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.

Image

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.

creditcardpainting

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.

 20140210_110926 (1)20140210_125136

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.

Advertisements

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.

ImageImage

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.

Image

 

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

20131101_112529

Searching for a great finger-paint recipe: part 1

I’ve been seeing recipes for “edible finger paint” all over the internet recently, and I wanted to try some out.  I was interested in them mainly because Little O puts everything into his mouth and I knew the moment we started with paint he’d be eating it.  So I decided that edible finger paints were the way to go.

My criteria for a “great” recipe are as follows:

  1. The recipe must feel and act like paint (viscous and good color, especially after drying.)
  2. I wanted it to be edible, but since this is not the primary function, I didn’t want to encourage eating it.  So no sweetness.
  3. I wanted it to be easy to make.
  4. I didn’t want it to stain easily.

There are probably other criteria to consider, but these were my top four.  Yesterday Little O’s cousin came over and we made our first attempt.  We tried a simple corn starch and water recipe.

I decided to use vegetable dyes, because I thought these would be pretty easy to make and I was the most comfortable with these kind of dyes if Little O put any paint into his mouth. I just experimented with things that I already had in my kitchen.

20130501_112904

Clockwise from the top left:

  • green–food coloring
  • mauve–blueberries mixed with a few blackberries
  • red–beet juice
  • orange–beet juice mixed with turmeric
  • purple–purple sweet potato
  • yellow–turmeric

I was pleased with the colors–they were a little muted and not artificially bright, but dark enough to show up on the paper even after drying.  I did cheat on the green though.  I wanted to try using spinach but I didn’t have any, so I just used food coloring, and immediately regretted it.  Not only does the green look weird, but it was the only paint color that stained my fingers! I’ll definitely avoid food coloring in the future.

As you can probably see from the picture, the paints started to gel once they cooled.  I wished they stayed a bit more viscous.  The recipe was super easy, though, and the kids had fun.

20130501_114043

I’ll give the corn starch paint recipe 3 out of 4 stars since it did meet 3 of my four requirements, but I’ll keep looking.  If you’d like to try this recipe out, the paint and color recipes follow below.

Corn Starch Finger Paint

  • 1 cup corn starch, dissolved in water (enough to dissolve ALL the starch…no lumps)
  • 3 cups water

Place corn starch in a bowl.  Add enough lukewarm water to dissolve all of it and mix thoroughly.  Boil 3 cups of water in saucepan.  Remove from heat.  Add dissolved corn starch mixture and stir.  Replace mixture over heat, and continue to stir continuously until mixture thickens and turns translucent.  Divide into bowls and add dye until you like the color (more dye=more vibrant).  Mix thoroughly.

Vegetable Dyes

Basically you’ll want to take the source material (veggie or fruit) and simmer it with a little bit of water over low to medium heat until the plant material breaks down and the water becomes colored.  The longer you simmer, the more intense the color.  Just be careful not to simmer the water away.  Strain through a strainer and press all the juices out of the veggies/fruit.  I used a handful of berries or chopped veggies (1 tsp of the turmeric) to about 1/2 inch of water in a small saucepan.  If you are using canned beets (I did), just use the colored juice.