Celebrating Fall Leaves

Yes, they are dropping…are you happy, sad, excited for snow? As adults, many of us dread winter coming whereas smaller people tend to love the approach of the cold, wet stuff. Either way, fall is a wonderful reason to celebrate the change of the seasons for a little while longer. It will be white for a while soon!

Maple Leaves Punch Outs

Maple Leaves Punch Outs are perfect for labeling lockers, using for name plates or creating games.

Nature Mobile Maker

The Nature Mobile Maker is a great base for making a colourful mobile. Students can add their own light weight collections such as shells and pine cones and attach to the already notched tree branches.

How about some Art from a nature walk? I walk through a park at the moment will yield a treasure trove of beautiful leaves, twigs and pebbles.

Exploring a fall sensory box? The options are endless with sensory boxes and the open ended nature, facilitates independent and individualized learning.

Creating fall fairies is a possibility with all the wonderful options on the ground for inspiration.

Leaf Rubbing Plates

Comparing leaf rubbings with leaf rubbing plates will help with sorting, and classifying skills.

Big Oak Tree Bulletin Board

Creating a classroom reading tree and having a student complete a leaf with each book read, encourages and celebrates reading achievement.

Fall tree painting on a window? Why not, windows make an awesome canvas!

You can find lots of inspiration on Quality Classrooms’ Pinterest board here.

Tempera Paint Sticks Review

As a big fan of paint I was not sure how to react to a mess free alternative to the paint brush and liquid paint. Tempera paint blocks or cakes, you know the ones:

Tempera Cakes

They are still popular in classrooms and centers but I find they don’t give great coverage. Sometimes students are frustrated by the wateriness of the paint. Learning to apply paint from a tempera cake, without ripping your paper with too much water can be a challenge! However they have a place and are great to pull out quickly, with minimal clean up.

Liquid tempera, you know the type:

Prang Washable Tempera Paint - 8oz

It is great for coverage but can be messy to apply and clean up!

As a fan of process rather than product, my initial reaction to Tempera Paint Sticks was hope that they would not replace the process of painting which I believe all children need to explore, learn and enjoy.

I am a huge fan of oil pastels and wondered if they would be similar.

Tempera Paint Sticks

Turns out they are even more awesome! They are smooth to apply as they glide over the paper and yet they look like a glue stick. They dry almost instantly with full coverage. Check it out:

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The flowers reactions were funny. Daisy said “Oh these are cool, they are kinda like a crayon and kinda like an oil pastel.” and “they go on really easy”.

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Rose said “awesome” and “can we use them later?” when I told her to get ready for the bus.

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They were both engrossed in their art.

They are so easy to apply, drawing is a natural reaction to using these paint sticks, as you can see from the photos.

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We applied liquid watercolour paint on top of the Tempera Paint Sticks and it stayed put. Not bad for newsprint paper!

The paint dries almost instantly so artwork can be taken home the same day.

Lets face it there are times when you want great colour impact but don’t have time to pull out the paints. These Tempera Paint Sticks give the colour impact without the mess of paint or the smudging of oil pastel. What more can I say?

At only $4.25 for 4, give them a try and I think you will be impressed.

 

Paint Nite Style Party for Children

Complaints that Mama was getting to go to Painting Parties while children missed out were countered by having a “Paint Nite” style birthday party for 9 year old Daisy. She is an avid artist and was very excited to host a painting party for her friends.

Guests were asked to bring an art smock or old shirt and when they all arrived we headed down to the basement to the spare bedroom aka The Art Studio!

Everything was ready and waiting ahead of schedule and included:

Easels and canvases were purchased from the dollar store. Paintbrushes were from Quality Classrooms and were great quality.

Beginner Brush Set

They were an affordable starter pack and the different colours made it easier to direct artists to pick up a particular sized brush.

Paint was a mixture of tempera and then for the white we used acrylic. I did notice the white on top pulled colour from the background which you can notice in the completed painting. When looking at paint night style paintings they usually layer darker colours on top, probably for this reason.

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Here the artists are adding green to their background. A simple painting of a panda was chosen to tie in with the theme Daisy wanted. As I painted the example, prior to the party, I noted the stages and steps. In the style of a paint night party, I talked through each step and emphasized the importance of enjoying the painting and not comparing with each other. Everyone’s painting will be different and we are all artists.

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Then bamboo was created with white paint. This was the perfect time for supper which allowed the paint to dry.

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After tummy’s were full, back to painting. The black paint was great for coverage but even the white acrylic struggled. As mentioned earlier, I recommend dark colours for top layers when working in a tight timescale.

We noticed the easels were designed for smaller canvases so they did cause an indentation on the canvas while painting. I am wondering if they could be adapted to a bigger canvas? …next time!

Paint-nite-blog-4The finished Panda by Daisy. One of the artists mentioned that this painting was easy when it was broken down into steps and you were guided through it. What more of an endorsement does this style of painting need? This party was a lot of fun and the entertainment from the guest artists was awesome! As they painted they told ghost stories, sang and chatted. It was a wonderful glimpse into the life of a 9 year old!

 

 

 

 

Painting Snow

Painting-Snow

Snow is abundant at the moment, presenting the perfect canvas. It was a little chilly so we brought the snow into the warmth.

The invitation:

Painting Snow

The Aqua Flo Brush Set is only $3.75 and seemed like the ideal way to paint snow (and I really wanted to try them!).

I corresponded the watercolour paint inside to the handle colour to make choice easier for the boys but the colour actually corresponds to brush side.

Painting Snow

A gentle touch was needed otherwise the paint flowed quickly.

Painting Snow

The boys had greater sucess due to their inability to squeeze hard! A look of pure joy that seems to say “Look what I can do!”:

Painting Snow

Concentration! Theo was very proud to show his mama his art when she arrived.

Painting Snow

A word of warning: Ikea smocks are not waterproof if they have been washed. We will be getting washable smocks from Quality Classrooms and will let you know how they do.

Tell tale sign of Rose concentrating is the tongue out.

Painting Snow

Daisy as usual had a plan and executed it methodically.

Painting Snow

She was a little disappointed in the ‘black’ areas due to too much paint being applied. Less is more is definitely the trick with the watercolour paint. The paint did get on hands but washed off easily with soap.

Painting Snow

The Aqua Flo Brush Set is available in a set of 3, 12 or a classroom set of 36. 

Assorted Aqua Flo Brush Set

The watercolour paint is now available in metallic, and glitter. We used Washable Watercolour Magic. 

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Give snow painting a try, it is a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate our wonderful winter!

 

 

Testing Watercolour Pencils

I enjoyed using watercolour pencils as a child and loved that moment when you added water and your art turned into a painting. As with many things the memories from childhood are a little betraying. While teaching an art class recently, I was disappointed by the watercolour pencils I tried with my students. They seemed grainy and not very vibrant.

Watercolour Pencils (24)

I was then challenged to try out different brands to see if the brand I had tried were weak or if my memory was failing me.

watercolour-pencils

The four brands were:

  • Prang
  • Crayola
  • Lyra
  • Sargent Art

The girls got straight down to “work”!

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We used a printed colouring sheet and dived it into four sections. We took care to use the allocated brand of watercolour pencil in the correct section.

Comments included:

  • Prang- soft and makes chips or dust, kinda crumbly, it is hard to colour lightly
  • Crayola- it has a hard lead, you have to press down hard
  • Lyra- doesn’t erase easily, I like it best because it doesn’t dust
  • Sargent Art- it has a hard lead, it takes too long to cover

These comments were shared while colouring. We did try to erase them all. Lyra was the most difficult to erase, while the rest were more successful. As you can see from the photo we were on a rough surface, not dissimilar to a school desk I imagine.

The excitement of adding water was quite the thrill!

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The wonderful no spill water pot saved the day.

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The girls enjoyed watching the colours blend together as they used paintbrushes and water. They did need to wash their brush off after each colour change but the results were beautiful.

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Our favourites in terms of blending power as you added water, were probably the Crayola and Lyra with the Prang and Sargent Art coming close behind.

Yes, apparently my memory has failed me. While the watercolour pencils did what they needed to I was thinking more of these I think….

Watercolour Crayons

I guess I will have to try them next!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Eric Carle

Eric Carle is truly inspiring and a staple in many kindergarten classrooms. Brown Bear, Brown Bear is one of Fred’s favourite books at the moment. Rose also loves that fact that she can read (recite) it with no effort.

Earlier in the week we stuck paper and coloured Black Sheep. Yes, the art opportunities are limited but the two boys I am working with are learning what to do with glue sticks and paper cut outs!

Black sheep,, black sheep

For Goldfish the following day, I had prepared the cut outs so the boys were to assemble the fish. This gave us opportunities to talk about the body, tail, fins, and eye.

Using a glue stick

The scales were added with oil pastels, with great big movements by Fred who is 19 months and with more care and a steady hand by his friend who is 2 years and 2 months.

Adding colour

Rose and Daisy enjoy supervising, although they may have been better with their own creations to avoid the temptation to add to the boys work. Daisy insisted she write “To: Mommy” as per a request!

Goldfish, Goldfish, what do you see?

Fred did have help to stick, his contribution was to push the paper into place with one finger!

This assembling and sticking and adding colour is as much for the boys as it is for me to build their crafting skills. Understanding not to eat the glue stick is a skill!

We will be continuing our work on Brown Bear, Brown Bear and will then move on to other Eric Carle books.

His books have been popular for the flowers too. For Rose’s third birthday a Hungry Caterpillar theme was requested. We had a Hungry Caterpillar cake, ate hungry caterpillars favourite food, smashed a butterfly pinata and took home caterpillar treats!

See more Eric Carle inspiration on our Pinterest board here and happy crafting!