Friday, March 30, 2012

Book project 2012, STEP ONE: Make watercolor paper!

*This does not have to be the first step in the project!  You are more than welcome to do the sensory immersion and then make the papers with those experiences in mind--whatever!  I just recommended this way in case you want to do this project all at home and in a few days, because the papers can be drying overnight while you and your kids do the outside stuff and write the poems.* 

The first step of the book project is SO MUCH FUN.  Seriously, you parents are going to want to do it too--it is hypnotic, calming, beautiful.

Basically, you and your kids just paint a whole bunch of pages of paper with lots of watercolor.

Choose whatever colors you want!  Enjoy the sensation of brush and the saturation of colors.

The only rule is that there should be no white left on the paper when you are done.

Get creative and sprinkle salt onto wet papers, blot with crumpled paper towel, scratch with the ends of the paint brushes--have fun and see what happens!  And you don't have to use special watercolor paper--use whatever white paper you have on hand!  (In fact, we learned from experience that "real" watercolor paper is harder to cut later on because it is thicker--so esp. those of you with younger artists might want to use a lighter weight paper.)

The only other thing I would recommend is to think about WHERE out in nature you plan on having your kids experience their sensory immersion, so that you have made painted pages that you anticipate being helpful to your project.  For example, if you know you are going to take your kids to the beach, think about what colors they might find there, and encourage them to make watercolor pages that are sky and water and sand colors, etc.  If you plan on taking your kids to the redwoods, then have them make plenty of reddish brown papers and lots of different green papers, so they have plenty for their specific needs.

Don't you or your kids think it won't be fun to stick to just a few colors, if that is what your chosen nature setting requires--it is actually a fantastic experience just to play with how many interesting ways and tones you can paint one color!  And this is where they can have fun with textures too.  How might they get a sand texture?  How might they get a texture that looks like bark?   Etc.

I made the above paper a few years ago when my girls and I did this--and this image (which reminded me of roots, when viewed the other way) is what inspired the "What's Above, What's Beneath?" book project we did last year!  It's just watercolor paint dripped onto an already damp paper, and allowed to run wherever gravity takes it.  SO FUN.

Your kids are going to have so much fun with this part.

And if they want to paint colors you know you won't need for your art--let 'em!  The papers can always be used for a later art project!  (Remember the watercolor hearts I put in your kids' Valentine's Day mailboxes?  Leftover paper from this project years ago. : )

As always, if you have questions, please leave them in the comments below!

Our book project for the Author's Fair 2012

OK, Families, here is the post (some of) you have been eagerly anticipating.

Those of you who came to the math party got to hear my spiel in person, but this information will still be useful to you, as I will give you the step-by-step instructions here.  Anyone who was not at the math party, NO PROBLEM.  This is a project that you can do entirely at home, and can even complete in just a couple of days, if you want to.

The Author's Fair this year is Saturday, May 5.  As usual, we will plan on meeting at the Capitola Mall on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. so the kids can present their book at the Author's Chair. : )  (Bring your cameras and impress the grandparents.)

But before that, we will have our book-making party there in the usual classrooms at Vintage Faith Church on Friday, April 27 at the usual time from noon-2:30.

Our book this year is going to be an illustrated poetry book called "This Moment in Spring."  Each child who wants to participate will compose a poem about Spring, using all the five senses.  Of course families can work together and share page credits, but please trust me that if your kid is old enough to know about the five senses, he/she is old enough to compose a beautiful poem!  I can say this with assurance because we will be using a poetry template--your child just has to insert his or her own words into the formula, and the end result will amaze you. : )  It is easy for you, easy for your child!  Trust me, Mamas, and please jump on into this project with us!

There are five steps to this book project:

1) make watercolor painted paper.
2) go to the outdoors so your kids can immerse their senses in Springtime nature.
3) record their descriptions of that moment in nature using all the five senses, plugging their words into the poem formula.
4) edit--talk through and finalize their word choices with them (encourage descriptive words), type their poem up and print it out.
5) use the watercolor painted paper to cut out and make a collage that illustrates the poem.*

*At our book-making party on the 27th, we will be making the collages together!  This way each family can bring the watercolor papers they have made and all the kids can share.  Of course if you cannot come to the party, you are more than welcome to do the entire page at home, and then add it to our group book when we meet at the Author's Fair on Saturday.

To keep this information nice and neat, I will make a separate post for each of the steps.  So, look forward to the posts coming this week!

Questions?  Please leave a comment here, so everyone can benefit!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fun and pretty craft project for girls

(or for boys who want to make a mother's day present!)

A "flower" jewelry stand made from Mountain Dew bottles! 

See Epbot for the instructions.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rainbow Math Party reminder and info

Hello Moms!

Just a reminder that the Rainbow themed math party is this Friday at noon--see the post I made below for the details.

ONE MORE THING, though, that was not part of the original announcement:

As most of you know, we normally do a book project for the Author's Fair, which is the first Sat. in April.  This year we are doing sensory poetry, and will be making our own watercolored papers that we will then use for the artwork.  I'll explain more in a separate post, but for now, I just wanted to let you know that I am planning to have the kids start their painting on Friday at the Math party!  We will have the school-age kids in the adjoining classroom, and start at noon.  If you are not able to make it to the party by noon, don't worry--this is something you can do at home with your kids too.  (And if you can't come to the party at all, you can still be part of the book project--we are just getting a jump start on Friday.) The big kids will paint until about 12:30-45, when we will start the fun math/rainbow activities in earnest.

The moms and tots can hang out in the regular room.  And if any of you don't want your kids painting, no worries--just come and hang out and play. : ) 

If you do want your kids to paint, then I recommend you bring the following:
--play clothes on your kids, or smocks
--any watercolor paints, if you have them
--any brushes, if you have them.
--and any watercolor paper you might have on hand.  (but thick paper is not necessarily good for the project, so don't pull out your really good stuff)

I think the book project is going to be really fun, and painting with a rainbow of colors seemed an appropriate activity for our fun rainbow math party!

Post comments here if you have any questions. : )