COUNTRY FUN

~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

October 28, 2015
by countryfun
Comments Off on Homemade Finger Paint Fun!

Homemade Finger Paint Fun!

Providing fun opportunities for creative exploration for children does not have to be expensive or time consuming. It does often get messy, but that’s an important part of the experience. ūüôā

Today we got a little messy with a sensory experience using homemade finger paint.

Materials:

  • large sheets of white paper
  • homemade finger paint
  • food coloring to make super dark blue or black (think night)
  • lots of little hands

Put it all together with some Halloween stories and talking about night and how its getting darker while we are out playing now. Perfect time to explore making a dark colored finger paint. What you have is a sensory experience that includes color theory, science, math and language.

We started by exploring the feel of cornstarch and the feel then taste of sugar. We followed the written recipe, counting out parts, exploring what happened when water added to solids and then set the timer for 5 minutes.

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This finger paint will pull together in¬†5 to¬†10 minutes depending on heat level and recipe size. It didn’t make sense to have the children just standing around while I stirred over the heat source. With the timer they get to play until set time has past, learning about the timer as a tool and building on idea of time.

Once finger paint formed we did a visual exploration of the change in texture and watched the steam, as I continued to whip to speed cooling. Then it was time to add the color.

We worked to a deep blue than in went yellow and red. We have been learning that all 3 primary colors give us a black/brown color. Today we learned that with more blue we went to the blacker side. (Be prepared Рheavy food coloring will definitely color hands.) 

Then it was time to suit up with paint shirts, find a place to work, and start exploring this finger paint.

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This hands-on exploration of our “night paint” went on for over 20 minutes. Lots of excited talking and exploration around how movement of hands and fingers changed¬†the paint on the paper, besides just the sensory of it on our hands and a taste or two.

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I’ve included 2 simple homemade finger paint recipes here which I have used many times over my years of teaching. Both work, but I usually go to the cooked version. An extra benefit with the cooked is that it is gluten-free, so all children can be involved without concern.

Homemade Finger Paint:

1) How easy is this! Take 2 cups of any kind of flour you have, add COLD water until it forms a fairly smooth paste free of any big lumps. Now slowly add BOILING water, stirring constantly until it forms the right consistency. Add food coloring for an edible finger paint, or tempera paint.

– ‚Äď – ‚Äď – ‚Äď – ‚Äď – ‚Äď – –

2) A Cooked Finger Paint (This size batch usually has little left to store.)

  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch OR 1 cup of flour (I like using cornstarch ‚Äď seems smoother.)
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 cups of cold water
  • Food coloring
  • Pinch of Salt

Mix all of the ingredients, except the food coloring, together in a medium pan. Cook over a med/low heat, stirring the mixture until it is smooth and thick. Takes 10 minutes or so. It thickens quickly at the end. Once it has thickened turn the burner off and let it cool. After cooling divide the finger paint into separate storage containers and add food coloring. Make sure the lids are on tight while storing so it doesn’t dry out.

I like to keep it uncolored to start adding coloring as needed for use. It’s easy to mix a few drops of food coloring into a small amount just before using.

November 25, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on Turkey Time

Turkey Time

With Thanksgiving this week it was time to connect the books we’ve been reading and discussions about why our families are celebrating Thanksgiving. What better than a turkey made with hand and foot prints.

In this activity the feathers will be formed by 3 handprints on a half paper plate (quick lesson point on whole and half). Easy to do with the 3 colors of red/orange/yellow (another quick lesson on 2 primary colors and the color you get when they blend). The body will be a traced foot. The legs accordion folding (good for directions and fine motor).

I started with 3 recycled cookie tin covers that each had 1 color. One color in front of each child and their paper plate half.

Directions- Gently place your hand into the paint, moving around to get paint on all your fingers. On the count of 3 lift your hand out and place on your plate wherever you want that color.

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Nice project for working on following directions, counting sequence, and tactile comfort.

Time to wash up those hands, as we will rotate the color tins for the next handprint.

As we are heading to the sink the power cuts off. On a private well that means limited water in the lines, so how are we going to wash up after each color?

Solution: 1 bowl with a little water to swish in and then towel remaining color off. Nothing wrong with having to adapt and flex in a project – just another lesson point for the children.IMG_1905

We proceeded to rotate the color tins and print our hands.

IMG_1903 IMG_1906Interesting that this time the children kept using the same hand. Not sure if this was because we washed after each color or if they figured out how to keep 1 hand clean.

Set aside plate to dry and time to move, so we can trace a foot.

IMG_1907 Option to cut themselves or have me cut.

Discussion on what a turkey face looked like from stories read.

IMG_1908 Almost done.

Time for more direction following practice with accordion folding 2 orange paper strips. Needed to remind them to flip back and forth, not wrap around. As they got comfortable they hurried and that’s when I’d see a wrap around.

Opening an accordion fold always brings smiles, sense of accomplishment/success. IMG_1910

Last step to glue our turkey bodies in place.

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Successful project from the process/learning side and a fun product the children were excited to take home.

Power still off, so time for a final hand cleaning with liquid hand sanitizer before head off to play.

October 24, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on Oh, Paper Bag Masks – Simple and Fun!

Oh, Paper Bag Masks – Simple and Fun!

Sometimes the simple, old ideas are the best. I have tons of ideas/directions for fancy masks and Halloween projects, but today the old stand-by was the right choice.

Paper Bag Masks

I always make sure I get at least one load of groceries in paper bags each season. They have so many uses. Today I pulled a few to turn inside out and make available for turning into Halloween masks for the creative play party that suddenly occurred.DSC05645  DSC05648DSC05653

Of course, one didn’t want a mask, but wanted a butterfly costume. Paper bag still works just cut open flat and fold in half. Draw on wing outline to be colored in.¬†DSC05647DSC05649

Trim excess bag off, staple outline adding a little newspaper stuffing. Wings set now so can be worn cut 2 lengths of yarn thread through 4 holes to make simple arm straps.DSC05651DSC05652

Then it’s time to cut out the eyes.¬†Shoulder cut-outs let the mask sit well on the head.

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Creative half hour with markers and crayons leads to a morning playing trick-or-treat with mask, costumes and Halloween music.

September 29, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on What Makes Green?

What Makes Green?

Preschooler knows colors, so reinforce knowledge of color blending using 3 primary colors.

Expose the under 3’s to colors and names.

As the leaves start to change colors around here, it’s a perfect time to start playing with colors. We started today with the question “What makes GREEN?”¬†(I had out a jug of red, yellow and blue paint waiting to see what they would say.) “YELLOW and BLUE!”

I poured their choices next to each other onto a plate (equal amounts) and started to swirl them together. (I wanted the children to see the green happening.) When they saw green they got excited. Once mixed completely I asked if they liked the color we now had. “No it’s blue, not green.” “What do you think we need to do to get our green?” “Add yellow!”

A touch more yellow and mix. “Do you like this green?” “Yes.”

Now to use our green paint.

Love adding sensory into activities, so we painted a palm with green paint and stamped our palms down on a large piece of green construction paper (I had precut into an circular/oval shape). Once no longer leaving color when stamped down, we repainted the palms, repeating until paper covered with hand prints.

Time to glue on a brown rectangle of construction paper and for more sensory – crumple up small squares of red tissue paper and glue onto the green handprints.

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What do you have?

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Apple trees!

Very timely for our area with the U-pick orchards open for the season.

May 14, 2014
by countryfun
10 Comments

Travels with Charlie: MAINE Footprint Lobster #bookingusa

We so enjoyed being involved with Booking Across the USA (Trip 1) last year. It was fun to connect with others from across the other states. So many new books and fun activities to explore. So when Booking Across the USA Trip 2 was announced we jumped at the chance to participate again. ¬†50 bloggers sharing activities related to their state with all ideas being inspired by a new series of books! What’s not to like about this?

We got our learning started with a new book: Travels with Charlie – Travelin’ the Northest by Miles Backer. Who says you have to start every book on the first page? Not me, so we started the reading with our own state of Maine and continued through the Northeast comparing these other states to ours. (Future Venn Diagram)¬†This series and discussion opens up a way to develop an understanding of the USA in the preschoolers here.

My original idea was to combine reading this book with all the questions that have been raised as we prepare to head off to various schools for K next year. I figured we could start from the big picture РEarth, heading to USA, to Maine and then our homes in our towns. We are still doing that, but will be expanding into making personal books about Maine.

This simple activity takes coffee filters, markers (not sharpies), white art paper and water.

coffeefilterearth

  1. Color, scribble is best, onto the coffee filter with the markers. We viewed the earth as seen from space on our iPads to figure out the colors and what those colors represented. – Our choices were: blue, green and brown. the empty spaces would give us white.
  2. Place filter in middle of the white art paper (we used drawing paper, construction paper and copy paper all worked fine), start spraying with water. Really get the coffee filter wet. You will see the colors start to blend and parts of the filter will lift (do not push down). Leave everything in place until it dries.
  3. Once dry lift up filter, reposition on the paper and spray well again. Let dry. This can be done multiple times, but we only needed these 2 color areas.
  4. Using a clear circle shape place where you like the Earth image, trace around. Cut out saving remaining paper for the USA outline to come.

We have completed the earth and background for the USA outline, but the discussions have shifted our focus just now. The children want to know more about Maine.

maine

In answer to their interest I headed to the library in search of books about Maine. Little did I expect to have such a large and varied collection of titles to explore and chose from.

Needless to say the idea I had for the initial project has also evolved and will not be completed in time for the link up today (the 14th). I will definitely link up once done or you can check back here or on one of the other social media connections I use.

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Allowing the children to direct what books we explored next, they chose the Moose stories.¬†DSC04510¬†(Never imagined I’d find a use for the jar of dried moose droppings we have sitting on a book shelf. It was fun to show the children, discussing size, shape and how we could see the fibers from the plants that moose eat.) However, it’s been the books about lobsters¬†(Lobsterman¬†by Dahlov Ipcar, open below)¬†and islands that have engaged the children the most.¬†¬†DSC04517¬†islands

I pulled together materials for a simple and fun activity I’ve done in the past – a footprint lobster.

PS- Live lobsters are brown. They turn red once cooked. The children chose to do red, not brown. That is the color used most in advertising here, so they think of lobsters as being red.

buildalobster

  1. copy paper (we’ll be cutting out), thin red paint and wipes
  2. paint bottom of one foot
  3. place carefully on one short edge of paper, pressing down firm. (Watch out that the toes are to the edge.)
  4. wipe foot clean
  5. paint palms of both hands
  6. position hands over heel area, finger together, thumb out, place and press down
  7. wash hands
  8. let dry
  9. cut out lobster

 

Chose background paper (we used 9″x12″ blues from the textured paper stash). Have book open to the page with clear example of the lobster’s body.

  1. lobstercut out rock shapes (more textured paper)
  2. glue down rocks then place and glue down lobster
  3. color arm section where claw attaches to body
  4. glue on eyes and antennas (cut into 2 pieces, does not stayed glued as well when folded)
  5. add 8 legs (“L” shape)
  6. lines for tail section
  7. label body parts

 

These will be added as a page to our Maine books.

 

January 10, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on Have You Ever Wondered About Snowmen at Night?

Have You Ever Wondered About Snowmen at Night?

In exposing children to books so that their world expands it is important as part of that to help them understand the parts of a book. ¬†Title pages, author, illustrator, beginning, middle and ending are all easy to develop an understanding of. In many of the picture books used for infants through preschool there are no “dust jackets”, especially with an introduction (found on the inside lap – I always thought of as the fly)¬†or opening question to get you excited about what you will find once you start reading. So when I find one you can be sure I use it.

Our library copy of Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner had a great one and it was nice to be able to start this reading and extension project off from there.

“Have you ever wondered about the secret life of a snowman? Maybe one morning his grin is a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have drooped, and you’ve thought…. what do snowmen do at night?”

How much more fun to peak the interest in a story, than to just start right in reading? Some interesting answers to this opening.

As a follow up activity we took black paper – a little different for a snowman picture – and some unusual painting tools to make a snowy night time background for our snowman.

 

December 31, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Snow Dough to Noise Sticks……..Good Finish to 2013

Snow Dough to Noise Sticks……..Good Finish to 2013

It was just too cold outside today to get out but that just meant we got to have fun inside all day. The iPads got a good workout with most of the play being a new app: Sky Fish Phonics. Awareness of letter sounds are showing a strong improvement and I love the cooperative play I’m seeing.

This morning found us in the kitchen replenishing our homemade playdough supply. It was time for a new batch so made up what we are calling “snow dough”. Using my standard recipe: 1/2C salt, 1 C flour, 2 tsp cream of tartar, 2 TB oil, 1 C water. It all goes into a good size pan over med high heat and I stir until it’s like mashed potatoes. (You’ll know when it’s done, usually about 5 minutes for a single batch.) I empty the dough onto a silicone baking mat for kneading. I find it cools down quickly, so can work almost right away. Now is when I add any color, glitter, scents.

Our snow dough had glitter powder (DecoArt Glamour Dust – Crystal) and then regular silver glitter added to it. Not too much, just enough to act like the sparkling snow outside. This made the playdough non-edible, but we’re beyond that here now. For edible dough Wilton Pearl Dust would also work for the sparkle.

No color added, but a balsam essential oil was added. This group has really been enjoying the scented playdough this past year.

What a nice sensory experience – warm, soft playdough, balsam tree smell and glitter. It doesn’t get much better.

snowdough

To finish off the morning after lunch we made New Year’s Noise Sticks. These are a great activity for a mixed ages group. We had 2 to 11 year olds here today.

  • Start with paper towel tubes.
  • Staple off one end.
  • Fill with item for shaking.
  • Staple off remaining end.
  • Decorate.

Of course we got some extra learning in when we explored items that might make sound in a paper tube. We settled on dry kidney beans and dried corn kernels. These 2 items made very different sounds – beans were louder and harder/ corn was softer, more pingy ( I thought rain). We also discovered that the tubes sounded better when not filled all the way. The items needed space to move around, hitting off each other and the sides of the tube. The larger beans with the louder, thumpier sound used about 1/4C. The corn used 1/2C. The corn needed to rub by itself more for the sound it made. Added bonus of lots of descriptive words.

Decorating options were open to whatever had in the art space. Tissue paper with homemade mod podge was the choice. Loved seeing that creativity remained open. 2 year old was happy just painting the glue while I put down tissue pieces for her. The boys were all about just laying pieces down on top of each other (with I think great results). The older girls made sure their tubes were covered. Of course glitter was added while glue wet.

More embellishment meant ribbons and colored duck tape on the ends.

NoiseSticks

Each noise stick worked for it’s maker – just as an open project should.

 

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