Yesterday was my very first day back to teaching art at a Reggio Emilia inspired school that has my whole heart. I taught there years ago and it is so exciting to be back in such a wonderfully creative environment. Timing is everything and now is the perfect time for me to get back into something I so truly love. I get all the kiddos at this school one morning a week. It works out to about 60 kids and they rotate through, one class after the next. It will be helpful for me to prep and plan projects and materials that work for all the ages (3’s, 4’s, 5’s and kindergarten). I’ll blog each week and include adaptions for different age groups, variations, and extensions. Hopefully each week you’ll get some fresh ideas for your own classroom or you own home! Maybe it’ll be using a meterials you already have in a new way. Maybe I’ll introduce you to something you haven’t tried yet with your kiddos. Either way, I want you to feel inspired to create with your kids and build on their process art experiences! Reggio philosophy includes lots of inquiry based learning in art so consider these building blocks for exploring concepts deeper. I.e. I used a book and some fun art-speak to include color theory into this lesson then chatted a lot with the classroom teachers about how they might incorporate these ideas into their plans this week. Colors and feelings, colors and temperature, color mixing. Collaborative teaching at its best!
First up, these really fun crayola marker and baby wipe wall hangings.
I passed all my examples out for the kids to feel and hold. There were many “ooooohs” and “ahhhhhhhs” and they were impressed! I asked what the wall hangings felt like and they all said cloth, fabric, napkins, my shirt… only after they guessed a little bit did I tell them our super secret awesome art material was baby wipes! “Don’t worry friends, I didn’t bring the messy baby- ewwww!” lots and lots of laughs. (After some testing I used huggies brand baby wipes. Pampers pure worked really well too but I didn’t have a lot handy and wasn’t going to spend more $ unless it was necessary. The super cheapie off brand wipes didn’t work well, they just weren’t thick enough when dry to feel convincing).
The key to this art lesson working well for preschool and kinder-aged learners is folding the wipes so there are lots of EDGES. We talked a LOT about edges. Where are they? Are they ALL colored or are some feeling left out and sad? The binder clips serve just as rubber bands would in shibori or indigo dying or tie dye. They also act as a perfect handle for the kids to hold onto- less marker on their fingers!
Once the edges are colored you can squeeze, squeeze, squeeze those edges juuuuuust enough to see the water but not enough to drip. Some kids might squeeze the day lights out of the wipes but it’s ok-water and crayola marker washes right off!
We chose to the explore using all cool colors but you could switch things up!
Once the edges are squeezed each child got to “reveal their magic trick” and open up their baby wipe! This was the best part. I swear these kids were shocked and awed every single time! Love to see those sparkling curious eyeballs pop wide open with such enthusiasm. It’s my fave.
Once the wipes are dry, fold over the top edge and staple so there is a little channel to slide the stick through. Add a string to hang and voila!
Variations and Adaptions:
Use watercolors! This wet medium will bleed more so you can talk about what more and less water does to this concept.
You could also use little pipets and drop water or liquid watercolor onto the edges of the wipes before you unclip them.
Add beads, tassels, or Pom poms to one or both sides of the stick!
Paint an initial onto the wall hanging after it’s dry (maybe with acrylic?)
Let kids color on half the wipe itself and fold it over. Press press press to make a mirror image!
Prefold and clip the wipes ahead of time (esp with super little makers). Then let them add the color and do the squeezing.
I seriously LOVE seeing you get creative with my ideas! If you give something a try and want to share, tag @sweetersidemom and add #thesweetersideatelier so I can see and share too! Nothing better than seeing these ideas out there in the world.