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.

 

All About Me Activity Cards in Action

I have used All About Me Family Counters for a few years. They are the go to, grab and go activity as all three of my children now play with them, in different ways.

All About Me Family Counters

Here you can see how we have played with them in the past: Fun with Family Counters.Fun with Family Counters

I did have a male ECE correct my stereotyping as I displayed them with the baby on the Mama’s hip and have successfully balanced the baby on the Papa’s hip also!

These counters are the perfect size for dramatic play/restaurant waiting/older sibling activity waiting, and of course for their original design: math concept teaching!

Here you can see the All About Me Family Counters in use with the NEW All About Me Activity Cards in my classroom.

All About Me Activity Cards in Action

The students are watching a demonstration of how to continue a sequence, such as the purple, blue, purple, blue, you can see in the bottom left of the photo. They are also reinforcing characteristic description such as “smaller”, “boy”, colours and patterning.

All About Me Action Cards

Here we have the wonderful sequence and a person riding a cat… why not?

All About Me Activity Cards

Adding: person and cat style! Our next step is to use the formal written number which some of these students are still learning (we were reinforcing the subtraction with finger counting here!).

All about me activity cards

Adding in action!

The structure of these cards allows for group work and discussion as we did here but also for independent and gradual skill building. They are an awesome addition to the math resource collection.

All About Me Activity Cards

Here is the low down on the All About Me Activity Cards:

Help children learn essential early math skills while learning about themselves and the world around them with 20 double-sided, write & wipe Activity Cards. Illustrations on these full-colour Activity Cards match the actual size of the All About Me Family Counters (202090) and are perfect for developing patterning, early addition and subtraction, and sorting skills. Includes over 40 activities and a guide. PreK+. Ages 5+.

 

 

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!

Paper Circle Popz Christmas Activities

I like themes, I can’t help it. It is possibly either the teacher in me or the organized part of my brain but seeing a theme carried out through a project makes me happy!

Paper-Circle-Popz-Christmas

Fred and his friend have been busy making Christmas crafts. A simple wreath with Paper Circle Popz  glued on looks great. Here we are discussing the need to NOT eat the glue stick.

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Theo selects his circles and sticks. The selection was challenging and distracting. He preferred to play with and organise the circles! They are such beautiful colours.

Paper Circle Popz

We will continue the wreath tomorrow.

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The finished product ready to hang on the wall.  (Fred had help!):

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For cards, the boys had a limited colour palette.
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Lines, circles and “Joy” stamps finished the cards.
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Rose also completed cards for her classmates with this design. The lines and circles are perfect exercises to build fine motor skills to improve handwriting. She will finish by writing her name on the inside.

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The boys will wrap their penguin footprint ornament and wreath up today, ready for Christmas.

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I may add some Paper Circle Popz to the gift wrapping… yes I do like a theme!

Mini Bilibo Play

As with the larger version the many uses of these mini Bilibo are only limited by your imagination. Here you can see the full size Bilibo in action and the mini version here! They are pretty cool videos.

Mini Bilibo Set

I was very excited to try them out and gave them to my children with a mission: find different ways to play with these! They happily accepted.

Mini Bilibo Set

Rose began organizing them.

Mini Bilibo

Then had them leap frog jumping over each other.

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In the garden the flowers made potions with liquid water colour paints and…

Mini Bilibo

…grass and mud!

Mini Bilibo

Next the Mini Bilibo made their way to the sand box.

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These versatile and colourful mini versions of the Bilibo are a great addition to any play space! Check them out here.

Letter Signs with Mosaics

Rose is gaining an interest in letters and working with the letters of her name seems to be the most logical place to focus.

Drawing letters on card with markers, gave the flowers a starting point and I showed them how to find colours and  keep a pile ready to stick. The rest was up to them.

Letter Signs with Mosaics

I demonstrated how to add glue to a small section and focus on that area before the glue dried.  We used glue sticks for ease of clean up but white school glue may have stuck even better. Rose enjoyed working on large areas.

Letter Signs with Mosaics

While Daisy focused on a smaller area and worked with order.

Letter Signs with Mosaics

“Look what I have done!”.

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Losing patience and deciding to randomly glue and stick for the background. Playing with the mosaic squares was a highlight.

Letter Signs with Mosaics

When the girls were happy with the final product, we sealed the full piece of card with podge. Name letters signs which now adore the bedroom doors.

Letter Signs with Mosaics

I couldn’t resist making my own, one for Freddy and the bathroom. It was very relaxing!

Letter Signs with Mosaics

The mosaic squares we used are coloured on both sides and made from heavy card. This made them quite easy to sort, lift and stick. Have fun creating!

Crocodile Hop Review

We are always on the look out for games both children can play at the same time. Crocodile Hop fits into this category. It is labelled 3+ but can be extended to be suitable for pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms.

Crocodile Hop Floor Game

The activity guide explains how to play the game 3 different ways and includes 4 activities aimed at developing specific learning objectives.

We started with a basic game variation.

Crocodile Hop

The first job was to figure out the die. One indicated colour and the other shape. They took turns naming the colour or shape, Rose being gently corrected by Daisy if needed. Daisy decided on rules. I wanted to intervene but forced myself to allow her to decide on the ground rules.

The crocodile was on both dice and she decided rolling the crocodile meant you had to go back to the start… a long game perhaps?

However she also decided to use both die and this should make the game quicker.

Crocodile Hop

Using both die gave a colour and shape. Rose and I practised finding shapes and colours, and the game began. A recommendation is to wear shoes or have bare feet. The vinyl floor mat can be slippery.

Crocodile Hop

Daisy helped Rose find the next shape and colour she had rolled.

Crocodile Hop

And of course they rolled lots of crocodiles.

Lots of fun and the girls are eager to try out other games and activity options for the Crocodile Hop.