Wednesday, February 23, 2011

1s Clay Exploration

This week we focused on clay. For their first introduction to clay, the new 1s class began with a soft, grainy clay, a rolling pin and a popsicle stick for poking. At first they really didn't know what to make of it. They were daring and tired to touch it, but quickly moved to the easels where they felt more comfortable.
At this age I like to introduce children to clay on it's own at first, but eventually I always incorporate water to entice them. This brings them back to the table and helps them to engage more with the clay.
Once the children felt more comfortable working with the clay, I began to introduce paint and various tools to use in their exploration.
After getting to know the clay (hard work!), the children moved on to what they know and love... pure water play!

The other 1s class are returning students with a little clay experience under their belts. So instead of the soft pliable clay I use with beginners, I offered them a modeling clay that is more firm and very smooth. Because it isn't as squishy as the other clay, it shows pokes and prints really well. The children began rolling, stamping, and poking the clay and seemed to be intrigued by this new material.

After a while, I offered the children more tools, paint, and water to use with their clay.

This clay is soooo smooth- when combined with water it creates a sensory experience unlike any other!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Clay Pinch Pots and Messy Exploration

This week we focused on clay. While the new students spent some time getting to know the clay, the returning students were offered a chance to learn a new clay technique. The 2s class started off with a soft, grainy clay (usually used for wheel throwing) which is easy to manipulate for a first clay experience. They held and poked the clay, then used a variety of tools to explore its properties.

As returning students, the 3s/4s class learned a new technique to make "pinch pots." They used a modeling clay that is more firm than the throwing clay, but very smooth. After they formed a small bowl shape, they decorated their pinch pots with rhinestones, buttons, glitter, and paint.

When the children finished their pinch pots, we put them to dry and I offered them new clay to explore with tools and water. Allowing the children to continue investigating clay in an open-ended format is an important part of the learning process.

After some messy clay exploration, I offered the 2s class new materials to incorporate into their clay work (paint, buttons, rhinestones, popsicle sticks, and toothpicks).

It's been a rainy week, so the children gathered around a bucket of water for wash-up time inside the studio.

The finished pinch-pots from the 3s/4s class...

Friday, February 18, 2011

1s Texture Painting

This week the 1s classes worked on texture paintings, similar to the older classes. The new 1s group began by practicing their squeezing skills and squeezed out tempera paint onto their tag board. This is a hard skill to learn at first, but it's a great way to work on fine motor development.
The older 1s (who are returning students) began by squeezing the paint into a mixing bowl that held a variety of thickening ingredients. Some children had sand, others had shredded tissue paper, flour, or coarse salt. After stirring everything together, they scooped the paint onto the tag board to begin their texture paintings.

After squeezing the paint onto the tag board, the new 1s group added their texture (sand and coarse salt) directly onto their paint. Glitter became a favorite additive as well!
Once the children all had thick, textured paint to work with, I offered them various scraping tools or items to move the paint around the paper- paint rollers, cars, sand rakes, combs, and plastic putty knives.

As they moved around the studio, the children began to paint at the easels or find new materials on the shelf. This type of movement and exploration allows young toddlers to take a breather before returning to the table to continue their work

As the children get to know each other, they are beginning work together more and make social connections through art!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Making Textured Paint

This week we focused on making our own textured paint. Each child was given a mixing bowl, a spoon, a textured ingredient (sand, sea salt, tissue paper), glue, flour, and a squeeze bottle of watered down tempera paint. They added each ingredient to the bowl and stirred and stirred until it was evenly mixed.

Once a thick paint was formed, each child scooped it out onto a large piece of tag board to begin their texture painting.

To move the paint around the boards, I offered the children a variety of scrapers- craft sticks, sand rakes, plastic putty knives, and plastic notched scrapers (usually used for tile grouting). Using these tools, the children scraped and pushed the paint around, watching the colors mix together to become new colors.

After experimenting with their first batch of textured paint, the children began to add more ingredients to their mix- like glitter, colored glue, more flour, and even collage items.

The thick rough texture of the paint also provided a new type of tactile experience!

In contrast with out thick textured paint, we later moved outside to learn about drip/splatter painting with very watery, thin paint. The children automatically wanted to put the brush to the paper until I demonstrated how holding the brush up high allows for the paint to drip down onto the paper. The older children got really into it, experimenting with different wrist and arm movements.

Jackson Pollocks in the making!