This week in our preschool arts program, Little Makers, we did two projects to help us celebrate and appreciate nature for Earth Day! First, we created nature journals by punching holes into paper and practiced our fine motor skills to string yarn through the holes. Then, we used markers to decorate and name our nature journals.
The second project we worked on was a set of binoculars. We used recycled toilet paper rolls and secured our binoculars with glue. After the glue dried, we decorated each pair with words and drawings. Although the binoculars have no magnifying effect, with a little imagination it worked just fine! After completing the projects, our little makers were excited to give them a go!
These projects not only helped us appreciate nature, but also centered on the early literacy practice of writing. By writing descriptions or drawing pictures of what they see in nature, a child is working on building the skills they need for writing and reading.
Writing is like learning a code. Each letter has a meaning and those individual meanings strung together create a word. Did you know that when a child scribbles, they’re practicing writing? A shape may represent a letter or a mark on a piece of paper can represent a word. It may not look like words to us, but to the child it has meaning. It’s building their print awareness, which means knowing that print has meaning, and helping them build the skills they’ll need when they’re ready to read.
Now that we have a trusty pair of binoculars and a brand new nature journal, why not play and build up some of our early literacy skills from Every Child Ready to Read’s five daily practices: reading, writing, singing, talking or playing? Ask your child to describe a bug they see! Is it fluffy or solid? What color is it? How many legs does it have? Make up a silly song about the bug! Another fun way to explore an early literacy skill is to draw a picture and label it. Have a child draw a picture of an animal and label the head, eyes, tail, arms, or paws. Make it a game, early literacy should be fun!
Summertime is a wonderful opportunity for children and parents to build special memories and discover hours of simple fun. Kids can create a masterpiece painting with milk-based paint or use a mixture of shaving cream and glue to make a puff paint mural. (Recipe below) Write secret codes to one another with invisible ink and then hide them around the house or in the yard. Combine imagination, pasta plus glue and you can design a “Pasta Creation” with different shapes of pasta, or go for a nature walk and build a picture from whatever treasures you collect. Abundant ideas can be found in the many books we have here at The Monroe County Public Library Children’s Department. A few titles you might consider are:
Glues, Brews, and Goos
Vols. 1 & 2
By Diana F. Mark
Making Art with Sand and Earth
By Gillian Chapman and Pam Robson
Kids’ Crazy Art Concoctions
By Jill Frankel Hauser
Here’s a simple recipe for Puffy Paint!
Mix equal parts white glue and foamy shaving cream – color with some food coloring.
Paint an original work of art and then let it dry – paint will puff up!
Our Tuesday morning art program begins again June 25th at 10:45 am!
When it is too cold to play and you're stuck inside, you might get a little bit of cabin fever. One sure cure for this dreaded, boring condition is to make something fun. The Children's Department has hundreds of books filled with ideas and instructions to help you create colorful crafts. One great example is Creative Crafts for Kids published by Reader's Digest Children's Books. Here you will find instructions for making fantastic greeting cards, balloon monsters, floral picture frames, and much more. This book will help you get creative with paper, wire, paint, felt, glitter, and glue. Creative Crafts for Kids is right for children in 3rd grade and older, but the library has great craft books for all ages. We also have a wide selection of seasonal craft books to help you and your family celebrate the holidays. So don't suffer from cabin fever...come to the library to find a cure for a boring winter day.
Amazon's blog Omnivoracious is a great read to keep up with not only what is happening at Amazon, but also generally in the publishing world, complete with reviews of reviews, author interviews, and other literary minded topics. Today's post was exceptionally astonishing and beautiful. Profiled is Chicago based artist, Brian Dettmer, who sculpts old books into amazing works of art. Check out both the blog entry and his website to see the images. I don't want to generally advocate cutting up books, but his end result is truly extraordinary. Read more about Altered Books