Ephemeral Art

Have you heard of ephemeral art? It describes art that is non-permanent, short-lived and transient.

Some ephemeral artists use mainly natural materials:-

leaves_byandygoldsworthy

via

Others use man-made materials in a temporary way:-

Christo

via

Because of its emphasis on the process over the finished product, it is a perfect art style for young children to explore. Think of chalk drawings on the footpath, sand castles at the beach, pictures drawn with a finger on a steamy rainy-day window. Children love these activities, even though (or because?) there is nothing to hang on the wall when they have finished. If they are not happy with what they have made, a quick swipe of the hand and it is gone!

Here are a few examples that my children made last year. I love how they used the things they found in ways I never would have thought of.

Have a lovely weekend!

Teaching your child to read.

Lately, Callum has been showing such an interest in letter and sounds. He says things like “Pirates use an X to mark the spot, and a boy at my kindy has an X because his name is Max” and “if you turn a W on the side and draw a line, it makes a B”.

This is the perfect time to nurture his interest with lots of language and literacy experiences.

We have been:-

  • Writing a range of signs, lists, directions, labels, maps and stories
  • Making ‘words’ with the alphabet magnets we have displayed on the fridge
  • Reading lots of books with simple, predictive text, such as ‘Dog in, cat out’
  • Thinking of words that begin with the letter that designates our car parking space at the shopping centre
  • Playing with alphabet puzzles and games
  • Visiting the library
  • Writing letters in the flour on the kitchen bench
  • Talking about the letters we see in street signs
  • Making letters out of play dough
  • Singing funny, made up songs which contain letter sounds, such as “L L Lucie, L L Loves, L L Licking, L L Lollipops”.

Literacy learning experiences can be found absolutely everywhere, and you do not have to spend a fortune (no matter what the toy catalogues tell you!) If your child is showing an interest in letters and sounds, then they are ready to take those first steps on the path to reading. Just remember to keep it relaxed, positive and fun!

Finding treasures in the garden

This was such a simple activity to pull together, although I had been thinking about it for ages. I wanted to do a ‘treasure hunt’ using things found in the garden, where the children would need to find the leaf or flower that matched the one in their egg box.

In the beginning, I had planned to take photos of things in the garden, print them out, and stick them onto the front of the egg carton.  After a while, I realised that although this may have been the most photogenic option, it was plainly never going to happen. So I just grabbed 3 egg boxes (one for each of my children), went for a quick walk around the garden to find 18 different leaves and flowers and then placed 6  into each box.

I arranged them so that my four year old son had ‘easier’ items, such as coloured flowers (his is the box above), whereas my nearly-8 year old daughter Charlotte had to look carefully at leaves which were quite similar.

Callum managed to find all of his things first (with a little help from Mummy) and was extremely pleased with himself, matching up all of his twin treasures neatly in his egg box.

Charlotte and Lucie took a little longer, and really took their time looking carefully at the leaves, feeling their texture, and talking about where they had seen particular plants. Charlotte had some trouble with her final leaf, so she took it inside and did a leaf rubbing with crayons so she could see the veins clearly. All her idea!

Since playing this game, the children have been saying things like “There’s that tree we have in our garden” and “Feel how soft these petals are”. They are noticing the details in their natural environment which was exactly the objective of the experience.

Open ended play

We bought this set of blocks for $4 from a shop that sells handmade wooden things such as bowls, toys, dolls houses and rocking horses. They are basically just off cuts that have had the edges smoothed.

They have not been painted, or cut into any particular shapes.

They do not require batteries, or wind up, or make noises.

They are not decorated with pictures of Disney princesses or Buzz Lightyear.

They can be anything that the children want them to be. Today Callum used them to build an airport. Tomorrow they might become a city, or food for the tea-set, or a robot, or a road, or a farm….

Open ended play materials encourage children to make decisions, to be creative, to imagine and to have fun. Open ended toys are simple in their design, and have multiple uses. They tell children that we trust and respect them, and that we believe they are capable of constructing their own play experiences.

Something like a ‘Tickle me Elmo’ toy is not open ended. The child is not required to do anything other than turn it on. It can’t be anything other than Elmo. After the child has watched Elmo do his ‘trick’ a few times he or she will usually become bored and move onto something else. How many times have we bought the latest, expensive toy, only to have the child find more pleasure in playing with the box and wrapping paper?

Have a look around and see what open ended toys you can find. They don’t have to cost much (if any) money, and can also be found in our natural environment. Think about stones and shells on a tray, stacking cups and little toy animals, peg dolls in a shoebox, sheets & blankets draped over a table, leaves in a bowl, big cardboard boxes, play dough and muffin tins…………..the possibilities are endless!

Have a wonderful Easter weekend.

What are your plans for the weekend? We are heading down to Kangaroo Valley again, which will be the perfect setting for an Easter egg hunt.  I am planning on eating lots of chocolate and lovely buttery hot cross buns (mmmmm….). Wherever you are, I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing time filled with fun, family and yummy treats! xxxx

Here are some great links from the web this week:-

How pretty does this Easter table look?

Fun paper carrots for Easter.

How do children learn to write?

These meringue eggs look delicious!

Wouldn’t this be a pretty dress for an Easter lunch?

Copyright (c) 2012, Teaspoons and Tinsel. All rights reserved

Pick up sticks.

Pick up sticks 5

Do you remember the game ‘pick-up-sticks’? You let the sticks fall into a pile, then each person has a turn trying to take away a stick without moving any of the other sticks. Tricky but fun. Anyway, Callum tried to play with his sisters, but ended up just getting frustrated.

When they left, he got busy with his favourite past-time – building stuff!!

pick up sticks 1

“Right, now those pesky girls have gone, I can finally have some peace! Let’s see, walls, ceiling…”

pick up sticks 2

“a roof….this is a much better use for these sticks!!”

pick up sticks 3

“I am concentrating, developing my hand eye coordination, using my creativity and problem-solving skills…”

pick up sticks 4

“open-ended toys are just the best!!” (well, ok, he didn’t really say that)

Pick up sticks 5

“Now for the finishing touch…I’ll use a ball from the Hungry Hippo game as a door knob”

pick up sticks 6

The happy face of a little boy who has just had a blast building with sticks!!!

If we give our children the freedom, time and encouragement to explore, they can often come up with way more imaginative ideas than we could ever think of.  Open ended toys allow their ingenuity to shine through.

Copyright (c) 2012, Teaspoons and Tinsel. All rights reserved

Where do dinosaurs hide?

In a dinosaur cave, of course!

I used two cardboard boxes, a few brown towels, black material that I cut with pinking shears for the dinosaurs to hide behind, some leaves from the garden and a handful of popcorn kernels as ‘dinosaur food’. I set it up on a low table for easy access.

We’ll need our torch so we can find them.

Aha! There you are!!

Callum decided that the dinosaurs would need a phone so that they could talk to each other,

and that one would have to stay on the top to keep watch,

and that the dinosaurs would be better standing in a straight line at the front of the cave.

“Let’s keep this dinosaur cave in my room for a day and a day and a day!”

Copyright (c) 2012, Teaspoons and Tinsel. All rights reserved