Make Color Spray Murals this Summer!

by Anna Reyner

Welcome back to Art & Creativity in Early Childhood! I’m excited to be blogging about art activities again, after a two year writing break. Thanks for joining me!

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It’s summertime, and the living is easy….especially if you have cool outdoor art activities up your sleeve! Like filling spray bottles with Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ and letting everyone have a go at it. Spray painting is quick, easy and a great group activity.

When was the last time you took spray paints outside, and invited open-ended play?

You know you want to make this summer memorable, right?

Maybe it’s time to grab your Liquid Watercolor, get your camera ready, and give it a try. After all, even the idea of a spray bottle full of color in your hand sounds exciting, or maybe even intimidating. But I know you can do it….because you have the lesson plan to print out. And the bonus is, while kids are having fun with this, the process is doing wonders for their brain development.

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Art activities not only stimulate creativity, they also build brain capacity by providing many new problems to solve, all with colorful materials that are safe and abundant. Fluid materials like Liquid Watercolor are particularly good for early brain development because they are easily set in motion and provide a rapidly changing experience that requires the child to actively engage. If a child is passive with fluid materials, the art making stops. With fluid paints, the image making moves forward only when the child is moving it along. That’s the understanding educators have when they say ‘open-ended art’ is a process where children construct their own learning. The more children direct their own art activities, the more learning and brain development takes place. I think it’s pretty cool that something this much fun could be so good for you too!

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I love this snapshot of a 3-year-old boy, from Pressman Academy in Los Angeles, working on a color spray mural that other classmates participated in too. He’s clearly lost in the moment. Imagine his body and brain working together as he actively builds a new understanding of what is possible in his world.

Since this was a toddler class, I invited children out onto the playground two at a time. With older children, I invite four children to spray paint together at the same time, all facing the same direction so they don’t spray each other! But if they accidentally do…this paint is completely washable. Yay!

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If you’re feeling adventurous, try doing a color spray mural at your staff in-service for back to school. There’s nothing like a group art experience to bring people closer together. I bet someone at your school would be happy to lead this creative activity (maybe even you!) and help start the new school year right. Here’s a lesson plan to help you out.

Happy Summer! Anna

Product Recommendations:
Colorations® Assorted Liquid Watercolor Paints

Colorations® Classic Colors Liquid Watercolor Paints, 8 oz. – Set of 13 (13LW)

Colorations® E-Z Pull Extra Large Clear Trigger Sprayers, 12 oz. – Set of 6 (TSBOT)

Colorations® Animal Shape Stencils, 8″ – Set of 12 (EANST)

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Prepare for CAEYC with DIY Fun!

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We are gearing up for CAEYC, which is also known as the California Association of the Education of Young Children!  This association has an annual convention in California for early childhood educators.  Each state has their own association and there is a popular national association called NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children) This national association is the premier professional development conference for teachers who work with young children; ages 0-8.

I am sponsored by Discount School Supply which is a nationally recognized company that supplies quality school products at everyday low prices.  Each year they have a booth at the CAEYC and NAEYC convention and each year I attend and present at workshop.  At CAEYC 2016, Discount School Supply will a proud supporter of the association and has gotten “Super Star” Status through their contributions to this wonderful organization!

These conferences are so much fun! I just love to engage with all of the fellow educators that attend. Check out the PARTY at the NAEYC 2015 booth that Discount School Supply sponsored! We pulled out all the stops and engaged teachers in more hands-on creativity than ever before this year. Our goal in the DSS booth area was to provide creativity and rejuvenation, and from the looks of it we were successful. Yay! The paper Top Hats we’re wearing are fun to decorate and super easy to make with our Top Hat Lesson Plan.

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Since hands-on discovery is the way we all learn best, we organize DIY experiences by offering a variety of arts materials with just a wee bit of structure and guidance. At NAEYC we highlighted BioColor® one day, and Colorations® Liquid Watercolor another day while providing how-to tips and ideas for both beginners and more seasoned staff. Teachers could sit down and play with our paints and a variety of new collage materials while combining fresh techniques in new ways onto a final craft project.

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Here’s a favorite open-ended project: our papier-mâché Secret Boxes. These make wonderful handmade gifts and if you like these teacher-oriented clip art quotes, they are provided here for your use. These quotes are perfect for mixed media creations, and can turn any teacher’s Party into a creative DIY event.
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Won’t you join us at CAEYC or your state conference this year? We’ll bring the party!

Materials Shown in this Post:     
Paints & Collage Materials  
BioColor Painters BMAR
Glittering Rhinestones Gem Jar GEMJAR
Iridescent Fabric Shapes SHINYFAB
Spotted Feathers SPOTTED
Printed Craft Tape FABULOUS
Projects To Decorate  
Paper Mache Secret Books PMSEC
White Paper Top Hats HATSOFF

 

WorkShop at CAEYC 2016 by Anna Reyner

Art, Creativity and Brain Development

Apr 1, 2016 @ 02:00 PM

Modern neuroscience has provided hard evidence that connective pathways in the brain are actually created by repeated early experiences. A child’s early engagement in art activities can help create unique brain connections that will have long-term impact on a child’s life.

Art engages children’s hands, minds and emotions and helps develop valuable cognitive, social-emotional, and multi-sensory skills. Learn to identify the many developmental skills children master through art activities, and how self directed art fosters creativity and self esteem.

“Art & Brain Development”
Repeated experiences with open ended art builds nerve circuits in the brain that influence how a child does in school, in relationships, and in society as a whole. A developmental theory presentation will discuss how art activities facilitate intellectual growth and cognitive development in early childhood. A Power Point presentation on Art in Child Development includes 20 slides of children’s artwork. Participants will review these slides and discuss how each different art activity facilitates specific problem solving, decision making and other cognitive skills.

“Art Therapy: Tools & Techniques for the Classroom”
Participants will be introduced to basic principles of art therapy and simple guidelines for understanding the language of children’s art. Through better understanding the language of art, participants will be better equipped to understand the emotional needs of the children in their care.

Session concludes with a playful hands-on art experience where participants engage with a partner and make their own art.

Discover the Pedagogical Institute in Santa Monica!

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“I love this!” exclaimed Gwen Dophna, a professor of Child Development, as we learned and played together last week. I was having fun too, learning Monoprint Techniques at the exciting new facility for early childhood educators called The Pedagogical Institute in Santa Monica, California.

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Have you heard about this place?  It’s a true THINK TANK environment – and if you’re an early childhood professional, you owe it to yourself to check them out. Let me give you a taste of my experience….

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Last week’s Monoprint class was skillfully taught by Alexis Afaghi, a full time Atelerista at the nearby Evergreen School. We were a small but eager group of ECE professionals, learning open-ended art techniques and experiencing the unique combination of stimulation and camaraderie that is a part of every event or gathering at the Pedagogical Institute.

Alexis began the class with a brief introduction to Monoprinting, the art of printing a singular piece of art from one printing plate. Alexis taught us using small plastic printing plates which she had acquired for free from a nearby plastics shop (yay, teacher donations.)

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We rolled paint with brayers onto plastic printing plates, and then removed some of the paint with cotton balls, Q-Tips, and small makeup sponges to create lines and shapes in the wet paint. Then we pressed paper onto the top and pulled it off to reveal our MONOPRINT – a fresh and original work of art.  Tah dah…..

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Marsha seemed pleased with her artwork, which was gratifying since she had driven two hours to get to the Institute workshop! We traded stories about our careers in Child Development as we worked on our art, and I felt connected in a very satisfying way. It was truly an exercise in self-care to be there that evening. Teachers and directors and professors often work in isolation, and this place is a sanctuary to relieve stress.

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The Pedagogical Institute had its Grand Opening about a year ago, on Sept 21, 2014. Their calendar is full of exciting, thought provoking events. They offer many fascinating workshops besides art – as well as Book Study and Discussion Groups on topics such as Boys & The Media, Building Democratic Schools & Communities, and Talking about Death with Children. They also offer museum quality installations and Documentation labs, as well as mentoring opportunities, an annual conference, and renowned guest speakers.  How can you NOT take advantage of this resource? It is in a class of it’s own.

Join them on Facebook and explore their website to learn more:

https://www.facebook.com/PIofLA

www.thinkwithus.org

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More X-Ray Handprints!

I just got back from the California AEYC Conference where I delivered workshops on “Art, Literacy & Brain Development.” The handouts from those workshops are posted here (you’ll see them on the right sidebar) for you to view or print out. To prepare for the workshops I taught several literacy based art lessons to a variety of children in classrooms that varied from ages 3-5. It was fun leading children through messy art ideas that had a literacy connection, and once again I included the X-Ray Handprint in some of the lessons. These photographs were taken from a Kindergarten class, and the video clip shows a wonderful close-up of a child doing the final phase of scraper art, which reveals her handprints. Take a look!

So many of the conference attendees were excited to learn about X-Ray Handprints, so I decided to post these new photos here. See my previous post from Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 for more X-Ray Art ideas, or find the complete lesson plan on page 44 in Smart Art 2 (MOREART).

It’s been a busy conference season so I’m a bit late on my monthly post. Thanks for waiting! If you sign up to be an Art and Creativity Blog subscriber, each new post will conveniently come to you as an email. That makes it super easy to get a stream of new art ideas for your classroom. Please subscribe today, you’d be doing me a favor by showing your support. Thank you!

X-Ray Hand Prints!

Watch how your hand prints seem to magically jump off the page, when you make x-ray hand prints using BioColor® “Scraper Art.” X-Ray Scraper Art is an amazing process, take a moment to watch the video clip recorded live at the Discount School Supply NAEYC Math & Science Workshop.

I’ve also added a new “NAECY Handout” column at right which includes X-Ray Art as part of the NAEYC Math & Science Handout. Please consider printing out and sharing this handout at the next staff meeting! Teachers are always asking for new ideas that teach math and science through hands-on, sensory play. The handouts provided here are written with your “right-brain” in mind, they are easy to digest and rely heavily on diagrams and pictures. You’ll find the same applies to Smart Art Ideas Activity Book and Smart Art 2: More Smart Ideas Activity Book.

These photos show 3-year olds making x-ray hand prints as part of teaching nutrition & building strong bodies. This activity provides a great opportunity to talk with children about the importance of milk, yogurt and other calcium rich foods in building good bone health. With that in mind, I added my favorite new science product, the charming little skeleton man (18″ Skeleton Model), which allowed me to reference an anatomically correct skeleton model as we began the activity by discussing our bones and hands. This incredibly inexpensive skeleton model is a must-have for science centers.

I hope these photos inspire you to try x-ray hand prints with even the youngest of children. By giving the children a chance to create a colorful paint border around their hand prints, we ended up with delightful paintings that combine art and science in the best of ways.

Materials you’ll need:
BioColor® Paint, 16 oz., Black
BioColor® Paint, 16 oz., White
BioColor® Paint Scraper
Nancy™ Paint Bottles Classic Tips, 2 oz. – Set of 12

Enhance this Lesson with:
18″ Skeleton Model
More Smart Art Ideas Activity Book
Human X-Rays – Set of 18

Body Banner
Foam Skeleton Floor Puzzle – 15 Pieces

CD Photo Frames

Recycle old CD’s and turn them into colorful picture frames, using BioColor® and your favorite photos. Since BioColor® sticks to plastic and other slick surfaces, it’s easy! Simply collect used CD’s and choose photographs with images that are small enough to cut out, glue down, and still leave enough room to add BioColor® paint. This recycled art project is easy, inexpensive, and unique!

This first example shows a wedding photo created with a BioColor® design that lets the shiny CD peek through. After gluing down the picture, I used gold BioColor® to create a circular border, then I applied black and yellow BioColor® around the photo into a star shaped design. It hangs in a prominent spot on my wall at home, and is often a conversation piece. People love it when they realize the picture is simply glued onto a CD then painted. No other tempera paint will stick to plastic, so this recycled art project makes good use of BioColor®’s unique property of sticking to slick surfaces.

These next two photo frames are simpler examples of the same process and could easily be created by younger children. Apply BioColor® using pre-filled plastic Nancy™ Bottles. When making a photo frame, it’s important to have something to hang the frame from. The easiest way to create a hanger is with a loop of yarn. Slip a 12” strand of yarn through the center of the CD hole, and tie it at the top. Now glue on your photo using tacky glue, and begin applying BioColor® any way you like. It’s easy to make dots of various colors, and a little more challenging to create lines, like the blue and white heart shapes shown here. Start with dots if you want to start easy. Drag a toothpick through the dots to create little swirly designs if you like.
Apply BioColor® in dots and lines directly from Nancy™ Bottles, or use a paintbrush, or combine both. In this close-up you’ll see that dots were applied from Nancy™ Bottles first, then a paintbrush was used to spread around the paint and change the surface texture. You want a fairly thick layer of BioColor®, so make sure to lay it on a flat surface to dry overnight.

Another fun idea for Recycled CD’s is to make Dream Catchers using BioColor®, feathers, and collage materials. Traditional Dream Catchers hang over beds and “catch bad dreams” before they bother your sleep. Authentic Native American Dream Catchers can be very intricate and beautiful. These playful imitations, or what I like to call “Urban Dream Catchers,” are a fun way to imitate the real deal.

Lastly, here’s a picture of my workspace before I began making some of these samples. This recycled art idea has easy set up, and uses very affordable supplies, probably no more than 10 cents per project. And if you’re like me, you have dozens of old CD’s stacked around, just waiting to come to life as something shiny, fun and artful.

Materials You’ll Need:

CD Photo Frames:
Used CD’s
Yarn – 5LBR – Remnant Yarn, 5 lbs

Urban Dream Catchers:

For more ideas on how to use BioColor® on slick surfaces check out this video!

IncredibleFoam® Dough: Delightful, No Mess Art

IncredibleFoam® Dough is a light modeling compound (think substitute for clay) that’s wonderful to touch, squish, and sculpt into 3-Dimensional Art. It comes in dozens of colors and it’s an inspiration for creative young minds, like 4 year old Jordan pictured here. Does he look proud of himself or what? Jordan came up with this idea on his own, by pressing several colors of Foam Dough onto an 11″ x 17” piece of construction paper, then later gluing down the pieces with white glue so they’d stick.

Foam Dough also makes a great Small Group Activity, as illustrated by this collaborative artwork. A small cluster of school age students created a picture by working together and pressing Foam Dough onto the tabletop where they were seated. Each child was given a different color of Foam Dough to start, and they were asked to work cooperatively to decide on a theme and create one unified picture. I loved the result, as well as the teamwork it inspired.

Other 3-D figures and sculptures can be created in simple or more complex fashion, depending on a child’s age and interests. We’ve created them here on paper plates so they’re easier to carry around, and they can later be glued down onto the paper if desired.

Whether you apply Foam Dough to paper, or shape it into a freestanding 3-D sculpture, it looks great and is always easy and fun to work with. And did I mention it doesn’t make a mess? Foam Dough is clean, soft, and mess-free, yet it’s also completely open ended so it brings out children’s natural creativity. Plus, it never dries out, even if you forget to bag up the leftovers. Experiment with it yourself, and you’ll find that IncredibleFoam® Dough holds lots of discoveries. It even floats! Imagine making little boats for your sand and water table, or combine it with collage elements like the Shining Star Rhinestones, Sparkle Stem Pipecleaners, and Colorations® Washable School Glue pictured below.

The IncredibleFoam® Dough Classroom Pack is my favorite, since the color cubes are a delight to look at and easy to distribute. But, you can also purchase IncredibleFoam® Dough in a larger Set of 7 Basic Colors or a smaller Sampler Pack. However you try it, you’re guaranteed a lot of active learning and pure sensory delight!