Painting With Chalk

Painting with Chalk

A bit of a warm streak hit us here in Florida while most of the rest of the country was freezing.  It’s a strange December when it’s 80 degrees outside.

Anyway, it does mean we’ve been spending plenty of time outdoors.  In shorts, too, but that’s not the point.

One of the things I showed my girls today was that chalk wasn’t just great for drawing – it was great for “painting,” too.

This is a method of drawing where you simply dip your chalk into a cup of water before drawing with it.  (Kind of like watercolor pencils.)

I let the chalk soak for a few seconds before drawing, and I repeatedly dipped it back into the water while drawing.  The wetter it was, the smoother the finished product.

Painting with Chalk

You can see that I made some different shapes to show my girls how the colors would look when the chalk was wet.  It was brilliant against the brick and smooth to the touch. My oldest daughter liked to blend the colors.

You could, obviously, also do this on concrete, but we have brick in the backyard.  Whatever surface you usually use for chalk drawings should work.

We also used the blocks from the chalkboard storage box and blocks set I made.

And my girls also drew all over themselves with the wet chalk.  My 21-month-old especially.  She covered her legs in the wet chalk, and thought it was hysterical.  Luckily, one of the reasons I love chalk so much is it’s very, very easy to wash off.

Have you tried this?  I’d love to know if your kids enjoyed it, too!

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Our Colorful Backyard: Color Matching Activity for Kids

Our Colorful Backyard:  Color Matching Activity for Kids

Today we spent some time exploring the colors in our backyard.

A bit of a colorful treasure hunt, really.

We collected items in various colors and placed them in matching paper boxes.  We gathered leaves, grass, flowers, mulch, moss, and rocks.  But the photos don’t even show everything we found, because we got distracted by a friendly ladybug, and when we went back out to get more flowers, I forgot my camera.  :)

Either way, here are some of the things we found:

Our Colorful Backyard:  Color Matching Activity for Kids

All of these boxes were made from construction paper and tape.

I picked out construction paper in brown, orange, green, purple, red, and white.  Then I took my scissors and cut a slit in towards the center at each corner.  Then I folded up the sides, wrapping the edges of the short ends on the outside of the long ends, and taping them together.

Kinda like this:

colorful backyard buckets

It’s not sturdy for long-term play, or to hold heavy items, but it worked perfectly for this activity.

Our Colorful Backyard:  Color Matching Activity for Kids

And here is our little ladybug friend, hanging out on my daughter’s fingers:

Our Colorful Backyard:  Color Matching Activity for Kids

You can still do this color identifying activity even if you don’t have a backyard.  Bring the paper buckets to the park instead, or use heavy-duty beach buckets in different colors to collect toys around the house.  Or just wrap some pieces of colored construction paper around existing buckets.

Not crafty at all?  Just lay the construction paper on the ground (on a non-windy day) and let your kids place their collections right on top of the paper in piles.

Either way, the point is to have fun exploring the backyard (garden/park/etc) and not fussing about the container in which they’ll collect their treasures.  :)

More Dirt Soup

dirt soup

I love the fall.

And now that it’s November, fall seems to have finally reached Florida.  (Most days.)

So we’re spending a lot more time outdoors, which is a great boon to my outdoorsy kids.

As I’ve mentioned previously, in Dirt Soup: In Contact With Creation, my girls love digging in the dirt and mixing various things with water, all while explaining, in great detail, the flavors of their soup-like creations.

Today was a nice day.  It called for soup.

And, above, you see a quick snapshot of my daughter in her fort (spaceship), next to her soupy creation and some gigantic rocks from the garden that were gifts we were bringing home from China.

Which is also why, incidentally, I usually let her tell me what we’re doing.  Her imagination astounds me.  Reminds me of how boring adults can be.

Dirt Soup: In Contact With Creation

interacting with nature

When I was pregnant the first time, I began to read about Maria Montessori.  I not only liked, I loved her ideas.  All of her explanations made perfect sense to me.

One quote:

“It is necessary for his psychical development to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly educating forces of living nature.” Maria Montessori

She suggested that children explore and interact with nature every day.

Luckily for my girls, Grandma has a fairly large backyard filled with endless wonderment.  They love playing there, and are always asking to go outside, no matter the weather – or the time of day.

Here you can see them involved in one of the favorite activities:  making “soup.”

The little one pretty much copies whatever her older sister does these days, and that would regularly include making soup out of dirt and water in Grandma’s empty flower pots.  This also involves the collection of leaves, small sticks, seeds, acorns, and flowers from the surrounding plants, and finding a large stick to stir it with.

The eldest sprinkles dirt over the top like a connoisseur seasoning their masterpiece.

I never tire of watching them play and discover and experiment in this fashion.  And they never tire of doing it.  They’ll replicate these activities anywhere from the park to the beach, varying them depending on the available materials.

We talk about the colors and textures of everything, and they like to describe what they’re doing and what their soup will “taste” like when it’s done.

But I think the most important part is just letting the kids roam freely in nature, wherever that may be.

They learn so much more on their own, in nature, than I could ever teach them from the inside of a stuffy classroom.

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{{{This was originally posted at roamingrosie.blog.com, but I’ve since transferred my blog here}}}