Preschool Penguin Unit

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We are continuing our lessons on cold climate animals with one of Big B’s favorites – Penguins.

Preschool Penguin Unit

Books: The library is always our first stop when we are starting a new unit. The following are a few fun, educational books that we found:

Movies: There are GREAT penguin movies for kids. I am sure you are familiar with them:

Science Projects:

  • The Cold Climate Animal Experiment that I did with my Hibernation Unit will work with the Penguin Unit as well.
  • The penguin’s feathers are made waterproof by an oily substance. This protects the penguin’s body from the frigid temperatures of the water. I found a great experiment that demonstrates how water is repealed from the penguin feathers on the Perpetual Preschool - Cut feather shapes or even a penguin shape (like we did) out of construction paper and have the child color the entire paper with black and/or white crayon, then drip water onto the paper. The paper will soak but the areas with the crayon will repeal the water. The waxier the crayon the better.
  • Preschool Penguin UnitPreschool Penguin Unit
  • Penguins also stay warm by huddling together. If you are teaching the unit to a group of children, and it is currently cold where you are located, you can show the kids how huddling helps provide warmth. Take the children outside and have them stand separate from each other. Talk to them about how even with their coats on it still feels cold. Then have the kids huddle together  in a tight group for a short time. Ask them if they are warmer huddled as a group. Explain to them that penguins huddle together in order to stay warm.

Physical Activities:

  • Waddle like a Penguin! Recently Big B has enjoyed pretending his is different animals. After reading our first penguin book my husband demonstrated the penguin waddle for our son and they had a great time waddling around the house.
  • Place a ball on top of child’s feet and have them waddle around like a daddy penguin protecting his egg. You can also set up races where kids waddle with the ball on top of their feet.Preschool Penguin Unit
  • Preschool Express has a version of the “Penguin Hookey Pookey.” It’s a really cute idea.

Art Projects:

Footprint Penguin – White paper, Construction Paper, Paint

  • Paint the bottom of your child’s foot and make a print on a piece of paper so that the toes are facing down. We didn’t have black paint so we used blue
  • Cut a circle shape out of white construction paper for the belly and a triangle out of orange construction paper for the beak. Once the paint is dry glue the shapes onto the penguin footprint
  • If you have goggly eyes glue them above the beak. We didn’t have goggly eyes, so I make eyes out of construction paper

Play:

  • A great way to reinforce the fact that penguins swim and can’t fly is by playing with penguin toys during bath time.

Snacks:

  • Penguins eat krill, squid, and fish. Give your child a chance to taste what it is like to be a penguin. If you have an adventurous eater attempt to cook a whole fish for your child to try. If not, make a tuna and mayo mixture for them to try on a cracker. This was not a great experience for Big B. He is not a fan of tuna however, Big B loves squid. We get calamari every time we go to a restaurant. Take your child out to try calamari at a local restaurant (unless you are talented enough to cook it at home).

I hope you and your children enjoy learning about penguins as much and Big B and I have!

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Snowman Family Display

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The Snowman Family Display is our third, and final winter window display for our classroom/dinning room. First, we had the Popsicle Stick Snowflakes. Then we had The Three Jewels (which can be found at the bottom of the Bodhi Day post).

Snowman Family Display

This fun display features an image of each of our family members’ faces on the head of a snowmen. Each family member made their own snowman (except for Little B, who is too young to participate), so that personalities were able to show.

I didn’t get a lot of photographs of the process of this craft. We were having too much fun. I realized after all was said and done that I just had a huge mess and no pictures… Although Big B was very happy to pose for a “process” picture for me.

Snowman Family Display

Materials:

  • Pictures of each family member. Make sure the images are relatively the same size.
  • Glue (stick and bottled)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper
  • Random art supplies that can be used to decorate the snowman; buttons, beads, string, etc.
Start by making the background scene on your window or board. I did a snowy ground with a winter tree. I put everything up with tape. I did use the glue stick to keep the skinny branches on the window. I am sure you could use the glue for the whole display though. I have seen people use glue stick glue effectively on glass before.
Snowman Family Display

Cut the faces out of the photographs

Snowman Family Display

Cut three circles out of white printer paper or construction paper, making each piece larger than the last. Do this for each family member. Keep in mind the size of the person in real life, and make the snowman family proportionate… as best you can. To put the snowman together use the glue stick and slightly overlap the circles.

Decorate your snowman. For paper decorations use the glue stick. It will hold the piece stronger, dry faster, and wont cause the paper to wrinkle. For heavier decorations use the glue from the glue bottle. It holds the heavy decorations more securely.

Snowman Family Display

Allow your snowman to dry completely. If you put it up too soon the heavier decorations will fall off.

Snowman Family Display

Add your snowmen to your background. I put them up with tape.

Snowman Family Display

As you can see my husband got a little carried away with his snowman. He rarely gets to do our crafts or homeschool activities with us because of his work schedule. He liked getting the chance to join in on the fun… I think I might have to plan more crafts for times when he is home.

Snowman Family Display



Puffy Snow Paint

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It’s starting to get chilly here in Central Virginia (although we have had a few warm days in a row recently), so Big B and I have been talking about winter quite a bit. We have been exploring the changes outside and reading winter themed books. This past weekend while in search of more painting projects that we could do I ran across this recipe from education.com for snow paint. I was so excited to try it out.

Snow Paint

Materials:

  • White Glue
  • Shaving Cream
  • Paint Brush
  • Paper

To make the paint mix equal parts white glue and shaving cream.

Snow Paint

Paint like you would with any other paint and allow to dry.

Snow Paint

The paint is smooth, puffy and firm enough to give you nice texture. Even when dry it maintains it’s texture and soft/fluffy feel.

It wasn’t the easiest painting project to photograph but here are two examples of paintings that Big B did with the snow paint

Snow Paint

Snow Paint



Our Winter Window Display: Popsicle Stick Snowflakes

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Well, it is time to take down our fall leaves window display and put up something more winter themed. I have plans for several window displays for our classroom/dinning room this winter. Today we are starting with popsicle stick snowflakes. If there is anything I have learned during my time as an art teacher it’s that you can’t go wrong with glitter!

Popsicle Stick Snowflakes

Materials:

  • Wood popsicle sticks
  • Glue
  • Paint (we used blue and white)
  • Glitter (again, we used blue and white)
  • String or yarn

It’s an easy enough craft with really great results.

Start by gluing several popsicle sticks into a snowflake shape. We used 4 sticks and I made 4 snowflakes for each of us.

Popsicle Stick Snowflakes

Paint one side of the snowflake:

Popsicle Stick Snowflakes

While the paint is still wet sprinkle the snowflake with glitter:

Popsicle Stick Snowflakes

Set aside to dry overnight:

My snowflakes:

Popsicle Stick Snowflakes

Big B’s Snowflakes, which I think are MUCH better than mine. The mix of the two colors on the one snowflake had a really beautiful result:

Popsicle Stick Snowflakes

On day 2 turn the snowflakes over, and paint and glitter the backside. Once again allow them to dry completely:

Popsicle Stick Snowflakes

We glued a strand of white yarn to the back of the snowflake, but you could also poke a hole through the stick and tie the yarn or string off.

Hang and Enjoy!!

Popsicle Stick Snowflakes

I was a big fan of our fall window display, but I am already loving our winter themed ones so much more. I can’t wait to share our other ideas!



Smash Painting

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The smash painting is the third project in a series of painting projects that Big B and I are trying out. I think this one is the best so far!!

For the smash painting I decided that finger paint would be the best choice. It’s been a while since we finger painted and I am still trying to encourage Big B to “think outside the paint brush.” I squeezed some finger paint out on a plate and folded a piece of paper in half. I showed Big B the crease down the center of the paper and instructed him to only paint on one half.

Smash Painting

After he completed his painting I asked him to fold the paper in half and smash the two pieces together.

Smash Painting

When he pulled the paper apart again, and he saw what he had created, his reaction to his art was a very enthusiastic “Whoa!” It hit me that I knew what to expect from the painting, but that this was a completely new experience for him. It’s easy take little things, like the results of a smash painting, for granted as adults.

Smash Painting

Big B was very pleased with his results… as was I. Isn’t it beautiful?

Smash Painting


Painting with Kitchen Utensils

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Last week I mentioned that I was going to be doing a series of different painting techniques with Big B. Painting with kitchen utensils is the second project in that series. Big B loves to paint, and I am trying to expand his creativity and imagination when it comes to his art.

Painting with Kitchen Utensils

This past weekend I collected a bunch of kitchen utensils that I thought would make fun painting tools and I laid them in a pile in front of Big B. He frowned his brow and gave me look like “what am I suppose to do with this?” I simply told him that he needed to use them to paint, nothing more. I wanted to see what he did on his own.

Painting with Kitchen Utensils

He picked up the pasta cutter first and rolled it in the paint, then he said “now what?” I told him he needed to use the tools to get the paint onto the paper, like with a paint brush

Painting with Kitchen Utensils

Some of the utensils required more imagination than others, but in the end he was able to come up with a way to use each one.

Painting with Kitchen Utensils

Painting with Kitchen Utensils

Big B completed two paintings, then asked for his paint brushes. I think the project was a success, but apparently the paint brush is still the painting tool of choice in our house.

 



Straw Blown Thanksgiving Turkey Craft

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Big B loves to paint. Almost everyday he asks if we can do a painting project, and although I am sure he can go weeks on end with just a plate full of paint and a paint brush I was starting to get bored. So, I decided to come up with a string of different painting projects to expand his creativity and imagination. I am starting today with a straw blown Thanksgiving turkey craft.

Straw Blown Thanksgiving Turkey Craft

Materials:

  • Watercolor paint or watered down tempera or finger paints
  • Paper
  • Straws
  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Bead or googly eye
  • Crayon or colored pencil

I am sure you have seen this technique before. You pile paint onto a piece of paper, and move it around by blowing into a straw. Since we are only a few days from Thanksgiving I thought we needed to make this one turkey themed.

We have watercolor paint but Big B is not really a fan of it at the moment. In order for this technique to work though the paint has to be watery and light, so I watered down his tempera paint.

I started by cutting the turkey’s body parts out of construction paper. With Big B watching I glued my pieces together, then give him his pieces so he could do his own. We then set it aside to dry.

Next, I dabbed a few piles of paint onto each of our papers and demonstrated how to move the paint around by blowing into the straw.

Straw Blown Thanksgiving Turkey Craft

Not too long into the project Big B started going a little crazy with the paint brush on his paper, so his is not completely straw blown.

Straw Blown Thanksgiving Turkey Craft

When the paint dried we glue our turkey bodies onto the paper and drew legs. You can see I had as much fun with this project as Big B.

My example:

Straw Blown Thanksgiving Turkey Craft

Big B’s example:

Straw Blown Thanksgiving Turkey Craft



Corn Craft

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We are finishing up our nutrition unit and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so I decided that I needed to come up with a craft that could fit into both. I thought up this corn craft this afternoon:

This craft can work for several different age levels and promotes fine motor skills. In the image above I created the corn cob on the right and Big B created the one on the left.

I started by cutting a corn cob and husk out of construction paper. Then I glued them together.

I completed my example during the children’s nap time this afternoon and had all the materials waiting for Big B when he woke up. I left a few corn kernel spaces so I could demonstrate the process for him. I explain that he needed to tear small pieces out of the tissue paper, ball it up in his hand, then glue it to the corn cob.

He even used the glue all by himself and did a very good job!

 He was very happy with the outcome of his corn cob!

This cute, simple craft was a big hit and required minimal supplies!



Nature Paintings!

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Nature paintings are a quick and easy craft that can be done with children of all ages.

This is a project that I actually used to do with my students, back when I was teaching high school art. I would generally do it during that time of year when the kids were especially antsy from having too many days straight of just sitting in their desks (usually the week before spring break). I would take them on a walk and we would explore the textures of nature. We would talk about how to recreate that texture in drawings, paintings, or printmaking. We would also pick up nature items along the way and bring them back to the classroom to use in the art making process.

This is one project that I feel can be done with children of all ages! I did this craft with my 3 year old son last night, as the closeout to our fall unit. He loved exploring the textures of each item and how that texture effected the way the paint applied to the paper.

The craft is simple. Take a walk with your child and collect nature items (leaves, rocks, moss, grass, pine needles, etc.). Lay out different colored paints and just let them explore. I showed my son how to brush paint onto a leaf, then make a stamp of the leaf, but he was far more interested in just dunking the nature items and pressing them onto the paper.

The two paintings above, in the cover photo, were done by Big B!


Fall Photo Scavenger Hunt

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I love coming up with activities that we can do on our afternoon walks, and if it includes photography, even better! My son loves taking pictures, it might have something to do with having a photographer for a mother, so I created this fall photo scavenger hunt

Objectives: Reinforce colors, and identify fall characteristics.

Materials:

  • I created this document for our photo scavenger hunt. It identifies what objects the child needs to find on their scavenger hunt, and has boxes that they get to check off when the photo has been taken: Fall Photo
  • This is the camera Big B uses, but if you feel comfortable you can just allow your child to use your point and shoot. I highly recommend the Kid Tough Camera. These are two of the models. Ours is the first one. It has less features than the second, but we find it works just fine for us. (Clicking on the images will take you to the cameras on Amazon):

Directions:

I gave Big B the piece of paper, and read through it with him. I explained that he had to find the items on the list, photograph them, then he could check them item off the list when he was done. He responded with a “Lets DO this!”

Big B’s Pictures

Yellow Leaf: 

Brown Acorn:

Red Leaf:

A Colorful Fall Tree:

Leaves on the Ground:

 

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