Monday, July 1, 2013

Exploring Space - Painting Planets

I have been abysmal at blogging this year, but now that I've found the groove of life with two children, I've been itching to get behind the keyboard and type again.  I figured the best way to make myself find the time would be to 'challenge' myself to post a daily blog for 2 weeks straight.  

Since Hannah turned 2.5 years old in March, I've noticed that she is just a sponge for knowledge and facts.  The girl wants to learn, so I'm going to embrace that and create learning units for her.  Cultivating ideas from other amazing mom bloggers, pinterest, and my own imagination, we are embarking on 2 weeks in Space!  We're learning all about: Planets, Stars, the Sun, Rockets, Astronauts, and Astronomy (no aliens or robots this time).

First up: Coffee Filter Watercoloring


We talked all about the different planets and looked at pictures of Earth.  
Then I asked her if she wanted to do one of her favorite things - PAINT!

Let's break this project down into the categories that parents care about:

Cost - Low
Most of us have coffee filters already in the cupboard, and an old set of watercolors in the craft bin.  Add some water and you're good to go.  
I decided to invest $15 in a set of watercolor paints.  This set of 18 tubes of watercolors will last a long time, as a little dollop goes a long way.


Messiness - Medium
Hannah did a great job of keeping the paints on the paper so the clean up was minimal, but you really need to supervise them while they paint.  While most surfaces should wipe clean, others could easily stain.  
Once the child is done, you can carefully move it to a drying rack (or a wire cooling rack used for cookies) out of reach for a few hours or overnight.

Prep Time - Low
Once you've located the paints, all you need to do is run the filter under some tap water, lay it on a dinner plate and give it to the child.  Hannah could have easily painted half a dozen filters before loosing interest.

Educational Value - Medium
I showed Hannah a picture of the Earth and we talked about the different colors for different surfaces - ocean, lakes, grasslands, mountains, and ice.
Expansion Ideas: Match the information to the children's age.  This would be a great opportunity to talk about the differences between each planet's appearance and why.  If your child is up for it, make a whole coffee filter solar system.  Laminate the 'planets' and hole punch to hang them.  You can use contact paper or take it to your local office supply store and have them laminate the filters for you.


Tap into their imagination!
After she finished her 'Earth' painting, I gave her another wet coffee filter on a fresh paint, and encouraged her to create her own planet - which was purple and aptly named 'Planet Hannah'.  

___________

Come back tomorrow for more SPACE themed toddler / preschool activities.  Make sure to follow me on Pinterest and check out my Space themed board.


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