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.
Water was our common medium for exploration this week.
What water based camp would be complete without using watercolor? We spent a day exploring different watercolor techniques: wet into dry, wet into wet, washes, wax resist and adding salt. Everyone chose his or her favorite to mount on mat board.
On another day, we made use of some of our beautiful watercolor explorations, by sewing our artwork to cards. Sewing is an amazing challenge for children to accomplish and great fun to watch. Our campers rose to the occasion of working with sharp metal needles, and they took great care while diving into the experience.
We noticed that one of the challenges for children when they sew is that it takes two coordinated movements. They must grasp the needle securely with their fingertips while their arm pushes the hand holding the needle forward into the paper. As adults we often take the ability to do this for granted. We liked sewing on paper because it is stiff and holds its shape, which eliminates the frustrations of working on limp fabric. And, sewing with paper provided immediate satisfaction. All results are beautiful.
Capturing Bubbles - Large Paintings and Prints
Using projected bubbles for inspiration, we filled large pages of paper with marks, following the shapes and lines we saw on the paper.
Then, we used water color to fill the spaces that were created when we drew the bubbles. This was a large piece of work and it required sustained attention and revisiting to fill the page. It was hard work for many friends. With encouragement, we were able to fill our pages. Everyone was satisfied with themselves and proud of their big and beautiful results.
Pallet Water Wall
Throughout the week we worked with balls and tunnels in our workshop. This laid the foundation for later experiences with our pallet water wall. The children were challenged to make water move from one place to another. We connected tubes and bottles with plastic pipes and string to make paths for water. We were challenged by squeezing the detergent bottle valve and focused intently to get the water out. One group worked to make "booby traps for poisonous snakes."
Observing Changes in the State of Water
On several days we observed and experimented with blocks of ice. We checked on our ice throughout the day. We made a hole that went all the way through one block by pouring a small mound of salt on the ice. We noticed that the blocks had shrunk quite a bit by the end of the week. "They got tiny!"
And, we observed another change in water when it became a tasty treat. A friend noted that we made it turn from a liquid to a solid!
Sink and Float Boat Show
After exploring which materials sink and which float, we set off to our construct boats. We started with cork, foam and wire and then we tested our designs. Many friends had created boats that did not float. We contributed ideas to correct our friends' design problems, made adjustments to our boats and named them. On the last day, we had a boat show and tested our boats - AND THEY ALL WORKED!
Our boat names: Speed Boat, Goldy, Rosie, Speedy, Speedy 2, The Fire Truck Boat, The Zach Zach, Fluffy, The Claire and The Celia Willem Mommy Daddy.