Chinese Fan Painting

I love these Chinese fans on sale in Daiso or any Chinese culture-themed shops. They are great canvas material for painting Chinese motifs, and creating awareness of the Chinese Culture.

First off, I showed my daughter some images of Chinese painted fans from the web, and asked her some questions like:

1. What objects do you see on the fans? (flowers, phoenix, peacocks, butterflies, goldfish, etc)

2. What are some of the colours you can see? (red, pink, yellow, blue)

3. Are the colours dull or vibrant?

4, Are the objects outlined with black? Do you see some Chinese characters written on the fan? What do you think it says?

5. If you can paint on a Chinese fan, what will you like to draw?

Once I tickled my girl’s interest in Chinese fans, she was eager to start working on it.
Given her fetish with flowers and butterflies, she readily shared her ideas with me about painting this motif on the fan.

First, she drew out the outline of the flowers and butterflies using simply a pencil.

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With these lovely paint pots, she was presented with an array of subtle colours from which she could choose the colour from.

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What I love about this project is observing how she focuses on filling the objects with colours, and training her fine motor skills of the pencil grip through holding the paintbrush.

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While painting, she was also narrating her own imaginative scripts of how the butterflies first met each other among the flowers, and soon became good friends and played as they fluttered in the sky. I love just being present through the art process and hearing out her own thoughts and ideas on the subject matter. It allows me a glimpse into her thinking process and creates a great opportunity for me to encourage her to express her ideas into words. The process of art includes not just visual, but also verbal expression of ideas. I could think along with her, and ask her leading questions to help her deepen and develop her ideas, and in turn add complexity and depth to her artwork.

 

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After a process of concentration and focus, my girl thoroughly enjoyed the creative process, and loved her end product. That’s the unspeakable joy of art-making! And it makes a perfect artpiece for display!

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Creating Aboriginal Art using Pom Poms

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We have been reading my all-time favourite book “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds. The endearing story is about a boy who turned from a reluctant learner to an inspired artist! My girl was so captured by the story that she said she wanted to make dots and create art. My mind somehow wandered to the art method of aboriginal art, where I remembered the aboriginal artwork I saw during my time living in Sydney, Australia.

1. Samples Of Aboriginal Art

As a tuning-in activity, I showed her some aboriginal art and we talked about the dots of different sizes and colours that make up the image.

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2. Materials

I thought about how to make dots on paper, and the idea of using poms poms and pegs struck me. So this simple setup consist of:

1. pom poms

2. Clothes pegs

3. paint

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4. Dot painting templates

(examples: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/bf/7d/0a/bf7d0a8d49706fbec33075857ffc2267.jpg)

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Since my little girl’s interest is in princesses, I sourced out these templates online of Belle and Cinderella. With all the materials set up, she knew at one glance that we were going to make dots.

3. Demonstration

Showing her how to use the clothes pegs to secure the pom pom, and dipping into the paint was my favourite part. My little artist wore  the look of wonder on her face.

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This activity is so great in developing fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. The array of colours allow for choice and the child gets to learn how to focus and complete the dot painting independently.

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If you have this little paint pots, it is also great for this art process, and less messy! Just dip the pom poms in!!

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4. Creating her own aboriginal art!

Once she has gained confidence and developed mastery on how to make the dot prints, we then proceeded to creating our own aboriginal artpiece.

She wanted to make a fish, and with the outline I drew out, she traced the lines with dots, and filling in the spaces with more dots! Very soon, the picture of the fish emerged.

It was so rewarding seeing whole art process of her exercising her own autonomy of the choice of colours, the intrinsic motivation of seeing her project completed!

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Why not try this simple and beautiful way of creating and appreciating art forms with your little one? 🙂

10 Frozen Fun Activities!

 10 Frozen Fun Activities!

The insane popularity of this Disney movie has gotten kids singing the theme songs in the malls, classrooms and kids’ playdates.

Tapping on my little girl’s interest in the movie hit Frozen, I have decided to capitalise on that to come up with 10 different sensorial and learning activities!

1. Pretend Play

My 3 year old has been so captivated by the characters in Frozen movie, that she does all kinds of pretend play with her princess dolls.

I enjoy watching and being amused by the play scripts my girl comes up with whenever she is engaged in pretend, dramatic play. The latest being the conversations and songs between the Frozen sister, Elsa and Anna

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2. Making a Snowflake!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/snowflake-ornament/

Tying in with the Frozen Movie craze, my gal has been fascinated with the idea of snow despite our hot humid weather all year round.

I thought why not let her experience deeper with the concept of snow by making a snowflake ornament, with the colour theme blue, so as to add to her Frozen props for role-play!

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 3. Frozen Ice!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/frozen-fun/

I thought to make the play scene more elaborate and sensorial, why not create some frozen fun for her with some ice blocks and ice cubes?

To make the ice blocks, simply recycle your plastic containers, add some blue food colouring and freeze it overnight! And you are ready to enact the play scene!

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4. Frozen Snow Globe!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/frozen-snow-globe/

One of my favourite activities is to come up with a snow globe, based on the theme of snow and winter throughout.

The shimmering magic of snowfall is always transfixing, whether s it winter or not for your season.

These globes allow your child to create a wintry scene straight out of their own imagination.

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5. Storytelling with the books!

Nothing like retelling this heartwarming plot through the use of books! Allow your child to experience the depth of the characters and seeing the story come alive through the use of beautiful illustrations!

6. Olaf Marshmallow!

Kids will love this food making activity! Just get marshmallows, chocolate chips, raisins and some orange icing and they are ready to make the adorable snowman that is also edible!

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7. Olaf Sushi!

Thanks to my sister-in-law who ingeniously created this incredible Olaf Sushi! This is too cute to be eaten, but my girl gobbled it all up in no time!

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8. Stickers

Why not add some magnetic tape on the Frozen character stickers and create props for the children to enact scenes from the story on magnetic whiteboards?

9. Making an Olaf Snowman!

You can create a Olaf tray where the child has to assemble the different Olaf snowman body parts together!

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10. Colouring & Drawing

For some quiet seat work, colouring is great for them to focus and fill the pages of their favourite characters with colour! Drawing the characters out also stretches their imagination and builds their attention to details. We were at a play date when the kids started drawing the characters on white sheets and even on paper plates!

For colouring pages, just google Frozen Colouring Pages

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Have an icy blast with the kids with these activities! 🙂

 

 

 

 

10 Kids’ Craft from Recycled Materials!

Wondering how to ignite creativity in your child? Making recycled art is one of the wonderful ways of nurturing creativity as well as imparting values such as care for the environment.

The kids will be surprised to see for themselves what kind of things they can create out of everyday ‘junk’! Using simple discarded materials help them to reinvent and rethink how they can be re-used and re-created to morph into art masterpieces beyond their imagination.

I started this project with my class of 6 year-olds. We were doing thematic activities based on neighbourhood, and the children brainstormed on different vehicles and buildings. It was a take-home project where the children get to create the models with their parents. The collaboration between parent and child was strong, stemming from a joint discussion on what to make, and what materials were most suitable as well as the process of creating art. Some children take the cue from their parents and they embarked on this wonderful learning process of creating their final product.

Here I showcase some of their brilliant work! Enjoy the creativity!

1. Trains

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2. Tank

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3. Houses

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4.Buildings

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5. Rocket

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6. Digger

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7. Buses

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8. Racing Cars

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9.  Ship

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10. Van

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Communication Pack for Development of Positive Values

Why is it important to get parents to communicate the importance of positive values to children

As a classroom teacher, I love it at the start of a new year, I get to inherit a fresh class of new children to impact and influence. I place a lot of emphasis on character development as part of classroom management. I always give a simple analogy to my class that good character is like getting the first button right when you get dressed. Once the first button is right, everything else like academic excellence and positive attitude will fall in place!

It is also pertinent that positive values that are taught in school is also
Emphasized and practiced at home as well. That way, consistency and congruency is established between home and school. You also get parents to be on the same page as you!

For communication purpose, I have prepared a small take-home pack with a communication slip for parents to discuss with their children. Each object represents a positive value and acts as a visual reminder for children. It may also be hard for children to fully comprehend abstract concepts like love, kindness or motivation. So I wrote in pointers for parents to unpack the meaning and help them see how it looks like in action, thought and behaviour.

Communication Pack:

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Each object represents positive values or behaviour.

1.  Styrofoam Heart– Love and respect oneself and others

2.  ABC/123 stamp– Give your best in learning.

3. Paper Clip– Be creative and learn to problem-solve.

4. Pencil– Be diligent and hardworking

You may use these objects to discuss and unpack the meaning of each value with your child.

  1. 1.    Love and respect oneself and others (Heart)                                                                                                                                                                                                      IMG_9116

–       Take good care of yourself and your personal hygiene

–       Do to others what you like others do to you

–       Be kind and help others

–       Respect and obey teachers. Greet and listen to your teachers.

2.    Give your best in learning (ABC Foam)

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–       Pay full attention to the teacher and learn well in class

–       Be neat and tidy in your work

–       Check your work after completion

–       Set small goals for yourself to achieve

3.    Be creative and learn to problem-solve (Papaer Clip: Get the child to create shapes and animals with the paper clips!)

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–       Learn to be independent and do tasks on your own

–       Use your thinking to solve problems

–       Don’t be afraid to fail and try again

–       Be resilient and learn from your mistakes

4.    Be diligent and hardworking (Pencil) 

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–       Finish your work on time.

–       Do not talk or distract yourself with other objects during lesson

–       Be consistent in handing in homework on time

–       Learn your spelling well and prepare well for tests

Making Olaf, the Snowman from Frozen

My little one was so tickled by the character, Olaf, who was a snowman that was hilarious in the latest Disney hit, Frozen. Upon watching the movie, she has been asking me to build a snowman just like Olaf.

Well, it doesn’t snow in Singapore, so I had to be real creative to make her little dream come true!

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The Snowman Making Tray

I prepared the following materials and placed them nicely on a paint palette!

1. Round Cotton swaps

2. Little Twigs

3. Raisins or black beans

4. Eyes

5. Nose cut-outs with orange paper

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Creating the Snowman

My little preschooler couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the tray. She was over the moon when I told her she was finally going to make a snowman. She exclaimed,” Hooray!” She got started by first listening to my instruction of using the cotton pads to make the body of the snowman. Then without further instructions, she started placing the eyes and in the face. I asked her what was missing from the face, and she said, ” The nose!” She made the observation that the nose was very pointed like a witch.

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She then used the raisins and put them on the body as buttons. She counted the buttons, using one-to-one correspondence on her own. I then prompted her, ” What else is missing from the snowman?” She looked at the palette and noticed she had not used the twigs. With much joy, she quickly completed the snowman by using twigs to make hands. She was so proud of her creation that she said, “I want to show Daddy my snowman!”

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This is a great activity for children for creativity! With a little prompting and leading questions, children often make their little creations effortlessly with imagination. The teachable points along the way was enriching as well! Such as learning to count, naming the body parts as well as comparative language such as ‘shor’ or ‘long’ ’round’ ‘thin’.

It certainly is an awesome activity for us who don’t have snow her for Christmas! With a little creativity, our little ones won’t miss out on a ‘white’ Christmas!

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Creativity Jar!

Any special events or celebrations coming round the corner? For us, October is the month we celebrate my little girl’s birthday and Children’s Day too!

Instead of heading to the candy store to buy goodies, why not create your own gift that promotes children’s creativity?

We call it our “Creativity Jar”!

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The wonder of this little creativity jar is that it provides children with open-ended art supplies which stimulates thinking and imagination, as there is no expected or dictated finished product they must produce. Children are free to explore the materials, the textures and their functionality to create something that is original and ingenious- one of a kind. Children get to express their ideas and feelings through the process of play and creative art-making. According to Vygotsky, these forms of creative expression are important ways that children and adults express themselves, learn, and grow.

The possibilities are endless for children to construct; they can make a smiley face, a flower, a necklace, a train track, a building, a yummy meal or anything they can think of!

Here, my little girl embarked on her little project of creating a flower!

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Things that can be included in the jar:

Poms Poms

Glitter Glue

Stickers

Play Dough

Cookie cutter/ molds

Clothes pegs

Colouring pen

Beads

Penne pasta

or basically anything!!

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Tips on using open-ended materials with children:

1. Refrain from fixing or altering their work

2. Don’t dictate to a child what to create.

3. Be encouraging. Ask questions about what they are creating and give prompting questions to guide them in the process. Instead of asking ” What are you making?”, ask open-ended questions like “Tell me what you are making.”

4. Talk about the texture, colour, shape, smell of the materials, and help them describe the experience.

5. Give them ample time to explore and create. Leave it there for the children to re-visit it and provide more materials for them to ‘add on’ to their creation.

Let our children create and explore through play!