Top 5 Books in our Classroom

Holes in your nose

We started our year with many books about ourselves and our bodies and this one – by far – the most favorite one of them all. Who wouldn’t be interested in holes in their nose? Did you know that some animals have just one? Did you know how boogers are made? And that no matter how neatly you line them up, they are still dirty? 🙂 Now you know. You are welcome.

The Paper Bag Princess

The boys in my classroom love this book! We have read it so many times, I cannot even count it anymore. They know most of it by heart and even started to dramatize it… we especially had to draw the burnt forest and horse bones!

Pout Pout Fish and the Big Big Dark

We have been talking about ocean, fish and beaches and this has been an absolute favorite this month. It’s about a fish that overcomes its fear of dark with a help of its new friend. Kids relate to the fish a lot and love reading the book along with me.

Make Van Gogh’s Bed

Touch the Art series are very popular in our creativity-based preschool but I think one is the most popular one. Kids love to talk about these famous paintings and learn a lot in a really fun way.

Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes

Kids loved this so much, they decided to draw their own version of this book. They let Pete step in all sorts of different things, like chocolate, ice cream and bananas. We played a lot of games, learned a lot about colors and – more importantly – about a positive outlook on anything 🙂 Love the message of this classic.

What are some favorites in your classroom or in your home?

Earth Day Celebration

I would love to invite you all to a free Earth Day event at Artree Preschool this Saturday April 22nd (from 10 to 12).
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– Create Earth day with us by creating clay pendants and painting a giant upcycled cake. 
Plant sunflowers to take home. 
– Spin a wheel of fortune and win a crafty prize. 
– Explore our pirate ship!
– Visit our fish and a frog, say ho to the mason bees, bugs and the butterflies and walk Bob (the tortoise).
– Discover the fun behind upcycling and tinkering.
We will have a lot of games and activities for kids of ages + a small snack.
Come see what our little preschool is all about.
Also: if you register for our preschool by the end of April, we will waive the registration fee.
See you this Saturday and please, bring your friends and family! This is an event for kids of all ages!
Location: 21415 SE 19th St, Sammamish, WA

Happy Pi Day

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Have you ever wondered what’s inside a computer keyboard?

Well, my little engineers don’t need to wonder anymore – they know! 🙂

We celebrated Pi Day yesterday by opening two old computer keyboards and popping all of the little keys outside. It kept 5 kids busy for over an hour so I think it was a big hit! They took turns with the grown-up tools and  patiently unscrewed every last screw that was holding the parts together.

Now we have a box filled with computer scraps – I’m thinking robots… let’s see what the kids come up with! They often take me on a totally different journey. For example, I would never think of using the keyboard parts to create a shaker 😉

 

Alcohol Ink Birds

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Alcohol inks are one of my favorite media for little kids. They are so flexible and fun to use. We have used them to decorate Christmas ornaments, coasters for teachers, plates and candle holders and now we used them to make a colorful collage on our window.

I got the idea when I picked up my new (old) overhead projector and the teacher gave me a box of colorful transparencies. I immediately wanted to use them for some window decorations and some light table projects but it took a while to figure out exactly what I want to do.

We discussed it with the kids and decided that birds sitting on a string would be awesome. So, we put a little blending solution onto the transparencies and started dripping the inks onto it. The kids love this process. It is super fast and it literally moves in front of your eyes. The more blending solution you use, the more the inks blend into each other and the more space they will cover (and the more they move). In a couple minutes we had more pictures than we could ever use.

We left it to dry for a little bit and then starting drawing and cutting out our birds, flowers, leaves, birdhouses, hearts and bumblebees 🙂 I tried to take a picture but it does not show well. It looks so much better in person!

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If you want to try it yourself, you just need some transparent colorful foil (I used old colorful foils I got along with my overhead projector), alcohol inks and alcohol ink blending solution. That’s it.

This post includes Amazon affiliate links.

 

 

Tinkering in Tacoma

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If you love tinkering, upcycling and art – bring your kids to Tacoma!

I have never been in this tiny little store before but I wanted to get there for quite some time. It is a little bit far for me now but oh my goodness, am I glad I spent an hour in the car!

As soon as I walked in, I knew it was worth it. They have so many treasures here (at least my kind of treasures). I found translucent Plexiglas crabs for the light table, plastic tubes for robot’s legs, transparent circles for alcohol-ink sun catchers, wooden spaceships ready to be painted, wooden horse-monsters from an old piano, apple-monster ready fall art project-in-the-making, microfilms and photo negatives and of course a LOT of samples of tiles, bricks and stones for our block area. And the best part? A huge paper bag is $20. I stuffed it to the rim and beyond  😉

tinkertopia finds

They also offer drop-in tinkering sessions for the kids. I talked to the owners and the best time to go seems to be Saturday morning or Sunday early afternoon. Just check their online calendar to see if there is a birthday party or not. It’s $7 per hour an a half and you can use whatever there is in the tinkering section of the store. I know what we are doing the next weekend it’s raining…

Art Book review: Beautiful Oops!

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There is no right or wrong in art.

This is a message I try to teach the kids every time we create an art project. Art is not about right and wrong answers; it is about creativity, fun and self-expression. That is why I love this book so much.

Barney Saltzberg did an amazing job showing kids that every “mistake” is an opportunity to make something beautiful. Every stain, cut, drop of paint can be used to make something new and exciting.

I have used this book with kids 2-10 years and all of them love the message. It helps them to see what ‘no right or wrong in art’ truly means. I would definitely recommend this book to every budding artist and especially those who are afraid to start painting because they are afraid they will make a mistake.

I sometimes even do a little exercise in mistake-making. I ask the kids to doodle randomly on a piece of paper, make a stain or a tear and then try to figure out what to do with it. You can even mention that some artists, like Joan Miro, used this technique to make some of their art. Miro loved automated drawing: basically random doodles on a piece of paper that he later transformed into art… here are some examples of my older student’s work (K-2nd grade). What do you think, aren’t those Oopses wonderful?

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