Garbage Art… Exploring Mixed Media

garbage art it's all about the process
garbage art, it’s all about the process

One mans trash is a little girls treasure. One day while were shopping Sophia found some garbage on the store floor and managed to talk me into bringing it home. She convinced me that she was going to create art with it. It took a lot of convincing on her part because seriously what mom really wants their child picking up garbage that she finds and sticking it in your pocket. But I agreed and I checked the things over she wanted to grab before she grabbed things off the floor.

garbage art can be serious
garbage art can be serious

That first day she came home with a ribbon, rubber band, a piece of a fake flower and a part of a zipper.

garbage art can be messy
garbage art can be messy

She asked for glue and markers and she was off creating garbage art 🙂

garbage art can be fun
garbage art can be fun
mixed media garbage art (Ribbon, flower, rubber band and zipper)
mixed media garbage art
(Ribbon, flower, rubber band and zipper)

Since then she has been collecting all kinds of things to make pictures with: rocks, dead plants, sand, sequins, sticks, wire fencing, etc.

mixed media garbage art. (wire fence, ice cream container lid)
mixed media garbage art. (wire fence, ice cream container lid)
mixed media garbage art (stick, dried flowers)
mixed media garbage art
(stick, dried flowers)
mixed media garbage art (rope, rocks, a Christmas card)
mixed media garbage art (rope, rocks, a Christmas card)

Creating this type of art work is all about the process and I’ve been happy to have her to explore different textures and things. She even insisted on gluing sprinkles on one of her pictures she made for one of her friends at school 🙂

I just don’t know how to physically keep and store any of these creations 😉 Good thing I can take pictures and save them digitally at least.

 

Slap a word!

I was searching for fun games for learning sight words and came across one where your kid slaps the words. Here is the original post about it. I wasn’t sure what words I wanted to start Sophia with at first. I looked at word lists from different websites. I ended up going with the “Tricky” words from Sophia’s Teach Your Monster to Read game (read about it here). I like to cross reference and relate things to each other as much as possible for a solid foundation. So this seemed like a great idea to me, at least.

Tricky word list we used for the slap game
Tricky word list we used for the slap game

Materials needed:

  • Sticky notes (I bought sticky notes in a multi-color pack, because more colors means more fun 😉
  • Pen
  • A list of words

First, pick out a list of words you want to use. These could be lists from school, favorite books, tv shows (like Wally Kazaam), games, or a list you found online, anything really.

When I told Sophia I had a slapping word game in mind for her, she was all excited. She set off to cleaning up her toys and books from the table so we’d have room to play (win-win situation 😀 ). She wanted to be the one to write out the words. So I showed the picture with the words and she wrote them first and then I wrote the word on the paper after her.

Writing out words
Writing out words

We started the game with 4 words. (Keep them spaced out so there room for slapping 😉 ) I called the word and she had to find it, slap it with her hand, and call it out. After she found all 4 she called them out for me to find, slap, and call out. 😀 Then we added 2 more words, played again, and so on until we had all 11 of them. 11 was pushing Sophia’s limit (she is after all still 3 for a few more months anyway). I honestly think she was enjoying writing the words out the most 🙂

Our game words
Our game words

After we played out the 11 words Sophia wanted to go play more of the monster game to get more “Trickies” so we could add more words.

New list of Tricky words. She caught more after we played the slap game
New list of Tricky words. She caught more after we played the slap game

Sand Art Sticker Boards

Sand art board all done
Sand art board all done

I discovered this Pocahontas sand art set the other day. I’ve never seen any sand art sticker boards before so I was a little dubious of the stickiness of the board. I’ve done color and paint by numbers before and this looked fun like them so we decided to give it a shot. This is definitely a parent-toddler-together project.

Pocahontas sand art
Pocahontas sand art

The Pocahontas set came with 4 5×7 pictures. Sophia chose the one of Meeko to do first.

pocahontas sand art

In the instructions it says you can peel one section at a time and sand it or peel all of the same number to do them all at once. We went with the later option for all except the large blue area we uncovered one side at a time. I got the bigger stickers a little pulled up and then Sophia peeled them off. The small stickers I peeled off.

Peeling off the stickers
Peeling off the stickers

First you have to match up the sand colors to the color guide with the kit. I would recommend having several edged cookie sheets to work on top of. We poured the sand we were working with in to a cup and used a small spoon to scoop and pour on to the spot we were working on.

Scooping little sand at a time
Scooping little sand at a time
Working on getting the sand in the sticker parts
Working on getting the sand in the sticker parts
First color done!
First color done!

TIP: While working we discovered a bit later that the easiest way is to have a piece of paper underneath your project because some sand will go over the edges of the project. It’s easier to funnel the sand off the paper into the cup vs trying to do the same with the cookie sheet.

Instructions say touching the sticky glue with your hands will make it less sticky so we tried hard not to accidentally stick our fingers in them. This is why I did the biggest part (blue) in two sections (you can see in the picture below that the left half of sky is still stickered).

On to the blue
On to the blue

TIP: It’s easier to push the sand to the edges of the picture than try to pour the sand on the edge.

Spreading the blue
Spreading the blue

It’s ok to overlap the sand colors once one color is done

Gray sand placed on
Gray sand placed on
After shaking off the excess
After shaking off the excess

This set came with small bags to put the opened sand in when you move to the next color. To pour the sand in the little bags Sophia held them open and I used a piece of paper folded twice as a funnel to guide the sand from the cup into the bag.

Meeko sand art board finished
Meeko sand art board finished

We had so much fun doing this project together! We can’t wait to find the time to do the next one. I’m very pleased as to how this turned out the board was perfectly sticky. We framed it so we can enjoy it for a long time (and since it’s behind glass I don’t have to worry about sand falling off from Sophia touching it all the time).

Teach Your Monster to Read

I just recently discovered this amazing FREE website: Teach Your Monster to Read. I had been hesitating on trying it out since I didn’t want Sophia using my laptop but a wireless mouse was the perfect solution. I set up Sophia’s account which took a few minutes.

Teach your monster to read
Teach your monster to read

You get to pick from 3 different learning levels, which is fantastic. I was so happy we could skip over learning the alphabet sounds portion since Sophia already knows it and would have got bored with it very quickly.

unlocked letter sounds
Sophia’s unlocked letter sounds

She started on the second level and has been having a blast with it. She has played it several times and has learned about these letter sounds so far: ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee.

tricky words
tricky words

She’s also learning and practicing non-decodable words like: he, she, the, to, we, me, be, was, no, go. It is even working on reading comprehension of short sentences.

Here are pictures of few of the different types of games you get to pick from.

Space game
Space game
save the bear game
save the bear game
balloon game
balloon game

Try it out Teach Your Monster to Read and see if it is for you. It’s free after all 🙂

Upper and Lowercase Free Printable

When Sophia was obsessed with learning the alphabet, at 2 years old, I found her both upper and lowercase letters to trace.

It is serious work learning your letters
It is serious work learning your letters

Tracing the alphabet really helped her with her letter recognition.

Letter learning fun
Letter learning fun

I really liked the ones I found from here: http://earlylearning.momtrusted.com/2013/08/rainbow-letters-coloring-pages-free-printables-for-beginning-writers-preschoolers/

Learning lowercase letters
Learning lowercase letters

Sophia was so excited to do them and I had to have a big stack printed out ready 🙂

Product Review: Leapfrog DVDs

The Letter Factory
The Letter Factory

Sophia learned her alphabet and the sounds they make when she was 2. That was all thanks to the Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD. It’s is such a great show. It has a catchy song and it is very entertaining.

The Letter Factory
The Letter Factory

When she was two she loved it so much she wanted to watch nothing else. She’s nearly 4 and we still watch it every once in a while to reinforce what she learned (she asks for it herself).

There are other DVDs in this series as well.

The Talking Words Factory
The Talking Words Factory
The Talking Words Factory
The Talking Words Factory

Our other favorites are the Talking Words Factory which is great for learning about how words are put together, and Math Circus which is a great intro to counting 1-10 and by tens to one hundred and addition and subtraction.

The Math Circus
The Math Circus
The Math Circus
The Math Circus

I highly recommend any of these DVD’s to parents. If your kids are going to have screen time you might as well make it count 🙂

A Graduation Present Signed Book

the wonderful things you will be
the wonderful things you will be

A few years ago I saw a post on Facebook about having all your kids teachers sign and write little notes for your child from kindergarten through high school. I fell in love with this idea. I however didn’t want to use the Dr Seuss book they did, since Sophia isn’t a big Dr Seuss fan. I’ve been looking for alternatives to use the last few months since Sophia’s first preschool prep class ends soon. I finally found her the perfect high school graduation present, The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin.

At first I wasn’t sure if it would be big enough with enough space to write on for the next 15 years for all her teachers. I ordered it to see it in person. I read it and it made me cry. It is the perfect one for us.

Here is a video of me reading it so you can see for yourself if this is the one for you 🙂

Practice Writing Sheets

Name Practice Writing Sheets
Name Practice Writing Sheets

Sophia started school this week. Some of the other kids in her class already knew how to write their names really well (like better handwriting than me). So I started looking for practice sheets for Sophia so she can start writing her name on her projects she does. I found these perfect ones here: http://tools.atozteacherstuff.com/printable-handwriting-practice-worksheet-maker/

You can chose the font and write whatever you want.

You can even laminate it and use dry erase markers for infinite use 🙂

Color Books Recommended (baby to elementary school)

I don’t know about you guys but I’m always on the lookout for awesome books about color. I love vivid brilliant colors and beautiful pictures. You can never have too many colors books(… or books of any kind actually 😉 ).

My favorite colors books from 9 months to 8+
My favorite colors books from 9 months to 8+ years

Here are my top 5 favorites I’ve found for a range of ages from baby to elementary school. I’m not an Usborne consultant (in case you wondered.) I just really love a lot of their large fantastic variety of non-fiction books (which I have had a really hard time finding for my non-fiction lover before I found Usborne) as well as their fiction ones too.

Usborne Baby's very first touchy-feely Colors Play book
Usborne Baby’s very first touchy-feely Colors Play book

First up is the Usborne Baby’s Very First Touchy-feely Colors Play Book. I love this one so much for many reasons.

Usborne Baby's very first touchy-feely Colors Play book
Usborne Baby’s very first touchy-feely Colors Play book

I love that there are a bunch of things to feel and do. There are cut outs, textures, finger trails and flaps to play with. I love the vibrant colors and illustrations on each of the pages. This book is age rated for nine months and up. This book and other play books similar to this for sale here https://t4783.myubam.com/252093.

Usborne Baby's very first touchy-feely Colors Play book
Usborne Baby’s very first touchy-feely Colors Play book

Second, is a book by DK publishing called My First Colors let’s learn them all.

My First Colors Let's learn them all!
My First Colors Let’s learn them all!

This book features bright vibrant colors and real pictures of objects. This is a fantastic vocabulary building book for toddlers.

My First Colors Let's learn them all!
My First Colors Let’s learn them all!

I love that this book goes beyond the typical colors and has silver, gold, and multi colored included.

My First Colors Let's learn them all!
My First Colors Let’s learn them all!

It’s a sturdy board book that will hold up well. It has tabbed corners that are great for little fingers finding their favorite pages. This book is available through Target.com as well as Amazon.com

My First Colors Let's learn them all!
My First Colors Let’s learn them all!
The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

Third, is Usborne’s The Usborne Big Book of Colors. I think this is fantastic for older kids that have mastered the basic colors.

The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

I absolutely LOVE that this book goes into shades of colors, naming them like magenta, turquoise, lime green, saffron, etc so it has tons of fabulous new vocabulary.

The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

This one is recommended for age 2 and up. The pages are thinner board, so still sturdy yet slightly flexible.

The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

Two special features this book has are a color wheel you can spin (not super sturdy, pictured in the first picture of this book above) and an acetate page where you can see color mixing (shown below).

I love that this book shows color mixing as well as moods and meanings of colors. Plus each color page has fun facts too. This book is available here https://t4783.myubam.com/252093

The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

Fourth up is Usborne Lift the Flap Colors.

Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors
Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors

It is recommended for age 4 and up, however I think it would be fabulous for younger kids as well for building vocabulary, learning counting, and small motor skills with the flaps. The games and activities of this book are geared for pre-k.

Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors
Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors

I think this is a great early reader book. Flap books are very engaging and create a hands on learning experience which promotes decision making and critical thinking skills. This book is available here https://t4783.myubam.com/252093

Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors
Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors

Last up, is The Usborne Art Book about Color.

The Usborne Art Book about Color
The Usborne Art Book about Color

This book is rated for age 8+. It begins with a history of how paint has developed.

The Usborne Art Book about Color
The Usborne Art Book about Color

It then goes on to explain how colors are used to achieve desired effects. Then finishes with how our eyes actually see color. I love all the art in this book. I only took pictures of some of the pages (it has 48). This book is available here https://t4783.myubam.com/252093

The Usborne Art Book about Color
The Usborne Art Book about Color

Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

For a while I’d been wanting to make the snowflake puffy paint window clings that I’m sure a lot of you have seen. Sophia and I tried those out as instructed on wax paper. I’m not sure if the paint or the wax paper wasn’t good enough quality but they stuck to it badly. I figured we’d give the window clings another shot and try it out on a plastic Ziploc bag. I decided to change it up and we made some monsters instead. I love them and Sophia absolutely loves making them! There’s no guidelines to follow just mixing paint as we pleased. Way more room for creativity and exploration just perfect for a toddler.

Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

What you will need:

  • Puffy fabric paint
  • Coffee stir sticks (or some other “stick”, long tooth pick would do as well)
  • Gallon size Ziploc bag
  • Scissors
  • Wet wipes (for clean up)
  • Baking sheet
  • Googlie Eyes

Set up: I first cut the Ziploc bag completely open (on three sides) so it opens up and lines the cooking sheet.

Ready to Make Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Ready to Make Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

I had Sophia put on her painting smock because it is after all paint for fabric. I felt it to better be safe than sorry.

Pile of paint
Pile of paint

Make a pile of paint, mix and spread it out with your “stick” and place eyes on.

Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

As always I recommend having wet wipes nearby for when you get paint on your hands.

Making the smiley face :)
Making the smiley face 🙂

First I demonstrated one to Sophia on how to mix the paint by swirling with the mini straw. And sticking googlie eyes on after I was happy with my paints.

And off she went. Mixing paints and adding googlie eyes as the pleased 🙂

Making Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Making Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Making Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Making Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

The dry time is pretty long with it being on a plastic bag. It’ll dry to the touch within a few hours however under the googlie eyes it will still remain wet for a lot longer. I let them dry out three days. You can check on the back side by pushing at the paint under the eyes, if you feel paint move give them more time.

Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

Once you’re certain they are dry you can peel them off. Gently using your fingernail peel the edge up. Once you get the first little bit up they peel off really easily. They are ready to stick on your window.

Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

The rest of the pictures I took at night so you could see them better.

Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

This one reminds me of Anger from Inside Out movie 🙂