Friday, February 26, 2010

Salad Spinner Art

Want to share some fun and giggles with your children? This engaging idea will captivate and stimulate the children’s senses and they will thirst for more. Children love being part of the entire process when it comes to art.
A variety of developmentally appropriate materials for art does not necessarily have to cost a lot of money. Is your salad spinner just collecting cobwebs and maybe taking up too much space in your cupboard? Re- purpose and use it to create a kaleidoscope of colors that will fascinate the children. Sometime back, I attended a workshop done by Lisa Murphy and my whole outlook on the salad spinner changed. I remember just wanting to get back and test it myself. Well, I was hooked from the first time that I spun the salad spinner. It has been about 7 years now and it still amazes me. Every single art piece is unique. I am the proud owner of five salad spinners!!!

Salad spinner
Washable tempera paints
Paper plates (dollar store)
Hair gel (dollar store)
A smock or apron to cover clothes

The Process:

1. Trim paper plates so that it fits inside the bottom of a salad spinner.
2. Encourage your child to drop a teaspoon of paint onto the plate.
3. Do the same with two or more colors. (We rather squirt paint)
4. Squirt some hair gel onto the plate, about one teaspoon full.
5. Put the lid onto the salad spinner and spin it!
6. When satisfied with the spinning take off lid and a magnificent work of art is done.
7. You may sprinkle some glitters onto the wet masterpiece if desired.
8. Set out to dry.

WARNING: Be sure to have enough paper plates for the children to use. One or two will not be enough.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Three Dimensional Styrofoam Sculptures

At times it’s easy to think that you might not have the “right” art materials at school for the children to do some art work. But, that shouldn't stop you from allowing the children in experimenting with different materials. All you have to do is look inside your recycling bin. You will see a whole world of materials just waiting to be discovered and played with. As a strong believer of open–ended play it is imperative that children have the opportunities to let their minds wonder and have no specific plan to follow. Art experiences are not about: "Follow the directions, stick this on the circle and that on down there, now color it in with yellow only, and now doesn't that look nice?" Children should be encouraged to be thinkers and risk takers, not merely learn to follow directions

More than a week ago, for some strange reason my dad’s 20 year old television decided to stop talking. Yes, the picture was still clear but no sound could be heard not even a whisper. We decided to recycle the poor old bulky and super heavy television for a much slimmer model (lucky guy!). Of course we kept the box and Styrofoam cubes inside. Yahoo!!! A big box…. Yesterday, the children decided to work on more 3 dimensional Styrofoam sculptures, a project that they really enjoyed doing a few months ago. Styrofoam or scratch foam sheets may be expensive when purchased at craft or art supply stores, recycling and re- purposing them is the most economical way of using them.

When children represent their artwork into a three dimensional form, they invite us into their world and tell us a great deal about themselves. There are emotional meanings to the placements of each object. They respond to their space in a personal way, which naturally comes with creative & dramatic stories. By engaging in simple construction, children learn relationships and differences of various materials and are usually kept in their minds for future problem solving skills. Interesting effects can be made when interlocking materials. My children absolutely love it!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Green Eco Friendly Art Area

I am a big fan of recycled art. In fact those that know me well know that I am passionate about recycling and reusing materials. It is a way that I can teach the children about environmental awareness at a time of global uncertainty.
Because the environment is central to children’s health, growth and development, it is best to introduce recycled art projects to children when they are still young so that they can build life-long, environmentally-friendly habits early on and help create a healthier planet.

Designing and implementing a Green Eco Friendly art area in a preschool classroom does not need to be difficult or expensive. I first started with the basics, identifying and explaining the three R’s to children. It gives them an idea on how to distinguish three ways to reduce their ecological footprint.


My next step was to purchase several bins for the children to be able to separate paper, cardboard, plastics, metals, Styrofoam, glass, and packing materials. These were divided and put in appropriately labeled bins.

Recycled materials and objects found in our natural environments is a great alternative to mass produced art. It is what I call “Eco-Cycle Art". Since the materials are recycled the children can take and use as much as they want in their creative works. When given the opportunity to "freely” play with a wide variety of materials, they will each bring a unique personality with every art piece that is created. Since every piece is unique they can show appreciation for others art pieces

Every child can work individually, choosing materials and making decisions as to where and how exactly to put them. Their successes helps foster great self-esteem.The children are encouraged to work with patterns, color, spatial relationships, texture and cause and effect. The children will talk about the work that they are doing, and encourage language.

Great patience is needed in our part as teachers, if we are to encourage the children to develop their creative side. They do not yet have skillful control over all materials. Before I start with any activity I like to ask myself; is the art activity developmentally suitable for this age group or individual child?

"I want the kids to learn that art is a personal experience. It’s about courage; to think ones own thoughts and not look around the room, to see if you’re doing the right thing.
It’s simply all about you and expressing yourself".

This is what it is all about… for me.

Welcome to Eco-Cycle Junkie