Spring is in full bloom and we’re continuing to learn about the beautiful changes it brings with it! Caterpillars and butterflies were our main focus for the week. Reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar during circle time lead to discussions about the lifecycle of a caterpillar and metamorphosis into a butterfly. Children were invited to create caterpillars using crayon and watercolor paint, taking note of what happens when the two media meet. They also learned how to use the watercolor paints by “waking them up” with water. It was a great way to establish color recognition. Children happily chimed, “wake up, green, waaaake up!”
Our youngest artists enjoyed exploring Crayon Rocks on a very large piece of paper on the floor. G and A began drawing circles and naming the colors. L enjoyed sorting the crayons into different containers. In the beginning of the week the light table was adorned with colorful bags of oil and water. The children delighted in this intriguing sensory experience. L liked the “squishy” texture and A enjoyed manipulating the layers of color. Sadly, despite being secured, the bags began to leak and had to be put away. We’re working on a solution to perfect this provocation, but in the meantime we brought out the Magna-Tiles on the light table for colorful, building fun. Children worked together as they built cubes, pyramids, castles, or rocket ships. O exclaimed, “I’m building a pirate ship!”
The sensory bin reminded us that with spring comes lots of rain! The children loved splashing, scooping, pouring, and dumping in the water sensory table. Many discoveries came about as children experimented with items from the shelves in the studio to see what would sink or float. A wonderful example of letting the children’s ideas shape the lesson! P exclaimed, “the cork FLOATS!” as she watched the large cork she placed in the water bob up and down.
The filter paper painted with pipettes and liquid watercolor by the children last week provided beautiful pieces to create a “stain glass window” using clear contact paper and their fine motor skills to select, pick up and place upon the sticky paper. Throughout the week I continued to see friendships form as children delighted in play, conversation, collaboration, exploration, and discovery. What a great second week!
Little Artists looked deeper into the characteristics of a caterpillar. Studying drawings and photos and looking closely at details. They chose among cut paper, scissors, glue, crayons, and watercolor paint to create a work of art about a caterpillar and their environment. We looked at butterfly wings discussing what it means to be symmetrical and the symmetry among our own bodies. After the caterpillar comes the butterfly! Children used a variety of squirt bottles to apply colorful designs of paint onto paper that they folded to create a unique symmetrical butterfly.
In our Let’s Create Music Together classes, our theme was water! First, we played a game called Jump in the Puddles! We jumped, hopped, skipped, and splashed in imaginary puddles on the way into the studio, practicing simple rhythm patterns, such as “Ta, Ta, ti ti Ta.” This was just our second week, but I was impressed to see the children singing along with, or engaging with our “Hello Song”, and L even practiced it at home!
As our theme this week was water, we talked about some of the different places we find water (puddles, rain, the ocean, or even in the kitchen!). Then, we sang some songs about the rain, such as “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” who climbs right back up that water spout after being washed out by the rain, and the classic “Rain, rain, go away.” Then, during “Stormy Day” (set to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus”), we played some of the sounds of thunderstorms on our gathering drum, including light finger tap-tap-tapping for the rain, thump-thump-thumping for hail, BOOM-BOOM-BOOMING of the thunder, and finally we played with colorful silk scarves, making our rainbows go “all around” on the stormy day! After it rained a LOT in our studio, the water got so high that we needed to get into a boat! So, we turned over the gathering drum to make our boat, and the children were invited to get inside and go for a ride, to the tune of “Row, row, row your boat.” Some students knew another verse to this song and shared it with the class “… if you see an alligator, don’t forget to SCREAM!!!” For our provocations, we investigated the sounds of water in the sensory bin, along with some things that float and sink. A piece of wood floating in the water made a “thunk” sound when hit with a mallet, whereas a metal pan floating upside down made some funny “doingy” sounds! Just hitting the water with a mallet or with hands made a splishy-splashy sound, and got water everywhere!
At the light table, the students investigated the Magna-Tiles, putting smaller shapes together to build bigger shapes – as when we make music, taking lots of little things like notes, beats, and sounds, and putting them together to make a larger composition. L took great care in constructing large buildings with pointed spires, fitting triangles together with square to make larger shapes. Orff instruments were placed around the circle rug, and MM and L had fun playing these along with the giant wall guitar, along to the sounds of jazz music playing over the speakers, including Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, or Duke Ellington.
At the end of class, we all came back together at the rug, and improvised a song! I got out the acoustic guitar for our “Goodbye Song,” inviting the children to play along on any instrument they chose, to sing, or just to dance. I loved seeing the kids express themselves – their creativity and their individuality! G and G played egg shakers, A and L played xylophones, and S danced and twirled in circles to the wonderful sounds filling the studio! We can’t wait to see what the kids come up with next week!