Preschool started the day after Labor Day. That week we focused on an overview of the Alphabet. Our preschool day starts with indoor free play time. I always have available for the children an “invitation to play”. This week our invitation was an alphabet sensory bin inspired by this one from The Imagination Tree . It is always interesting to see if the children will gravitate toward an “invitation to play” and then how they will interact with it. Because this one had trucks and beans, it was a winner! I bought wood slice discs and wrote uppercase letters of the Alphabet on them. I bought a couple of bags of polished rocks from the dollar store and modge-podged uppercase letters of the Alphabet on them. I dumped all of these into the sensory bin so that the children could move and stack and dump to their heart’s content!
During Circle time I took out all of the wooden discs and one at a time would hold each one up and have the littles identify the letter and then find the rock with the matching letter on it. It was a fun game for them.
Besides the Jasper Johns style alphabet art project that I explained in the previous post, we did three other really fun art projects that week.
For one, I printed each child’s name in bubble letters on cardstock and then I had a variety of natural materials for them to arrange on their names–small seashells, bits of raffia, pine needles, flower petals, bay leaves, small lengths of twine, and moss. Most of the children were very deliberate in what material they used and where they placed them.
For another alphabet art project I drew a bubble shaped letter of the first letter of each child’s name on waxed paper. Then I had the children submerge about 8 to 10 inch lengths yarn into watered down glue to fill in the shape of the letter in a design. Once dry they could pull the letter off of the waxed paper and hang it up. Interestingly, most of the children did not enjoy dipping the yarn in the glue and getting their hands sticky and messy. I have found this also to be true when doing papier mache´. However, being a glutton for punishment, I keep doing these types of projects! I actually think that it is good for the children to be pushed a little bit out of their comfort zones and try things that may be a smidge disagreeable for them.
For the littlest littles I tweaked the project a bit and drew the letters onto cardstock and cut out the shapes. I knew that it would be easier for them to work within a more clearly delineated boundary. I also learned and gave them each a wet paper towel to wipe their hands on. That definitely made it easier for them to get their hands wet and sticky!
Finally for our last project, I first talked to the children about what temporary art was. Some art is meant to last, like many paintings or sculptures. But some art is meant to be enjoyed for a just little while. Then we went outside where I had drawn letters of the alphabet on the driveway. I gave the children little buckets and scissors and let them collect bits of plants from my garden. I also brought out our baskets of stones, shells, pine cones, wood, and glass “jewels” for them to use. And then they outlined their letters with natural materials. I think that these littles made the most gorgeous works of art! I was so proud of them!
It was so bright on Friday, that I would have these littlest ones cover their eyes with their hands and on the count of three, take off their hands, open their eyes and I would snap a picture!