Tot School 33.5mo Twins – Big Art

Big Art.  It’s all over Pinterest.  What is it?  It’s big.  It’s anything that involves paint and moving your whole body. It’s really fun.  We had ourselves a whole morning of big art today.  We got our bodies moving, worked those gross motor skills and laughed our way through.

We started with some old fashion sidewalk painting.  We used Crayola washable sidewalk paint.  It washed off easily, but the blue did leave a slight color print behind in a few spots.  I set out a paint tray with blue, yellow and pink paint colors, chalk in white, purple and green colors,  with a bristle brush, sponge brush and a roller brush.  By far, the roller brush gave the best paint coverage and was the easiest for the boys to use.  I painted a basic mountain scene and the boys enhanced my picture.  I wrote their names in chalk and let the boys try to trace my letters. Their favorite things to do were making hand prints and foot prints.  When we were all done, I grabbed the water hose and sprayed it all off.  The boys even had fun with that.

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After the driveway dried out, we tried our hand at pop art.  I put down some cardboard, grabbed a bottle of vinegar, some temper paint, toilet paper and baking soda.  Our neighbors came over to watch this one and joined in the fun.  My first attempt didn’t pop so I won’t tell you what I did.  The second and third tries popped nicely so here’s what I did for those.  I took 2 Tbsp of baking soda and wrapped them in a sheet of toilet paper.  The paper just buys you some time pouring in the vinegar before it reacts.  I put that in one corner of a sandwich bag.  Don’t use high-grade bags like I did in my first try because they won’t pop well.  Then squirt about 1 Tbsp temper paint into the opposite corner of the bag.  Hold the paper back and tilt the bag up so you can pour about 1/3c of vinegar over the paint without getting the baking soda wet.  Seal it up and move back.  Gasses are released during this reaction and it causes the bag to swell and eventually pop, blowing paint on the cardboard.  James just loved this project as you can tell in the picture with his orange splatters all over his neck and face.  It also sprayed on the car, but it washed completely off.  I did wash it off immediately so I can’t say what it would do if you let it dry first.

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It took a bit more water spray to wash off the temper paint, but our driveway is back to looking good.  We all enjoyed doing big art today.  It’s what my toddlers love best, making a big mess.

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Tot School 28.5mo Twins – The P of Wacky Wednesday

We began Wednesday reading a Dr. Seuss’ book and added in our letter of the week “P”:

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You can imagine all the fun things that I thought about doing.  Here is what we had time and resources to easily do.

Have you ever made flavored Popcorn?   Ever tried Strawberry Shortcake popcorn?  Doesn’t that sound like something the cat in the hat would do?  I gave the boys measuring cups and spoons so they could put the ingredients in a pan.  You take 1c butter, 3/4c sugar, 1Tbsp corn syrup, 3Tbsp water and one packet of frosting flavoring.  After they mixed it all up I put it on the stove and brought it to a boil, then poured it over 1 bag of plain popcorn.  The boys mixed it all up with their spoons.  I popped it into a 350 oven for 5min then we let it cool.  It might sound crazy, but it tasted really good and was a great red color too.  I also bent the rule of only eating in the kitchen and let them share the bowl on the couch.

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Next we worked on wacky weaving.  I got this idea from Teach Preschool and adapted it to our house.  I took some string that was in my crafting box and gave it to the boys.  I flipped a kitchen table chair over so the legs were sticking up in the air.  I showed the boys how to walk around the chair with the string and it was their own idea to loop it around and across so that it was a bit like weaving.  Lance got a bit frustrated but James loved running around the chair.  When we were done I stood the chair back up and put it under the table thinking that later I’d cut the string off.  The boys decided it would be just as much fun to unravel the string and then play with it.  So they had a good time getting it undone.

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Lastly we used a wacky new material to Paint with.  We tried bubble wrap painting and it worked great.  I taped a white sheet down to the table for each boy, put out hot pink, yellow and turquoise washable Crayola paint, very Dr Seuss looking colors, on saucers and gave each boy a small piece of bubble wrap.  At first they just dabbed on the paint, then they covered the whole piece and pressed it down, then came the smearing with the wrap followed by finger smearing and lastly the whole plate technique.  I didn’t have to do a thing.  They traded plates, laughed and had a good time for about 20min.  Getting that kind of break for this mom is really wacky and much appreciated.

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I know we could have done far wackier things and I bet as the boys get older we will come up with some very wacky ideas, but this was just right for my two boys this year to celebrate Dr Seuss’ upcoming birthday.  As I look for those mercies that I’ve been given each day, the ability to be silly and enjoy those silly moments is one of the best mercies that I’ve been given as a mom.  If you have a great silly memory with your little ones, please share it with me.

Tot School 26.5mo Twins – Sensory Painting

I am christmased out, especially in the craft department.  So yesterday afternoon our craft wasn’t a tree or red and green.  I saw a great post about sensory painting on No Time For Flashcards.  I decided we would try it and the boys liked it.  They had the chance to use four of their senses which always adds to the learning.

I taped two white sheets of paper down to the table.  I pulled out cinnamon, sage and curry because of their colors.  I poured each spice into a separate bowl and added water.  If you try this, don’t worry if the spice doesn’t mix into the water very well and if you don’t have these three spices in your pantry, any of them will do.  Just try to get ones that have different colors to make the painting look better.  I really wanted to use paprika for the red, but my boys taste everything and I thought that might be a bit much for them.

Then the fun began.  I handed each boy a paint brush and I set the bowls in between them.  Before they dove into painting, I lifted the bowls, one at a time, so the boys could smell it.  Then I told them the name of the spice and had them repeat it back to me.  While they painted, the room smelled aromatic.  All three of my spices have a strong smell.  The cinnamon and the curry came out smooth while the sage clumped and add texture to the paintings.  I had the boys feel each spice to see if it felt smooth or grainy in the bowl and how it looked on the paper too.  The fifth sense, taste came in as the boys licked their hands and sometimes the brush.

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The boys were having a good time painting and my best friend called me on the phone.  It’s hard to connect sometimes so I thought I could have a little chat while they painted.   Oh no.  Was I ever wrong.  As soon as they realized that my attention wasn’t completely focused on them, they took their painting from a good time to a wildly great time.  James was painting the table with his hands as he grabbed handfuls of the spice paint and Lance was dipping his brush in the paint then flinging it in any direction that looked clean.

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So I quickly got off the phone, washed the boys up and crawled around on  my hands and knees to wipe paint up from the floor and off the walls.  Had it not been for the last few minutes of chaos, this would have been a fantastic activity.  Well, I think because of the messy chaos, the boys would call this a fantastic activity.  They experienced something new and it’s not very often that we get to incorporate smell into our crafts.  If you try this, don’t expect a masterpiece either.  It’s more like modern impressionism of fall.DSC_0085

I am thankful for the small mercy of spices and am reminded that God has given us a creative and colorful world to discover.  I am so glad to share it with my twin boys.

Tot School 26.5mo Twins – And Picaso Wouldn’t Be Perfect Either

When I look at museum paintings, I see colorful, masterful, well thought out works of art.  That’s my thinking because I’m a planner.  When I start a project, I have an end in mind.  An artist friend of mine laughed at me one day as I told her this and she told me that many artists just start and see where it takes them, WITH OUT AN END IN MIND.  What???  Obviously I’m wired differently than the creative freeform artist but today’s craft reminded me to take a breath and let my boys be artists not perfectionists. 

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I saw on a blog, awhile back, a beautiful Christmas tree made out of using cut up toilet paper roll pieces for the stamping.  So I taped two pieces of white copy paper on the table, poured out some green Crayola washable paint onto a saucer, cut a small round end off a toilet paper roll and cut that piece in half.  I drew a basic triangle on the paper as a Christmas tree.  Then I showed the boys how to dip the cardboard’s edge in the paint and stamp a half-moon curve onto the paper.  Being twins, they each had their own way of interpreting my instructions.  Lance did really well for most of the time while James prefered to drag his piece on the page and by the end, he was also dragging his whole arm through the green paint.  I really had to fight not correcting James.   This is 2-year-old art, it will not be hanging anywhere except on my refrigerator door so who cares if he paints differently.  Then I took the cap of the red bottle and I helped the boys put their thumb in the cap then put thumbprints on the page for the ornaments.  After a quick hand wash, they dipped their index finger in the yellow paint bottle and made the star at the top.  I was just telling Lance how great he did following my instructions and that his tree was perfect.  Then….He tore the page off the table, smeared the paint in doing so and ripped the page in two.

Oh the frustration!  I had just praised him then this happened.  I wanted to throw it in the trash, but a thought occurred to me.  I wonder if this is how Picasso’s parents felt when he was little.  His paintings are wild, vibrant and very different.  I imagine him sitting on the floor playing with other children.  The kids drawing a flower with pencils and there sits Picasso drawing what looks like crazy scribble.  I don’t know what he was like when young, but I can imagine his mother having a hard time containing him, just like I’m doing today.  I bet that Picasso started with paint and let his imagination go.  I bet he didn’t consider his work to be perfect until he stepped back and felt the sence of I’m done, it’s completed.  Had someone given him strict guidelines in his painting, he wouldn’t be perfect either.  In fact, if I were to judge Picasso’s work without knowing who was the artist, I’d say his work wasn’t perfect either.

  So I let the paint dry and mounted the pages onto a green background and hung them up on the fridge.  I do have to say I like them, I like them a lot.  They are not the least bit like the ones on the blog that I saw, but my boys’ paintings are what I imagine Picasso’s young art to look like.  Lance’s art work is unique because he put texture down the middle to make it beautiful.  I will try to remember that none of us are perfect, but each of us is beautiful because Our Creator has said so.

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Tot School 23.5mo twins – Red Sea, Playdo, & Squares

Lance has been running a low-grade fever all week so he’s been cranky and we’ve been cooped up in the house.  That means that today their energy just spilled over and they went nuts.  I’ve declared the followed the theme for the day, “Let the wild rumpus begin!” from Where the Wild Things Are.  So this morning was nonstop activity.  Yesterday we set out to make white squares to help with the color of the month and the shape.  I poured just bit of white paint out onto a small plate and cut up a sponge in the shape of squares.  We looked at the shapes first then I showed them how to dab the sponges in the paint and make squares on their construction paper.  Lance did well with his squares and James took the more artistic path and smeared his squares around.  I would have liked to put them up on the refrigerator to review the color/shape with them, but they decided that ripping the taped paper off the table would be a better idea.  Sometimes it just doesn’t go like you planned.  Just like the constant need to tell the boys not to lick the paint and not to eat the sponges.

Today we tried our hand at play do art.  I’m really into the art thing lately.  I put one color out in front of each boy at a time.  I worked with each one to roll out the dough until it was mostly smooth & flat.  Then I pressed their hand into the dough and showed them their hand print.  James loved it and Lance was content to ball it up and stick it on his finger so he could twirl it around in the air for all to see.  We eventually used four different colors.  The boys could identify the yellow and orange color pretty well, but the pink never quite stuck.  The other fun thing that they enjoyed was pushing the dough into the cup and dumping it back out again and again and again.

Yesterday I made a path through two walls of the Red Sea to go along with the story of the week.  I pushed their climber over near the rocking chair by the couch.  I then put a sheet over them to make a wall.  I showed the boys how the Israelites walked between two walls of water on dry land.  I thought this was pretty good, but after two walk throughs, the boys decided that it was way more fun to play on the climber under the sheet.  I have to say it did look like fun when they slid down the slide and popped out from under the sheet halfway down.  So this illustration wasn’t the best and today while we were at the table we tried another illustration.  I put out a small bowl of water.  I said small because the bigger the bowl, the bigger the spill because you know it’s going to happen.  I took a straw and blew into it to part the water slightly.  I reminded them about God blowing wind to part the Red Sea.  So I held onto the water bowl while the boys blew through the straw to part the water.  After we did that a few times, we just blew bubbles in the bowls.  Amazingly, no water was spilled.

In between all the structured tot school time was running, yelling, laughing, crying, pushing, hitting and all out chaos.   So much chaos that mom was about to loose it by the time dad came home each night.   But in all this wild rumpus, my boys have had fun, learned a little too and we have gotten through a tough week of being sick.  All thanks to the mercies raining down from God.