This week in playgroup, we opened with clay again. But, this time it looked different. It was nice to see many friends plunk down and enjoy exploring clay again this week.
In our studio, we added a light box to the lenses so that we could explore more properties of this material. Filling and pouring was also a familiar pastime. One friend worked for a long time to fill a large vessel. When other friends ventured over to this center, we were able to narrate the encounter so that everyone became involved.
We also added containers with lids to the building area after observing children taking marker lids off and putting them on last week. There was a fascination with the markers last week, and we noticed the lids and contents of the containers kept friends busy this week. Many were successful in twisting the tops off the containers!
Other studio activities included tape, cutting discarded greeting cards, and mark making with oil pastels and water color paint.
Our materials playgroup began this week. We welcomed new friends and enjoyed seeing our old friends, too.
We gathered around clay, which was a new experience for many. It was nice to see everyone happily engaged in clay, enjoying its properties and sharing techniques for changing it.
In the studio, we offered a cutting station of VCR tape, a sensory bin of lenses, attaching with tape, mark making with oil pastels and markers, and a collection of balls, tubes and tunnels.
Pictures from Tuesday's playgroup:
Pictures from Thursday's playgroup:
We welcomed a new bunch of kids to our Kids Workshop today. We gathered around clay, which was a new experience for some. It was nice to hear children offering one another feedback about what they were working on. Working with clay was quite a social experience today.
In one small group we talked about upcycling and using materials in new ways. Sometimes we alter a material to use it to create, and today we deconstructed damaged books so we can use the pages for our project work this session. In our other small group, we worked on a large, five dog mosaic. One group took some pieces off of the mosaic that were not functioning right in terms of the overall aesthetic of the piece. We talked about how artists often create, assess their work and make adjustments. After we removed the pieces that weren't working, we painted a back ground for the mosaic. We had to work carefully to paint the background and not inside the dogs.
We did not have time for free exploration today, so we will be sure to include it next week!
Day 1: Today we gathered around opening CDs and sorting the cases, CDs and papers. Some friends used the cases to make frames to hold their work from this week. (Returning friends have frames at home.) In small groups we made paper cloth and snakes out of bottle caps. We also hammered bottle caps into a log. One friend said, "Real hammers? I'm not allowed!" Well, they are allowed at UpCycle and they have gotten the hang of hammering. During free exploration, we explored colored film on the light box, built a house boat out of materials and worked in the message center. See you tomorrow!
Day 2: Today we gathered around books to get ideas for our sculptures. We then made a plan by drawing our animals and machines before we began building. We also embellished our paper cloth from yesterday with stitches and beads. During free exploration time, we added to our bottle cap snakes, made a group piece of paper cloth and watched a repair man work on a nearby roof.
Day 3: Today we gathered around upholstery samples. We took the papers and staples out of them, and then we sorted them by color. There was interesting debate about whether certain fabrics were brown, gray, light or oddballs. In one small group, we added details to our found object sculptures. In our other group, we pieced the upholstery samples together to make a back for our pillows. We also stuffed the pillows ourselves. During free exploration we continued working on our bottle cap snakes and we explored punches and stamps in the message center.
Day 4: On Thursday, we gathered around clay. The group developed a story about eggs and a nest that evolved to include a mama bird, several baby birds, lots of worms and extra nests. In small group, we did observational drawings of our sculptures and painted them with liquid water color. Did you know you can make your own liquid water color out of dried-up markers? In our other small group we made prints with found objects. We tested out the materials and then made a final composition.
Day 5: Today we gathered around clay again. Many friends made impressions with various items we had available for mark making. In small groups, we explored the effects of water color and salt on a hunk of ice. We also moved water in a large bin, using basters, pipettes and PVC pipe. In our other small group, we selected, traced and cut out a piece of our prints for our frames. We also sewed a piece of paper cloth we made as a group, and put this small sample in our frames. Our bottle cap snakes also came home today.
We had a wonderful week with your children. Thank you for sharing them with us!
Kelley & Susan
A glimpse of our last day of playgroup for this session:
Clay - Adding water to our gathering activity made the clay slick and changed how we used it.
Water Wall - We enjoyed scooping and pouring water and watching the many ways we could move water through the containers.
Water Table and Bins - We also explored what objects could do at the water table, and we scrubbed some of the tools we had used with clay earlier in the session.
How fun it was to meet new friends and have new experiences! At our first playgroup, we gathered around natural clay. Some friends were hesitant to touch the clay at first, but almost everyone became involved. Many of us commented that the clay felt cold. We grabbed chunks of clay off of the block and worked to change it. We rolled the clay into coils and balls, and we pinched and poked it. We stepped on the clay and touched it with our feet. We flattened the sides of a ball by dropping the clay repeatedly. And, we worked to put the hunk of clay back together.
Then the room was open for exploration. In our workshop, friends rolled balls through tubes and tunnels. We were curious about where the balls went, and we noticed the sounds they made as they moved in the tubes. Other friends poured materials and put them into containers. We also made sounds with the containers.
We made marks with tape. Many friends "stuck" with tape: unrolling, cutting, ripping, and sticking it on reclaimed posters and themselves.
Many friends were "focused" on the bin of eyeglass lenses. We looked through the lenses, made comparisons and sorted them. We also enjoyed scooping and stirring the lenses. We noticed that friends were satisfied with both the sight and sound of this experience.
Our color collection box was open and friends created designs on the wall.
We would like to share an article with you about constructivist learning and productive questioning: Productive Questions: Tools for Supporting Constructivist Learning, by Mary Lee Martens. We will be talking about how we can guide our children's play in ways that support and extend their learning.
See you next time!
UpCycle CRC is pleased to announce expanded programming and Open Houses to introduce prospective families to our programs for young children.
UpCycle Creative Reuse Center 2013 Program Open House Dates:
at Convergence, 1801 N. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, 22302