Friday, September 21, 2012


Colors is a theme you can do any time of year as nature is providing such bold and beautiful colors most of the year. If you are fortunate enough to live in a climate with out a cold snowy winter, you can do colors all year round. Spring gives us tulips, green grass growing, and blue skies. Summer gives us colorful fruit and vegetable gardens. Fall gives us leaves that turn gorgeous colors. Winter, well here in Michigan, nature gives us white and gray.

Colors is not always an easy lesson to learn, and some can be tricky for my friends. I found a great resource for finding books for children, in particular colors at this site. You can find many of these books at your local library; don't feel as if you have to rush out and get them. Some are more complex than others, so you will want to look at them to see which one is appropriate for child's level of comprehension.

I choose several of these books to read. I won't read them all, I just go with the flow of my friends and see which book would be appropriate. Some days story time is really short and others it is long.

  • little blue and little yelllow by Leo Lionno (yes, I know lowercase. That is how it is supposed to be)
  • Frieght Train by Donald Crews
  • The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse by Eric Carle
  • White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker

Our art activity to go along with our books is a simple splat art activity. You will need thick white construction paper, colored washable paints, and wax paper. Yes, it is this simple. As always you will need a smock. No matter how clean I try to make an activity, it ends up messy. It is a childs job to play and get messy. They do it well. 

Place drops of paint on the construction paper. All over. Try and get them close together in order to allow the colors to mix. Place the wax paper on top of the paint. Then instruct your child to smack the paint. Yes, it is okay to hit your paper today. This will throw some kids off. My son loved doing this so much, we did it six times. 

There is no right or wrong way to do it. While they are smacking their paint discuss how the colors are mixing and turning into new colors. Ask them to shout out what colors they have. Older children can even chart their colors and how they turned out once they mixed.

Our sensory bin was full of warm water. I encourage my friends to play in it. They splashed for a bit and then I introduced our colored ice. Now the fun really began. We discussed the colors and what happened to the water once the ice cubes melted and the colors mixed. My friends splashed, poured, and stirred colored water.

Finally we ended with a color hunt. I have done this activity several times before and it never gets old. I place out different colored construction paper on the floor. I have my friends search around the room for colors. They bring the colors back and place their object on the corresponding color paper. For my 1-2 year olds I bring a bin of colored objects to my circle and we discuss the colors. If they can help, I have them place them on the colored paper.

How do you play with colors? 

Friday, September 14, 2012

All About Me (Names)

This week at PlayAway, we focused on All About Me. I read a simple book Hands Can, which discusses all the things hands can do. We sang Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. We did art with our names.

Ms. Theresa and I decided that our friends need to have a folder to bring all their art work home with them, and to store in our room since it is almost never dry when class is done. My friends like their paint and they like to put it on thick; it is half the fun of art.

This project is so simple, and yet it gets such different results. We placed the childs name on a file folder in foam letters. We supplied washable paint, smocks, and a variety of paint brushes.

We instructed the child to paint over their name and all over the folder. Some of my friends went right to it. Some hesitated and painted around it. Some painted one spot and promptly walked away. This is what happens with 1-3 year olds. You never know what they are going to love.

What my friends do not know is that they will be learning is about creating a resist with the letters and paint. Once the paint dries, we pull off the foam letters and (hopefully) their name pops through the paint as you can see in Samuel's name.

I was suprised by the response. My 1-2's sat for a really long time (10-15 minutes). My 2-3's did it and did it quick. I even had friends that cried because they did not want to finish painting. Ah, a budding artist.

Have you done name art in your home? Even thought they are young, it is never too early to help them learn their name. You can make a placemat with your childs name, you can have them paint over it as we did, you can sing it, and more.