Nature Sorting Activity

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Sorting is an important early learning activity in science, art, math, language, and critical thinking skills. Babies and toddlers categorize objects based on their unique properties such as color and texture (two elements of art). When toddlers and babies categorize they begin developing an understanding of the physical world around them. They look for patterns (math) and they compare/contrast objects which are critical thinking skills.

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It’s a really simple setup-I took craft feathers, leaves in changing colors, and pinecones and placed them in different spots of a muffin tin. I approached the activity with my two babies differently.  For Adam (10.5 mos) it was his first time trying an activity like this.  It was also his first time getting to touch and hold these items. He picked up, inspected, showed me items, and yes a couple did go into his mouth (I was careful to stay by him during this activity so he wouldn’t try to swallow anything).  He examined the objects for about 15 minutes before trying to move them around in the muffin tray.  adam-sorting

For Ben, who’s almost 2 1/2, I showed him the tray first (he’s had other muffin tin sorting activities before).  We counted like items first in English, then Hebrew (he’s fluent in both).  He told me in Hebrew “etz” meaning tree while holding a leaf and also told me all of these items were from outside, before grouping like items in the tray.  He spent about 10 minutes with the tray.  This would be a great way to start an art and nature project with little ones.  Just keep in mind to watch them so they don’t try to eat the activity.

 

 

Food Safe Homemade Paint

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Adam is officially a little artist.  He was so curious watching Ben paint the last few times, I could tell he was dying to try it out.  Even though I have non toxic paint, I figured the little guy would be putting a lot of it in his mouth, so I wanted to be extra safe.  img_6704

So I scoured the internet for paint recipes, and did a little tweaking to what I found.  My final recipe is:

1/2 c. flour

1 drop of food coloring-to be added later

1/4 c. kosher salt

1 1/4 c. water

I mixed it thoroughly up in a mason jar minus the food coloring with a spoon which I used to spoon the mixture into our palette.  I added one drop of food coloring to each section of my palette and mixed with a Q-tip.img_6687img_6680

A Q-tip is a great way to manage how much paint your little is using or those tiny watercolor brushes that come in kids watercolor palettes.  I would stay away from a medium or larger size brush.  Even with a Q-tip it got messy!

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The experience was overall short, but positive.  I had to show him to dab the paint on the card stock rather than eat it.  He caught on quickly but still took the occasional taste.  This is also a great idea for cheap paint in general.  There are times we can’t afford little things like paint as moms and teachers.  I’ve run art programs on literally nothing for over 1,000 students!  It’s ideas like this that make art accessible to every child no matter what their economic background is.  I kept the leftover mixture in the mason jar over night with a little added water on top.  I made sure the top of the jar was tight.  I want to try making it in soap dispensers and keeping them in the fridge with colors ready to go.  I’ll let you know how that works out in the future.

What is D.B.A.E.?

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DBAE stands for Discipline Based Art Education.  The meaning of discipline in this context is not “a firm hand” or trying to control behavior, but rather a branch of study.  DBAE has been around decades and was developed by the Getty Institute.

The branches of study or disciplines being explored through this approach to arts education are: art production, art criticism, art history, and aesthetics.  Meaningful art lessons should include one or more of these branches of study.  Art production is generally the main component of most art lessons.  Including an art history component or critical thinking strategy to an art lesson will have dynamic results. I list what DBAE components can be found in my lessons, but my lessons can be adapted to the educator’s curricular needs.

Gyotaku Fish Printing Lesson Plan

As promised I am sharing a fully developed lesson plan with my readers who teach.  I am using basic art lesson components so you may add what you need to this lesson.

I have done this lesson many times over the years and the students really like it.  When they walk in I pretend something smells- “it smells like fish!”  Works every time to pull them in.  “It must be-because we are fish printing today!”

fullsizerender-4Gyotaku Fish Printing for 2nd-4th grade students.

3 -50 minute sessions


Art Resources:  teacher product and examples of work by Naoki Hayashi

Art Materials: 1 rubber Gyotaku fish per 2 students, 8”x11” sheets of white paper (1 per student), tempera paint,paper plates, large paintbrushes, oil pastels , glue, and white glitter.

National Art Standard Addressed in this Lesson:  Presenting (visual arts): Interpreting and sharing artistic work.

Objectives- Student will:

*become familar with the process of Gyotaku printing

*create a Gyotaku print.

*create a seascape to incorporate with the print.

*use several 2-D processes in one project.

Discipline Based Art Education: Art History and Art Production

Enduring Ideas: Humans and Nature, Life and Death, Life Cycles, Cultural Diversity.

Interdisciplinary Connections: Social Studies (can be used as part of Pacific Islander Month-May) and Science (life cycles, ocean)

Vocabulary: Gyotaku, printmaking, Japan, Pacific Ocean

.Procedure:
Day 1:
Student will view examples of Gyotaku fish prints (specifically by Naoki Hayashi).  Students will view the teacher’s exemplar and listen to the steps of the project. We will discuss how Naoki Hayashi has turned Gyotaku into an art form with his use of color and repetition.  Student will view a demonstration of the printing by the teacher and then will partner with a buddy to share paint, paint plates, fish, and paintbrushes.  Student will each print on white paper and store work for the next week. Day 2: Student will review vocabulary and art history.  Student will add ocean, sky and details to his/her fish with oil pastel. Day 3: Student will review art history and vocabulary.  Student will finish drawing his details with oil pastel.  Student will add glue where he intends to put glitter and glitter over the bucket with white glitter.  Student will store work in wire rack overnight to dry.

Rubric

Lesson Criteria- 10pts.

Criteria Excellent Great Good
Student created a Gytotaku print. -4 pts. Student created his own Gyotaku print using the appropriate amounts of paint and pressure to create an excellent impression of the fish.- 4pts. Student created his own Gyotaku print, but there are some spots of paint and parts of the fish that didn’t show up.-2.5 pts. Student did not create a successful Gyotaku print.-0 pts.
Student filled in his composition’s background with an  original oil pastel seascape. 5 pts. Student filled in  composition in oil pastel.  Student’s work is neat, balanced, and doesn’t cover up the print.  Student drew an original, realistic seascape.- 5 pts. Student filled in  composition in oil pastel.  Student needs to work on one of the following: neatness, balance, and/or not covering up the print.  Student drew an original,  realistic seascape.- 3 pts. Student filled in  composition in oil pastel.  Student needs to work on more than one of the following: neatness, balance, and/or not covering up the print.  Student drew a realistic seascape.-1 pt.
Student added touches of glitter to his composition.-2pts. Student added touches of glitter to his composition in order to enhance the appearance of the project.-2pts. Student’s work has too much glitter or a few glue drips/smudges.-1pt. Student did not attempt to be neat with the glitter and glue.  Student needs to work on choosing a place for the glitter in his composition and appropriate amounts of glue and glitter.-0pts.

 

 

 

Pattern Print Turkey

A little fun project for Turkey Day. Draw a turkey in pencil and trace in black Sharpie marker.  Permanent marker is a must-so the color doesn’t bleed.  Have your kiddo(s) draw patterns using Crayola Markers in each feather.fullsizerender-5

Remember a pattern is just a shape or line repeated over and over. They can continue to add patterns to the body and color in the face and legs.  This is a fun and easy way to occupy kids while your cooking or painting your Thanksgiving D.I.Y. Lazy Susan.

Thanksgiving D.I.Y. Lazy Susan

I love to paint, and if you love to paint here’s one way you can relax today and avoid football and election talk.

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It’s a lazy susan for the table scape or the buffet.  I use mine all fall to place my oils and spices I frequently use while cooking-I cook everyday.  Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath on Friday/Saturday) takes me three days to prepare for it.  So as a native New Yorker I’ll say “Forget About It!”

Even though I’m a vegetarian-you get the idea.  So I bought the lazy susan at Target a few years back.  I saw some 2 weeks ago at Ikea by the checkout-very affordable.  First I prepared the surface by sanding off the protective sealant that it came with and doing a few thin, even coats of gesso primer with a sponge top brush.   After the gesso dried I used a flat wide brush to paint 3 coats of gold paint-again even and thin.  I waited for those to dry.  Then I used my Martha Stewart Craft Acrylic Paints to paint my leaves.  Voila!

Fall Sensory Bags-Pinterest DIY Tryout

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I saw this post on Fall Sensory Bags and tried it with My Petite Picassos Playgroup (ages 2-3) this week.  I used a Ziploc sandwich bag, hair gel from the Dollar Tree, red and yellow food dye, fake fall leaves, cinnamon sticks, and red and gold glitter. To seal them I used packaging tape.

I really like the fact the kiddos got to see the colorful leaves as we don’t have much of that here in Las Vegas.  Overall the activity went well.  I recommend only filling the bag 1/2 way with gel before adding your food coloring, glitter and fall items so it won’t be so full you can’t see through it.

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Rain Sticks

So I’m trying to play catch-up on Thanksgiving and fall crafts as I just started my blog this week. This past Friday night a friend of mine came over for Shabbat dinner. If you don’t know what Shabbat is it’s the Jewish Sabbath dinner that we have on Friday night. I cook from Wednesday to Friday a variety of Moroccan dishes as that’s my husband’s background and often times I try to invite a friend over and share in this tradition with them. I love this particular night of the week because it’s the one time a week that we as a family sit down for dinner.  My husband owns his own business and so the rest of the week it’s really touch and go as to what time he’ll come home. On Friday night we sing songs, we light candles, and we eat fresh baked bread. It’s really special and Ben loves it!  So this week my friend Man stopped by and she’s an art teacher as well. I asked her if she had any good ideas for a fall time craft as my curriculum had to have a last minute change for a playgroup this week.  She suggested rain sticks that she had been making with her art and yoga class. So I went ahead and took her advice.  My tutorial is below.


Using a hot glue gun glue a toilet paper or towel paper roll onto a piece of scrap paper.


Cut off the excess paper and roll up a piece of silver foil,stuff inside the tube.  The tinfoil slows down the rice from falling inside the rain stick.  Add some rice -just a half a handful


Glue a piece of scrap paper onto the other side making sure you’re holding your tube upwards so the rice and tinfoil don’t fall out.


Decorate with bingo markers or paint. My playgroup used bingo markers last night.  You can purchase them online my husband picked up a bunch in the casino last year.  They’re great for babies who are beginning to do art.

To finish I took a piece of yarn and some beads- strung the beads onto the yarn.  I inserted a feather into the beads and put a drop of hot glue to secure the feather inside the beads.  Then I took the two ends of the yarn wrapped it around the tube, tying them shut.  I put a couple drops of hot glue on the yarn that I had tied so it would stay in place on the tube.

This was such an easy, fun, and fast craft with the kids. They loved to shake the rain stick and hear the rice inside. It’s a great little activity for the little ones at your Thanksgiving dinner. And hardly cost any money!

Here’s a photo of all of Ben’s crafts from last night together.