Thursday, July 7, 2011
Day and Night
Summer is the perfect time for gazing up at the sky. Whether it’s laying in the grass and soaking up the sun, or staying up past bedtime on a balmy night to study the stars, summer skies are hard to beat.
On the Horizon
I am celebrating my win from Brimful Curiosities by pulling my telescope out of the attic. B has become super interested in planets, stars, and space lately, so I was thrilled to win the contest on the Brimful blog for the Klutz Guide to the Galaxy. It arrived just before our vacation so we haven’t had a chance to “dig in,” but a flip though the pages is very enticing – can’t wait! Must mention – love the contests Janelle hosts and the round-ups she puts together every week – if you’re not following @Iambrimful, you should be! This particular contest involved guessing the time shown on a backyard sundial – our recent sundial crafting seems to have paid off in helping me estimate closely!
In the Rearview
We’ve experienced some unusually humid weather this week. And while not especially comfortable, it has been accompanied by some gorgeous cloud formations and thunderheads. Beautiful to behold, and fodder for the imagination. It takes some complex cognitive development for children to expand beyond the literal (it looks like a cloud) to the imaginative (it looks like a sailboat). It Looked Like Spilt Milk, by Charles G. Shaw was an ideal choice for the weather and the creative nudge we needed. Very simply stated but a brilliant conversation piece, each page features a cloud resembling an object that is identified, then dismissed: “Sometimes it looked like a rabbit, but it wasn’t a rabbit.” The illustrations are a great way to discuss how we each perceive things in our own way. If you’ve ever cloud-gazed and had trouble describing what you saw, you’ll appreciate the ability to physically point to the features and say, “this looks like a ______ to me.” Literal and concrete toddlers developing into abstract and imaginative preschoolers will benefit from the practice in visualizing and accepting multiple interpretations.
On the Wall
As a fun extension, we did some abstract painting and then considered what it might resemble or represent. I had seen this idea for string painting and itching to try it, so I was glad the opportunity came along.
- Begin by laying several 10-12” lengths of string across a tray, cardboard scrap, or even some heavy paper.
- Squeeze dollops of tempera or acrylic paint next to one another on the string.
- Carefully pick up the now rainbow string and lay it on your paper.
- We chose to crease the paper first, then lay all the strings on one half and fold the paper over and smush the paint between the two sides.
- You can also drag the string, but the rainbow effect gets muddled with too much movement.
Appropriate for: toddlers, preschoolers
Do you prefer to sky-gaze in the day or night – what’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen?