My daughter said these beautiful words today. She has always struggled with trying to do things perfectly and melting down when she makes one little mistake. This would cause her to not try to paint or draw something because she couldn’t make it perfect. When she was only two she’d freak out if she coloured outside of the lines. She’d never been told to colour in the lines. I had to take away all the colouring books. Finally, in desperation, I got her a second hand copy of this book.
It’s great because it shows all different styles and types of art while talking about famous artists and showing their work. It opened her eyes to the idea that art doesn’t have to look or be a certain way. It doesn’t have to meet a criteria of perfect.
Today they made their own art inspired by Matisse’s work “The Snail”.
While working on her art work she said, “I am an artist”. It made my heart sing. I hope she feels more free now to create what is in her heart without restrictions.
I found these test tubes and stand at the surplus store and knew that they’d be great for many activities. The colour mixing was really fun and you could really observe the colour change. Also using the pipette it was great for developing fine motor skills and strengthening the pincher grasp for writing.
Pumpkin 1 is learning piano from her Gammie. We also have a set of Montessori Bells. I was trying to think of a way to teach the staff and I saw a Pinterest post with the person using gems with the letters on them. We have a pile of gems and Pumpkin 1 loves playing with them.
I printed off one staff and wrote the letters on it. I did print off a treble and bass clef but haven’t laminated them yet. I wrote the note names on the back of the gems with permanent marker.
I introduced matching them to the bells and then how we can write the music we play using the staff. Pumpkin 1 has tried writing her own music for the piano so she really liked this. That’s one key area of Montessori music that different from music lessons – the children are given the opportunity to write their own music. Creativity is such a huge motivation for learning something. How often do we learn and study something so that we can express our creativity – knitting or crochet, painting, playing an instrument, carving, sewing, writing. Being able to express ourselves is a fundamental human desire across all cultures. In the Reggio approach there is a lot of importance given to “the hundred languages of the child” which is all the different ways and mediums in which a child communicates and expresses himself.
If you can’t afford a set of Montessori bells, you can pick up a set of hand bells. If possible spray paint them so they’re all one colour so that the child learns to use their ears rather than their eyes to differentiate between the sounds.
I made this lovely mobile today for our Peace Corner (which I’ll show you soon).
I followed the tutorial from this blog only I wanted the look to be more of a balancing act so I changed how I hung them. I did them in just white to create a peaceful feeling. I’m in love with it. Now I want to make more mobiles.
I love the big windows in our new playroom. They let so much light in, the kids love looking out them and they’re great for some window writing (in a princess dress of course). A new way to draw and create.
Since I do daycare I’m always looking for fun, affordable crafts to do with the kids. Play at Home Mom blog has some great ideas. I saw this one they had a while ago but I wasn’t sure how to hang it since I’d never come across suction cups at the dollar store. The last time I was there though they had the self standing plastic picture frames and I thought they’d be perfect. That way the kids can put them anywhere. I bought the glass gems at the dollar store and we used white glue. First we put something under the frame so it’d lie flat. The glue will also drip off so put something underneath to catch the mess. We took the lid off the bottle and poured it on. Then we used glue spreaders to coat the frame. Then the kids stuck the gems on. We let it dry overnight and voila! They’re so pretty and so easy to make. Great craft for toddlers as long as they’re not putting the gems in their mouth.
Oh, and do try to get the stickers off. We had trouble getting them off so I just left them on, but it turns out they weren’t as hard to take off as I had thought.
I saw this on another blog, I can’t remember which one but it seemed fun and easy to set up so we gave it a try the other day.
It’s a tray with baking soda and then cups of vinegar coloured with food colouring. The children used eye droppers to suck up the vinegar and squirt it onto the baking soda causing a wonderful, colourful fizz. Pumpkin 1 wasn’t able to figure out the squeeze/squirt motion of the using the eye droppers and she wouldn’t let me show her how so she just had fun swirling the eye dropper in the vinegar or in the baking powder and causing little fizzes. My daycare 3 year old was able to do it though and had a great time. I actually eventually emptied the soaked tray and refilled it. It’s a great way to practice the pencil hold and to strengthen fingers and increase fine motor skills. It’s also a good cause and effect activity and science experiment. There was some color mixing too, and most important, the children had fun. It also was easy and inexpensive to set up and not too messy (if you don’t count spilled vinegar as a mess, if anything, my table got a good deep cleaning lol).
What kid doesn’t like playdough? What adult can’t resist squishing playdough as well? Playdough is great for developing hand strength and fine motor skills as well as creativity. But the store bough stuff stinks. Like literally, smell-wise. My husband even complained about it the other day. Making your own playdough is simple and easy and non-stinky. I’ve made our own before but recently I tried this recipe http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2012/12/08/best-homemade-playdough-recipe/ and it is awesome. I have to admit, I had a hard time giving it up so that the kids could play with it. The secret is to use coconut oil. Usually you can find coconut oil in the oil section or in the natural products section of your grocery store. The coconut oil makes the playdough extra soft and it doesn’t stick to your hands as much. You don’t need a lot. Get the virgin kind and use the rest for cooking. Coconut oil is great for your health, and is a wonderful body moisturizer and even for your scalp and hair. So make up a batch of playdough for your kids to entertain them while you treat yourself to a hot oil treatment. For a full sensory experience add some lovely scents to your playdough. We added cinnamon, clove powder and nutmeg to ours for a Pumpkin Spice playdough which my children and daycare children adore. You could also add vanilla or mint or essential oils.
Anyway, here is the recipe
1 c. flour
1/4 c. salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar (find it in the spice section)
1 c. water
1 tbsp. coconut oil
assorted glitter (optional)
assorted essential oils (cinnamon for red, sweet orange for orange, lemon for yellow, lemongrass for green, peppermint for blue, lavender for purple)
bags, ribbon, mini cookie cutters & gift tag for packaging
Measure flour, salt, cream of tartar, water, & oil into a saucepan. You can easily double, triple, or even quadruple the recipe for a bigger batch.
Place saucepan on stove with burner set to low and begin stirring. The time it takes to turn into playdoh varies, but expect it to take between 10 and 20 minutes to become solid. A bigger batch will take longer.
Once the mixture begins to thicken and look less lumpy, add the food coloring and essential oil. It is not necessary to measure–just keep adding color and scent until it looks and smells good.
Keep stirring. If your kids are old/careful enough you can help them stir until it gets too thick. Once larger lumps begin to form, you’ll know you are getting close. Keep stirring!
Towards the end it will begin to get really thick and difficult to stir. Don’t worry if there are small lumps in the dough. It will be sticky but keep stirring. The play dough is done when it pulls away from the sides and all sticks together in one big lump.
Set on silicone mat or other heat-proof surface to cool. If dough seems too sticky you can knead it with a little flour.
To add sparkles, sprinkle dough generously with glitter, then knead dough until sparkles are evenly dispersed, adding more glitter if necessary.
Repeat process for additional colors; store in airtight container or bag.