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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A Thousand Cranes & Other Collaborative Art

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This week I had the good fortune to visit Anna Bing Arnold Children’s Center at Cal State L.A., where creative ideas are thriving. Curriculum Coordinator Alexandra Walsh and Director Patricia Ulloa have decades of combined experience and a particularly innovative staff. Like Dominic, who facilitated this brilliant collaborative puzzle piece painting with three- and four-year-olds, which immediately caught my eye. Isn’t it brilliant?

anna crane 2 anna crane 3Dominic explained how this experimental project began by cutting 12 x 18” Real Watercolor Paper into puzzle shapes, then prompting children to select a shape and paint it using Colorations® Simply Washable Fluorescent Tempera. The puzzle pieces were placed in a basket in the art area for use at any time. The intense color you see here resulted from distinct 3 variables:  (1) using fluorescent paint,  (2) mounting each puzzle piece painting onto black construction paper, then trimming a close border, and (3) by using watercolor paper instead of white construction paper. The added thickness (and spongy quality) of watercolor paper absorbs more pigment than regular paper, giving the finished paintings a visual “pop.”   Nice!

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I fell in love with this Thousand Cranes Origami project, facilitated by Jasmine Cruz and Raul Delgado, which creates a unique environment that children, parents and teachers all participated in!  This delightful classroom activity, which combines open-ended art with math foundations and collaborative teamwork, embodies the “Four C’s” which children will later address in Kindergarten and elementary school.  These “Four C’s” are the four specific skills deemed by the US Dept of Education to be the most important for preparing students to succeed in the 21st century: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.  Kudos to Jasmine and Raul for initiating an important learning experience while adding beauty and innovation to their school.

anna crane 8A Thousand Origami Cranes is a group of one thousand origami paper cranes held together by strings. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Some stories believe you are granted eternal good luck. The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures that is said to live for a thousand years: That is why 1,000 cranes are made, one for each year. Here children decorated papers over the course of two months, while parents and staff folded them into a thousand origami cranes. Thanks to patience and motivation, the children’s parents, grandparents and teachers strung all thousand of their hand-colored paper cranes onto cord and even added pony beads for charm.

Creative art programs like this one develop over time as the result of intention and practice on the part of administration and teachers. Lots of little tips that facilitate art set-ups are learned from experience. Writing the paint color of each bottle on the top of the white lid makes identifying each bottle a breeze.  Glue doesn’t just stick things together. It can be used in unique ways and one way is to pour a thick layer of clear glue onto a smooth surface and add seed pods, ferns and natural collage elements. When the thick layer of glue eventually dries, it creates a unique semi-clear glaze which holds the collage elements together. This second collage also uses clear glue, but in this one the glue is first infused with Colorations® Liquid Watercolor, then is painted and drizzled onto butcher paper.

anna crane 9 anna crane 10 anna crane 11anna crane 12Last but not least I re-discovered one of my favorite art techniques at Anna Bing Arnold that day:  the wonderful effect of colored chalk on black paper. This black butcher paper mural has so much energy, and I love how the door handle was cut out!  It also beautifully illustrates the constructionist idea on the poster in the center’s lobby: “Inviting children to fully engage in the use of messy, unstructured materials allows them to explore freely with infinite possibilities.”anna crane 13Thank you, Alex and staff for a LOT of inspiration.  Which one do YOU want to try?  

Materials Used Here:
Colorations® Liquid Watercolor Paints, 8 oz. – Set of 18 (LW18)

Colorations® Washable Clear Glue (P4GL)

Butcher Paper Rolls (P4018)

36″ x 1000′ Dual Surface Rolls, 40 lb., black (PDSBK)

Colorations® Colored Dustless Chalk – 100 pieces (CNODUST)

12 x 18″ Real Watercolor Paper – 50 sheets (BIGMONET)

9×12″ Heavyweight Construction Paper – 50 sheets (9CPBK)

Colorations® Simply Washable Fluorescent Tempera – set of 7 (FSWTSET)

Pony Beads – 1 lb. (PONY)

* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

* For more ideas, visit Art and Creativity in Early Childhood Education.

My Top 10 Activities for Creative Family Fun

Paint BottlesWinter time feels like the perfect time for families to gather around the kitchen table to make things together by hand. This will encourage creativity and family fun as well as form a great bonding experience, and fosters giggles and smiles and all sorts of good feelings. And it’s high-touch, not high-tech, for that much needed life balance.

Many adults have forgotten the wonderful smell of a new pack of crayons, or the fresh feeling of new clay dough. Don’t miss out on the fun, work and play along WITH your children as you make things together this season.

AR Washi Tape 3My passion for all things handmade started in my own family decades ago, when we made things together for the holidays. So check out my list of FAVORITE art materials for families and get ready for some FUN.

10 Fun Things to Make:

  1. Make Your Own Tambourine – kit for 12 {JINGLEKIT}
  2. Mini Canvases and Easel – set of 6 {POLLOCK}
  3. White Canvas Backpacks – set of 12 {BACKPACK}
  4. Decorate Your Own Puppy – set of 12 {DOXIE}
  5. Decorate Your Own Vehicles – set of 12 {TRAVEL}
  6. Wooden Model Airplanes – set of 12 {JETSET}
  7. Wooden Flower Pot Frames – set of 12 {FLFRM}
  8. Whimsical Trinket Boxes – set of 12 {TRINKBOX}
  9. Super Sand Art Set {SASET}
  10. Colorations® Super Lightweight Air-Dry Putty – colors {CPUTTY }

Unique Paints & Decorations for the Above Crafts:

Colorations® Shimmery Washable Watercolors – set of 5 {ROXY}
Colorations® Glitter Glue – set of 6 {GGST}
Fantastic Foam Stickers – set of 24 {FFOAMS}
Realistic Wiggly Eyes – 300 pieces {EYESONME}
Glittering Craft Rhinestones – 570 pieces {STONES}
Printed Craft Tape – set of 10 rolls {PRINTED}
Colorations® Super Washable Classic Markers – set of 16 {LWMSET}
Colorations® Color Permanent Markers – set of 12 {PERMCLR}
Colorations® Washable Chubbie Primary Markers – set of 8 {SPONGE}
Colorations® Fabric Paint – set of 6 4-oz bottles {FABPAINT}
Colorations® Cup and Tray Tempera Cakes {CUPNTRAY}
Neon Tempera Cakes in a Tray {NEONCAKE}
Original and Flourescent BioColor® Painters – set of 18 {BIOMAR}
Three Sets of Colorations® Chubbie Markers – set of 24 {CHUBBERS}
Colorations® Jumbo Washable Classroom Stamp Pad {BIGSTAMP}
Easy-Grip Seasonal Stampers – set of 14 {EGSS}

* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

* For more ideas, visit Art and Creativity in Early Childhood Education.

Vision Boards & the Art of Collage

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Have you heard about vision boards? A vision board is a visualization tool that you can use as inspiration toward your ideal life. Some people refer to it as a “dream board” or an “inspiration board.”

Vision boards are a great way to have fun with simple art supplies and set your sights on positive goals. January is a perfect month to set positive intentions for your work and your life. Would you like to explore the simple art of collage and consider making a vision board yourself?

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This weekend I invited a few girlfriends over to create 2015 vision boards. We had so much fun! Everyone brought a few magazines and with basic art supplies and poster board, we created “mandala” style vision boards. Classic vision boards are created on standard sized poster board, but I prefer the finished look of a circle – it’s much more visually pleasing. You can take any standard-sized poster board and make a circle out of it by tracing a large circle onto it (we used a trash can lid here) and cutting it out before you begin your collage.

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Lately I’ve been delivering “Renew Your Passion” workshops at conferences to help teachers de-stress and reconnect with their sense of joy and purpose. Collage is a great way to revitalize your spirit because it’s easy and fun and lends itself to a focus on personal values and goals. In these examples from a recent workshop, we collaged quotes, pictures and value words onto papier-maché secret boxes. Then we added tissue paper squares, Colorations® Washable Glitter Paint, and spotted feathers. They are inspirational and so EASY to make.

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Children love to collage with tissue paper and magazine cut outs, and you can adapt these same ideas for your classroom. Here’s a good classroom collage set up from the education department of a children’s museum, where children have cut out and sorted magazine photos by color. Then they created individual color wheels from the assortment. How clever is that?

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Here’s a Vocabulary Collage lesson plan that you can download {just click here!}.

Scribbles, the new Colorations® parrot, introduces this and other creative art lessons on our website for 2015. Welcome, Scribbles! We do agree with Scribbles, “Art really is a colorful way to learn!”

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Materials used:

Economy Weight White Poster Board – 50 sheets

EWB

Colorations® Washable Glitter Paint – set of 11

GLPA

Spotted Feathers – 1 ounce

SPOT

Secret Boxes – set of 12

PMSEC

Colorations® Washable Premium Glue Sticks – set of 30

PRESML

* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

* For more ideas, visit Art and Creativity in Early Childhood Education.

Fall Art Ideas for Young Children

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Fall is here, the leaves are starting to turn and the air is becoming crisper. Hooray! It’s time for the scents and smells of autumn. Here are some fun ways to bring autumn themes into YOUR home or classroom.

Small gourds and Indian corn make great additions to your sensory bin and inspire children to observe, compare and explore nature and its many attributes. This sensory bin promotes STEM learning foundations, as does the observational painting that you can introduce with the same gourds.

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This 3-year-old is painting with Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ as she observes and documents a gourd. Observational drawing and painting is an important way to facilitate critical thinking and brain development in early childhood. Drawing and painting from nature can also slow children down, reduce stress and promote self- regulation. These are important skills for children to learn that go way beyond the more obvious benefits of art-making.

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Leaf Punching is a great way to incorporate nature into your fall art activities. Use large hole punches that are easy for young hands to manipulate and punch shapes out of leaves that are at various stages of drying out. You can also let colored leaves dry out completely and crunch them into “leaf glitter” to use in collage work.

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Tree bark makes a good natural painting surface. Look for fallen bark pieces on a nature walk this time of year. These chunks of eucalyptus bark made for wonderful paintings by 2- and 3-year-olds. Painting on bark calls for an opaque paint, like acrylic paint.

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Don’t forget how much fun it can be to add Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ to soil and paint with it. This Writing Center incorporates color-tinted soils to Twig Books, a variation of the Paper Bag Book lesson plan from Smart Art Ideas.

Thanks for checking in and have a wonderful autumn.

Materials Used:
Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™, 8 oz – Set of 18 (LW18)

Colorations® Acrylic Paints, 8 oz – Set of 8 (CACRYLIC)

Giant Paper Punches – Set of 8 (BIGPUNCH)

* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

* For more ideas, visit Art and Creativity in Early Childhood Education

Toddler Art with Clara: A Child’s First Art Materials

Parents often ask me, “What’s the best art material to start with beyond the obvious crayons and markers?” I remember wondering the same thing when my children became toddlers. When they could first grasp a spoon and feed themselves, did that mean they were ready to grasp a crayon or a paintbrush? As a lifelong art teacher, I was eager to give my own children the opportunity to enjoy art AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, and begin what I considered the joyful process of messy art and sensory discovery. But of all the innovative art products for children on the market, what would I introduce first?  I learned a lot from trial and error and observation, which I pass along to you here.

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Recently my friend, April, asked me what she should get for her daughter, Clara, who is 2.5 years old. Clara already enjoyed scribbling, drawing and finger painting, but her mom wanted to expose her to more good stuff. April sent me this delightful photo of Clara in the buff, painting herself with bright red paint. The photo shows that Clara is a budding young artist and that her mom has the good sense to set her up with a painting station at home. Yay! What a great start to art.

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I sent April two of my favorite toddler art supplies – Colorations® Smooth & Silky Art Sticks and Do A Dot Art™ MarkersSmooth & Silky Art Sticks are my absolute favorite for toddlers; you see them here in yellow, blue and purple. They are so smooth, they feel like drawing with lipstick. Smooth & Silky Art Sticks are creamier than oil pastels, softer than crayons, and quickly color blend into secondary colors. Children can even add water with chubby brushes for a watercolor wash effect, or an adult can sponge down the paper first and have children draw onto wet paper for a “bleeding color” effect. They are the perfect tool for enhancing creativity.

Do A Dot Art™ Markers are another easy-to-grasp paint marker and the easiest way to apply paint without fingers or a brush. They are a similar product to Colorations® Washable Chubbie Markers, but they have the added benefit of simple labeling that reinforces language development when children are first learning colors.

One last product I suggested for Clara is Colorations® Chubby Crayon Eggs, which you see here as chunky round color balls. Crayon Eggs are a fun way to introduce another tool that facilitates gross motor skills, since they are more likely to be used with shoulder motions than wrist motions. All these materials are easy to grasp and give quick and easy feedback. That is, they do not require a high level of cognitive or motor development to respond. They are quick to show a child the delights of cause and effect – the child made a motion and caused the effect of a mark on the paper.

Early childhood art is developmentally complex, and there are reams of books written on the topic. Most parents have no idea how useful it is to give children a variety of art tools to explore their world. Nor do they know how much they could help develop their child’s brain power by introducing them to a variety of art materials. The use of tools to impact the world is something that literally distinguishes us from other animals. Even though it may seem very simple when a child makes a mark on paper, it is developmentally complex. If you want parents to grasp these concepts more clearly, consider duplicating this handout {here and here or click on the images below} and giving it to parents in their Back-to-School handout pack.

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Getting back to Clara: It just so happens that this is a PERFECT time for young Clara to be expanding her art repertoire. She is at the age when she’s exploring her impact on the physical world around her. She is beginning to separate from her parents and experience herself as a unique individual. And in Clara’s case, she is about to have a new sibling because her mother is 8 months pregnant!  So Clara will benefit from new forms of art expression that enable her to express herself and channel her feelings about having a new baby in the family.

Which makes me think of an amusing story about sibling rivalry that I’ll end with. It’s a story my husband loves to tell, that illustrates a child’s point of view when a new sibling is born. “Imagine your husband comes home and tells you he’s about to bring a second wife home, but that you should not worry or be concerned because he has love enough for two wives. Just because he’s bringing home a second wife doesn’t mean he loves you any less. He has love enough to go around. In fact, he hopes you will love this new wife too, just as he does. He hopes you will treat her with respect and not hit her or pull her hair, but love her too, as part of a beautiful, growing family.”  I love how this silly story drives home the complexity of sibling rivalry. Young Clara pictured here, delightfully exploring Colorations® Smooth & Silky Art Sticks and Do A Dot Art™ Markers, is about to realize her parents have love enough for two children. But should she have “issues” with that realization, she will have new ways to express her complex feelings through art.

What were YOUR child’s first art materials? We welcome your comments!

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Materials Used:
Smooth & Silky Art Sticks – set of 72 (SILKYPAK)
Do-A-Dot Art™ Markers – set of 32 (THEDS)
Do-A-Dot Art™ Primary Markers – set of 6 (PDD)
Do-A-Dot Art™ Brilliant Markers – set of 6 (BDD)
Do-A-Dot Art™ Flourescent Markers – set of 5 (FDD)
Do-A-Dot Art™ Shimmer Markers – set of 5 (SDD)
Colorations® Washable Chubbie Markers – set of 24 (CHUBBERS)
Colorations® Washable Chubbie Markers Primary – set of 8 (SPONGE)
Colorations® Washable Chubbie Markers Tropical – set of 8 (TSPONGE)
Colorations® Washable Sparkle Chubbie Markers – set of 8 (MESPONGE)
Colorations® Chubby Crayon Eggs – set of 8 (CHUBEGG)
Stubby Chubby Brushes – set of 12 (SPIFFY)

* Brought to you by Discount School  Supply®