At the start of this week’s class I had parents and caregivers tuck in close to the table and rip tape for their child in varying pieces. We talked with each child as we gave them different sizes, naming them “tiny, small, medium” and “large” and asking them to share their preference. When I ripped large pieces of tape I made a big deal (large being a piece that stretches clear across the paper) and I made a mouse voice when I ripped pieces that were as tiny as my finger tip. Students of all ages got a kick out of this and soon discovered their preference for different sizes or a sparked interest to try out each size.
Each student worked at a different speed. If a child finished before others I’d offer them an opportunity to make a second piece. They had the choice to continue working with the tape to make a resist painting or to just use paint. Often the student would continue working with the tape but this week I introduced glitter watercolor and some were happy to dive right back into painting.
My youngest students (18M-2Y) are natural painters. Here is an example of a toddler sticking with the challenge to fill the entire sheet of paper with color.
Yellow is often the first to turn muddy and I wanted everyone to get the most out of this bright shiny color so I experimented by starting each child with yellow separate from the rest of their palette. The glitter watercolor yellow is particularly fabulous with gold flecks and it turned out a success with a lot of pure yellow brightening up every page.
The second project of the day was homemade play dough. Recipe courtesy of Tinkerlab. Thank you for such a velvety smooth recipe that has proven to last for months in an airtight bag! Our batch was colored pink with liquid watercolor but I’d like to try the recommended food dye sometime.
- 2.5 cups water
- 1 1/4 c. salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp. cream of tartar
- 5 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2.5 cups flour
- Food coloring or liquid watercolors. I really like Wilton Icing Colors, which make gorgeous shades of play dough to match any occasion, mood, or toddler request.
Mix everything but the food coloring together in a large pot until somewhat smooth. It will be lumpy. Not to worry, the dough will get smoother as it cooks. Cook the dough over a low heat. Mix frequently. The water will slowly cook out of the mixture and you’ll notice it starts to take on a sticky dough appearance. Keep mixing until the edges of the dough along the side and bottom of the pan appear dry. Pinch a piece of dough. If it’s not gooey, the dough is ready.
Place the dough on a counter top or large cutting board that can withstand a little food coloring. Knead the warm dough until it’s smooth and then divide it into the number of colors that you’d like to make. I divided mine into four balls, flattened each of them, added a little bit of food coloring, and then kneaded it in. I added more food coloring to get the desired shades of yellow, pink, teal, and lavender.
Store the dough in a large Ziplock bag or sealed container. Unused, it’ll keep for months.
The beautiful summer weather continues to inspire children to garden. This week we harvested some heirloom Bianca Onions.
We played with water in the garden.
Enjoyed bubbles at the water table.
And practiced pouring with the new creamers.
One group of girls got very focused in the new mud kitchen. Every item was pulled from the shelf, tested and used. Some really beautiful teamwork commenced.