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 […]

How to Set-Up A Simple Outdoor Math Center

Creating simple centers outdoors is not only easy but economical.  To demonstrate this – I want to share a simple center.  This center could be a solo activity or group collaboration. OBJECTIVE: Sorting, Classifying, & Pattering. Sorting and classifying objects not only teaches children about attributes and relationships, but also promotes thinking logically and applying rules. MATERIALS: […]

5 Reasons You Should Take Your Class Outside

If you should ask me – What do you remember about your childhood? – I would answer: playing outdoors.  I remember, like yesterday, creating a little hide-out under a group of tall bushes.   I would spend hours with my friends gathering twigs and rocks to make those bushes into a secret hide-out. Children have a natural desire to play […]

All Around Child-Outside

I have been sharing the wonderful things I saw while visiting All Around Child in Overland Park, KS. So far we have explored the common areas, hallways, and the beautiful classrooms. Now you will get to see the masterpiece that is the outside play areas, but they are so much more than that. They are […]

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 […]

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 […]

Splish Splash!

A peek at Rosa Parks outdoor play: Look at these rich and powerful play experiences.  Boots are a must. Rosa Parks now has classroom sets of rubber boots for water play – because of the ebook purchases many of you made. Thank you so much for your purchase! You can help Fairy Dust Teaching continue […]

Reggio Inspired: Collections

Here are snapshots of “collections” from several different Reggio Inspired classrooms.  Enjoy!  Pictured taken in a Reggio Inspired Educare classroom. Photo taken at Rosa Parks Preschool.  I love the idea of using those old divided boxes for little collections. I am uncertain where this was taken – perhaps Colorado. Sorting natural material into baskets and […]

Leaf Sewing!

What you will need: Leaves, hole punch, child’ plastic needles and yarn. This one of my favorite fall activities!  There are two ways to do this! Hole Punched Leaves  Using a hole punch – make holes around the edge of the leaf. Or let the children make the holes.  Magnolia leaves are very strong! Let […]

Oh My Stars!!

Today I received word that my kindergarten class’ fairy garden was one of the winners in the 2012 Fairy Garden Contest (sponsored by one of my favorite blogs –The Magic Onions).  What a special honor and treat!  I highly recommend going over to The Magic Onions and taking a peek at all those magical fairy […]

2 Easy Tree Habitats – Part 3

Ohh, these are so fun!  Here are my tree habitats with nests. Here’s how to make a simple nest:  Wrap a piece of brown tissue paper around your thumb. Glue with a glue stick.  Presto! A Nest! Owl Habitat Owls can live in tree trunks and tree holes.  They will make a nest.  Draw paper […]

3-D Trees – The Four Seasons (Part 2)

This article continues a series on 3-D habitats and science topics. To learn how to make a brown bag tree, please refer to Part 1. Today, I am going to share how I use these simple bag trees to construct the four seasons.  You can have the children each make their own seasonal tree or […]

3-D Paper Habitats 101 – Part 1

There are three basic 3-dimensional techniques to have in your teaching toolbox.  These three habitat basics can be used to have children demonstrate their understandings of current science studies or character settings. Over the next week, I am going to share how to make these habitats.  On Friday I will cover how they can fulfill […]

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 […]

Our Fairy Tree

A few weeks ago I was walking around the neighborhood with my husband when I spotted this wonderful dead tree sitting on the curb — it still had the roots!!  “Honey, pick up that tree for me.”  My husband grimaced.  He knew all too well – another art project! Trees are one of my favorite […]

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 […]

Little Fairy Garden Habitats- Part One

Last week I had each color family create a little fairy garden for their table as a part of our study of plants.   I told the children we will be building the garden weekly.  This week we planted flowers in our gardens.  It was great as the root system in the flowers were so huge […]

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 […]

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 […]

Pine Cone Elves

I saw this idea all over Pinterest and had to give it a try with my kinders! What you will need: assorted pine cones (mine came from a friend’s yard) popsicle sticks wooden beads for head little red caps (I found mine at Hobby Lobby) pipe cleaners cut into fourths little pom-poms, glitter pens, and […]

Crack! Yum!

I have an old nutcracker – I think it came from my grandmother.  Every fall I put it out as a center choice.  I first check to be sure there are no nut allergies and make all the necessary precautions.  (With some children – it is not possible to even have the nutcracker out.)  If […]

Seedy Necklaces

My current intern, Katie Downing, brought the neatest idea to the classroom.  Each student was given two beans, a cotton ball, a small plastic bag (I hole punch it for string the yarn) and a length of yarn.  The cotton balls where soaked in water.  The children put their two beans and the wet cotton […]

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 […]

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 […]

Making Clay Birds with Children

This summer, at the art museum, I had the children make clay birds.  The birds turned out so cute!  I failed to get photos of the finished birds.  I only have this photo – of a bird left behind by one child. INSTRUCTIONS:  The children will be making five basic shapes: an egg shape for […]

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 […]

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 […]

It’s Jack’s Beanstalk!

One of my favorite things is to create the atmosphere in the classroom that supports and expands the ideas we are currently exploring.  With Jack and the Beanstalk I love making a huge beanstalk.  Here is how I do this! Step One:  Pull off three long rolls from your green bulletin board paper.  With a […]

Jack and the Bean Sprouts!

I like to start our study of seeds and plants with the story of Jack and the Beanstalk.  We plant pole beans and other seeds to grow over the next few months.  But in the meantime, it is so powerful to demonstrate how a bean “sprouts” by growing sprouts.  We observed them daily as we […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Trading Post!

The Trading Post is open! Every November I open a trading post in my classroom.  I found a great character at a thrift store in Dillon, Colorado who I call Trader Joe.  He comes to my classroom with a box of nature treasures. Everyday until Thanksgiving break, Trader Joe opens his Trading Post in the […]