Well, I have to say I am writing tonight as a release of stress and to make myself feel "grounded". I think if I write about something positive tonight, then the everyday choas that is spiraling around me will seem smaller somehow. We have a busy weekend and a list of things to do that are so long I have decided to be in denial and not make the list.... I just want to take it as it comes.
So, like I said... something positive... and hopefully useful to some of you fellow homeschoolers. A couple of weeks back I mentioned that I had purchased some tempera paints through Discount School Supply for various projects. The obvious thing to do with paint is paint. With that in mind I was in the craft department at Wal-Mart and I saw a set of sponges in the children's painting section that were the ABC's and they were only $2.48 ... CHEAP! As you can imagine the possibilites are endless for painting projects with the alphabet. I have started mixing some of my paints in there cute little cups, but the neat freak in me had to stop before I had a major cleaning issue on hand. I am sad to say that we have not painted, yet. I am waiting for the right weather and we can have an out-on-the-deck project.
Also, I have been collecting what I would normally classify as garbage for "art" projects. I have been saving the metal end of frozen juice containers, toilet paper rolls, oatmeal cylinders, and various other junk. While the kids were doing some crafting today I picked up an oatmeal cylinder and tore the label off. The thought hit me to open those foam ABC's and put them in. How fun would it be for a preschooler to reach in and pull out a letter and use that as a teaching tool to learn the letters!? So, we made a game of doing just that. Before long all the kids were involved. After seeing Sierra (5) reach in with her eyes closed and pull out a letter, Caden (2) wanted to do it. Of course, I am not trying to teach him at this point, but it was very exciting to him to get to reach in and pull out a letter, also. Savannah (8) could not resist it, either. The three of them would take turns pulling out letters for Sierra to guess.
I was shocked that she only missed TWO of the letters!! Just yesterday I tested her (bingo style) on the letters and she missed SEVERAL .... like seven or so. It was just a different and new thing to do. The bingo was new to her yesterday, too... but I think a bit overwhelming to have to search out the letters mixed altogether. With the foam letters it was exciting to reach in and pull out a "suprise" and then, focus only on that one letter. It was also a very reassuring suprise for me as well. After the bingo thing yesterday, I was feeling like she must not be learning.
All three of the kids were intrigued by the use of the different senses. When we were finished Sierra immediately wanted to take her "sponges" and get them wet.... see, her perception is that they are "just sponges" and not a learning tool!! She has also not realized that the original intended purpose of them was for paint!! I wasn't trying to be a fuddy-duddy, but I did not let her put them in the water, yet. The purpose of this is that we can stretch the learning usage of these to another day and then another. By doing so at different times we will reinforce what she knows and teach what she does not.
The possibilities are endless with this! I think my plan is going to be:
1. Hidden in container, close eyes, open, and guess (Done, but will repeat)
2. Get them wet and squish on them
3. Get them wet and "water stamp" with them on various surfaces
a. the Aqua Doodle -- water will leave a temporary print
b. chalk board -- water will leave a temporary print
4. Paint Stamp with them
a. various paper
b. lunch bags for gift bags, etc.
c. Make a little ABC lapbook
d. T-shirt paint art
5. Bleach art (not sure I will do this, but it is an idea / kids should only observe & "suggest" letters)
a. construction paper (kids would love seeing this effect after the bleach dries)
b. T-shirt bleach art / Jeans bleach art
*Quilters might use this project for the paint art or bleach art to create individual quilt squares made by your favorite little artists! ENDLESS, E~N~D~L~E~S~S POSSIBILITIES!! Put your own spin on it!