Thursday, June 18, 2015

Flannel Friday 6/19 Round-up!

Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime has an adorable red wagon storytime with rhyming objects and a Little Mouse-type game... good stuff! And check out the photo of the stuffed polar bear with the wagon; super cute!

Nikki at Hey There Library has some amazing speckled frogs (caution: the song may be stuck in your head for several hours)(but these frogs are worth it). 

Danielle at Stories with Library Danielle did a fun clapping/stomping storytime that included a flannel of "Who said Moo?". See also: the fun shaky eggs song she used. 

Katie at Storytime Katie has some brightly colored cars with numbers that not only work for a flannel, but are sturdy enough for the kids to play with afterward. 

In my blog readings, I also came across Lisa's superhero felt table and I just had to include it here because 1) awesome and 2) summer reading!

Thanks to everyone for participating! Happy flanneling!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Preschool Art: Keith Haring

For this session of Preschool Explorers, we talked about Keith Haring and his artwork. Caveat: you need big big paper. I happened to have some rolls that someone donated, so I was set, but without those rolls this would not have been possible. 

First, we read books by Keith Haring. I read Ten and Big. We talked about the dancing figures and what they might be doing and we tried to twist our bodies into the same positions (hilarity ensued). 

We also looked at some of the drawings in I Wish I Didn't have to Sleep. 

This book is fascinating and asking the kids what they think the painting means is a treat. 

Then it was our turn! 

I rolled out the big paper so each kid could have a piece. They lay down and their grown-up companion traced their outline. Then the kids decorated themselves with all sorts of crafty odds and ends that I provided.  

I had hoped more of them would choose interested positions, but most of them just lay down and used that shape. 

Here are some of the results (in varying stages of done-ness):

The parents particularly loved this session and there was talk about hanging the results on bedroom walls. I saw some parents write the date on the sheet so they could compare the size as their preschooler grew (and we all know that happens way too fast....). 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Discovery Art: Marcus Pfister

I'm a fan of Marcus Pfister. When I was working in a children's bookstore, he came once to talk to the kids and sign books. He also showed us all how to draw Penguin Pete and was just generally so charming and wonderful that I have been a huge fan ever since. 

Regardless of personal opinions on the Rainbow Fish, the sparkle paper is certainly eye-catching and fun to work with so I decided to have one of our art programs focus on Marcus Pfister. This one was particularly good for me because it worked for my preschool artists (Preschool Explorers) and my afterschool art club (Discovery Art).

First, we read "The Rainbow Fish" and talked about how the illustrations were made. I pulled out a few more Marcus Pfister books and we looked at how he made his watercolors and what he chose to highlight with sparkle. 

Then it was our turn! 

I set out paper, pencils, watercolors, and paintbrushes for the painting part. They could draw and watercolor over it or just paint free-form. I also had glitter foam and scissors so they could cut out the shape of what they wanted to highlight and stick the glitter foam right to their painting. 

First we paint!
Then we add glitter parts!




All in all, it worked out pretty well. I think the dot art was a little better overall as some of the kids struggled to come up with ideas of what to paint, but the results shiny and the kids had fun and checked out Marcus Pfister books, so I'm satisfied. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Block Party: a Family Program

For one of my big Saturday Programs this spring, I had a Block Party in which we celebrated/played with all kinds of blocks (get it? get it??). And seriously, folks, this one is as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. 

Basically, you just need blocks. I had lots of different kinds of blocks: 

Cardboard Bricks
Recycled Blocks
Foam Blocks
Wooden Blocks. They look a little forlorn here, but
I swear we enjoyed them!
Because I can never leave well enough alone (also known as the "why plan one activity when you can plan 28!" syndrome) I also had a few tables with activities. I'm guessing, though, that most of the kids would have been happy just to build with the blocks. Some of the older participants gravitated towards the crafts at first, but even they were lured by the blocks by the end. 

First, a make your own LEGO figurine station. I printed out figurines in yellow cardstock (you can see them in the middle of the table) and then set out a variety of things to make the characters unique. 

Because I thought it would be fun. I put out printed LEGO movie masks for the kids to color and make. They were fans of this one. 

Finally, I had a table with the shape blocks I remembered having as a kid. I love these blocks. 

I discovered while making my Toddler Obstacle Course that the foam squares I used for Candyland could make blocks. So I used them to make blocks. I left some of the foam flat so the kids could experiment with building blocks if they wanted. One little girl only wanted to form the blocks, not build with them.

Fortunately, not everyone felt that way and those kids made a magnificent castle. 

Maybe I'll use this idea for my next princess party! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Preschool Science: Sound

For this Preschool Explorer's session, we explored sound.

I started by reading Squeak! Rumble! Whomp Whomp Whomp! by Wynton Marsalis.

Then we talked about sound and different sounds we hear during our day. I also brought along a non-fiction book about sound that had a picture (ok, an illustration) of sound waves and we talked about how sound makes waves and makes things move. 

I had stretched a balloon over a large plastic bowl and I put some salt on the balloon. Then I invited the kids to make loud sounds near the balloon to see if the salt would move. And, yay us, it did bounce when we made loud noises near it. I had the kids tap sticks near the bowl, but I'm sure other versions of noise-making would work as well. 

Then we went to the stations: 

1) The Cup Telephone
The simplest and somehow the most popular, I used two paper cups and some string and made an old-school string telephone. One little boy was just fascinated by it and his mother asked me "why does it only work if the string is taut?" so it was science learning for everyone!

2) The Wire Hangers
Because life is all about ups and downs, the same table that held the most popular telephone cup also held the least popular wire hanger activity. Tie a hanger to some string, wrap the ends of the string around your index fingers, put your hands over your ears, and bang the hanger into things to hear what it sounds like. You can see the most adorable child ever doing this experiment here. I tried to encourage kids to do it by doing it myself, but I guess no one wanted to look like a weird lumbering hanger-nosed elephant so most kids stayed away. Sigh. 

3) Quiet or Loud
Benefit of having a baby at home: lots of formula containers. I put out several containers as well as a plethora of random small items. The kids put the things into the containers, put the lids on top, and shook. I asked them to say which was loud, which was quiet, and which was their favorite. Honestly, shaking things up is their favorite. 

4) The Sound of Beans
I had several different sizes and kinds of containers and about a cup's worth of beans. The kids poured the cups into the different containers and listened to the sounds it made. Simple, but fun.

5) Make a Kazoo
I rarely do crafts during Preschool Lab - I prefer to make it a time of exploration - but this one was too good to resist (and I didn't have enough boxes for a rubber band guitar station). There are a lot of different ways to create these kazoos, but they all take paper tubes, waxed paper, and rubber bands. I ended up basing our craft on this set of instructions.

There were lots of good ideas here, like the model eardrum part that I used at the beginning, but I didn't get a chance to use them all because of time/available materials/point at which I started planning. It was a good session - just be ready for it to get a little loud. :-)

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