Monday, March 12, 2012

Color Me a Rainbow

In case you weren't already aware, the greenest holiday of the year is this Saturday, March 17.  St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner and in recognition of this day (one I normally neglect to celebrate), I've decided to teach the kids some of the traditions and symbols associated with the holiday.  Today I picked the rainbow.  It's a great way to talk about colors, and by including some fun activities, it's also a great way to work on sorting, writing, word recognition, etc.  Also, I need to do some more research before I try to explain about shamrocks, leprechauns, and all that other stuff!

We started our rainbow lesson by choosing a piece of construction paper to represent each color of the rainbow.  I laid them out on our kitchen table in the order they appear in the rainbow, and then I mentioned those magic words that always get my son to light up:  treasure hunt!  I said lets go around the house and find objects that match each color.  This was by the far funnest part to watch.  He had a blast racing around from toy box to the table, upstairs and back down again.  Once we gathered up a hefty and definitely colorful treasure, I had him sort the items out onto the construction paper.  

Gray has known his colors for quite sometime, but I've never really had him differentiate between "blue" and "indigo" as the rainbow does.  We've also just referred to purple as purple, not violet.  However being his sister's middle name he is familiar with the word, and he seemed to grasp these new colors with ease! It took no time at all to sort through all the objects.  We also pointed out things around the room that went along with these colors.  My daughter seemed particularly excited that her yellow shirt matched one of the papers and other yellow objects.

The pumpkin bucket on the table sparked and idea for our next activity so I had him gather back up all the objects and put them in the bucket.  I then wrote out each of the colors of the rainbow on his chalkboard.  I said them aloud and had him repeat them.  I had him spell them.  And then came the fun part.  I had him pick out an item from the bucket, and match it to the word of the color on the chalkboard.  Having them in order helped with this part.  He still stumbled over a few, but we haven't spend a lot of time on word recognition so I'm proud of how well he did with this part.  I'm going to have this kid reading before he knows it!

Despite the fun I thought we were having, the next task proved to be pretty boring for him.  He needs a lot more work writing his letters so when I asked him to practice printing the words for each color.  He was not too thrilled.  After much coaxing, a few letters erased and corrected, he had all seven words copied on his paper.  He was also more than ready to move on to our last activity!

I saved the best for last though.  I had the paints sitting on the kitchen counter throughout all of the activities, and nothing probably motivates my son more than the opportunity to paint!  I chose the light blue piece of construction paper from colors we had set aside for our rainbow, and put a dab or each color paint onto a plate for him.  Then just by looking at a picture of rainbow, he painted one.  It turned out great.  

I continued to talk about the colors with him as he painted.  I'll reiterate them a few more times today and the rest of the week as well. Practice makes perfect right?  I'm so proud of the effort he put into all of the activities even when he wanted to stop, he hung in there.  Displaying his artwork, he looks pretty proud himself!

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Gift of Old to Make New Again

I received such an amazing gift yesterday, you'd have thought my birthday came early this year!  My grandma is an amazing artist no matter the tools she using, brush and canvas, sewing machine and thread, yarn and hook, spinning wheel and wool.  Her talents are endless!  I'm just thankful that over the years I've been able to see her creations and pick up some of her passion.  She is also pretty excited that my sister and I are taking more of an interest in painting as of late.  I'm certain our passion for the art has come from her.  I just wish I also had her talent, but maybe with more experience I can hope to come close.

Recently my grandma passed on an array of old canvases, some used, some blank, archival paper, and picture holders.  Yesterday my sister came over to split the treasures with me, and I am so excited to get to work with my new gifts.

One of the canvases was this painting of an adorable little bunny.  Although my grandma's suggestion was to simply reuse them, there is absolutely no way I could paint over something so precious or something painted by her hands.  This one is a keeper!  There's another canvas that could use some work, so I'm going to research re-stretching and preserving canvas now as well.  

The sketchpad looks ancient and has some water damage, but it will still be excellent for the kids to practice with watercolors or something else while I am painting.  They love to join in on "craft time", whenever I get the paints out.  It is exciting to see the kids create as well even at such a young age. 

I have no idea yet what I'll do with the smaller cards and photo holders that were included with the other supplies.  Looking through them, I noticed some have dates stamped on the back.  This one from 1907 is from the year before my late great-grandfather was born!  My grandma has passed on a wonderful gift.  Now I have a thank you call to make!