Wednesday, July 2, 2008

WFMW - "A" Crafts

Esmé's Mommy here.

We haven’t blogged about school for a while, so just wanted to let you know we are back into the full swing of things after a nice long vacation in the US. The format has changed somewhat as Esmé’s gotten bigger.

I’m all for free art and letting kids be kids as they explore art materials, but I think it’s also great to integrate fun art projects with the learning experience.

Art/craft time now is the major part of school, thanks in a large part to some of the art supplies I was able to bring back from the US. We spend a lot of time singing songs related to the theme, discussing the theme, etc. while we do specific arts or crafts. And to make it easier on me, we are now working our way through the alphabet one week at a time, instead of trying to find new themes each day. Last week was “A,” and now we’re working on “B”

Not all art materials and crafts work, and I thought it would be interesting to see how Esmé’s interests and talents progress over time.

If you’re interested in what arts and crafts work for this almost-15-month-old, here are the “A” ones! And if you have any other ideas that work for this age range, I would love to hear them!

Apple Prints. We started the week off with apple prints – dipping halved apples into tempera paint and then stamping a paper. This was a lot messier than I anticipated and required a lot of hands-on guidance. Fun, but probably more so at a later age.

Sun Catchers. I cut contact paper into shapes (2 of each - mirror-facing) and Miss Esmé carefully placed her materials on one of the contact paper shapes. When done, I put the other contact paper on top.

For the apple shape, I gave her torn red tissue paper – she helped tear it, but I did most of the work. For the ant hill shape, I cut up brown gift ribbon and black construction paper.

She LOVED making these! And since she didn’t have to wait for them to dry, she excitedly showed them off to people as soon as they were done.

Tissue Paper Blizzard. Tearing up tissue paper for the sun catcher project – what fun! I don’t have a photo of this, unfortunately, but Esmé’s favorite part was throwing all the tissue pieces into the air over her head to create an apple blossom blizzard. I supplemented the red tissue with pink pieces as well. Do this over a sheet, and you can collect the pieces to use again and again and again and again.

Watercolors. These really don’t work so well yet. Esmé still hasn’t figured out the “water-paint-paper” steps yet, even with a lot of prompting. However, I love the effect of these so will probably put them in front of her at least once a week. She’s done free watercolors as well as these coloring pages on the “A” theme.

Tempera Paint. The best investment I brought back from the US. She loves how this spreads and mixes colors, etc. Here is an apple I “cheated” a little on, as well as an American flag.

Bathtub Crayons. A close second in best investments. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo since all her artwork gets wiped away. She loves scribbling with them and has started experimenting with how they work underwater.

Book. I’ve helped Esmé with two other books before this one – she scribbles on the miniature coloring pages with markers; then I cut the pages and tie with yarn. She loves to carry the books around and get people to “read” them to her. Unfortunately, I decided to use “fancy” yarn on this one, so she got sidetracked with the yarn and didn’t pay attention to the book itself. What works: regular, plain, boring navy yarn.

Wormed Apple. Esmé started the coloring on this, but I finished and put it together with a cardboard backer. The point is to stick a finger through the hole and wiggle it like a worm. She’s into finger puppets and this is something similar, so she had fun, though I had a terrible time trying to get her to stand still long enough to get a photo of her modeling it.

Egg Carton Ants. We painted egg carton pieces with red tempera paint to make fire ants, and then stuck in pipe cleaner pieces for legs. Of course she loved the tempera part. The downside was trying to get the ants away from her so she wouldn’t pull the legs apart – she really wanted to play with these!

Markers. Esmé spent a lot of time just with markers. In addition to her famous wall art, she did a few coloring and writing pages. I love watching how she carefully makes little marks, some amazingly similar to a capital “A” shape, and then scribbles like crazy, covering her careful little marks.

So that’s the rundown of what works in this house! Check in next week for the “B” crafts that work . . .

**I know I should be giving people credit for most of these ideas, but I've picked them up all over the place so can't remember or figure out who. So if you feel you deserve the credit, let me know and I'll give it to you. Some key sites I've used:"
The Artful Parent blog
The Attached Mama's Alphabet Craft Collection
If you have a post or link related to "A" Activities for toddlers, link up here!


Andrea said...

Those are all such great ideas - I'm always looking for new ideas to try with Tate...I love the bathtub crayon idea...where did you get those from?

melanie said...

Do you know where you got the A book from? I'm looking for some good letter activities to do with my toddler and I love the book idea. said...

Hey! I just wanted you to know that I'm totally printing out your crafts starting with "A"! I think you're brilliant and such a good mom. I've been going crazy trying to entertain my daughter doing the same old stuff all the time and then I thought of you! Thanks for you tips!

Jennifer said...

Last week was Charlotte's first week of Alphabet School, Esme style. Thanks for all the inspiration as we start our new art projects for the year. Your encouragement has been so helpful!

Booklover1212 said...

Hopping over from the BlogHop and I came across your activities! What great ideas you have! I hope you don't mind, but I have "followed" you so that I can more ideas from your blog!

~ Jennifer

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