A few random shots off my phone as I experience autumn on my daily walks around the lake by my house. After our rough spring, I think we had no hope of such an enjoyable October, but it has been just that with our perfect autumn weather.
Always a favorite project of mine to do with the kids at the preschool. The children show pure delight at their giant print, erupting with squeals of joy at the explosion of colors. It is a great project to do reflecting our season of autumn as mother nature's fierce colors rapidly change the landscape around us.
Looking back, the first time I documented this project here was exactly four years ago to the day! (So hard to believe!) Click here to see the original post. The photos from that post have been all over the web, found quite frequently on Pinterest here. Those photos, MY photos have been reblogged, reposted, renamed. Oh well. And so it goes.
Once the children were done making their prints, I had quite a tray full of paint and just couldn't let it go to waste. Using some craft paper I had on hand I mopped up the rest of the paint and stamped away Dahlia Printing style. I'll come up with a use for it.
We have a super long weekend here due to parent/teacher conferences at school and the weather has thus far been spectacular. Fingers crossed for more of the same. xx
I'm short on words today so will let the photos do most of the talking.
It was such a pleasure to have a friend and former mother from the preschool take on the role of Mother Earth this year. I loved what she said to me later...it was such a peaceful and joyful experience, all those little faces looking to me and singing for me, I felt as relaxed after the experience as when I do after a yoga class...
The children made crowns from their water color paintings and simple dragons out of paper tubes. A gentle blow through the tube sends the "fire" shooting out, so sweet how delighted the kids were with this project.
In handwork this week we worked with seeds found in nature!
Well, I said on Monday that I wanted to come up with a craft for the kids at the preschool to make with all the horse chestnuts I had gathered. Necklaces proved to be a nice simple way to put them to use (although they look suspiciously a bit like the conkers I said I would avoid).
The children each got to open up one of the seeds from it's prickly outer shell to the smooth and soft seed found inside. We then used it to make these simple necklaces practicing more of our fine motor skills moving the beads through the needle. I loved to see how so many parents honored their children by immediately wearing the necklaces they had made! Children just love that.
Thanks to Jackie who told me "Buckeyes" are thought to bring good luck.
The second piece of our handwork last week was maple seed art. We gathered the seeds on our daily walk around the lake and each child created and glued a maple seed art masterpiece. I loved each and every one of them.
Lately, on my walks around the lake I've been gathering horse chestnuts. Of course I have to come up with a project for the kids at the preschool to make with these. I love, love, love all the beautifully photographed ones found on Flickr and just had to put them all together. Click on the above links for artist information about each photo.
I also love how easily they pop out of their sharp, prickly casing, revealing the smooth, brown nut on the inside.
I've heard that left around the house they act as a spider deterrent. I have no proof of that but since I'm not a big fan of spiders, I'll give it a try. Anyway, they look so pretty hanging out in a bowl.
Have you ever heard of conkers? I learned about it while researching horse chestnuts. I love this description found here. It sounds like a fun childhood game and tradition...not that I'll be introducing conkers at the preschool though...yikes!
Continuing in the theme of the butterfly during handwork this week the children made sweet little yarn butterflies. (These would look nice on a nature table, or parents could add a safety pin and wear it as a brooch!) This was a good time to see how adept the children are with their fine motor skills by stringing beads on a wire for the body. The kids also wound the yarn around their hand (for the wings) which was good to see where they are with their hand/eye coordination.
Each child used about a four inch piece of 24 gauge wire and bent it in half
Then they picked out four glass beads for the body and strung them onto one half of the wire
Using about a yard and a half of yarn, the children wrapped the yarn around their hand and then gently slid their hand out not to disrupt the wool "wings"
Next, slide the yarn between the empty piece of wire and the other side with the beads
Twist the yarn at the top (I needed to help all my preschoolers with this step) and form antennae
Fluff out the wool wings...and ...done.
Later in the week was symmetry painting.
We brought a big word into our conversation...symmetry. I was impressed at how many children already knew what this was. We talked about symmetry found on our own bodies as well as that of other animals and insects, but especially the butterfly. On our morning walks around the block, the children delighted in finding symmetry in the world around us. So, in our second day of handwork we made a quick painting by adding drops of paint to our paper, then folding it in half to see symmetry work.
It had been a very long time since I had done this kind of painting and had forgotten how much fun it is.
I most definitely have butterflies on my mind. On Saturday we celebrated a beautiful day near the lake at The Monarch Festival with lots of friends from school. It has been such a wonderful yearly event that my boys count on it each year.
The Heart of the Beast puppet theater was a new and delightful addition to the festival this year! Don't you just love the puppet show emerging from the suitcases?!
And we always enjoy the new crafts...masks and wet-felted caterpillars were fun.
They offered the steam roller printing again which was a huge hit the first time around (see here), I'm happy they continue to offer it. And the sun prints (here) are always fun too.
Also, over the weekend we took care of Julen's first grade class caterpillars. It was so much fun I think I gazed at them several hours each day. I didn't realize how they can mess up that cage in a hurry!! I learned quite quickly that caterpillars are like babies...all they do it eat and poop.
They truly are so fun to watch. I took care of my friend Susan's chrysalis pods over the summer and had such fun watching them open into butterflies.
I'll admit this was an ambitious project for the first week of preschool, but I really wanted a butterfly theme for handwork. And...it did give me me the opportunity to see where all of our new children are with their use of scissors.
Children had the choice to either use crayons (mostly for the younger children) or to glue on colorful tissue paper shapes (for the older children) to decorate their butterflies. I used the butterfly template found here.
Also, I talked briefly about symmetry which most of the older children already had an understanding about.
After cutting out the shape it took two simple folds and a little bit of tape to attach the stick and soon we had butterflies dancing about.
It was so much fun for the children to watch as the wings fluttered up and down when they moved their butterfly.
Today was the first day back at the preschool. I wasn't sure how it was going to feel, after eveything, but I had Bob Marley in my head all day singing,
"Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."
thanks to my dear Sister who knows just how to nuture and care for me in my time of need. She was my confidant all summer and knew I was sad and struggling and also knew just how to pick me up. I found a package in my door from her yesterday with all the cheerful gifts above. The note quoting Bob on the (One little bird) card said it all. Such kindness.
And such kindness from you friends. Your comments yesterday and also emails over the past months have kept me afloat (I know, not ANOTHER water metaphor!) but truly, I have appreciated it all.
As for going back to the preschool today? One look in those cherub faces and sweet smiles and all the adoring hugs and I knew I was in the right place. No matter what. It will be a great year.