I love pumpkins and fall leaves and cute little children dressed in adorable outfits. I’m not really a fan of Halloween itself, but with a boy obsessed with rocketships, I couldn’t resist making a little astronaut costume. The 2-liter jetpack was inspired by pinterest. I modified it by taping off the middles when I spray painted them so they would remain clear. I added thin red Christmas garland inside the bottles to look like fire before hot-gluing the felt flames on the bottom. The spray paint looks nice, but it emits a lot of fumes even days after being sprayed, so I may try this again using an acrylic liquid paint or foil instead. I hot glued nylon straps to the cardboard backing of the jet pack and put glittery star stickers on the bottles as well. We bought iron-on patches and added them to an oversized white shirt and ball cap (haven’t had time to attempt a paper mache helmet yet!) If I could find white sweat pants, they would complete the outfit. He is a happy little space traveler!
Last Sunday we broke out a new pan of watercolors, always so lovely in their white tray with their unblemished surfaces. But I think they’re so much more interesting by week’s end, when they’ve been poked and prodded by little fingers and paintbrushes. We go through a lot of watercolors here. I have found that Crayola Washables last longer than Rose Art Washables, but these standard Prangs last the longest of all. I’ve always loved Prang watercolors!
The sparkly bottles of glitter glue were difficult to resist at the store. This morning I let him try to squeeze the bottle on his own due to his little pleas, but he wasn’t having much luck, so when I wasn’t looking, he took the top off and poured some out. It would’ve been the entire bottle if I hadn’t caught it! (He’s done this in the past with white glue.) It was pretty, though, and a good learning experience – “You’ll just have to dab and stick!” So dab and stick he did.
Several tots couldn’t resist nibbling on our art supplies this morning at toddler art group: veggies and fruit, dipped in tempera paint to make prints. The bell pepper was a favorite. Carrots were used as paint brushes rather than as stamps. I picked some limes off our tree to use. We also used mushrooms, Brussels sprouts (we saw fields and fields of them growing near Santa Cruz last weekend – so fun to see where they grow), a cabbage wedge, potatoes, apples, celery, and pears, all sliced in half. We had paper towels nearby to wipe off the produce when it got too sloppy or if kids wanted to change paint colors. My son especially loved whacking the apple half onto the paper over and over again, creating splatter marks around his prints, as well as using a paper towel to wipe the paint around on his paper. We enjoyed trying this classic art activity and will definitely do it again.
“Mommy, what’s that?” is what I often hear when I bring out the salad spinner to wash greens (which is more rarely than I care to admit.) The spinner is irresistible to a little boy who loves machines of all sorts. Combine it with tempera paint and it’s even more fun. We found that less paint actually worked better than more for getting the spin effect, although it’s hard to tell that to toddlers whose motor control and impulse control aren’t fully developed! I cut paper plates to fit inside the bottoms of the spinners. One of the mom members of our toddler art group suggested taping paper, cut to fit, to the inside of the spinner itself as a second way of creating art. I may add liquid starch or even water to make the paints thinner next time, so they spin out better. A lot of paint drips out of the bottom and collects on the sides, so we had brushes on hand for traditional painting as well. My 18-month-old niece was entirely fascinated by the process and could have spent an hour at the table. I bought my spinners at Goodwill.
A bottle of glue (glitter glue not required, but it’s fun), some pasta, some beans, and some cotton balls are an easy way to entertain visiting children! I love to see how happy it makes kids when they get to do something fun and unexpected. And it’s always interesting to see how they combine materials and design their layouts.