Preschool painting color mixing giant rainbow
     Color, color, color!  The two weeks leading up to St. Patrick's Day were filled with all the colors of the rainbow around here.  We did lots of painting and color mixing (I provided only the primary colors and we discovered what happens when they mix together!) to make a giant rainbow, in hopes that it might bring a leprechaun to hide his gold here!

And it worked!  :)  We had a mischievous leprechaun stop by and turn our milk green, and he even turned the toilet water green!  He also left us some fun surprises: a "pot of rainbow" and some green glow bracelets!  He left a note, so we learned that his name is Sneaky O'Malley!

Baking Soda and Vinegar with Jello and painting
We had lots of other color fun too, like our baking soda and vinegar play, with red jell-o powder added in.  An idea that came from Footsteps In Growing Daycare that we had a lot of fun with.  When the kids were all done playing with the bubbling reaction, we used the resulting mush to paint with.  It left an interesting textured product that smelled wonderful! :)

     We also had fun with flubber, and a new-to-us sensory material: Rainbow dough.  We have made cloud dough before -- it consists of flour and baby oil.  Since the only moisture comes from the oil, when we added colors one at a time, they didn't mix together but stayed separate as we played to become rainbow dough!  It is shown here after we had only added green, but Play Counts has some fun pictures of the dough with all colors added.

Preschool rainbows

     We had fun with rainbow strips of paper available in the art area all week,

...and our new rainbow sensory bottles!   We also learned a couple of new songs that you may have been hearing at home!  If not, ask the kids to sing you the Rainbow song, or the Leprechaun song that they learned!

We even got to EAT a rainbow with these colorful rainbow fruit kabobs and explore new and fun green foods, like avocado. 

We worked together to build a tape rainbow and then used it as the base for our rainbow color scavenger hunt!  Some of the kids are really getting good at ripping tape off the rolls....such HARD work for little fingers!  But they are very motivated to learn how, so they work, work, work at it!

     We had so much fun learning and playing with colors!
     We had so much fun last week celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday!  For the past couple of years, I think it has been the favorite "holiday" around here!  This year I brought out some old favorites (like painting with our feet, and then reading the Foot Book) as well as some new activities, art projects, and fun foods.  The kids had fun using tissue paper scraps to fill in their Red fish & Blue fish,  and loved dipping cotton balls into colored water to make colorful Truffula tree-tops!
     In addition to the fun art projects, we enjoyed some great Dr. Seuss themed games and activities, too.  The kids did some impressive building and patterning with our new Cat In the Hat foam stacking blocks, sharpened their fine-motor skills with some Tuffula tree beading, and even got to Hop on Pop!
     Of course we can't celebrate Dr. Seuss without having some Green Eggs & Ham, but we also had fun with lots of other Dr. Seuss themed meals and snacks.  One of their favorites was the fish cracker graphing along with some Pink Ink Drink (also from One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish).  We had colorful Lorax pasta with broccoli and asparagus "trees" and a blue alfredo river, played with Brown Bar-ba-loot bears and built our own Truffula trees (from the Lorax) using pretzel sticks and mini colored marshmallows, and at the suggestion of one of the kids, we even had a birthday cake for Dr. Seuss!
     We enjoyed celebrating Dr. Seuss once again and are now looking forward to lots of rainbow fun in the next couple of weeks, building up to St. Patrick's Day!
     We worked together on a group project today that helped the kids review their numbers and gave a fun visual demonstration of each number's value.   First, the kids each took a turn or two getting their fingers painted and stamping them onto our easel paper until we had the numbers from one to ten.   

Next, we played a little game by using these great number sticker tags to label each set of finger prints.  And, ta-da! :)  We now have our very own numbers poster that was lots of fun to make!
     I'm back!  The new baby and I are, so far, adjusting well to merging our days with all the other kids... I'm glad to report that the first couple of days back have gone really well! 
     Today the kids made some festive trees using strips of green paper cut to varying lengths.  It was great practice using the pre-math skill of judging biggest to smallest, as they had to compare the rectangular strips to get them in the right order to make a tree shape.  They also had to use their visual-spacial and visual planning skills to lay the strips in a way that would allow them to fit the whole tree onto their paper.  Of course, for the younger ones we didn't worry so much about those things, and instead let them focus on the fine motor skills of  picking up the papers, applying glue, and placing them down to make a much more "abstract" tree!  :)  
     We then placed a foil star sticker at the top and used some Q-tips dipped in white paint to add some snowflakes!
Today we used painter's tape and foam stickers to create some resist paintings.  The kids made pictures, letters, and designs using the tape and stickers (and worked really hard at peeling the backs off the stickers and learning how to rip the tape off the roll - great fine motor work!), and then used watercolors to paint around their designs.
Once they were done painting, most of the kids peeled off all of their designs to see the picture that it left underneath!
     Today we did a simple finger-painting activity (which usually turns into an "up-to-the-elbows" painting activity for at least a few of the kids!) to make some beautiful fall trees!  We first talked about how our trees have been changing, and I had the kids tell me which colors they have seen on the trees.  Using those colors, they then painted their tree-tops and we stuck those into the cardboard tube trunks.
Preschool finger painting fall trees
Our beautiful fall forest!
Preschool color wheel
    The kids and I have had so much fun with our color wheel project over the past several weeks!  As we wrap it up this week, I had the kids help me sort out some purple objects to fill in the last section of the big color wheel.  They also each got to make their own color wheel to take home with them.  We started the individual color wheels out with a few dabs of paint for them to spread and mix together.

My favorite part was hearing the kids announce what was happening as they mixed the secondary colors, "I mixed blue and red and I made purple!"  :) Once the kids had finished painting, I set out a bowl of small colorful items for them to sort into each section of their color wheel.
    Since adding objects to our big color wheel has been an exciting part of our day for so many weeks, they are very excited to have their very own color wheels to take home with them!




    On Monday we used some paper cutouts of fall objects, like leaves and apples, to make some fun paint prints!
Most of the kids had so much fun painting that the shapes ended up under several more layers of color, but we had fun with the process! :)
    We have been having a lot of fun with the color green this week, including a couple of different ways to see how we can make green.  First, we started with a tub of blue and a tub of yellow water beads, and the kids mixed some of each together for us to observe.  Since the water beads absorb and release moisture, they all exchanged their colors and we ended up with a bowl of green water beads!
    Today, we played with some big clear bags of paint.  Each bag had both blue and yellow paint inside, so as the kids drew and wrote with their fingers on the bags, they mixed the two colors together to make green!
    We dove into a fun sensory tub experience this morning that consisted of a tub full of shaving cream and frozen cubes of paint.  We took the tub outside, so as the cubes melted and the kids swirled them around, they colored the shaving cream.  There were a lot of opportunities for exploration in this activity, and it was fun to hear the kids talk about how it felt (squishy, soft, cold when they found a paint cube), and how it looked, what colors they were finding, and so on.
    If you are interested in learning more about why we do sensory activities (besides just FUN!) there are a couple of great articles explaining the benefits of sensory activities for children by Amanda Morgan of NotJustCute, and Angie Dorrell of Early Childhood News.  Basically, children are designed to receive and process information from all around them by using all of their senses.  From before they can verbalize any of their thoughts, they are gathering information at an amazing pace by seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting things around them.  So, the more opportunities we give children to experience new sensory information, the more opportunities they have to learn.  In this way, sensory play promotes cognitive development, and also aides in things like language development (as we talk about what they are experiencing), social and emotional development, physical development, and creative development.
    We had a lot of fun getting messy and we were learning a lot, too! :)