1) Colorful Musical Chairs: This is an adaption of musical chairs. tape a large piece of paper on each chair. Ask each child to stand by a chair. Children will walk in a circle around the chairs until the music stops. While the music is off, children draw on the paper. When the music continues, children continue to walk in a circle. When the music stops, the scenerio described before is repeated. Each time the music stops, a child will most likely be standing by a different chair. Hence, they continually add artwork to a different picture. The end result is a team picture. Your little picassos have learned the concept of teamwork through their completedcreation.

This activity is one of my favorites. No chairs are taken out of the game as is the case in traditional musical chairs. Thus, it provides a positive activity and opportunity for small children, and children struggling with the rules of social reciprocation. Once the artwork is complete, you may connect all of the art squares together on the wall. The children will take pride in their wall of fame.

2) Textures: Investigate the concept of textures by exploring items that can be used for applying paint other than a paintbrush.  to create a work of art. This activity increases observation and reasoning skills by thinking outside of the box. Perhaps the children could paint with various types of pasto, a slotted spoon, tin foil balls, feathers, etc..

The substitutions for a paintbrush are limitless. Encourage the children to contribute ideas for substitute paintbrushes. This affords them a sense of pride and empowerment  from feeling heard. Different painting tools will create different textures on the childrens artwork. After the paint dries, you may decide to discuss the various textures and imprints by sharing the childrens paintings during circle time.

3)Science – Magnetism:  This was a favorite project in my classroom. Magnets attract kids. (No Pun Intended:-0) Place magnetic items in a bowl of water. Wave a magnetic wand over the bowl and watch what happens!! The items will spin around in the bowl of water. What happens if non magnetic items are used? Well, let’s find out. Replace magnetic items in the bowl of water with non magnetic ones. Enacourage children to wave the magneting wand over the bowl of water. The children will be learning a simple lesson in magnetism here.

Explain why certain items reacted to the magnetic wand and others did not. I place two bowls of water side by side for visual comparison. One bowl has items that are not attracted to the magnet, the other bowl of water has items that are atttracted. In doing so, the children can visualize the concept, watch you model it, and actively participate.

A variation of this experiment is to place the bowl of items that are magnetically attracted to the wand on the table. Wave the magnetic wand under the table. What happens you ask? The items in the bowl will react to the wand that you or the children are wavung under the table. Make sure thee wand is placed directly under the bowl or this experiment will not work.

Warning, this is a tough project to tear the kids away from. You will get wet. Younger children can’t help but put their hands in the bowls of water ocasionaly, and splash. :-0)

4) Dried Flower Placemats: Take the kids on a nature walk. Supply children with a small bag to put their stash in. Encourage the children to collect flowers to create their placemat with. Children will often choose dried leaves, pine needles, grass, or what ever else they may come across on their nature walk. In my experience, this is the case moreso than not. Do not restrict children from adding other items of their choosing. Adults may believe that a placemat encased with mere flowers is more attractive than clumps of grass. A five year old child may think those clumps of grass are beutiful. It this their creation not yours. Please be flexible and encourage the children to think outside the box.

Upon your return indoors, provide each child with a large square of laminate. Provide the children with safe scissors and encourage them to cut the laminate sheet into to squares. Allow the child to cut as independently as possible. NEVER correct the child if they did not cut the squares perfectly. There is nothing more beutiful than a huge smile on a young childs face as they conquer a new skill. You make think their placement is unbelievably mishappen. The chid may perceive their creation as the most beutiful creation in the world. That is the important goal herE – positive self efficacy.

Peel the first sheet of laminate and place it on the table. The children can put their “dried flowers” on the sticky sheet. Peel the second piece of laminate and place on the top of the first piece. Whoolah!!!!!! The children have created a placemat grand enough to be placed on the dinner table. :-0)

Some tips for encouraging independent involvement in this project. If the child has not aquired proper motor skill control to cut through laminate, cut the majority for them. Leave an inch or so uncut and let the child finish the job. If children are struggling with peeling the laminate, peel almost to the end for them. Let the child peel the last couple of inches of laminate if this is reasonably possible.

5) Mud Pie Fun; Take mudpies to a new level. Mix plant dirt mix with water and allow the children to pour the pasty soloution into disposable cups. Allow the cups to dry in the sun. When the mud bricks are dry, the children can use them to build anything their imagination conjures. Perhaps they can build a hot wheels garage, a bridge, who knows? ncourage their imaginations to soar!!!

Add water in small portions to the plant mix. The solution must be pasty and not liquefied in order to dry and solidify  properly.Perhaps the children could take turns doing  do the measuring and mixing as you coach.

I hope you enjoy these ideas. Have a terrific weekend. :-0)

Mari N. M.Ed.

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