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

“Mommy, My Art is in the Trash!”

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“Mommy, my art is in the trash!” said 4-year-old Noah with shock and dismay. This is how Board Supervisor, Janice Rutherford, opened her keynote speech to a large group of educators. She held up her son’s paper plate painting, and told us how distressed he was when he found it in the trash can at home. How could this have happened? Surely it must be a mistake because who would throw away original artwork?

I was completely amused by her poignant message as this Education Board Member went on to show us that she “walked the walk” and “talked the talk” of early childhood education. She knows from first-hand experience and her own sensitivity that the values we instill in our children are important and our actions need to match those values. (By the way, she confessed to me later that she kept so much of Noah’s artwork, she had run out of storage room, but that she learned a lot from this lesson and would be more discreet in the future.)

How can we teach our children that we DO value their artwork, both at home at school?  Here are a couple of handouts to start the school year out. They make great take-home flyers for parents, or feel free to post them on your school web site. (Click each flyer for a full resolution version)

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anna why worry pdf

In my next post, I’ll be highlighting “Art in the Foyer” and show you inspiring examples of children’s art in school foyers and classrooms. There are many temporary displays of process art experiences that enhance your classroom walls, but permanent or semi-permanent displays also add to your school aesthetics and make a statement about how you value creativity.

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In fact, without much cost at all you can turn your entire school into an Art Gallery full of children’s work. Here are a few creative ideas from Pierce College’s Child Development Center where Director Phyllis Schneider hosts a monthly forum and idea exchange for local Preschool Directors. This abstract feather painting hangs in their meeting room and was easy for children to create with feathers and Colorations® Metallic Activity paints on a large donated canvas.

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Phyllis gave me a tour and introduced me to their art specialist, a lead teacher named Miyuki. Sometimes it only takes one art oriented teacher to make a big difference in your entire school.  Hopefully you have one of those, like Miyuki, and will encourage her to spread her mark throughout your school. Check out some of these inspiring abstract painting examples, which I will talk about more in future posts.

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I hope you have had a great start to the school year. My life has been crazy busy with the back-to-school season, but things are finally settling down, whew! I hope you are settling into your routine as well and finding balance in your life. Remember to take care of yourself, and find time to do what you enjoy. And stay creative to replenish yourself.  Remember that art is one of the only ways you can find yourself and lose yourself at the same time. LOL. Anna

Key Words:

PreK Art, Value of Art, Art in Child Develoment, Parent Handouts, Parent Education, Messy Art, Paint Stains on Clothing,

Materials Used:
Colorations® Metallic Activity Paints

Colorations® Paint
Feathers, assorted pack
Smart Art and More Smart Art Books

* Brought to you by Discount School  Supply®

Painting and Freedom

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“There is no ‘must’ in art because art is free.”  Kandinsky, 1911

Freedom is a powerful concept in our culture. We want our children to experience freedom, yet we continuously impose rules and limits on them. Art is an activity where freedom can be experienced directly, and many rules can be set aside. Through open ended painting experiences, children can safely take risks and enjoy the sense of freedom that comes from acting spontaneously and making their own choices.

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I just noticed how the message on my coffee mug matches what I’m writing. I’m drinking coffee from a mug designed by Cambria artist, Fred Babb, who states “art is working on something til you like it, then leaving it that way.” Try a Google or Pinterest search of Fred Babb quotes and you’ll find delightful poster sayings like this one:

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Such is the simple and pure relationship of art to freedom. This wonderful splatter  & drip mural created at Creative Care for Children, illustrates the freedom and power of open-ended painting. Children of various ages are visibly engaged in “learning by doing.”

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Anna Freedom 5 The black background paper adds an unexpected surprise and provides contrast for brightly pigmented paints. This oversized black photography paper was donated to Creative Care. If you can’t find a donation source, try a black fade resistant Colorations® Prima-Color™ Paper Roll and be sure to use Colorations® Simply Washable Tempera for brilliant colors and washability.

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I’ve always been impressed with the art program at Creative Care for Children, which is owned and operated by Danielle Monroy in beautiful Santa Barbara, California.  Danielle is a passionate arts advocate whose expertise in delivering play based learning is inspirational. Danielle let parents know to dress their children for a day of painting.  She also directed children to the water tub for sensory play, or any easy and playful way to encourage “clean up.”

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Anna Freedom 9 Print out this “Why Worry?” mini poster from Smart Art if you’d like help getting parents on board for open ended painting at YOUR school. Because once parents understand the positive skills children learn through art, they won’t worry when children come home with paint on their clothes.

Thanks for checking in!  We’d love to hear your comments.

Anna Freedom Why Worry

Materials Used:
Colorations® Simply Washable Tempera Paint, set of 15 (SWTALL)
Colorations® Flourescent Simply Washable Tempera Paint, set of 7 (FSWTSET)
Colorations® Prima-Color™ Fade Resistant Paper Roll, black (RESIST)
Smart Art and More Smart Art Ideas, set of 2 (ARTY)

* Brought to you by Discount School  Supply®

Fun and Affordable Holiday Art Ideas

I love to spray paint. Whether I’m working with children or adults, it’s exciting to watch people experience freedom and leave their inhibitions behind by spraying liquid paints onto paper. Let’s think about making Color Spray Murals for the winter holidays, it’s a spray paint process that creative, affordable and makes for great gifts and festive decorations.

At the NAEYC Conference in Atlanta last month, Peter and I made a video of “How to Make a Color Spray Mural.” Here’s a photo of the artwork I made in the video, I draped it outside my studio so you could see how nice it turned out when it dried. The paint I’m using is Colorations® Liquid Watercolor, which is super easy to use in spray bottles and is also 100% washable, always a plus.

Here the same artwork folded and used as a coffee table runner. (Notice my sweet dog Abbey on the sofa , awww). Color Spray Murals are a great way to dress up your home or classroom for the holidays and this one used just a third of a sheet of mural paper so it cost very little to make, including the paints.

Best of all, Color Spray Murals can make you feel over-the-top creative. To the adults and teachers I work with, I like to say “you will feel like an instant artist!” and this quick YouTube video will prove just how and why that is. Take a look!

The “fabric-like” paper I’ve used is called Cooperative Mural Art Paper, and it’s the key to success with Color Spray Murals. Notice the soft drape and spongy textured surface in this plain white one that’s ready to be painted. Cooperative Mural Art Paper is a actually a special 2-ply paper drop cloth that’s sold in some hardware stores, but it can be very hard to find. It’s available from Discount School Supply® for $8.99 and is an oversized 4’ x 10” sheet with plastic backing. One sheet will make 2-4 small murals or 20 individual works of art. I recommend this paper over any other surface to spray paint, and I’m certain you’ll agree.

Check out this Wrapping Paper station, using the same Color Spray Mural from the video. Gifts look so beautiful when wrapped with swatches of a Color Spray Mural, and imagine having 4 x 10 feet of brilliant colored paper that you made by hand. For truly affordable gift wrap this season, consider a few other bargains from our ribbons and trims such as my personal favorites: Satin Ribbon in eight colors for $11.99, or Printed Craft Tape in 10 colors for $15.99, or wonderfully soft Textured Craft Yarns in eight colors for $17.99. All are an affordable way to reflect CREATIVITY and personalize your holidays.

You can also cut Color Spray Murals into smaller pieces and make scrolls, using dowels or chopsticks on the top and bottom. These make wonderful holiday gifts. You can leave them as art only, or mount a child’s poem or message or drawing on top. These beautiful scrolls are unique and easy to make, and use about 50 cents worth of materials. 

Handmade gifts are such a personal way to show you care. I found some ideas on Etsy the other day that I wanted to share:

Handmade Work has Authenticity and Soul.
There is JOY in handmade.
Nothing’s better than having a little piece of someone’s passion.

If you’re working with young children, you may wonder where to start with making ideas like these. Sometime a fence or wall outside is the best place to start.  

Notice that the sprays of paint are not running down the paper, like they would be if you spray painted onto the usual white butcher paper. The children are spraying Colorations® Liquid Watercolor onto spongy, fabric-like Cooperative Mural Art Paper so the paint is staying on the mural and reflecting back a lot of color.  

 

Here’s a picture from a 3-year-old classroom where we created a collaborative mural outside on the playground. The children used ferns and large leaves as stencils and sprayed on top of them to make leaf shapes. The bright drizzles are Colorations® Gold and Silver Liquid Watercolor, which was dripped on top of the sprayed areas.

Because Cooperative Mural Art Paper (LWMAT) has a plastic backing, you can do these murals inside also. Just be sure to put newspaper under all the edges. You’ll find these and other tips in my Color Spray Lesson Plan from Smart Art Ideas Activity Book.

(click here for the lesson plan)

Here are some girlfriends who came over to play. I spray paint on the weekends for relaxation sometimes, and when my friends hear about it they often want to join me. It’s very therapeutic and is a great activity for people who think they’re “not artistic.”

In Conclusion:
After a lifetime of being passionate about art and experimenting with every art material imaginable, I think I like to make Color Spray Murals the best of all. Why? I love the sensory and physical freedom of spraying color. I love that I am forced to work quickly and spontaneously and not over-think anything. I know I don’t have to be afraid of the final outcome or “how it will look in the end” because the color and texture will carry it, no matter what I do. I can suspend judgment, trust the process, and allow the incredible combination of light and color and movement take form in front of me.

Have a wonderful holiday season and thank you for checking in.

Materials Used:
Colorations® Liquid Watercolor – set of 13 (13LW)Colorations® Gold and Silver Liquid Watercolor (MLWG and MLWS)Colorations® Washable Glitter Paint – set of 11 (GLPA)Cooperative Mural Art Paper (LWMAT)Smart Art Ideas Activity Book (SMARTART)
Satin Ribbon – 16 spools (SATIN)
Printed Craft Tape – 10 rolls (PRINTED)
Textured Craft Yarn – 8 skeins (TEXYARN)

* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

 

Welcome Back! Let’s Start with Art

Welcome back to school! It’s a fresh new school year and the season of beginnings. Many of you already have classrooms filled with eager, bright and often shy new faces. Others are busily preparing for that exciting first day of class. All of us, whether we are teachers, parents or simply “grown ups” who love children are eagerly anticipating a year of joyful learning.

Let’s explore how ART ties in with those first exciting weeks of school.

How do YOU use art to help children engage in your classroom? Here’s a useful handout to send home with parents as school begins – it helps them understand how they can partner with you in using art to help children grow and become their best selves.

Recently I asked a group of seasoned teachers about their favorite “first art project.” Several responded with SELF PORTRAITS, I liked that! But given that there are so many drawing materials to choose from for a self portrait, where is a teacher to begin? I love the use of BOLD permanent markers for early self portraits. Here are some examples of back to school self portraits from Francine Farkas’s 4-year-old class.

Francine gives children bold, permanent markers to draw with so their portraits really “pop” on the page. She keeps these initial self portraits in her children’s Art Portfolios (more on that in a future post) and they will serve as a “baseline” drawing of each child’s development when the year began. Each portrait will be saved and shared at parent/teacher conferences and will serve as a valuable reference point for measuring developmental growth as the year goes by.

Francine mounts each portrait onto construction paper to emphasize the importance of each one and to create an “art gallery” effect. Because her classroom is not so large, she uses the supply door closet as a gallery space.

The teacher next door took a different approach to her “first art” self portraits, still using bold permanent markers so the portraits “pop” on the page, but adding a photograph of each child. Look closely at the clever use of a blank picture frame held by each child in its photograph.

This teacher’s laminated self portraits hang outside her classroom door. What a delightful way for both children and parents to be greeted at the start of each new day.

Teachers in the four-year-old classrooms at Pressman Academy often leave fine tipped, black permanent markers (PERMBLK) out for open-ended drawing, and as a result children create bold pictures with a sense of authority.

One other thing: When I asked my group of seasoned teachers for their favorite “art tip” to start the new year right, they said to offer lots of open ended exploration of art materials right from the start. This included the simplest idea of starting out with easy to use Colorations® tempera cakes (A8TCA) with Colorations® easy grip brushes (EGBRUSH).

And moved on to including unusual sensory art ideas that children would not likely find at home. Such as these rainbow striped pom pom balls (COLORPOM) in a sensory tub (TUBS) which I saw in one classroom, and those same colorful pom poms in another classroom on trays with sea and zoo  sticks (AP632J) and a variety of other pinch grippers. I loved both these applications! And I also imagined several other things we might do with these same colorful, oversized pom poms.

Have a wonderful new year, and don’t forget to stock up on fun new art materials to inspire your students and keep YOU feeling inspired as well.

 
Materials Used:
Sea and Zoo Sticks – set of 4 (AP632J)
 
* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

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



Collaborative Art & Inspiration

Sometimes I feel like I work with angels. I just heard the most inspiring Conference Keynote and felt so proud to be a teacher. I was standing in the back of the room, listening to a Superintendent of Education inspire a room full of educators, all readying themselves for the new school year cycle. What’s not to be proud of when you realize how much the world needs good teachers?
I was reminded of this quote:
“Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.” ~ Haim Ginott

With inspiration in mind, I’m posting some of my favorite Collaborative Art ideas to help put you in the mood for a creative summer, and to prepare you for working with your new students this Fall. Collaborative Art can be such unifying, positive group experience, and open-ended art is a great way to bring people together in a feel-good kind of way. 

(CLICK HERE for Inspirational Quotes to download and print)

The teachers from Stephen S. Wise Nursery School are photographed here at a back to school Pre-service, making their own Collaborative Art fabric murals with BioColor®, paint scrapers, and Colorations® Washable Glitter Paints. Incorporating hands-on art into your Pre-service is a good way to start the year off, and reminds teachers about why art making is so important to both intellectual and emotional well being.

Here’s another collection of my favorite Collaborative Art ideas from classrooms I have visited this year. I hope they inspire you to do art in a group setting soon. Please send me YOUR favorite ideas and I’d be happy to include them in a future post.

What a great time to work in education, our challenges are greater than ever and there’s no better time to work in a field that contributes to the well-being of children. Have a good summer and rest well so you can get back into the classroom this Fall and do your best work. And remember to learn to reward yourself for working in a field that makes a positive contribution to the world. Because a teacher really does affect eternity – you will never know where your influence ends.

I know you’ve seen this, but I’ll remind you to remind yourself once again: 

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.” ~ Witcraft

Materials Used in Pre-service Canvas Paintings:  BioColor® Paint – set of 11 (BIO16)
Colorations® Washable Glitter Paint – 16 oz bottle (CGP)
Canvas Art Banner (ARTBAN)
Paint Scrapers – set of 4 (SCR)
Good Times Painting Rollers – set of 6 (FUNROLL)

Materials in Other Photographs:
Liquid Watercolor™ Texas Snowflakes – set of 35 (TEXAS)
Classroom Canvas Quilt – 12 pieces (CLASQLT)
Insta-Snow® (SNO)
Colorations® Ultimate Liquid Watercolor™ Paint Kit (LWKIT3)
Colorations® No-Drip Foam Paint – 8 oz bottle (BFP)

* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

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

Gelatin Giggles for Summer Fun!

Outdoor art is great for summer when we can enjoy time outside in the light and sunshine. If you love COLOR and gem-like quality of the Gelatin Giggles pictured here, you will want to add this simple sensory activity to your summer plan. Because we are making memories here with our summer, right? And there’s nothing much more memorable than colored gelatin slipping through your fingers on a perfect summer day. 

These photos are from Sari Abram’s 3-year-old classroom at Pressman Academy in LA where I recently a led a 30 minute Gelatin Giggles activity on a corner of the playground. I took in eight blocks of gelatin, plastic eyedroppers, five bottles of Colorations® Liquid Watercolor, and an art tray with a 1” lip to contain the mess. I volunteered for this because I’m developing a new workshop called “Messy Art with 2’s and 3’s.” I had already tried Gelatin Giggles with school-age children, but I wanted to see how very young children would respond. I learned that the best way to introduce Gelatin Giggles to a group of toddlers was to have them take turns two at a time, while I managed some semblance of control over the paint. As a firm believer in messy art, I also recognize there’s ultimately an “art” to controlling the mess while allowing children the experience of freedom with the materials.

Things were pretty clean and tidy as the first two children began playing with the eyedroppers on the white art tray. I instructed them to fill their eyedropper with the color of their choice, then stick the eyedropper into the gelatin chunk and squirt the paint inside. They learned that if they didn’t stick their eyedropper in very far, some of the color would splash back out on them, surprise!

They also learned that their eyedropper would sometimes suck up the gelatin and create a colored gelatin snake, surprise!

Before they finished their turn at the sensory table, I offered the opportunity to select a second color and inject that into the gelatin. Then they could watch the colors blend and pick up a chunk of gelatin in their hands and hold it up to the sunlight. We didn’t clean up between children, so the colors and gelatin chunks accumulated on the tray as the activity progressed.

To create Gelatin Giggles, purchase unflavored gelatin (Knox makes one and others are generally sold next to the flavored gelatins at the grocery store). Use less water than called for to make your “giggles” a bit more solid than usual. Here’s the recipe:

Knox Gelatin Mold: The ratio is 3/4 cup water to 1 packet of Knox. Take the number of cups of water your container holds and DIVIDE by .75 This is how many packets of Knox you need. In a saucepan, heat the water over low heat, add the packets of gelatin. After it dissolves pour it into your container. Let set over night. **BE SURE TO USE OIL OR SPRAY YOUR CONTAINER WITH PAM FIRST! Wait for a sunny day and unmold your gelatin onto art trays or a sand and water table.

Did I talk enough about the exciting presence of light and color? Check out how this glob of green sparkles in the sun! Does it make you think of stained glass windows or a sparkling crystal? If you own a diamond ring or anything cut from crystal, bring that to class and show children how these minerals are faceted, which means they have flat planes that refract color and light. Amazingly, clear gelatin also breaks along facets in similar fashion, which is why Gelatin Giggles look like gemstones in the light.

There’s nothing like group art experiences to bring children together and create a sense of collaboration in the summer. Gelatin Giggles is a perfect way to introduce sensory art while the weather is warm enough for outdoor play and the sun can provide a brilliant light source to enhance experiments with light and color.

If you like this art idea, you’ll probably also enjoy “Ice Tunnels” and “Sand Tray Gemstones”, two of 18 Colorations® Liquid Watercolor Activities in my book Smart Art Ideas 2. Thanks for checking in, and I look forward to reading your comments. If you would like to have your own art ideas included in a future post please send me an email at areyner@discountschoolsupply.com. Together we can continue to build a strong art and creativity community.

Materials Used:
Colorations® Liquid Watercolor
SuperSafe Plastic Droppers (12SSD)
Brawny Large Art Tray (RECTRAY)
Smart Art Ideas 2 (MOREART)

From grocery store: Knox or other brand clear gelatin

* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

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

The Messy Art Studio

What I love best about blogging is how we stay connected and share new ways to have fun with art. It’s so refreshing to know there are other “like minded” spirits out there. I always have fun with messy art, especially the kind of OUTRAGEOUS fun you see in this photo, sent to me by a fellow arts educator, Donna Bernstein.

Donna owns The Messy Artist, an art studio for children in New Jersey. She recently sent me a blog comment, so I looked up her website and I found it over-the-top inspirational. Just the name of her art business was enough to make me smile. Donna enrolls over 150 students a month in her afterschool art classes and delivers 15 Messy Art Birthday Parties a month. What a creative and successful entrepreneur! She must have boundless energy and a very happy staff. Imagine all those happy children and families, being exposed on a regular basis to the pleasures and values of sensory play.

To promote the VALUE of messy art, Donna highlights these words on her website:
Exciting, exploratory, creative, imaginative, fabulous, just plain fun.

Kudos to you, Donna, that pretty much sums it up. The ideas and the photos from The Messy Artist studio were so much fun, I knew you would enjoy seeing them too.

Check out these two boys messing around with Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ on top of shaving cream. Donna was excited to tell me that she buys all her art supplies from Discount School Supply® and first learned a lot of her messy art ideas from our catalog. Everything here is written up as a Lesson Plan in Smart Art Ideas Activity Book and Smart Art Ideas 2.

This larger photo shows the group process at a Messy Art Birthday Party. Donna says when older siblings come to a birthday party, they sometimes have even more fun with the sensory play than the little ones! She went on to share her ideas about art in society: “In today’s society where children are so structured and pushed to grow up it’s great to see them just being kids and playing with goop, slime or finger paint.”

Here’s some orange colored Sensational Spaghetti in a large sensory tub, one of the Messy Artist’s signature projects. You’ll find the lesson plan in Smart Art, but here’s a copy (click here for the pdf) of it for you to see and print out.

Now check out this Sensory Box that Donna keeps filled with colored rice; it’s like a sandbox but for indoor use. Donna pre-colors rice with Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ and keeps her sensory box filled with it. It’s the hit of her studio! Donna found that outdoor sand boxes typically don’t have a strong bottom or cover, so she had her husband make this to her specifications. It’s 4′ x 4′ with a bench all around for kids to sit on. It’s also big enough for kids to sit inside. It can accommodate about six kids inside and 8-10 if they are sitting around it.

The full-on body contact with colored rice and the sensations of this total body immersion are unforgettable. In fact, Donna says as children grow up, leave home and come back to visit her studio, they always first ask if she still has the colored rice to sit in!

Donna’s photos inspired me to make colored rice and spaghetti at my next conference, so I opened up my sensory collage box. There I discovered some colored rice I had forgotten about, I made it over two years ago! That’s some pretty good “shelf life.” I kept it because I loved this color combination, I even called it “mardi gras” rice. I colored it with lime, black, red, violet and magenta Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™. I always color some rice with black Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ because black gives such good contrast against the bright colors. And for the same reason, I throw in a little plain white.

To make this multi-colored, “mardi gras” rice, simply take dry rice and place it in different plastic zip lock bags, and make up each color separately. Pour, drizzle or spray Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ into the bag, shake it up, then pour it all out on a paper plate to dry. When the rice colors are dry, mix them together like the mardi gras mix, then keep other colors pure for use in various types of collage.

Getting back to the colored spaghetti: The night before my conference I cooked up 3 boxes of differently shaped pasta, and stored them in large zip lock bags. Here you see them in my favorite sensory tub heading for their travels. If you don’t have good sensory tubs, try these! They are wonderful. I use mine constantly and they last for years.

Here we are at the San Diego Association of Family Child Care, where I just delivered a Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ workshop. The crowd was mesmerized! But of course they were, how often does a speaker bring out 3 pounds of pasta and begin coloring it?

I showed everyone how to place rice or pasta into a zip lock bag, add Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™, shake it up to distribute the color, then pour it out. We poured the rice out onto paper plates, but we poured the wet pasta into the sensory bins. Here we have a bag of wet rigatoni colored with magenta, followed by other wet pasta shapes colored with lime. Are we crazy? Perhaps, but it sure was fun!

By the way, one final note about coloring foods. If you work in a low income area, it’s not a good idea to use food as an art material for obvious reasons. In that case, try substituting ice cream salt, plain wooden beads, or shaving cream, they work just fine!

Contact Donna or check out her website at:
Donna Bernstein
Owner and Director
The Messy Artist, LLC
www.TheMessyArtist.com
973.378.2425

Materials Used:
Sand and Water Activity Tubs (TUBS)
Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ – set of 13 classic colors (13LW)
Smart Art Ideas – both books (ARTY) Paint’M Beads (PAINTM)

* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

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

I Love, Love, Love COLOR!

It’s officially Spring so let’s celebrate COLOR! 

I think color is the most fun part of art.  Do you adore brilliant colors, too? 

How about these huge coffee filters painted with Colorations®Liquid Watercolor™? Aren’t the colors inviting? 

There’s nothing like Liquid Watercolor™ to bring colors to life.     

The pigments are amazingly intense, and they are so easy to drip, spray or dab on with a “bingo bottle.”  Plus they are washable, affordable, and just about the most versatile paint on the planet.
Here’s a photo of a recent conference where we painted Texas-sized coffee filters with Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ and sprinkled them with salt to create Salt Crystal Coffee Filters. What’s not to LOVE about this easy and playful art idea? 
Young children can safely explore color using Colorations®Liquid Watercolor™.  This 4-year-old girl is exploring magenta.  She’s lucky enough to be in Francine Farkas’s class, where they do open ended art every day!  Here are two more of Francine’s students, dripping Liquid Watercolor™ onto White Canvas Backpacks (BACKPACK) using special eyedroppers called Super Safe Plastic Droppers (12SSD).  Notice how engaged they are in the painting process. Their sheer concentration speaks to the value of child-centered, self-directed art.  Experienced teachers know how important it is to provide paint and other unstructured, fluid art materials daily.  Wet or fluid art materials like these provide exciting physical contacts that motivate exploration and provide children with an almost magical sense of discovery.
Here are some Liquid Watercolor™ paintings on Real Watercolor Paper (PMONET) with salt sprinkled on while the paint is still wet.  The same paint is also applied to a long piece of paper towel.  Can you see the textures created by the salt?  Always apply salt to WET Liquid Watercolor™ and as it dries, the crystal patterns (little dots and textures) will appear.
By the way, sometimes I put Nancy™ Paint Bottle Classic Tips (NANCLS) on top of my bottles.  They fit perfectly and make it easier to control the pour. 
This last Coffee Filter Art came from a workshop participant at the recent CAEYC conference. Can you believe this beautiful Mountain Sunset and Abstract Portrait were both made with Texas-sized coffee filters painted with Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ then cut up into these wonderful collages?  My jaw dropped when I saw these photographs!  They are so sophisticated, I am still completely in awe of the creativity it took to make them.  Imagine these materials are exactly the same ones used in other coffee filter applications shown in this post.  They were made by Bonnie Reid, an early childhood educator who simply asked me to tell you “I love liquid watercolor!”  Thank you, Bonnie, you’re  awesome.  I am so inspired by you!
I recently read a quote by Jonathan Adler who said “I love, love, love color – it’s the ultimate anti-depressant.”  I think I have to agree. 

I hope your Spring is off to a colorful start!  Thanks for reading this post, and please come back again soon.
Materials Referenced:

Liquid Watercolor™ Texas Snowflakes (BIGTEX)
Colorations® Liquid Watercolor™ (LW18)
Colorations® Ultimate Liquid Watercolor™ Paint Kit (LWKIT3)
Super Safe Plastic Droppers (12SSD)
White Canvas Backpacks (BACKPACK)
Smart Art Ideas Activity Book (SMARTART)
Nancy™ Bottle Classic Tips (NANCLS)
Real Watercolor Paper (PMONET)

* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

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

The Fine Art of Scribbling

Children’s scribbles were once conceived of simply as practice for “real drawing,” but educators today recognize that scribbling is an important step in child development. Scribbling is the foundation of artistic development and is intimately linked with language acquisition. Young children love to scribble and adults will enjoy it too, if you give them permission to “let loose with a crayon.” So, as I pondered what to address in my first post of 2012, it seemed like a good idea to start at the beginning – with the scribble stage.

Scribbling reflects a child’s physical and mental process. This young girl is scribbling with one of my favorite early learning tools, a Colorations® Smooth and Silky Art Stick (SILKYSTK).  Colorations® Silky Sticks are great for toddlers because they’re easy to grasp and make exceptionally smooth, bright marks on paper. When toddlers first pick up a crayon and make a mark, they experience a pleasurable moment in which they use a tool and produce a result. They don’t realize they are taking the first step of a long journey, a journey that will culminate around the age of 8 with a mastery of line that is remarkably controlled. They only know that in this powerful moment, something they did with their body created a visible result and that feels very exciting.

This scribble drawing is from Mona Raoufpour’s 4 year old classroom at Pressman Academy in Los Angeles. Mona artfully links children’s early drawings to language and literacy. Early in the school year, many of her students are immersed in the scribble stage or just moving into more representational drawings. Mona takes meticulous dictations and mounts them directly onto children’s scribble drawings as shown here. Without this detailed dictation, who would ever know that Noah, this young artist, has a story in his mind about a “big monster who ate broccoli then fell down and broke his face and arm and leg.” 

Mona has her 4 year olds work on long term book making projects that include scribble drawings with dictations. Children are indeed natural storytellers, and scribbling is how their visual story telling begins.

No study of scribbling would be complete without mention of Rhoda Kellogg. Kellogg was a pioneer in the study of analyzing children’s art. Over the course of 20 years, Rhoda Kellogg collected and analyzed over 1 million children’s drawings from children ages 2-8. In 1967, she published an archive of 8000 drawings of children ages 24-40 months, focusing on scribbling and the early “ages and stages” of child development. Kellogg concluded that children need plenty of time for free drawing and scribbling to develop the symbols that will later become the basis for all writing and drawing. Before Kellogg, scribbles were considered nonsense. Children were discouraged or even forbidden from scribbling, and encouraged to copy adult models (sounds ghastly and misguided, but this shows how far we’ve come in understanding child development.).

Stages of Scribble
Here’s something creative to do with scribble drawings – check out the “Stages of Scribbles” created by children at the Alpert Jewish Community Center in Long Beach, CA. Assistant Director, Alayna Cosores, asked teachers to contribute examples of scribbles and compiled them into an Ages & Stages frame that hangs in their Early Childhood Office. Not only is it colorful and fun to look at, “Stages of Scribble” reminds parents that scribbling is an important process to encourage at home. Why not try something like this in your own center, it costs so little to put together and will provide years of stimulating conversation.

Last but not least, scribbling is not just for kids…it can also be liberating for adults! Scribbling is a physical process that emphasizes freedom of movement. It can help us relax and get into the sensory mode of our bodies as well as the creative, right hemisphere of our brain. With this in mind, I often begin Teacher Trainings with some form of a scribble warm-up. My favorite is a paired up exercise called a “Scribble Chase.”  Click here for the printable lesson plan from my book Smart Art Ideas 2 (MOREART). While the original lesson plan used Colorations® Liquid Watercolor for the top layer, I’ve come to enjoy it even more using Colorations® No-Drip Foam Paint. (BFPSET).

Scribbling is it’s a great way to energize a room at the beginning of a workshop, and we got beautiful results from the Scribble Chase warm-ups shown here. Both were created by teachers at this week’s Messy Art Workshop, hosted by Beach Cities AEYC at Long Beach City College. I suggest you try “grown-up” scribbling sometime soon. Happy New Year!

Materials Used:
Colorations® Smooth and Silky Art Sticks (SILKYSTK, set of 24, or SILKYPAK, set of 72)
Colorations® Regular Crayons (CRS16)
Colorations® No-Drip Foam Paint (BFPSET, set of 7)
White Sulfite Paper (A80SU)
Smart Art Ideas 2 (MOREART)

* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®