Find some metal objects – not too heavy, but not too light – and watch them magically move paint around your paper! This activity from The Budding Artist is sure to delight you and your children as you have as much fun creating art as admiring the finished product!
What You'll Need:
- Liquid tempera or watercolor paint
- Metal object, such as a paper clip or a washer
- Small bowl
- Spoon or eyedropper
What to Do:
- Place the paper in the box.
- Pour some paint into a bowl. Gradually add water to the paint to thin it out. Using a spoon or an eyedropper, scatter a few drops of thinned paint around the paper. (You may need adult help and guidance to show you how to use an eyedropper: Place the dropper in the paint, squeeze the bulb at the top, release the bulb, pull the eyedropper out of the paint, and squeeze the dropper again to release the paint onto the paper.)
Place the metal object on the paper. Hold the magnet underneath the box where it will attract the metal object, then move the magnet around, pulling the metal object across the paper.
- As the metal object moves with the magnet, the paint gets dragged around and makes designs. What happens if you move the magnet quickly? Slowly? If you break the contact between the magnet and the metal object and then place the magnet under the box and near the metal object on the paper, what happens? Does the metal object slide over the magnet? Is it able to push the paint around when it does that? What effect does that create?
Books to Enjoy:
For more great ideas for you and your budding artists to create beautiful memories together, check out The Budding Artist (available in both paperback and eBook formats).
Q: What are some block play activities that teach children about the important (and timely) topics of sharing and giving?
A: According to Pamela C. Phelps, author of Let's Build, there are many ways to use blocks that explore what it means to give and share while also incorporating basic math concepts into the fun! Here are a few ideas:
First, engage the children in a discussion about Thanksgiving, what it is, as well as the harvest and the changes of autumn.
- During circle time, use 12 medium and tall cylinders, two double units, two quadruple units, and one floorboard to demonstrate an orchard. The floorboard is the ground; the double and quadruple units, the fencing; and the cylinders, the apple trees.
- Engage the children in a discussion about creating an orchard. Use rectangular-shaped blocks to show the children how they can use pieces of red, green, yellow, brown, and orange paper (represented by the blocks) to create a tree or an orchard of many trees.
- At the close of the circle, dismiss the children in sets of one and two to play in the different centers of the classroom environment. Allow four children (or the number that your block/construction area easily accommodates) stay to play in the block area. Encourage the children to work together as they build their creations.
- Cut out a tree (or trees) from cardboard. Use paper and tape or Velcro to make and hang apples and leaves on the tree (or trees). Discuss the differences between this tree and the ones made from blocks.
- Near the block area, provide colored paper pieces (red, green, yellow, brown, and orange), markers, scissors, and tape. Tell the children that they can build anything they want to build with the blocks and that the paper and tape can be used to create trees with leaves and/or apples to decorate their structure.
- After working in the block area for a while, two children might begin to build a farm and to cut paper leaves and apples and tape them onto cylinders.
- Other children might build random structures after talking about these constructions with their teacher. Then, put their blocks away and leave the area to engage in other play experiences.
This block play experience will teach children the importance of sharing and giving when it comes to creating a structure. These ideas can also be easily incorporated into more expansive Thanksgiving-themed lesson plans.
For more strategies to create and scaffold block-play experiences for young children, check out Let's Build by Pamela C. Phelps.
Support the thousands of classrooms and schools impacted
by Hurricane Sandy!
Kaplan Early Learning Company announced today that it will donate $25,000 to DonorsChoose.org to support the relief effort affecting the thousands of students, teachers, classrooms, and schools impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
DonorsChoose.org provides an avenue for public school teachers to submit project requests for the specific materials their students need to learn. As their name implies, donors choose which projects to support. Once a project is funded, DonorsChoose.org delivers the materials directly to the school.
Kaplan Early Learning Company will work with DonorsChoose.org to match select projects that have been 50% funded by individual donors as a partner of the DonorsChoose.org Double Your Impact Program. For more information about the Double Your Impact Program and projects promoted by DonorsChoose.org, visit http://www.donorschoose.org.
We invite you to join us in our support of DonorsChoose.org and help teachers activate our 50% match offer! For a look at some of the teachers looking for project funding and disaster relief, visit: http://ow.ly/flMcr
Do you know a classroom in need? We encourage you to create your own DonorsChoose.org project! Visit http://www.donorschoose.org/about for more information.
Thanks for your support!
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"We acquire the strength we have overcome."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy are even more stressful for children, because they have no real understanding of what causes these events. Some people wonder if they should encourage children to talk about the event or act it out in play, fearing that they will intensify or prolong the children's fears. Generally, this is not the case. The children are already thinking about it. Talking about the event may relieve some of their anxieties and show them that they are not alone in their feelings. You may also be able to clear up any misconceptions they have about the event.
How to Respond to Children
- Conduct drills. Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency makes children feel safer and more in control. Talk about what you will do if a particular event happens again.
- Provide stability and routine. It's important to make children feel safe and create stability and routine in their lives as quickly as possible after the disaster.
- Re-enact the event. Let children re-enact the event in their dramatic play. This is the way many children work it through and gain a sense of power and control over the situation.
- Encourage miniature play. Offer children small dolls, cars, blocks and doll house furniture to recreate in miniature the scene or event that they experienced in real life. This makes children feel less helpless.
- Arrange group time or circle time. Encourage children to talk about the disaster while others are listening. They can discover that they aren't the only ones who were scared or whose parents were distressed about the event.
- Work on creative movement. Encourage the children to use creative movement to express feelings about the event.
- Share your own feelings about the event. Be real. Talk about how you coped.
- Do art activities. It might help children to draw or paint pictures of their experience. Very young children might just scribble. If so, you might ask the child to tell you about the scribbles and take dictation, if you think it is appropriate.
- Write in journals. Older children could make an illustrated journal about the event. They could dictate their story for you to record, draw pictures and put in small souvenirs.
- Read books about the event. If you can't find any, make your own book about it. Let the child help.
- Discuss community helpers. Point out all the people in the community who helped out – police officers, fire fighters, Red Cross workers, counselors, neighbors, teachers and hospital workers. Talk about how people come together in times of crisis to help each other.
- Talk about helping others. Ask the children how they might help others during different types of disasters.
- Plan activities about feelings. Do lots of activities about feelings to allow the children to express how they felt in the situation. Offer many different models.
- Include clay, sand or water play. Children can use these materials to recreate a natural disaster in their play.
- Talk about the good part. Children need to know they are survivors. If you concentrate on something good that happened, the children will focus less on the negative.
How to Respond to Parents
- Explain your disaster plan. Parents should supply the materials for their child's "natural disaster kit" and provide the center with current information such as phone numbers and emergency contacts.
- Encourage them to be good role models. Let parents know that children usually do as well as the adults around them when a disaster happens. If the parents fall apart and show great fear and anxiety, so will the children. If the parents are able to put the event behind them, the children are also likely to recover faster.
- Remind them to keep their children's needs in mind. During a disaster, they may forget the importance of comforting their child.
- Learn about each family. You need to learn about every family's situation so that they can respond to their children appropriately.
For more ways to help children facing difficult issues or crises in your classroom and to learn effective strategies that address the most challenging problems teachers encounter, check out The Crisis Manual for Early Childhood Teachers.
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