Sooooo excited to introduce my new workshop series just for tween girls coming to the Herndon Community Center this summer!
When Nemo got lost, he cried to Dory– “I promised I’d never let anything happen to him!” And Dory’s genius self said – “Well that’s silly. You can’t let nothing happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.”
I give you this to ponder in the wake of the latest round of scary news…via my favorite blogger/author, Glennon Melton of Momastery.com and the book Carry On Warrior: Thoughts On Live Unarmed (which I highly recommend).
“…Let me tell you what we think about children. They’re hardwired for struggle when they get here. And when you hold those perfect little babies in your hand, our job is not to say, ‘Look at her, she’s perfect. My job is just to keep her perfect — make sure she makes the tennis team by fifth grade and Yale by seventh grade.’ That’s not our job. Our job is to look and say, ‘You know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.’ That’s our job. Show me a generation of kids raised like that, and we’ll end the problems I think that we see today.” — Brene Brown
"I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world." ~Sadako Sasaki
When I was 10 years old, my mama gave me a story book. A true story book. It was the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. It is the story of a young girl who lived in Hiroshima at the time of the atomic bomb.
First we warmed up with our hands (and faces, as the case may be).
Then, taking our cues from the adventuresome mice in Ellen Stoll Walsh’s Mouse Paint, we danced and splashed in puddles of red, yellow, and blue, and watched orange, green, and purple magically emerge beneath our feet, and between our toes!
Once again, children’s author and illustrator extraordinaire, Lois Ehlert, provided the inspiration for our classes this week. The colorful folk art images and farmers market theme was a great springboard for lots of engaging imaginative play, role playing and
art-making with mass appeal (with built in cognitive and fine motor skill-building)!
As you can see, we prepared for our market day by making our own shopping bags and decorating a bit of spending money. The kiddos reveled in the simple task of drawing on brown paper bags and blank paper money. It’s always good to remember how a commonplace activity like drawing takes on a whole new level of interest when we introduce a bit of variation (paper bags instead of plain paper, for example). Then I threw in a few basic stickers from the office supply store, and they could have “stuck” with this task for hours. Anything that gives them the chance to use “real” supplies (office labels, money) and skills (pretending to write) that they associate with grown-ups is sure to be a hit, because we all know that at this age, they are little immitators, highly motivated by tasks that allow them to pretend to be like their parents or other admired adult figures in their world. Plus, all this “practice” writing and sticking and unsticking of stickers is a great workout for those little fingers that will be doing “real” writing just down the road.
After we had our supplies ready (and believe me, we could have spent the whole class time just on this), the kids went shopping at our makeshift market. They each counted (with help, as needed) three items to place in their bags. Then they could use their play money to make their purchases, although I wasn’t too strict about this, since some became very attached to their money which had become works of art in their own right.
Before (most of the kiddos) settled in to start snacking on their “purchases”, I showed them how their fruits and veggies made excellent painting tools. In the past, I have always used large stamp pads soaked with washable liquid watercolors for this activity. The results are beautifully detailed prints. This week, however, I mistakenly misplaced my stamp pads, so in a moment of semi-panic, decided to try an alternate version of this activity, simply dipping the cut produce directly into shallow pans filled with washable temperas. The kids responded so well, I decided to stick with this version in the rest of my classes.
They caught on quickly…
For many, the tactile experience of paint on fruit and paint on hands was a wide open invitation to dive right in to a full blown finger painting extravaganza.
The colors, shapes, and textures that emerged in their paintings were often messy, sometimes beautiful, and truly unique. Those are three of my favorite ingredients for what I would deem a successful art experience!
In case you missed it the first time around, check out our post and slideshow Have You Seen Trees? Even if you visited before, we’ve added a slew of new pictures to the slideshow. Thank you Ms. Jessica who teaches on Tuesdays in Alexandria, and Lia (mommy to a budding painter and photographer extraordinaire) for your contributions. Drawing and painting BIG was a blast!
Stay tuned for adventures in 3-D in the weeks ahead…
"Earth laughs in flowers." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
With Spring approaching, and Earth Day this weekend, I wanted to create an activity that celebrated both occasions. One of my toddlers hand-delivered a bouquet of flowers for me on my birthday about 10 days ago, and they had long since started to wilt. I couldn't bare to throw them out yet. Surely there was SOME way I could re-use them or prolong their life?
As a fan of quality children’s literature, I want to encourage parents, teachers, and therapists out there who are dealing with this issue to visit Randi Rentz’ “Why Buy A Wig…” blog for a great children’s book recommendation on the subject for kids aged 3 – 10.
Randi is a seasoned special education teacher and consultant, a breast cancer survivor, and a dear friend with a razor sharp wit and excellent taste, so I trust her judgement!