Monday, May 21, 2012

A-Z Art: A is for Apple Prints

Part of how our summer schedule is that every Monday afternoons will be Masterpiece Mondays (more on our schedule tomorrow). Since art is going to be a frequent activity this summer I wanted to have a focus. About a year ago, I heard about a woman who decided to do an A-Z theme with picking different mediums and art ideas based on the letter of the alphabet, I was inspired! My oldest and I sat down and came up with an plan for 26 different art projects. The ideas are truly endless. It was hard to narrow down what to do for each letter because I kept thinking of more different ways we could do art- at least there is always next summer!

A-Apple Prints
B-Bubble Art 
C-Contact Collage
D-Drip Art
E-Eggshell Art
G-Glue & Watercolor Resist
H-Handprint Art
I-Inventions (robots)
J-Jars (glitter)
K-Kenya Masks
L-Leafprint Art
M-Melted Crayon Art
N-Newpaper Art
O-Origami Art
Q-Quill Art
R-Rocks (Story)
S-Seed Mosaic
T-Tissue Paper Stainglass
U-USA Needlepoint
V-Valentine Heart Suncatchers
W-Wheel Print Art
X-Xray Sketches
Y-Yarn Weaving

For our first Masterpiece Monday we painted with apples. I cut up four apples and put out four different colors of paint (apple colors of course). I decided to make some puffy paint too for different texture. To make puffy paint: mix white shaving foam, white Elmers glue and paint. I don't have exact ratios but just kept adding glue and paint for good measure. I let it be COMPLETELY kid-directed (which won't always be the case on all letters). I really thought they would stamp with the apples but my sons wanted to drag the apples like paint brushes. Both boys liked the sensory aspect of the puffy paint. If you have a kiddo with a sensory disorder or an oral toddler I would be careful putting paint (that isn't edible) on apples and freely handing it to them. Apples are meant to be eaten, right?!? I'm slowly learning about this sensory stuff!

Anyhoo, keep checking back for A-Z Art ideas, Masterpiece Mondays, and our new AWESOME summer schedule.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sensational Spaghetti

As I am trying to come to terms with "B's" Sensory Processing Disorder diagnosis I am trying to find ways to get his sensory fix and be safe at the same time. He is still sticks everything in his mouth and due to the diagnosis I don't think this will change any time soon. His therapist recommended edible play dough, finger paints, and painting with pudding to name a few (look forward to posts about these fun things later). When they listed some of the options dyed spaghetti came to mind (after all noodles are one thing he actually likes to eat).Here is "B's" spaghetti sensory bin:

Boil the noodles, drain, and oil & food dye, play! 
And this is why I made noodles
Hide the banana ;0)
Spaghetti sensory noodles aren't just for kiddos with SPD either. All kiddos love messy play. Also if you are a parent to a tot and want to do sensory bins, but are afraid they will put little things in their mouth- there are other options out there. Happy sensory play everyone!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Exploring Color

"A" has been asking me for months what different colors mixed together make. Which is funny because we have worked on primary colors in the past, but its good to relearn things to help aid recall and build schema. This week I drew some circles on a piece of paper and wrote the names of some colors under them. Then "A" would paint the two colors and then after mixing the two tell me what the new color they made was. I got the idea for this from kirarts blog. Here is "A" working on it:
I wanted to include more than the first three traditional color mixes.
If your child likes computer games there is a Curious George game that is great for color mixing and exploring color. There are only four colors to choose from and you have to pick when colors and the amount. George mixes it up and you can paint a coloring sheet. It took me some time to figure out how to make the color for Curious George himself but I did it. To play Mix and Paint go to

"A's" finished picture (all painted using only white, blue, red, and yellow)

Then because "A" loves water play so much I broke down and let him play with water glasses & food dye. I totally let it be kid-directed and let him have at it. This is so hard for me to do (especially because he used almost ALL of the dye). When he was done with the mixology I gave him some syringes so he could work on filling them with liquid and then squirting tit into one of our silicone ice trays. This was great fine-motor skill work for him and encouraged him to remain focused.

We got the tray from Ikea for about $2.50
After the ice cubes were made we did a little ice painting. The "paint" is very subdued and similar to watercolors. Since this was such a sensory activity I could have "B" participate. He wasn't in a mood so he only played with the ice a short while, but I popped them back in the freezer for another day. I am looking forward to more "messy play" with "B" as I learn more about his diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder. I was happy it was an activity that the whole family could participate, instead of leaving poor "B' out to watch big brother.
Aren't they pretty!
One of the ice painting masterpieces

Lastly, I wanted to show you a cute book we found by Melani Watt (one of our most favorite children's writers) called Leon the Chameleon. It has a great color theme-along with other important themes like feelings and friendship. This book in particular encourages critical thinking. Why would a chameleon be afraid if they turned into the opposite color of what they were standing on? To hear my 5 year-old read the first few pages watch the video. So proud of my reader!!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tot School-Farm

I have been wanting to do Tot School through 1+1+1=1 since "B" was born. I keep waiting for when he would be ready to do some of the typical Tot School things...and it never arrives. My older son was doing Tot School activities (all though I didn't know it at the time) around 15 months but "B" is just different. At almost 19 months he still says ZERO words, won't play traditionally, won't let me read to him, isn't safe in a seat, constantly puts things in his mouth, and does thrill-seeking (AND DANGEROUS) activities. This week we had him evaluated for speech and it turns out he most likely has Sensory Processing Disorder. Evidently my little guy's brain doesn't feel some of his senses as strongly as most people, which leads to him sensory seeking. This sensory imbalance is effecting him learning things like speech. We are meeting with an occupational therapist and coming up with an Individualized Family Service Plan next week. I am overwhelmed to say the least (but at least I know what to focus on). Before the diagnosis I was focusing more on speech. I learned to focus on farm animals for early intervention speech because farm animal noises correspond with the first sounds babies make (B, W, M, N, D, and P). Here was our first week of Tot school (actually 2 weeks) on farm animals:

18 months/3 weeks
Farm Animals and Blocks Play
Rice Pouring (he LOVES pouring)- he still puts things in his mouth  though  ;0(
This was one of the best ideas I did this week (put mini farm animals in his snack cup). He really has to work to get them in and out which was fun for him. Great tool to use for play !!! Each time he pulled one out I would say the name and make the sound. With speech it is important to only focus on ONE word then add more once they get it.
Farm Animal Bowling. He liked to hit them with the ball still in his hand. Pretty Funny!
They can go in the corral too!
Baby App voted one of the best for Early Speech Intervention (Peek-a-boo Barn) We love it.
He just started coloring recently. I added farm stickers (oh MAN did he love the stickers). Had a fit when they were gone. Putting stickers on what actually a difficult task
More pouring and transferring-this time with porcupine balls
Putting pipecleaners in a Parmesan Shaker. He actually did great sticking them in the hole, but had difficulty pushing them down. It kept him busy for a bit.
A very SIMPLE farm puzzle because his attention span is so low!

"B" just started to show an interest into books. He still won't let me read to him for long but he will sit through one book. I pulled out a lot of the same books I read during my 5-A-Day  books quite awhile back. You can see the five books I read and learn more about  5-A-Day from this post. I would like to get back into doing the 5-A-Day challenge, but was getting so discouraged with "B's" disinterest in reading. Considering my focus has been in libraries it was pretty devastating because I know how valuable reading is. In addition to the five books from the post we also read this Little People's book called Baby Animal Sounds. I can't find it on amazon but is cloth with a button that babies can push that make farm animal sounds. If you can find it I highly recommend it.