Eight Posts for Hanukkah -Vintage Baby Block Driedels (Easy D.I.Y.)

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I picked up some vintage baby blocks when I was pregnant with Ben for a maternity shoot. It dawned on me while I was in the playroom the other day they could easily be turned into dreidels for Hanukkah and be repurposed.

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This is an easy, fun, 5 minute craft that yields great results.  I purchased the Mini Peg People at Joann Fabrics as well as the 1/4″ dowel.  I sawed off a 1″ piece from the dowel and attached it with my hot glue gun, then on the opposite end of the block I glued on a mini peg person.  Voila!  A driedel.  Ben enjoyed playing with it – a great little homemade toy or present!

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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.

 

 

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.

Native American Vest and Headband

One piece of advice I would give anyone teaching children art is that to have successful projects you need to have a successful example.  I always make every project I teach before I teach it with the same materials and techniques so I can iron out any issues that may arise beforehand.  It also gives students an idea of how their project could look-however I stress to them that we are all different artists with different hands.  Picasso and Matisse made the same paintings for years-but each master artist made their paintings in their personal style.

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I have taught this project to kindergarteners before.  It’s fun, easy, and cheap.  It ties in multiculturalism, symbolism, recycling, wearable art, social studies, and literature (if you read Native American folktales with the project).My students loved this project and Ben was very pleased with his vest and headband today. To start I took the handles off the Trader Joes shopping bag, cut straight up the center of the front of the bag and cut off the bottom of the bag.  Then I turned it inside out so it would be blank and drew circles where I wanted the arm holes to be.  I cut them out and added fringe.

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I practiced writing Ben’s name with him in black Sharpie.  I’m hoping repetition will pay off and he will know how to write his name in a year or so.  This is a good for kindergarteners to practice writing their names and also for everyone to know who’s project belongs to whom.

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I drew a turkey and Native American pictographs I remember on the back of the vest. Ben used the Sharpie and Crayola markers to draw and color on the back.  He practiced making glue dots and added feathers to his vest.

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We used scraps to create a headband with feathers.  I can’t wait to see all the kiddos tomorrow with their vests and headbands-they’ll be so cute!

Apple Collage

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Ben is learning how to glue.  It’s a process.  He first needs to learn what glue is.  That if he places an item in glue-to leave it and it will stick.  After that I will teach to make glue dots so his work wont get messy.  For now though, it’s “Put the pompom down and leave it.”  I had these red and white gingham paper plates leftover from a bbq I hosted, I picked them up at the Dollar Tree in July.  I cut out an apple shape,  also a black rectangle and a green leaf from construction paper. I used hot glue to attach the stem and leaf quickly and in front of Ben made those small glue dots aforementioned.  Ben placed red pompoms down in the glue.  At first he lifted them up, but I showed him to leave the pompom in the glue and get another from the bag.  He was done in 5 minutes, so we made another one.  I have them flanking my entryway table and I absolutely love them!fullsizerender-3

Welcome!

img_5865My Petite Picassos is an idea for a blog and playgroup several friends and family members requested when I decided to take time off from work to stay home with my two sons.  My vision for this venture is to share with readers arts and crafts ideas for children ages birth through 13 years old.  My posts will include DIY ideas for stay at home moms as well as arts and crafts lessons for homeschoolers, classroom teachers, and art educators.  Lessons will include National Arts Standards, DBAE (Discipline Based Art Education) components, Enduring Ideas (meaning making), and ties to cross curricular subjects.

A little background about me: I am a Nevada Licensed Art Educator for ages 0-18.  I taught in Clark County School District for 10 years at the elementary level and won Nevada Art Educator of the Year 2014.  I was the editor for Art Educators of Nevada’s Newsletter 2013-2015 and an artist in my own right.  I was represented by City of the World Gallery, Inc. in downtown Las Vegas’ Art District for 4 years.  I am currently a stay at home mom to two wonderful little boys: Ben 2 years and 5 months old and Adam 10 months old.

I will be posting on a weekly basis and look forward to reading your comments and insights.

Feeling Thankful

This is the first year I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner albeit-a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner.  So to make the house warm and inviting I’m setting out decorations and thinking of cute ways to incorporate the art my children make into the home.  

One of my favorite projects I did with Ben was when he was one years old we created a platter together. I used a white dinner plate from the Dollar Store and acrylic paint that I found at Michael’s in different fall colors (true red, yellow, and orange) to create a keepsake that I would use for decades to come.

Using a sponge brush I applied a thin coat of yellow acrylic paint to Ben’s hand and made sure that I spread his fingers apart and carefully placed each finger onto the plate to make handprints. I didn’t bother washing off the colors in between because I worked from  light to dark and just by stamping his hand it took off so much paint.  I found paint pens at Target to write Happy Fall and Ben’s name and the year -then followed up with Mod Podge that is dishwasher safe. After applying three even, thin coats of Mod Podge you have to let it sit for 30 days before you ever use the plate. I personally am not using the plate for food I display it every fall with a little stand that I got at Michael’s. I used the same tech nique with the sponge brush and working from light to dark fall colors this year with both of my sons in a diptych painting we created.  

A diptych is a painting made of two components whether they are canvas or wood or paper.  We did my older son’s handprints and my baby’s footprints for this project. I stamped each of them equally on each canvas so I would have a good variety of shapes throughout the diptych. Afterwards I used a chiseled Sharpie pen to draw leaf shapes around their hands, adding veins to the leaves.  Inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night and his swirling lines I created some small wavy and swirly lines around the leaves to make it look like they’re dancing in the wind.

I may not have the crisp fall weather and foliage in Las Vegas like I did growing up in upstate New York,  but at least through art I can express the feelings the season gave me growing up.