Light & Shadow Provocations – Rosa Parks ECEC

Last week, I mentioned that I would be sharing a few of the light and shadow provocations I saw at Rosa Parks ECEC. These provocations were magical and inviting. They also added ambiance to the rooms. As beautiful as the pictures are, they can only attempt to capture the magic that the “real thing” provides. […]

Nature Inspired Provocations – Rosa Parks ECEC

Recently, I – along with the other members of ORIN (Oklahoma Reggio-Inspired Network) – had the pleasure of touring Rosa Parks Early Childhood Education Center. This is a Reggio-Inspired preschool in the Union Public School district. This school is beautiful inside and out. For the purpose of the ORIN meeting, the teachers had created nature-inspired […]

St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center, Inc.

The St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center, Inc. is an incredible resource for teachers. What is it, you ask? It is a place where all things “teachery” come to wait for their classroom home. If you are like me, you are always reusing items from around your house in your classroom. Things from jar lids to […]

All Around Child-Inside the Classrooms

Recently, I posted about All Around Child, a Reggio-Inspired preschool in Overland Park, KS. I loved the school so much that there was no way I could have condensed my thoughts and pictures down to one post. We are about to explore the magic inside the classrooms and you will see why… I quickly learned […]

Make Your Own Nature Folk

Making simple nature fairies and people is really quite easy.   Each one takes on its own personality!  I love the leaf dress!   This little one has lovely leaf wings! INSTRUCTIONS:  Begin by gathering nature’s gifts.  I had my students bring in things they found in their own yards and neighborhoods. I had the […]

Let It Go. . .Frozen

The movie Frozen has dominated the children’s conversations and they absolutely love singing “Let It Go.” A few weeks ago I decided it was time to channel the energy into a collaborative art project. Day One:  I put out different shades of purple and blue tempera paint.  I added a pot of white paint as […]

Jennifer’s Handmade Twig Paint Brushes

I had to share the pure magic Jennifer Dean created in her art center! She had handmade twig paint brushes! The children had handmade paint brushes PLUS materials to make their own! Q-tips on a twig (wrapped with twine). Parsley wrapped on a twig. Cotton balls wrapped on the end of a twig. Look at […]

Picasso’s Playdough

Guess what?!!  I am a contributing blogger to mom.me.   I am loving the opportunity to share my ideas with parents.  My latest post is my Picasso’s Playdough Project.   I took loose parts, playdough and inspiration from Picasso’s abstract portraits.  The level of engagement and conversation with this project was amazing. Click HERE for more details!

Building the “Great Wall” of China

Building the Great Wall of China with brown bags is a great collaborative project.  Today the class worked together to create a wall as long as they could.  It required placing the bags side by side.  The children had to make decisions about which directions the wall would travel. The wall began in the classroom […]

Self-Identity Chandelier

This is my current identity panel.   I love it! I found this really great screen door at a local antique mall. I like to set up the Bead & Wire Center with a mat at each spot.  I prepare the wires by placing a bead at the end of the wire (see photo below).  I […]

Autumn Collaborative Painting

I love group paintings. I began by setting out a canvas I had painted black.  I put out a variety of fall colors including purple (tempera). I just let the children paint.   I put the canvas out everyday for a week.   I just let it unfold as the children decided what colors and items to […]

Dice Art

This is a very simple but effective arts integration idea for reinforcing number quantities 1 -6.   It is a great way to check 1:1 correspondence and number conservation. Each child will need: a dice, a construction paper blotter (Dapper or Bingo) paint bottles How to Play: Roll the dice.  I tell the children to […]

Easy Beautiful Embossed Metal

  This is a super easy and fun project.   It requires adult supervision. What you will need: metal foil sheets (Dick Blick 12 aluminum sheets for $2.84) wooden styluses or pencils newspapers optional:  cardboard frames (Dick Blick 12 white for $3.68) Here are the aluminum 5″ x 5″ sheets You want newspapers that are fairly […]

Creating A Chandelier

I love, love, love the look of the “Reggio-Inspired” chandeliers. It was one of the must-do projects with my new class. I wanted to start with a “natural” base.  Well . . . it just so happened that my son had a big pile of dead bushes in his backyard.  Viola!  A chandelier base! Materials […]

Glue Multi-Media Paintings

This is a very fun way to produce a process based painting. I love the texture and dimension it produces!  I begin with a canvas that the children have previously painted.  These canvases were painted with red, yellow, and orange paints. What you need: glue liquid watercolors or food coloring (these will keep the glue […]

Patty’s Class: Hanging Art

There were so many wonderful hanging pieces of beauty and art in Patty’s and Jenni’s classrooms.  The children were inquiring into AIR.  They created wind chimes.  Here are two of those creations.  I loved this creation that was hanging over the art table.  On child pointed out what he had created.  I looked closer and […]

Patty’s Room: The Art Center

First, a big thank-you to Patty and her co-teacher Jenni for sharing their amazing classrooms!! Hold on tight!  This is a massive post!  But it will be worth every visual morsel.  First, I am going to share most of the items in Patty’s Art Center.  Then, following the materials, I have posted a few of […]

Snowman Village

Here is a peek at the Snowman Village project.  I love the diversity of their villages.   I love providing a palette of choices.  In this project the children: embellished their houses with markers and watercolor paints painted the cardboard “earth” with snow created snow “people” out of white foam clay (pipecleaners and markers for details) […]

Red Birds in a Nest

Foam clay has to be the most amazing invention.  Ever.  It is so cool what you can create.  At the museum, I had the children make little nests out of the brown foam clay – adding sticks to give it the “nesty” look. We formed our birds by making; a large oval for the body […]

Pattern Owls

I love collage work.  For this project I gathered some of my old scrapbook papers for the children to make their pattern owls.  I made tracers out of old file folders as well.  Here’s how I made the tracers: 1 large oval tracer for the body  (I had pre-cut construction paper rectangles for tracing the […]

Polar Bears in Snow

This was such a fun painting project.  I ordered the largest size construction paper (24 x 36) in pale blue.   This gave it the “wow” factor.  I love large paintings!  We drew the bears on the paper before painting.  I gave the children crayons. Step One:  I had the children draw a half moon shape […]

Snowball Village

Last week I taught two classes for a new local museum.  My featured projects for both days – little habitats.   I have rarely seen a child who does not adore the task of creating a miniature world.  There is this amazing ability of a little world to pull the storyteller out of children.  I love […]

Rock Insects

These make wonderful paper weights and could be great dad gifts!  We made these as a part of our insect unit. Mexican Pebble Rocks make the best bugs! I found some of these wonderful stones at a landscape supplier. They are a nice size (palm size.) I had the children begin by drawing their design […]

Flower Study

One of the last big projects I did with the children this year was a flower study.  We looked at the work of Georgia O’Keefe and how she painted her flowers to fill the entire canvas.  We noted three things that Georgia O’Keefe did: She painted the flowers to the edges of the canvas. She […]

Earth Day Insects

I wanted to share one of my favorite Earth Day projects. The children design and create a clay insect that will air dry.   Once dry it is placed in an outdoor garden or plot of land. The insects are observed for the remainder of the year.  I like to place a plastic insect among […]

The "Living" Dollhouse. . .

So dang sweet, it is!  It could be called a large fairy garden but I love calling it the “Living” dollhouse because I put dollhouse dolls and furniture in it. Here’s how I did it: I used a large box that I cut down to just 6 inches tall.  I lined it with a plastic […]

Fish Windsocks – Super Cheap!

This is another great project for a weather unit.  AND it is super economical. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: paper fish windsocks (Click here to order) Under $8 for 24! Blotters or watercolors Yarn Glue sticks  The windsocks come pre-cut.  All you need to do is decorate them and glue together.  Color blotters are perfect for […]

Dear Ole Abe and George

Today in class my kinders made a good old fashion project – paper portraits of Abe and George. They traced the major components and glued it together.  (This is my first post made from my iphone. . . a little different but fast!)

Sweet Little Paintings

This is such a sweet little project and super easy.   I purchased 24 – 4″ by 4″ little canvases for $6 using a 40% off coupon at Michaels.  The best deal available is at http://www.dickblick.com/.  You can purchase 24 for under $5.  I purchased the cheapest brand of liquid craft acrylic paints with these main […]

Paper Buildings

This week during our skyscraper study – a student suggested we build a skyscraper out of paper.  I was amazed how he figured out to do it – paper tubes!  Here are a few photos of the children attempting the paper challenge!  I taught my class how to “tab” and they figured out how to […]

Collaborative Scientific Drawings

Me oh my!  I saw the coolest idea ever!  Lacy Williams, an intern in the classroom next me, had the children in her class doing a collaborative scientific art piece.  I was so blown away by the wisdom of how she lead the up to the collaborative piece.  The topic was pond life.  Here’s what […]

Preparing for Chinese New Years

This last week my classroom has been a buzz preparing for Chinese New Years.   Here’s a peek into our preparations:  Each color family designed a Dancing Dragon.  Colors and designs were recorded.  We built the head of Dancing Dragon out of cardboard boxes.  Painted it with acrylic paint. I am traveling this weekend – later […]

Snow People Homework

I love family art projects!  Let’s be clear – some children do the work and for other families the child does very little of the work.  So you might ask – why send it home?  I have been doing family art projects for many, many years.  One of the benefits I see is parent/child engagement.  […]

Nature Creatures

Making little creatures out of found nature items and basic art supplies is a wonderful fall craft.  It exercises the child’s capacity to imagine.  A wonderful extension is to have the children write a story about the creature they created. What you will need:  nature items such as pine cones, pods and small sticks, pipe […]

Pricky Ball Spiders

This is an easy peasy spider to make.  I discuss the difference between a spider and an insect.  The children count out 8 legs for their spider.  Additionally,  we discuss how many eyes a spider has – (between 4-8 eyes).  What you will need:  sweet gum balls, black pipe cleaners, googly eyes and artist’s heavy […]

Invasion of the Bats

Black construction paper, a lesson on bat making and well, the rest is history. . . BEFORE:   AFTER:

Clothes Pin Animals

This is an adorable idea from Martha Stewart Living.  The kids loved it!  I used white cardstock and crayons.  I let the children draw whatever animal (we focused on farm animals) they wanted.   I discussed the importance of making the images big.  Kindergartners tend to draw small.  I demonstrated making one first and then let […]

Handprint Little Red Hen

Simple but darling!  It is two steps. Day one – each child makes a red handprint. Day two – let the children transform their handprint into a little red hen.

Clay Work: Owls

This is such a sweet clay project designed by Aubree Hayden, who worked with me at Philbrook during summer camp.  The children loved it!  I am so sad I did not get a final photo of the project.  But you can see the easy peasy way to make it in the video below:

Clay Work: Knee Turtles

This is one of those tried and true clay projects for early childhood.  It is very simple.  You give the student a ball of clay and a paper towel.  The student puts the paper towel over their knee and then pats the clay on top of their knee to create a “shell.”  So easy and […]

Cityscape

My class was at library a week ago when I saw a student’s book.  The cover was similar to an art project I have done in the past but different (click here to see!).  I knew I had to bring this to our Three Pigs unit of construction.  I love the purple background and multicolored […]

A Child’s Painting of a Sailboat

Here is a super easy painting for children.  This was a project I did with kindergarten aged children. I used economical acrylic liquid paint.  STEP ONE:  Provide two shades of white for the sky and two shades (light and dark) of blue paint for the water.  Let your child swirl them together.   Use red for […]

Water Lilies on Canvas

This is a lovely keepsake for parents as it is painted on board canvas.  I purchase my canvas boards at Michaels in packs of 10 with my 40% off coupon.   I use the cheap liquid craft paint. STEP ONE:  Mix up several mixtures of blue for the pond.  Remember to have one a bit […]

Noodle Doodles

Molly, one of the artists I worked with last week, did a classic activity but gave it a new name!!  Noodle Doodles.  The children loved the name as much as the activity.  Step One: With a crayon draw a large doodle with swirling moves.  Step Two:  Paint in the doodles with noodles of color!

Sun Print Paint on Fabric!

Michelle, the art teacher next to me at the museum, did the coolest project!  Oh my!  Did you know there is sun paint?  Just like the sun print paper!  What you will need:  muslin fabric cut to size, the cool sun print fabric paints (click here for source), cut-outs and found objects to put down […]

Night Time Skyline

This is one of my favorite little projects.  It always turns out so nice! What you will need: construction paper in bright colors cut into different sizes of rectangles for the skyscapers, different sized squares for the windows,  glitter foam in different shapes, foil cut into different shapes, large black construction paper to build the […]

Painted Paper Fish

I start this project by having each child make a “bubble painted” paper (technique is posted in painting techniques).  This time because of time constraints,  I prepared the painted paper but they could do that as well. (To make the painted paper in a very quick and easy way I just paint the top of […]

It’s Bubbly Print Making!

This makes a great “ocean” (water) background for painted paper collages (make fishes out of painted paper).  It is super easy and  I do have some very helpful hints to make it a sure fire success.  I video taped the process of making a bubble print – for visual learners like myself (if I see […]

Coloring Shells

This was a clever idea from my friend Sue Tarr.  She went to restaurants that sell oysters in a half shell and asked to have the leftover shells!  Free shells.  Then she drilled holes in them for hanging.  I thought this was such a great idea for a cheap craft project.   (Be sure to clean […]

Torn Paper Aliens

This is such a fun project.  The key to the success of the alien is the “lack of control” in tearing the paper!  This gives a huge variety of alien faces! What you will need:  A 9 x 12 black paper to build your alien on, a 9 x 12 green paper to tear the […]

In the Tall, Tall Grass

This was an art project in another kindergarten class in my school.  I altered only one thing.  The teacher had a pre-printed sheet of insects and animals for the children to color and cut out to put in the “tall, tall grass.” (based on the book of the same title).   I kept the focus […]

Rock Bugs and Habitats

I love using nature in art making activities.  The key to making bugs out of rocks and found nature is using artist’s heavy gel medium as the glue.  This is like a thick paste and will join the pieces together so the children can do all the work themselves. Making a Rock Bug and its Habitat […]

Model Magic Insects!

This is one of those all time favorite projects of the children.   Each child designs their own insect using model magic.  I buy it at Michael’s with a 40 percent off coupon.   I give each child a bit of each of the four colors.   A box like the one in the photo will supply a […]

Creation Station!

This week I pulled out a huge bag of boxes and containers I have saved for “Creation Station.”  I told the children they were to create (invent) something that they can use.   (I provided construction paper, glue, scissors, tape)  What they created had to have a purpose.  The class went to a quiet purr for […]

Creating With Copy Paper

It is astonishing what children can create with a simple piece of paper, scissors, staplers and a little glue or tape.   It is such a dynamic way for children to use their creativity.   I put out paper and let the ideas and creation begin.  At the beginning of the year the children just draw.   By […]

In the Hallway

There are always such great things happening in the kindergarten rooms around me!  I wanted to share a few of the current happenings: Mrs. Mendoza’s class made these after reading “It Looked Like Split Milk.”   The images were made by putting white paint on blue construction paper and folding it in half.  The children […]

Pop-up Flowers with Roots!

Sometimes it is the simple ideas that capture a child.  The children loved this project!  This is one of those projects that reinforces the understanding of how a plant grows AND gives the opportunity for imaginative storytelling in its “pop-up” (the flower can hide  and grow up as it pops up.)   The set up […]

Painted Paper Flowers

In my previous post, I shared how I love painted (monoprint) papers.  Here is one of the projects my class is creating with the papers.  This is a simple project that my students managed without assistance.  “A Vase of Spring Flowers” How I do it: I make tracers on old file folders.  VASE: I fold […]

Simple Monoprints

Monoprint making is the official term – painting on trays is the early childhood term!  A monoprint (sometimes called monotype) is when only one print is made at a time after which the artist must begin again.  The process is basically painting (or inking) on a non-porous surface and then pressing paper on top of […]

Weather Parade!

I love the beauty of the parade puppets and pageant sticks!  This year, for only the second time in my teaching career, I am bringing pageantry to our weather time.   First, I talked to the children about what weather sticks we might need – and we went to work painting them.  We are not quite […]

The Arts are Brain Smart!

This week I have parent conferences and I have been preparing for these meetings.  As kindergarteners going into first grade – every family wants to know how is their child doing; is their child ready?   I prepare a whole child snapshot to communicate where their child is at in cognitive development, social/emotional development, creative […]

Wrapped Newspaper Tubes

This is a great activity for building handwork capacity.  It requires holding the newspaper tube and wrapping it.  The children love the challenge and the end result.  We made hearts but you could make any shape.   I am such a firm believer in the arts as a powerful way to prepare kindergarteners. This simple newspaper […]

Make A Shield

One of the projects I like to do during the Kings and Queens of Hearts unit is a family shield.  I send home a tag board shield and the families decorate it according to my instructions.  This year, my intern, Amanda Mitchell, wanted the children to make the shields as one of our work stations. […]

Make a Love Bug

I work at a local museum and today they had the sweetest project – Love Bugs.   Create the bug out of paper and doily hearts.  Add googly eyes, pipe cleaner legs. . . whatever details catch your fancy!  I think a love bug would be the perfect little Valentine!

Make a Love Bird

This is a lovely project for Valentine’s – making little love birds out of watercolor paper.  The sweetest part is writing on the back of the birds the things you love.   Isn’t gratitude a wonderful way to honor Valentine’s day?  I will do this with my class when I return to school (hopefully Friday or […]

Heartfilled Animals!

This is an adaptation of a common kindergarten art project.  Normally, we use heart doilies and create different creatures.  Recently,  I have found oodles of scrapbook paper on clearance at Tuesday Morning.  I adore the funky feeling of the printed papers!  So fun! I cut out a large assortment of hearts and created a tray […]

Chinese Blossom Tree

The object of education is to teach us love of beauty. Plato  I adore that the classrooms of Reggio Emilia hold aesthetic beauty as an important part of respecting the child and their learning environment.  Waldorf education honors the child with objects made from the highest quality  – as natural as possible.   These things make […]

Chinese Calligraphy

This is another one of those projects that children of all ages can succeed with!  It is super simple to set up and can be done in a whole group setting.   These Chinese “scrolls” are beautiful to hang.  I have used different sources for the Chinese characters – this time I chose the Chinese numbers […]

Making Painted Plum Blossom Trees

The Chinese Plum Blossom tree is considered to bring good luck and hope.  I have done this project with four year olds with great success.   It helps to tell the children that we are not painting the whole tree – just a section of it.   What you will need to paint this tree – light […]

Making Chinese Red Lanterns

Chinese Red Lanterns are a part of the festival life in China.  The color red is believed to bring good luck and happiness.  They are simple to make.   You will need white cardstock, black sharpies, red copy paper, red yard, red watercolor paint, crayons, stapler, and single hole puncher.   Step 1:  Let the children […]

Painting Snow on Trees

This is an oldie – and worth doing again and again!   The best part is mixing up the “secret” snow paint recipe!  This painting takes two days.  I start with teaching the children to paint a tree.   Be sure to start the tree with a little space below it.  The next day we apply our […]

Make an Elf Hat and get a Free E-Book of "The Elves and the Shoemaker"

  Look at these cute elf hats!  Cindy Williams and her gang at Philbrook Art Museum came up with this great craft activity for Second Saturday.  I am so taking this idea to my classroom this week! I took a photo of the instructions!  Use a large piece of construction paper (12×18).  Decorate and embellish! […]

Shoe Art!

During “The Elves and the Shoemaker” we create our own Shoe Art! Begin by gathering shoes.  Each child will need one shoe. Next, prepare the shoe by spray painting it.  I have used gold, silver, red, and even black! To decorate, gather a variety of baubles, beads, trim and feathers. I like using the Golden […]

Pinch Pots at Philbrook

Today my class had the delight of a field trip to Philbrook Art Museum.  We viewed Native American art and pottery and then went to a studio where we created Model Magic pinch pots.  This is such a simple way to introduce making a pinch pot if you do not have access to a kiln […]