Monday, June 29, 2015

Over in the Forest: Leaves Collage and Forest Small World

Forest Preschool Activities with Poppins Book Nook

We collected some leaves and twigs while hiking in the woods. Our rainy day activities were so cute! We made the leaves collage and used it to build the Forest small world. Forests and Woods is the theme for June at Poppins Book Nook. You can find our previous Poppins Book Nook activities here: Make Fun Friends for Beekle Matching Colors and Shapes.

Over in the Forest

"Over in the Forest" by Marianne Berkes, illustrated by Jill Dubin is our book of the month. The beautiful forest rhymes are illustrated with the creative collages - oh, so wonderful!

And as if it's not enough, this book is forest explorations and nature hunts all on its own! There is additional animal to find on each spread with the answers and short references for the animals. Each spread has an illustration of the footprints of the featured animal. Each spread features a parent with his/ her babies counting from 1 to 10. There are so many playful activities throughout this book!


Nature Walk and Leaves Collage

We collected some leaves, twigs, and things on a nature walk. They are always fun reminders of the outside adventures.

For the collage, we used a 12 by 12 photo paper, white glue, and a brown paper bag cut into strips.

My Firefly enjoyed squeezing glue onto the leaves and spreading the leaves onto the paper. Then I helped her to place the brown strips on top. The completed collage was placed under the plastic wrap with the weight on top to compress it. We let it dry overnight and used it to create the Forest Small World the next morning.

Forest Small World

For the display, we used a box with 2 walls removed (pictured below).

For the invitation to build, I offered items from nature in a container, transparent plastic cups with the holes cut out for building animal houses, Playmobil animals we had.

The animals happily rushed into the forest and quickly found their favorite spots to play and sleep. The plastic cups with holes were a winning addition: they are transparent so that kids can manipulate animals in their "houses" easily.

Forests and Woods - the Theme for June at PBN

It's time for the Poppins Book Nook - a book club that goes live on the last Monday of each months.
You can find our previous Poppins Book Nook books and activities here: Poppins Book Nook.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom - 3 Dinosaurs - ABC Creative Learning - As We Walk Along the Road - Brain Power Boy - Chestnut Grove Academy - Embracing Destiny - Every Bed of Roses - Farm Fresh Adventures - Growing in God's Grace - Kathys Cluttered Mind - My Bright Firefly - Peakle Pie - Preschool Powol Packets - Pray Species - SAHM I am - Stir The Wonder - Sunny Day Family - Sweet Silly Sara - Teach Beside Me - To the Moon and Back - Tots and Me - Tree Valley Academy - Witty Hoots

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer Preschool Art Projects

These preschool art activities are filled with sunshine, smiles, creativity, and imagination. Observe and enjoy outdoors! Then grab your art supplies and play with colors, summer scents and textures.

Flower Art with Free Printable from Hello, Wonderful. Bits of petals and foliage, some glue and lots of smiles - that's all needed for this art project.

Bears and Lollipops: Invitation to Play with Colors from My Bright Firefly. These bears love lollipops and enjoy their lollipop party!

Bright Ice Boats from My Bright Firefly. Fun discoveries and lots of sensory play for the hot summer day will keep kids happy for the day.

Hot Air Balloon Window Display from Inner Child Fun. Kids will love painting coffee filters to make hot air balloons and decorate the window. Such an easy and bright project!

How to Create a "Masterpiece" from Planet Smarty. Choose your colors, paint, and swirl with a plastic fork. The wonderful tips for the perfect art activity for preschoolers are very helpful!

Dolphins in the Ocean from Craftulate. Different layers and textures create a magical ocean scene. The instructions for this art project are very easy!

Coloring a Beautiful Lily from the Garden from My Bright Firefly. Noticing colors, scents, and textures of a single flower brought inside is a great practice of the much needed observation skills!

Painting a Meadow from Montessori Nature. "Enter into the special relationships with the environment" with this beautiful activity!

Kandinsky Flowers from Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes. This easy art project also allows for reviewing the color theory and practicing cutting circles.

Colorful Creepy Castle: Printing with Blocks from My Bright Firefly. Engineer a castle, print with blocks, then take them outside to play with water. Fun art experience with bright colors and new designs.

Summer art is so much fun! Which art project is your favorite?

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bright Ice Boats: Summer Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Summer Sensory Ice Boats

We explored absorption and color mixing, water freezing and ice melting; played with water and paint, observed float or sink, stacked plastic cups. Several summer sensory activities in one were led by a child. That made the experiments and discoveries unexpected fun! Well, we did make ice boats too - short lived, but leaving bright memories behind.


Bright Ice Boats: Things to Explore and Discover

We started with stacking cups activity. It's awesome for kids of all ages. At this early stage, I offered cups, showed that they can be stacked, and let My Firefly explore the ways of stacking by herself. She loved this little free play with cups!

Next we filled cups with water for color mixing. The cups set up on a paper towel on a tray. It made this sensory play mess free.

She started painting paper towels using colored water from the cups. When the towel was all wet, I offered her the paints. Painting wet towels is a great opportunity to explore colors and color mixing.

I tried to catch a moment when the paper towel was getting just a little bit too much paint. That is a perfect moment to offer a fresh paper towel and let the finished piece dry.

She enjoyed her painting for a long time - until she decided the brush is not fast enough and used her hands on the wet bright towel instead.

To make the ice boats, I prepared card stock circles cut to the diameter of a cup with holes in the middle to insert drinking straws (pictured below).

We inserted the circles into the cups with the remaining colored water and let them freeze overnight.

When the cups were frozen and towels dried, I assembled our ice boats. My Firefly loved them and played with them inside for a while. We talked about colors of the sails and boats, and the transformation of water into ice.

Explore Ice: Summer Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • Will the boat float?
  • Does the ice sink or float? How about a straw and a paper towel?
  • Can ice turn back into water?

There are so many questions that can be taken outside into a nice summer heat!

Our bright ice boats did not stay upright for a long time, but were lots of sensory fun and exploration for the little hands!

Here are the straws left behind - and they still are fun to play with!

And, of course, the water transfer activity: the cups were favorite backyard toys for several days after. There are so many creative ways of using them!

Our bright ice boats brought us many happy discoveries and hours of play: guided and free. We should do it again!

Here is a couple more of our summer sensory play ideas/ science and engineering for preschoolers:

Colorful Creepy Castle: Printing with Blocks
Geometric Solids: Engineering in Action

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Colorful Creepy Castle: Printing with Blocks Preschool Activity

Engineering a Colorful Creepy Castle Using Foam Blocks

We printed with foam blocks to create a colorful and creepy castle. I considered the job well done when My Firefly said, "I'd like to look through the windows to see what's inside." We should have this activity again: engineering and art is a wonderful combination for kids! Our first engineering project can be found here: Roll or Stack? Letter E Is for Engineering.

Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs

"Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs" by Linda Ashman was the wonderful inspirational book for this activity. The fine rhymes and illustrations show that everybody needs a home. The living quarters can be quite different, sometimes even look funny, but they are all so cozy for the families living there.


Engineering a Creepy Castle Set Up

Pictured above:
  • We explored a toy castle we had;
  • a set of foam blocks;
  • white poster paper;
  • tempera paint, the colors chosen by a child;
  • foam plates, a wipe, a brush (optional).

Printing with Blocks Preschool Activity

First, we observed the toy castle: noticed the highest tower with the drawbridge is in the middle, and the two towers are the same and built on both sides of the main tower.

My Firefly was unsure where to start on a large white poster. I offered her to begin with the gate. She placed the blocks on paper - got the symmetry of the side towers easily and became more creative moving to the sides.

After she was done engineering her castle, she removed one block at a time, dipped it into a paint of her choice, and inserted it back into its spot. The sun is the print with the back of the plate we did at the end.

When all the blocks were used for printing, she removed the blocks and placed them into the plastic bag.

This messy play turned out to be very manageable. I had to take the bag with blocks straight to the kiddy pool outside for the extended activity. We washed the blocks, and hands, and legs: lots of fun!

The creepy old castle was played with quite a bit. What would you see inside if you had a chance to peak through the windows?

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Lily Coloring in Oil Pastels for Kids. Introduction to Short Strokes and Blending.

Color and Fragrance: A Beautiful Sensory Experience for Preschoolers

It was a beautiful introduction to short strokes and blending with oil pastels! Let me say, we fully enjoyed the fragrances while observing the grace and colors of the lily carefully chosen and cut from our flower garden. My Firefly (3 years old) was able to pick and name the colors of the lily flower after some prep work the previous weeks. The last one can be found here: Invitation to Play with Colors: Lollipops for Bears.

Invitation to Observe a Lily

Lilies and tulips are perfect to observe the parts of a flower. Our lily had all the parts of a flower in distinct colors. I asked My Firefly to point to the colors she noticed and choose the oil pastel of the corresponding colors from the bowl.

For this activity we used a fresh flower and green construction paper with the lily outlined; pink, green, yellow and brown shades of oil pastels, a paper towel for wiping oil pastels.

Lily Artwork: Introduction to Short Strokes

Pictured below, the steps of coloring the lily we used. The lily fragrances were so relaxing and inspiring for the creativity - we talked about it all while coloring.

  1. We noticed the green midlines of the petals. The darker green was used in a long stroke.
  2. The lighter green was applied in short strokes around the darker green lines. The lightest pink was applied in short strokes, starting in between the green strokes and advancing outwards.
  3. My Firefly continued practicing the short strokes using darker shades of pink moving to the edges of the petals.
  4. The last step: fill the remaining space around the petals using the darkest pink chosen.

Introduction to Blending with Oil Pastels

We used both techniques on this flower for practicing them. Blending was more fun for the little one: it is so forgiving. The oil pastels allow for the hiding mistakes by layering the shades again and again.

  1. For blending we moved the opposite way: from darkest to lightest. We used the lighter shade to smooth the edges and transition to the lighter color. She colored moving from the edges towards the inside of the petal.
  2. Outlining the petals was a favorite. She outlined the flower twice: first with the darkest pink, then with the lightest pink. This makes the lily pop from the green background.
  3. My Firefly put the dots on the lily using the pink-red shade.
  4. She drew a stem using light brown, and two shades of green. To draw a leaf, she outlined a fresh leaf we had. The leaf is colored using long strokes in light and medium green, outlined in yellow.


Coloring a Beautiful Lily from the Garden

It was a beautiful experience! My little one is not usually into coloring activities. The rich sensory input helped her concentrate on the project and use her best effort - so wonderful!

For more inspiration for coloring activities, please, visit here: Tips for Making Coloring Activities Fun .

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bears and Lollipops: Play with Colors and Oil Pastels

Invitation to Play with Colors: Lollipops for Bears

We got our oil pastels out after reading our favorite books. My Firefly loved the lollipop idea: she wanted to share the colorful candies with friends! This activity turned out to be an excellent review of the colors and hues we explored the previous week: Color Wheel Paper Plate. Explore and Match Color Hues.

Quiet Bunny's Many Colors

This activity was inspired by the two of My Firefly's favorite books. We needed bunny stickers for this activity, but accidently got bears instead. Hmmm, bears worked for us. But if you'd decide to set this activity up, please, substitute to "Lollipops for Bunnies" (lol).

"Quiet Bunny's Many Colors" by Lisa McCue is such a beautiful book about our beautiful world filled with all the colors. The bright illustrations follow the colors of creatures and flowers which makes Quiet Bunny so unhappy with the dull coloring of his fur (Amazon affiliate link): Quiet Bunny's Many Colors.

"Letter Ll Book" by This Reading Mama is an emergent reader from Reading the Alphabet curriculum. My Firefly found this curriculum challenging for the first couple of weeks because of many new topics introduced to her at once. But now that we are almost done, she loves her little books and plays with them every day. "Letter Ll Book" can be printed out for free from here: Letter L (Lesson 12).

Invitation to Play with Colors and Oil Pastels

For this activity we needed:
"Letter Ll Book", construction paper, color wheel, oil pastels, a set of bunny stickers.

I don't think multipurpose printer paper would do with oil pastels. We love to use our construction paper set with them though! These little "crayons" are so bright - they can be used on any color of the paper. Our beginner oil pastels set is very affordable and can be found here (Amazon affiliate link): Pentel Arts Oil Pastels, 50 Color Set (PHN-50).

Bears and Lollipops

The activity turned out simple, but very engaging. My Firefly is usually not into coloring, but was able to make lollipops for all 6 bears. There are 6 for primary and secondary colors we worked with the previous week.
  • We started by placing a bear sticker and drawing a lollipop stick to its arm.
  • Then we picked a hue for this bear's lollipop and found all the pastels of that hue from the set.
  • Pictured above: we stated the purple lollipop with the darkest purple pastel in a spiral motion.
  • Used all the other pastels of the same hue to color in between the lines.
  • The tissue paper is next to the drawing for wiping our pastels after they are used (My Firefly loves doing this: a sensory experience and fine motor practice of its own).
  • The bear smiled and said, "Thank you!"
  • Repeat with the next hue.

Our bears loved their lollipops and enjoyed the lollipop party a lot! I think that was a great play with colors and oil pastels.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Color Wheel Paper Plate. Explore and Match Color Hues Activities for Preschoolers.

Explore Color Hues with the Paper Plate Bright Flower

We continued playing and exploring our 50 colors of oil pastels. The Bright Flower we made turned out awesome as a play prompt, a decoration, and a color wheel for our next activities with colors. Learning about color hues was very colorful and happy! You can also find our previous activities with oil pastels here: Play with Long Strokes and Shades: Oil Pastel Lion Mask.

Paper Plate Color Wheel: Exploring Hues

We needed the word "hue" to find the "color families" in the set of 50 oil pastels. My Firefly loves her new oil pastels for their bright colors and soft textures. We are using Pentel oil pastels. They are very affordable ($6 at Walmart for a set of 50 colors). Amazon affiliate link: Pentel Arts Oil Pastels, 50 Color Set (PHN-50).

For the first part of our activity I offered only 6 pastels of the basic brightest colors from the set.
We started coloring our paper plate flower with the 3 primary colors. I drew red, yellow, and blue lines. Then we reviewed the secondary colors we can get from mixing the first 3: orange, purple, and green. I helped My Firefly to place those lines between the primary lines. Hues are the 12 brightest colors: 3 primary, 3 secondary, 6 tertiary. All other colors are hues of one of the 12.

Exploring Hues - Color Families

We continued coloring the flower - one hue at a time.

I asked My Firefly to find all the pastels with the hue of red. She pulled them out of the box and we discussed "the family of red" - all the pastels have different colors, but they all are a hue of red. Then, she drew lines around our main red lines using all her pastels from "the family of red".

We proceeded the same with all the hues. Pictured above: My Firefly's favorite part is to mix colors with her finger and show off her colorful hands. We keep a baby wipe next to the pastels, and sometimes a Kleenex for cleaning the pastels (after using a light color on dark).

Invitation to Explore Color Families: Matching Hues Using Paint Chips

My Firefly loved playing with her Bright Flower. It's definitely a keeper for her pretend play collection. The next day we were able to reverse the above activity to review the hues again.

For her invitation to play, she had her color wheel and 24 color cards (4 cards for each of 6 hues we had). She enjoyed matching the chips to make her flower "bigger".

I love how she is so much more confident with color hues. Of course, it is a work in progress: as seen above - a couple of mistakes were made.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Play with Long Strokes and Shades: Oil Pastel Lion Mask for Kids

Lion Mask Paper Plate

We had our first experience with oil pastels. The lion mask we made was a perfect craft for practicing long strokes and a first experience with oil pastels. My Firefly called them "crayons" first, but soon fell in love with the bright colors and soft textures. The beautiful story and the book was an inspiration for our art activity.


The Lion and the Mouse

"The Lion and the Mouse" by Jerry Pinkney was our wonderful inspiration for this art activity. The story is based on the Aesop's fable. It doesn't matter how big or small your friend is: he will always be there for you when you need him! The award-winning book is truly wonderful and engaging. My Firefly spent some time just staring at the illustrations - every page has its wow factor for little ones.

Amazon affiliate link: The Lion & the Mouse.

Play with Long Strokes and Shades

We started coloring the paper plate with the yellow pastel. The long strokes from the center of the plate all the way to the edge was a skill to practice here.

Then we discussed the picture of the lion again:
  • What does he look like?
  • What would he like to do?
  • Why was he such a good friend to the little mouse?
  • What colors can we see on the picture? What shades?

I asked My Firefly to pick several shades of yellow and orange from the box. Bright colors and soft textures of the oil pastels got her so excited to get coloring! No wonder they are #1 best seller in drawing crayons (Amazon affiliate link): Pentel Arts Oil Pastels, 50 Color Set (PHN-50)

She colored the white spaces with the colors. I offered her pastels one by one going from light to dark and helped her to turn the plate while moving around it.

Oil Pastel Lion Mask

To make a mask, I cut out a circle in the center and helped attach the stick. We just love our new craft sticks we found at Michaels! They have self-adhesive tips so that the craft can be used immediately and hold great through some rough playing. Amazon affiliate link: Darice SS0011J 20-Piece Wood Sticky Sticks with Adhesive Tips.

This lion is definitely into something and just loves to roar!

We've been into some fun Zoo animals explorations recently:
Fun with Zoo Animals: Visual Hands-on Math and Graphs
Hoppy Father's Day Frog on a Lily Pad
Summer at the Zoo Preschool Activities

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