Igniting Creativity in The Hive Classroom

How do we inspire our youngest artists? Our little ones need open ended activities and space and time to properly explore them. They need a wide range of materials and access to them. They need to be encouraged to push further and think deeper. And most importantly they need to be acknowleged not for their product but for their hard work and determination. Check out the incredible work our little artists have created in The Hive Classroom!

Open ended painting with corks and paint!
Creating with pipe cleaners!
When children have access to a wide range of materials the possibilities are endless!
Worried about going through materials too quickly? When children ask for tape, feathers, pipecleaners or other expensive materials, I like to ask the question, “What is your plan?” If children have a clear plan, I then ask, “How much do you need?” This limits waste and encourages children to have a creative direction.
Finding inspiration from peers.
Simple open ended painting.
The “Before” of one of our MOST favorite activities! Each cotton circle has a circle of paint under it….check out the “After” in the next photo….
The “After”: As each child uses the mallet to crush the cotton circle….and explosion of color is created!
Creating an ongoing collage in a box!
Simple box collage! Another easy way to do collaborative art!

Fantastic Fall Fun in The Forest Classroom!

The Forest Classroom always reminds me of Fall….it is warm and inviting and has that cozy feeling that makes you never way to leave. But over the past month they have brought even more beautiful Fall elements into their classroom. Check out the fantastic Fall fun the Forest had this month!

 

Using mallets and golf tees with pumpkins is always a favorite activity!
Leaf Painting! Our students love incorporating nature into the artistic process. Here is a simple way to take your leaf collection to the next level!
This ooey-gooey sensory table isn’t for the faint of heart! Search for bones, eyeballs, bats and creepy crawlies in the red slime!
Using scissors to cut leaves is a WONDERFUL way to practice those important fine motor skills! When it comes to scissors we want our students to get as much exposure as possible, but it can also get boring using them in the same way everytime. This is a great way to change it up!
Are you my mummy?! A simple project that is ALWAYS a big hit…in fact my little guy (in the blue sweatshirt!) made 6 of them! Students love getting to rip up the toilet paper and glue it on to the mummy! When else are you encouraged to rip up toilet paper!
When it comes to bugs the more legs the better!? Right!? Searching for insects in beautiful green and brown slime! What will you find when you start digging!
Loose part Jack-O-Lantern making! Using pumpin seeds and leaves, students made their own spook-tacular faces!

 

A Collection of Halloween Treats!

Each year our teaching staff go ABOVE AND BEYOND to make the month of October extra special for our students. Our students this year have been thrilled to find each day full of interactive, hands on exploration of all that is icky sticky and creepy crawly.

Get inspired to bring the spirit of the season into your classroom and encourage your children to explore their favorite holiday in a whole new way!

What can you find in the Witches’ Brew? This sensory search was so much fun! Students loved trying to find and count out the different creepy crawly items!

 

A dollhouse is fun…..but a Haunted Mansion is even better! Simple touches create a whole new space and elevates the play!
Using Leaves as an art medium, inspires creativity and innovated thinking. Students made masterpieces by simply using leaves, markers and glue!
Orang felt pumpkins and black shapes are a great way to explore making Jack-O-Lanterns!
The Painted Pumpkin Roll! One of our favorite activities! Painting pumpkins and rolling them around on large sheets of paper to create prints, shapes….and a beautiful mess!
Using seeds and leaves to make a face!
Playdough and “Mr. Potato Head Pieces” are such a fun way to make unique and spooky monsters!
Inspired by Room on the Broom, students can use manipulates and counting cards to make their own story!
Make your own Witches Brew! What will you add? What ingredients do you need to make the perfect potion?
More Pumpkin Painting!
Another fun way to use the “Mr. Potato Head” pieces with Foam!
Providing scientific tools for pumpkin exploration elevates the activity and encourages students to take a closer look!
Pumpkin Prints! What does it look like when you paint a pumpkin and make art…..a gorgeous way to explore shape, texture and patterns.
Can you paint with a sunflower? What kind of prints will you get? What types of texture?
More Pumpkin Painting!
Using seeds in water trays for sensory exploration! Seeds, water, pinchers, measuring cups and bowls make a great sensory exploration activity!
Can you make a Mummy?! Simple cut outs and ripped up tissue paper make for a very simple Halloween Craft!
Encouraging children to make Pumpkin Shapes out of playdough using a premade laminated template and actual pumpkins for inspiration!

 

 

 

Spooky Exploration in The Garden Classroom!

This Blog Post should come with a warning…..Not for the I-Don’t-Like-To-Get-Messy-Teacher! The Garden Classroom loves to push the limits of sensory exploration and create one of a kind hands on experiences for their students that are equal parts creativity and science….with a touch of creepy crawly! Check out the fun The Garden Classroom had the last couple of months!

 

You may have seen our popular “Flower Soup” posts, but have you ever seen “Leaf Stew?” Just add water, food coloring, leaves and of course spiders and flies to create this creepy concoction! A great activity to practice pouring, dumping, wisking and measuring!
Slime + Eyeballs + Pumpkins…..How could you go wrong?!
I love using natural materials to inspire the creative process! These students are using leaves combined with paper, markers and glue to create their own masterpiece!
Check out their beautiful creations!
Sunflowers forts are the perfect way to celebrate Fall!
Painting gourds and pumpkins to explore texture and make unique prints! This is such a fun hands on experience! As chidlren roll them across the paper the different vegetables create new and unique prints!
Now that you painted the pumpkins….you have to give them a bath of course!
Using sunflowers to make goregous prints! Another wonderful way to let nature’s beauty inspire an artistic masterpiece!
Loose part play with mini pumpkins and tree cookies! I often see classrooms with “decorations” that the children can’t touch or interact with. This is a perfect example of decorations that the children can manipulate, stack, play with and explore!
Fall Sensory Table fun!
More exploration of Fall Loose Parts!
Painting those pumpkins so that they are ready for bath time!

An Apple Adventure in The Bridge!

With an emergent curriculum, it is important to our staff that we follow the interests and curiosity of our students….so when students strike up a conversation during snack time about Apples….you follow! In Oregon we are lucky to have beautiful orchards filling our valleys and most of our students eat Apples daily in their classrooms and at home….but often this simple fruit is overlooked and underappreciated. Check out how The Bridge classroom showed the Apple some much needed LOVE!

The Apple Core-er and Peeler is ALWAYS such a hit! Students love getting to help use it and of course eat the different shaped pieces! It’s also a great opporutnity for STEM based conversation…How does it work? What parts are used to create this simple machine? What shapes does it create?
How can you mix colors to make your shade of Apple?! Some of the best conversation starts when children realize that apples come in many different colors….and that most apples, are not just one color. Exploring different shades and tones of colors, and using real apples to inspire the art piece is such an incredible actitivity!
How many apples belong on the tree?
Making Apple Pie outside with just the right ingredients!
Another option for this simple activity…pinching playdough to add apples to the trees! Great fine motor activity that also practices cognitive counting skills!

A Rainbow of Learning in The Den Classroom!

The Den Classroom has been on a Rainbow Aventure that lasted over a month! Each week they explored a different color of the rainbow and spent time studying the different shades and qualities of each. The activities they provided for their students were equal parts beautiful and engaging and helped ignite interest in all of their students. Take a look at this beautiful unit that started with the question…..what is your favorite color?

A beautiful way to document each child’s favorite color!
Asking each child the question, What is your favorite color during circle time!
Raibow Rice Sensory Bin! This table is almost TOO beautiful!
Color Mixing is such an important activity for young students. Providing each student with liquid water colors in the the three primary colors allows them to explore color mixing and sensory play….however, these teachers took it up a notch and added science materials that elevated the play and practiced those fine motor skills.
Explore the rainbow with a colorful mixture of dyed chickpeas, shapes and fruit manipulatives.
Organizing loose parts, building materials and figurines by color, ignites the imagination and completely changes the way students engage with the activity!
Rainbow Sensory Play! Shaving cream with water colors on top……just screams…..PLEASE MIX ME UP! This is always a favorite activity in our classroom!
Here comes the mess!
Can you make a rainbow that jumps off the paper?
Rainbow Bridges!
One of the really amazing activities The Den Classroom did this week were simple monochromatic tables that highlighted a different color each week. Students were able to explore one color at a time in a very intimate way. Each week the materials and color changed encouraging children to look closer at the table and use their imagination!
Rainbow Spagetti and Playdough Scissors! This is a great way to introduce scissor skills to your classroom if your students are not quite ready for scissors. We love using this activity at the beginning of the school year when students are first learning how to use and handle scissors.
More exploration with shaving cream…..How beautiful is this!
I love these small rainbow people figurines combined with blocks!

Recycled Materials in The Garden Classroom!

The Garden Classroom has embraced Recycled Materials in their curriculum this year in a whole new way! By creating this color sorted recycle station families can bring recycled materials from home for children to create and tinker with. By color sorting them, we are elevating the materials from trash to treasure.

Here are a couple ways the Garden Classroom have used their recycled goods so far!

Collaborative Egg Carton Painting! This is such a simple and wonderful activity for children to explore texture, absorbency and color. By only providing a few egg cartons for the group, children were encouraged to share, collaborate and communicated their ideas!

Children were also given the opportunity to fill the egg cartons using bingo markers!

An invitation to create using cardboard boxes and markers! What a wonderful invitation to be greeted with when you walk into your classroom! I love the open ended-ness of this activity and the ability for children to work in small groups to collaborate and create!

And then of course they got to play with their creations!

Recycled Materials can be used to create simple and wonderful activities for children to explore numbers, quantities and numeracy. These egg cartons lend themselves so well to a simple counting activity that can be used in SO many ways!