Creative beginnings for tiny tots

Posts tagged ‘preschoolers’

“A leaf man’s got to go where the wind blows…”

Truer words were never spoken here on the east coast today, as we brace for the worst of Hurricane Sandy, yet to come.  The rain has been coming down steadily, the wind is picking up, and all the schools and government offices are closed.  So much for our autumn project planned for the first half of this week, collages made from real leaves, inspired by Lois Ehlert’s Leaf Man.

Since I may not have the opportunity to blog about this project after all (the leaf piles and the leaf men hidden therein may all have blown away by the time all is said and done), I’m going to link you to an interview I did with one of my favorite bloggers, Jean Van’t Hul of The Artful Parent, so you can get to know a bit more about my background, the origins and philosophy of the ART IN HAND program, and art therapy in general.  Here’s hoping we all get to keep our power on!  (realistically speaking, that’s fairly unlikely in these parts in the next day or so…)

Happy reading!

Julie Liddle:  An Art Therapist’s Perspective

Little Kids and Big Ideas in 3-D

In his whimsical tale of an ambitiously imaginative boy who invents a car with all the trimmings (including built in swimming pool, snack bar, and the capacity for sailing the seas and soaring through the skies, to name a few), Chris Van Dusen speaks to the wild imaginations of boys and girls everywhere, who dare to dream big.

Inspired by this engaging book, our toddlers and preschoolers expanded their visual vocabularies by tinkering with 3-D materials to come up with inventions of their own.

The range of experiences, lessons, skills, and designs were broad and delightful to watch unfold.

Each child received a brown bag filled with a variety of wood pieces and a rectangular cardboard panel as a work surface.  They were given ample time to simply interact with their pieces, without the notion of creating a permanent arrangement.

We witnessed:

SORTING…

STACKING…

BALANCING…

AND FINALLY….GLUING!!!

The end result was this veritable visual wonderland.  From chaos to order to symmetry and back, these creations conjure images of vehicles, contraptions, buildings, cityscapes and random fun. Our sculptors ranged in age from 20 months to 5 years old.

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And this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the fact that the book also features a very spunky pup, who is the spittin’ image of my wonderdog, Chessie, in every aspect of appearance and winning personality!

Have You Seen Trees?

This lovely book written by Joanne Oppenheim and illustrated by Jean and Mou-Sien Tseng

inspired life-sized art, as we posed like trees and got to stretch our limbs as we drew and painted on large paper posted on the wall.  Working large, on a vertical surface, makes the act of drawing and painting very much a gross motor (rather than fine motor) activity.  The arms move from the shoulder down to the hand, and the entire trunk is engaged for balance as children paint in a standing or squatting position.

Have you seen trees?  High trees, wide trees, reaching-to-the-sky trees….

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These nests are THE BEST!!!

Here’s a little photo gallery of some of our busy nesters and some of the many delightful nests they created in our classes recently.

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Nature AND Nurture

Nothing like baby animals to bring out the nurturing side in us humans, and toddlers and preschoolers are no exception.  The essence of that nurturing spirit is captured literally and symbolically in the concept of the nest.   And the act of nesting itself, creating a warm, protective environment in which a new life can grow and emerge enveloped by its parents and the safe haven they so carefully crafted, is truly captivating for young children, as they identify with the babies in the scenario and also get to try the parental role on for size.

Toddlers and preschoolers are natural collectors…

… and gluers…

And as you can see, highly invested in creating their own unique nests.

An ambitious five year old got busy with scissors to create his own chipmunk from construction paper and flower petals (for eyes) to live in his nest.

I just love these nests, and look forward to seeing them emerge each spring!

The Art of Springtime

As we kick off another spring session, I wanted to share with you all an article I wrote for Washington Parent magazine a few years back.  I hope it inspires you to make the most of the creative possibilities that surround your wherever you are.

Washington Parent: The Art of Springtime

Helping Kids Cope when a Loved One has Cancer

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!

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