Monday, March 30, 2009

Art History Lesson: Mehndi Hand Art from India

This month we studied the Art of India. I decided to do two projects with the Kindergarten class since I was in there on my daughter's birthday and we had some extra time.

We made Mehndi Hand designs by tracing hands on construction paper
and drawing "henna designs" with skinny brown pens. I told the children to hide their names
(and their family/friend's names) in their designs like a traditional wedding pattern.

Then we cut them out and used glue stick to attach them to eggplant paper.
This is excellent fine motor skills practice for kindergartners. 

For our second project, I found some old embossing foil (two sided - gold and silver)

The kids used an old magazine underneath, to serve as a cushion.
Then, they traced their hands and embossed designs with a pencil.

We mounted those on the eggplant paper as well.
The resulting hallway display made me feel like I was at an Indian Wedding.
The projects were BEAUTIFUL and we got so many compliments from other classrooms and parents in the building.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Doctor Birthday Party Bash Part 4: Goody Bags

You can't have a party without
party favors....

The Frog Princess decorated white paper bags
with a red crayon "plus" and each child's name:
Dr. Frog Princess, etc.
Inside were goodies we've been collecting since
the Halloween clearance sales in October.

Included in the bag:
Purple gloves
(her favorite color) from our pediatrician (free!)
Eyeball Whoopee Cushions
Syringe Pens
Miracle Bubbles in Vial
($1 bin at Michaels)
Bio-Hazard Plasma Goo
(World Market)
Eyeball Glasses
Red Foam Clown Nose
(gift from Texas Grandma)
Manilla Folder with
Blank Prescriptions and Patient Chart
Body Book Worksheet from Scholastic
(print the PDF here)
Classroom Sticker Build-your-own
Organ and Skeleton Charts

I labeled clean baby food jars
with adhesive labels I printed on my computer.
Each jar contained 10 sponge capsule
bath tablets
that transform into dinosaurs or farm animals (from Dollar Tree!)
The "goo" was very popular with several of the guests...
not sure if it was as popular with their moms.

A demonstration from Mini-Saurus
on how to wear one's clown nose.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Doctor Birthday Bash Part Three: X-Ray Lab

One of the centers I set up for
the Frog Princess' 6th birthday party
was our X-Ray lab.

I ordered a set of
Animal X-Ray reproductions
from Discount School Supply
The kids (and moms!)
enjoyed guessing each animal.
I also set up our
Build-A-Skeleton Floor Puzzle
also from Discount School Supply.

The sliding glass windows and
my light box were perfect for this center.
In this photo: Green Leaf Frog, Baby Kangaroo,
a Veiled Cameleon, and a Green Iguana.

I also had some old human x-rays
of the spine, head, and torso.

For the record...
We were going to
make our own X-Ray prints

using Solar Print Paper
that I ordered from Discount School supply was raining.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Doctor Birthday Party Bash Part 2: The Science Lab

The FAVORITE Center at our Doctor Party Bash
was the Science Lab.
I set up my portable table in the kitchen
for the Doctors to conduct their lab experiments.

Everything was non-toxic
and the experiments used simple ingredients
from my kitchen:
oil, water, food coloring, milk, vinegar, and dish soap.

Each station was equipped with
a set of test tubes from Discount School Supply,
an eye dropper also from Discount School Supply,
a pipette from Oriental Trading Company,
and a re-purposed frozen mini-quiche tray.

Our centerpiece was one of our first experiments.
A home-made lava lamp.
A glass jar filled with cooking oil
and ice cubes dyed with food coloring.
As the cubes melted, the colored blobs slowly
floated to the bottom.
I got this great idea from my blogger buddy Lisa
over at 5 Orange Potatoes - Check out her Melting Rainbows post.

A bird's eye view of the color mixing action.
Each circle of the quiche trays was filled with water.
Three of them were filled with a drop of food coloring:
Red, Blue, and Yellow.

The kids experimented with mixing colors.
If you've been reading my blog for a while
you will recognize this project from my
Color My World - Rethink How You Can Use Your Trash post.

They also loved the
Milky Fireworks experiment.
1.Fill a rimmed baking sheet with a layer of milk.
2.Drop a few drops of food coloring in the milk.
3.Add a drop of dish soap to the center of each food coloring blob.
4.Sit back and Watch the colors mix and swirl.
It's like a time-lapse movie of a tie-dyed shirt.

The scientists at work in their lab.

WE also had a jar with an
Egg soaked in Vinegar
The acid dissolves the calcium carbonate
from the shell.
Some of the vinegar will pass through
the membrane and
plump up the egg.
The end result is a fat, gooey egg
that the kids and grown-ups
couldn't resist touching
(be careful not to pop it!)

Then we made them wash their hands
with soap immediately!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Doctor Birthday Party Bash

We celebrated the Frog Princess' 6th Birthday
with a Doctor Party this weekend.

The cake she designed.
White, circle Fun-fetti cake with white frosting.
Coconut on the edge.
And a Red Cross symbol made out of gummy bears.

Our Family Room O.R.
The coffee table was draped in pale blue sheets
to serve as the operating table.
This is the frog princess getting toilet-papered by
some of her colleagues!

The Exploration Station.
(This was in our playroom.)

Blue Tray
You will find a Microscope with
different texture specimens

Yellow Tray:

Her dissecting Frog model
with squishy/sticky organs.
And a sticky brain...

Pink Tray:

Two with bones (flour and popsicle sticks)
one without bones (just flour)

Middle of the table:

Color changing heart model.
Walking Brain.
Magnifying Glass.

We also had our Shrek Operation Game
and our Play Mobil Hospital
set-up nearby.

Stay tuned...
More details to come in upcoming posts!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Art History In the Schools: Tessellations with MC Escher

My daughter's school participates in this great program called Art In the Schools. Parents volunteer to come in one day a month and do a supplemental art history and hands on art project in the classroom. We feature a different artist each month with a portfolio of prints loaned to us by GRACE (the Greater Reston Arts Center.) It enriches the existing art curriculum (they only attend art class in the art room one hour ever OTHER week) and exposes students in all grade levels to a new series of portfolios every year. As the AIS mommy in my daughter's kindergarten class, I love getting to play art teacher once a month and be a fly on the wall in my own daughter's classroom. And...I used to run the program and co-ordinate the parent volunteers when I taught art in the same building!

Last month, we studied the work of M.C. Escher (1898-1972) the "father" of tessellations. For those of you not in the know, a tessellation is a repeating pattern consisting of shapes that fit together on a plane and repeat without overlapping or leaving gaps. Think of a soccer ball or a honey-comb pattern.

Back in my elementary art teacher days, I used to do a fun lesson with my fifth grade students creating unique tessellations with cut index cards that the students traced and filled a piece of drawing paper with color and whimsy. When I saw that we were studying Escher in February and I needed to do a lesson with my Kindergarteners I decided to keep it simple. No hand-cutting complicated shapes that have to fit together perfectly, instead I just blew-up xerox copies of the birds and fish from Escher's black and white woodblock print "Fish Bird Sky"

With older students of course you can get much more sophisticated and even let them create their own repeating designs. There are plenty of tutorials for this online. 

I needed an easy lesson that would display well for March's school-wide Youth Art Month display. To make my life easier, I gave each student a large blank paper fish to color and cut out. I demonstrated some magic marker and crayon resist techniques. Their favorite was how to write secret messages with white and yellow crayons then color over them with darker marker colors to reveal the image/message. Then I assembled them all into a big paper collage with xerox copies of the birds, like a glue-it-yourself jig-saw puzzle!

End result :
Adorable Giant M.C. Escher reproduction
Great Hallway Display
Co-operative class project
Memorable Art Lesson for Kindergarteners and at least one of their mothers!


Pink and Green Mama, 

Monday, March 2, 2009

* Ideas To Keep Kids Entertained For A Snow Day!

Well, here we are trapped on the east coast under quite a blanket of snow.
Today I'll be posting some of our favorite snowy day activities
before we bundle up to hike up the street to have a snowy play date with our neighbors.

First up is my Paint Stick Snow Ruler project.
If you have some wooden paint stirring sticks stashed in your painting supplies in the garage/basement
time to go unearth one and throw some white paint on it today.
Directions can be found on my post here.

While you are waiting for paint to dry (or the snow to finish falling)
you can play with the kids in an indoor Oatmeal Box.
Like a sand box but much tastier!
Yes, you'll have some sweeping to do afterwards but
consider it to be a Montessori keeping house lesson.

Or get out your Winter Wonderland box with rice snow
(click on the link to check out mine and get ideas).
You can make an igloo out of Model Magic
or recycle an empty kleenex box/small shoe box into a snowy shelter.
Shoveling this kind of snow is a lot more fun!

When you are ready to head out into the snow
mix up a couple of spray bottles with food coloring water and make some rainbows!
Snow men are so much cooler with some Jackson Pollock style tie-die!

Come inside and warm up with some cocoa or better yet, make my favorite
chocolate cake in a mug recipe: Three Minute Chocolate Mug Cake Yummy!
While you're in the kitchen whip up some home-made scented play-doh
make labels for your favorite cold day spices
like Cinnamon Sugar (aka Fairy Dust in our house!)

Time for the kiddos to write and illustrate their own snowy day books with a simple
home-made blank book.

Snuggle up with some of our favorite snowy books like:
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats,
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder,
The Snowy Day (Picture Book) by Anna Millbourne and Elena Temporin,
and Winter by Gerda Muller.

Mini-Saurus and the Frog Princess in their First Snow Together in 2008!

Stay warm and have fun!

Check out my Winter Fun E-Book for even more fun ideas!

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