, and whatever else they could scrounge. This one was a hit with the kids.

The last project was my favorite, I loved how they looked and smelled: cinnamon ornaments!

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These were really easy to make, but they are fragile, so hang them high on the tree! Once again, I went with gold acrylic paint and gold glitter paint for the decoration. They turned out just lovely, and they smell great. I used this recipe.

Merry Christmas!

Bubble Wrap Prints

The other day a former colleague of mine came over with her adorable little girl and she and Little O had a good time painting. I thought it would be fun for them to paint on bubble wrap.

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Notice how I said I thought it would be fun for them to paint on bubble wrap? Little O was way more enthralled with making marks on the paint tray with his foam brush and q-tip, and Little M loved the water…she just wanted to stir and dip her brush over and over.

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ImageAfter a little encouragement and participation from the moms, we were able to get enough paint on the bubble wrap to pull a print. I think they turned out pretty well–the prints would make fun wrapping paper!

If you want to try this activity you will need:

  1. tempera paint in several colors
  2. bubble wrap
  3. medium weight paper (I used drawing paper)
  4. paintbrushes

Just tape a piece of bubble wrap down to the table and let the kids go crazy! I didn’t do this, but next time I think I might put some white paper down underneath the bubble wrap in order to make the paint a little more visible when it is applied to the wrap. (I have a plywood table topper and thought the paint was a bit hard to see. Perhaps that is why they were more interested in the paint trays and water?) When the kids are done, take a sheet of paper, press and smooth it over the top of the wrap, and carefully peel it back to reveal the print.

Have fun and happy printing!

 

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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