Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Card-Decorating Station

The girls have had some sort of extracurricular class every day this week (gymnastics, swimming, music, dance), and I don't think they've been getting enough sleep, so the combination of extra excitement and lack of sleep as made them moody lately.  They both are enthusiastic about our Homeschool Preschool activity boxes, but then either end up fighting with each other over silly little things (like who is sitting in which chair, etc..), or end up being resistant to certain things (for example, we were making letters out of pieces of plastic drinking straws and L made the letters "T", "A", and "H" all on their own, but when I rearranged them as H-A-T and asked her to read the word, she yelled "It spells HAT, and I'm not going to read any more words!").  I've also been busy with my own personal project, so if the girls seem to lose interest with a 'school' activity, I let them play on their own while I work.  Anyway, although our typical schedule has not been as consistent this week as the previous 3 weeks, I always try to fit in some form of art activity - the creative tasks seem to occupy the girls for a long amount of time with limited arguing (except the occasional fight over not sharing the crayons).  Today I set up a Card-Decorating Station with dot paints, letter stamps, tracing, cutting, and gluing.  Here's what we did....

There's a wedding in our family coming up at the end of the month, plus the holiday season is fast approaching, so I wanted to try out some different techniques to see if they'd be worth repeating when we make 'real' cards to give to people.  Something I noticed now that the girls are starting to draw with more realism is that they are aware when they make a mistake like putting eyes on a person in a different place than they intended.  They often ask to erase the mistake (impossible with markers or paints which are our most common mediums) or get a new piece of paper.  I tried to mitigate some of this frustration by letting them make creations on a separate paper and then cut and glue them on their card, that way they could have a couple tries if something doesn't come out the way they wanted (and the extra fine-motor-skills work is a bonus!).

Here, L is connecting the dots I made for her to create hearts (notice that her pencil grasp has greatly improved since only a couple months ago!).  I also wrote the girls' names on a different sheet in pencil so they could trace them (I'm thinking about making name-tracing mats for the girls to do every morning as part of Preschool).  Both L and E impressed me with their tracing abilities.

I took out our Melissa and Doug Alphabet Stamps and demonstrated stamping the words "love" and "joy".  Both girls understood that they had to stamp the letters in a specific order, and they worked on the orientation, even though the stamps are pretty small and sometimes it's hard to get everything lined up properly (that's why it was smart to have them practice on a separate piece of paper rather than the actual cards).  Then the girls used their scissors to cut out the words and hearts:

Actually only L did this part, while E was busy making stamps of her hands, drawing faces on her fingers (the real ones not the ones stamped on the paper) and cutting her card into little tiny pieces.  As E was having fun doing all sorts of creative (and messy) exploration, L colored her hearts:

I'd say she did a pretty good job staying inside the lines!  The only times she really strayed from coloring in the lines was when she was too busy talking to me to pay attention to what she was doing (this girl is a chatterbox - so cute!).  Then she glued everything onto her paper:

The results were pretty neat:

After L made her card, both girls spent a lot of time drawing and making up stories (since we started writing our own stories they constantly ask to make books).

E started out by drawing two spiders, and a moth (on a separate paper, not pictured) and made up a great story about how the moth was caught in a spider's web, but he was friendly and let him go:

Then L wanted to make her own spider (and even counted out 8 legs, although she somehow drew an extra one).  She also made a spider's web (with only a little bit of verbal instruction from Mom):

While I'm posting kid-art, yesterday we read a book about going to the art museum and discussed the difference between portraits, still life, and landscapes.  Then E decided to paint a portrait:

And L decided to paint a landscape:

She said "I'm painting a landscape" over and over, but sometimes she'd get mixed up and call it a 'landfill'.  When I reminded her that the landfill is where garbage goes, she thought it was really funny and kept repeating her 'I'm painting a landfill" joke!

I'm learning that having 3-year-olds can be pretty trying at times, but also immensely rewarding (I'm sure I'll be saying that about every age)...


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