My kids (and young students) really find enjoyment in sorting objects and supplies. It's calming, independent, and helpful to the overall function of our house (yay!). I have a collection on Pinterest of different sorting activities that look interesting of unexpected. But we just found this really cool (and fancy) wooden box with compartments on amazon. Everyone enjoyed sorting their treasured shells into the little compartments.
Like most people I know there are times my kids need a quiet activity, whether to calm down at the end of a rambunctious game or to help them wake up in the A.M. - I took ideas from a wide variety of schools of thought and started to have these, what some people would call invitations to play out on a table every so often. I think this would also work wonderfully in an art room as an "after activity", especially as a way to introduce new materials or techniques.
Over winter break I started to lay out materials and tools on simple white trays.
There were a variety of different activities over the two weeks, mostly seasonal. My kids gravitated towards them throughout the day for different intervals of time.
Whether my kids complete them in the way I intended is up to them. Unlike what I understand to be the Montessori school of thought, I don't care if my kids do what I thought they would with the material. For example, I thought Auggie would enjoy pouring the rice back and forth between the pitchers; which he did. But then when some spilled out he asked for a spoon to put it back into the pitchers, and then he just started playing with the rice as a sensory experience, all A-okay with me.
Above are some of the setups we used over winter break. I took inspiration from the Montessori approach of setup and used a blank canvas of a white tray to keep it clean, for visual and practical reason. Over the weeks I learned to put anything that could be easily spilled (water, rice, etc,) in a higher rimmed tray. I had a great clear acrylic tray from the container store that worked wonderfully.
What invitations to play have you had success with, have you placed any in your home or in your classroom?
More gift ideas for those kids in your life, gifts that allow open ended invitations to make, build, and create, Check some suggestions out below.
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Need some ideas for the toddler in your life? Want to provide some creative gifts that will provide them opportunities to explore and thrive, check out the item below that have been used often in our house.
Keeping a variety of art supplies out and available at all times has really encouraged my kids to create all day long.
I put together a small, very short, VERY basic handout on watercolors for my adult class that started this week. And, it got me thinking, why didn't I do this for my elementary students?
I have always felt that more elementary art teachers should be taking advantage of watercolor paint and teaching more advanced concepts to kids, rather than just using it as a paint choice to fill in color. The very basics of watercolor technique, flat and gradient washes, wet into wet, wet on dry, and glazing techniques lend lots of room for great lessons on color theory and paint application that, in my experience, lead to great results.
I was on the hunt for a new color wheel project to reinforce primary and secondary colors this week. I wanted something fun that they could use to review and remember their color mixing. I found some old colored gel laying around and created this color wheel necklace. It was a big hit with my own kids so I had classes make them as well. I used color cellophane with students I I ran out of the old gels) They were a big hit and easy to make.
I prepped ahead of time by cutting square pieces of cardstock 2.5x2.5" and cutting the colored cellophane 2x2". Kids punched the holes using large punches common in scrapbooking and glued the cellophane between the panels. They then punched holes and threaded them on string to hang around their neck.
We completed an activity following where we challenged one another on color mixing questions.
Please Excuse the Mess
I'm slowly transferring blog posts from my previous website thebeeskneescousin.com It's taking a considerable amount of time to sort through things. Thanks for your patience.