Our playground and the surrounding grass is bursting with dandelions. We spent some time doing art + experimentation with the blooms. We used rolling pins and hammers to try and transfer the bright yellow from the blossom to white paper. We got mixed results, but it was lots of fun!
Some preschoolers' thoughts about the process:
"I wonder what happens if..."
"My paper ripped because I was pushing too hard."
"The green comes off the leaves, too."
"When you press hard, the petals go inside the paper."
"Look! I found a new idea!"
"My daddy does this at home, too."
"I smashed a fly on mine."
"The flower's juice goes to the other side, like when you jab a marker onto a paper."
How many stuffed friends can we make in an hour? Today it was 9 - plus 1 scarf for a special stuffed animal. Each kiddo had a unique idea, drew it on fabric, and I helped them sew and cut it out, then they stuffed it. Look at the proud faces on those creators!
We spent a gorgeous Thursday morning at Harvest Preserve enjoying the first warm day of spring. As one student exclaimed on our hike: “Just smell that fresh air!”
Once we reached the Sacred Stone circle, some kids chose to make a drawing about something they had noticed. They were quick sketches in pen on post-it notes, but wonderful snapshots of the expected (sacred stones, towering and bare trees) and the unexpected (tire tracks in the mud) parts of the hike that had captured the children's attention.
””Claywork can be a language for exploring and communicating ideas. Like drawing, clay work enables children to to make their ideas visible - but in three dimensions. It can be an exciting experience for young children to discover that they have made something with a ‘back’ and ‘sides’ as well as a ‘front’ and even an ‘inside’ and ‘underneath’.” - Ursula Kolbe, Rapunzel’s Supermarket
" I made an X marks the spot." "I made a road."
It feels great to press and mold clay - colder and a bit stiffer than play dough, but satisfyingly easy to mold into the shape you want to create. We just played - with no end product in mind - but ended up with some great cakes, faces, and round shapes.
"Play doh is different colors, but clay is only one color."
"It smells like a bouncy house."
"It's harder to play with."
"It feels squishy."
"I know where it comes from, it comes from other clay."
"It's daddy's face. He looks a little freaked out."
Spending another beautiful spring day at Harvest Preserve filled us with joy! We spent the morning hiking, exploring, singing, playing, and also making drawings together.
We saw and heard many signs of spring at the preserve. Children chose to draw trees with buds, sprouting flowers, bees, birds, and many also noticed the bright blue sky.
Preschoolers love to mix colors. The experience of watching two colors become a new color feels like magic, and is a great way to learn about color. We have been talking about the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. They are the beginning of our color mixing vocabulary, because they can be combined to make the secondary colors and beyond.
One morning I set out a variety of supplies in the primary color group, and students enjoyed combining stickers, tape, dot markers and other items to create bright compositions. The color combo also started showing up in paintings on the easels.
We practiced color mixing on the light table (while it was covered with a clear plastic shower curtain). While this experience was all about the process and tactile experience of squeezing out paint and blending colors, some students decided to place a paper on top of their creation and make a mono-print.
We also explored primary color mixing with liquid watercolors. Their rich, bright pigments are satisfying, and especially fun to add to the watercolor paper with liquid droppers. I love to see the results all together!
Our "cardboard crew" seems to have an insatiable appetite for boxes and tubes. They have such a great time coming up with ways to tape together materials to create cars, robots, trains, and other machines.
Recently, the cardboard creations took a new direction. One morning, I noticed that several kids were taping cardboard rectangles under their shoes. Then I heard "They're skis" and "It's a snowboard" and then they started adding designs with marker and tape to embellish their winter sports gear. It took some trial and error to figure out how to attach the items to their feet and still have the ability to move around, but they kept at it and helped each other.
The ski-making was absolutely spontaneous, and clearly inspired by their interest in and exposure to the winter Olympics. Several kids wanted to take their skis and snowboards out into the playground snow to try, but we discussed what snow would do to the cardboard. They did get a chance to try them in the big space upstairs, and learned that being an Olympian can be a real challenge when your tape doesn't want to stick to the cardboard! I love that our Reggio approach allows kids to spend a morning following an idea from start to finish, and learn an appreciation for all the work, joy, frustration, and accomplishment that can come with creating.
This month we spent a few days creating "puffy hearts" to decorate the Art Studio for Valentine's Day. First, each child made a black line drawing on two heart-shaped papers. Then, they added color with watercolor paint, and finally, we stapled together the two shapes a stuffed them with paper. As always, they are lovely individual artworks, but fun and striking to view as a group.
I decided to share snapshots from a busy Tuesday morning of painting in the Art Studio, because I was amazed how many awesome artworks were created in only two hours, and impressed by the cross-section of preschool artistic development they showed.
Many preschoolers begin painting as a tactile and active activity. They are exploring how it feels to use a brush and how it looks when they make marks like lines, dots, circles, or when they mix colors together. Usually these beginning painters aren't interested in assigning meaning to the final product, because they are much more interested in the process.
As painting and verbal skills develop, painters often "discover" a meaning or topic after they finish painting. They are still all about the process of painting, but then when they are prompted to look at their artwork, it might remind them of something, or they might decide it is a favorite animal or character.
Next comes the preschoolers who have an idea what they want to paint about, and take care to create those forms in paint, to the best of their ability. I love when I start to see figures and recognizable shapes emerge, because the kids are so excited to share their idea in a visual format.
Many of our older preschoolers are so skilled at painting figuratively that they move on to visual story-telling. Their paintings might have one or more characters, a setting, and/or supporting details. Many times my pencil can't keep up with all their fun ideas!
I am thankful for the time and a great space that allows for children to explore and develop their "painting language" and inspire each other (and me!).
Art Studio teacher