Check out our easy tutorial below for how to make your own marbled paper using some common items you probably have around the house:
  • shaving cream
  • liquid watercolors or food coloring
  • eye droppers, medicine droppers, or pipettes
  • pie plate (we like the light weight aluminum ones)
  • wooden skewer (or something to stir with)
  • paper shapes
  • squeegee
For older artist, the results are stunning and the design possibilities are endless.  For younger artists, the process of squirting out the shaving cream and dropping the color is great for fine motor development (not to mention, it's fun to play in the colored shaving cream when your done!).  

For a edible version, try whipped cream instead of shaving cream.  The colors aren't as bright, but it's safe for the really young artists to put in their mouths.

Step-by-Step

Step One: Squirt the shaving cream into the pie plate.  
You need complete coverage but it doesn't need to be deep.  We usually look for about half an inch.  You can use a spatula to spread it evenly around when your done squirting it out.

Step Two: Drop color onto the shaving cream.  
I think small drops work best.  We usually use 3-5 colors.  We don't dilute our watercolors for this activity.  You don't need much at all--maybe two teaspoons of total color!
Step Three: Swirl the colors together.  
The keyword here is SWIRL.  Not stir.  Not mix.  You're looking for swirls of color.  Using a thin stick (like a wooden skewer or even a toothpick) help ensure that the colors don't get too mixed up.  Hold the skewer perpendicular to the table surface and think of cutting and dividing up the dots of color instead of mixing.
Step Four: Place your paper shape on top of the shaving cream.  
Press down to make sure that the two surfaces connect at all points (press harder than you think).  
Step Five: Lift paper out of the pie plate and use a squeegee to scrap all the shaving cream off.  
If you don't have a squeegee, try an old gift card or expired credit card (or hotel key!)
Afterward, you can drop in more color, swirl again, and repeat the printing process.  Or, you can just enjoy the shaving cream as a sensory play invitation.  
We recently use our shaving cream prints to make planets. We splatter painted a piece of black construction paper with white paint and then glued on the marbled planets. 
These printed papers are perfect for collages (think spring flowers, fall leaves, etc).  They also make a beautiful set of notecards!
 
 
Teaching is what we do here at Orange Easel.  We teach art skills as well as life skills--like cutting with scissors, holding a pencil, and even using power tools (for the older kids).

We know that as parents, you are your kiddos BEST teachers.  And you've got a lot to teach!  We've got six magical words to help YOU teach anything.  We use them all the time when we're writing out a teaching plan or when we come across an obstacle in class.


I do. We do. You do. 

We think the "We do" step is really the most important (and the hardest) so this blog post is going to focused pretty heavily on that stage. We've outlined some tips below.  Be sure to watch our YouTube video too, where Miss Allison explains more about these three stages.

What can you teach ?

Our job as parents is to make little productive adults, right?  So, what can we teach?  Well, everything we know.  We need to  teach them everything that they'll need to be successful on their own.  All those life skills from tying their shoes to doing their own laundry to checking the tire pressure in their car tires.

There are many checklists floating around blogs and pinterests boards that can give you an idea of what kinds of tasks your children are ready to learn.  Do a google search.  Or just take our word for it, and check out this one from FamilyEducation.com

We generally believe that kids are much more capable than we give them credit for.  Given the proper TEACHING, they can be responsible for many jobs around the house.  

And teaching is what we do here. So, let us help you out.  

I do. We do. You do.

These are the steps.  There's no timeline for them.  There's no magic number of times you have to show them and do it with them before they "get it."  There's nothing that says that just because you've made it successfully to YOU DO that you don't have to revisit the WE DO stage when the bathroom cleaning gets a little lax.   

Just know that when your little ones (or big ones) are struggling with something that they SHOULD know how to do, it's time to go back to WE DO.

The Importance of We Do.

That means together.  Like side-by-side.  Fully supportive.  This is hard because whatever it is that you're trying to teach is going to take twice as long with someone else tagging along.  Gah.  It's going to be frustrating.  This is going to test your patience.  For you control freaks out there, this is going to test your ability to let go a little bit.  

The goal with WE DO is to teach them these new skills through cooperation not through coercion.  Everyone's experience will be better if your kiddos actually want learn it.  The pace of the learner matters.  

In no particular order, here's are best advice on WE DO.
  • It's not all-or-nothing.  Just because you're teaching your kids to do their own laundry and you're in the WE DO stage doesn't mean they have to always do it with you.  You can still do stuff for them.  They might even appreciate it a little more.  We all like it when people do stuff for us, right?  
  • Check your attitude.  If you're not in a teaching mood, don't bother.  See above and just do it yourself.  
  • Check their attitude.  Just because you're ready to teach, doesn't mean that their are ready to learn.  Set yourself up for success.  Make a plan together.
  • Teach with kindness, patience, and humor.  Don't just bark orders.  WE DO.  So, you do it too.
  • Don't expect perfection.  Don't refold the clothes.  Don't re-chop the onions.  Unless it's going to hurt or injury someone else in the family, leave it.
  • Get them on board with the process.  "Can you help me with dinner?" will usually get a positive response.  
  • If it gets stressful, call it off.  Live to fight another day.
  • Be a team.  Yes, laundry stinks.  Nobody likes to do dishes.  But, hey, we're in this together, kid.  Let's get it done.  
  • Praise them.  Not "Good job."  Instead try: "I really appreciate your help." "I know it's hard to learn something new.  You really tried hard and you got it."  "You made my evening better."  "I love spending time with you."  
  • Thank them for their help.  Even if it took five times longer than it normally does.

But, what if they just don't want to?

Honestly, who really WANTS to do laundry?  We get it.  It's hard to make these chores attractive.  

If you've got a little one who has dug in their heels on something, pick a different battle.  Start with something they're interested in.  Go slow.  Especially if they haven't had many responsibilities leading up to this point.  

That WE DO stage might need to last a good long while.  

Hang in there, parents.  You're raising responsible adults and that's not an easy task.
 
 
Most students already attend a weekly art class in school.  Why should elementary, middle school, and even high school students take art classes OUTSIDE of school?  Isn't it the same thing?

There are many ways that our big kids benefit from regular weekly art classes OUTSIDE of school. Here are just a handful:
1. For some children, art is their THING. Not dance. Not soccer. Not girl scouts. They are makers and creators at heart. Orange Easel gives these makers a PLACE and a community. Here they will find like-minded peers!

2. For some children, art is an outlet. It's is freedom from failure and rules. They don't care what the finish product is and they need a place that doesn't judge them based on the outcome. Art is PLAY at its purest and safest form.

3. In elementary school art classes, PLAY and EXPERIMENTING is often frowned upon because time is limited and the ultimate goal of the course is to have each child demonstrate mastery of an art skill. Orange Easel as no such underlying structure. We are looking for our artists to demonstrate curiosity and a desire to create. Our ultimate goal is to create artists, not art.

4. For some children, ART is something they want to get better at. Maybe they were gifted amazing drawing or painting talents. Just like in sports, a great coach or instructor can help facilitate growth and shorten the learning curve.

5. Some children are timid and unsure of their own ideas. Art outside of the school environment provides a safe place to gain confidence...because there are no wrong answers. Only the next right one.

6. Art is BIG. Outside of school, we can explore just how BIG it is. Did you know that you can be an artist even if you aren't a strong painter or illustrator? Many adults falsely believe that if you can't draw, you "don't have an artistic bone in your body." Controlling a pencil--while useful--is not necessary for fiber arts, or pottery, or mixed media applications. At Orange Easel, our entire year is designed to give artists a sense of just how BIG the art world is. This way, they can begin to see that there IS a place for them.
Here's to all our young artists and makers -- you're going change the world with your idea and your courage!
 
 
With Halloween around the corner, we're doing quite a bit of dress-up play in the Orange Easel studio.  

Wait...what?  Dress-up?  Is this ART???
Preschool Art Class getting creative with our dress-up play {OrangeEaselArt.com}
Playing dress-up exercises the imagination through role playing, acting, and plot development. Done properly, the game of dress-up demands a large selection: garage-sale-treasures, out-dated accessories, old Halloween costumes, and dance recital dresses.  

But, we believe that the dress-up bin has the potential to include a variety of homemade (CHILD-made) items.  There's the possibility for CREATION.  And THAT is the Art.
Making hats for creative time. {OrangeEaselArt.com}
These are the types of invitations we're setting-up this month in the studio.  Yes, there's still an Ironman costume, and a tutu, and a sword and shield.  But where the supply is lacking there's the possibility of creation too.  Encouraging the children to make their OWN costumes for play fosters an attitude of self-sufficiency, confidence, and independence. 

So, ORANGE EASEL doesn't have an Elsa costume?  Let's make one!  
(And we're not talking about the picture-perfect one that you see on Pinterest that is a 24 page pdf pattern that Momma sew together.  We're talking CHILD-directed, CHILD-created.  It isn't going to look like something from the store.  And that's okay.  Actually it's better.)
One of the best gifts we can give our children is the belief that they can be MAKERS.  If something isn't accessible, they can MAKE it exist.  If something isn't readily available, they can FIND it and MAKE it.  

We are called to be makers...inventors, creators, and problem solvers.  Make it.  And be proud of what you've created.  These handmade articles should be kept alongside our manufactured items and given the same value, if not more. 

Below is a list of dress-up play items to get you started creating items for your dress-up bin.   Make a few with the kids to get them started THINKING about costume creation.  Once they know it's a possibility, they'll be coming up with their own patterns and designs!
10 Dress Up Crafts that Kids Can Make. And WHY they SHOULD. {OrangeEaselArt.com}

Build your Dress-Up Bin

Picture
From www.Picklebums.com
MAKE A MASK
This is an easy mask from Picklebums that we're doing this month with our preschool classes. The cardboard egg cartons are a wonderful material to paint on!  

Our little artists are having fun adorning them with glitter glue, gemstones and feathers. 

http://picklebums.com/2013/10/22/make-an-egg-carton-mask/#comment-40274
Picture
From One Savvy Mom
A CAPE FROM A TSHIRT
All you need is an old tshirt and some scissors to make a new cape!

http://www.onesavvymom.net/2013/06/no-sew-upcycled-super-hero-cape-kids.html
Picture
From PreschoolPlaybook.com
PEEKABOO ANIMAL MASKS
So many animal options.  Just a paper plate and an imagination!

http://www.preschoolplaybook.com/2009/03/lion-and-lamb-mask.html
Picture
From CuttingTinyBites.com
PAPER DINOSAUR COSTUME
Can you imagine a herd of these creatures running around the house?  And roaring?  Maybe this could be just the beginning?  Next, dragons.  Or unicorns.  

http://www.cuttingtinybites.com/2014/09/diy-paper-dinosaur-hat.html

Picture
From ReadingConfetti.com
EASY DRESS UP HATS
Paper plates can become crowns, alien antennas and more!


http://www.readingconfetti.com/2012/10/easy-dress-up-hats-paper-plate-craft.html
Picture
From Babble.com
PRETEND WATCHES
Toilet paper rolls become watch bands in this costume creation.  

http://www.babble.com/toddler/toddler-crafts-for-the-non-crafty-paper-roll-projects-101/

Picture
From DoodleCraftBlog.com
TAKE FLIGHT WITH A JET PACK
Where would your kids fly with just a couple soda bottles and some duct tape?  

http://www.doodlecraftblog.com/2012/04/super-sci-fi-rocket-fueled-jet-pack.html
Picture
From HomeWithTheBoys.net
PAPER BAG VESTS
Teach your kiddos how to make these vest and there's no limit on what costume they can create!  Check out the adorable Tiger costumer from Home With The Boys.

http://homewiththeboys.net/friday-fun-paper-bag-vest-tutorial/

Picture
From KidsActivitiesBlog.com
MAGICAL WANDS 
Glittering wands are the perfect accessory for ANY costume.  As a bonus, these wands are guaranteed to double as swords.

http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/47366/easy-wizards-wand
Picture
From Pre-KPages.com
CHEF'S HAT

Pretend to be a head chef or award-winning baker with a simple paper hat.

http://www.pre-kpages.com/dramatic-play-chefs-hat/

If your kids really get into making costumes, you can encourage this creativity and independence: keep a stash of recyclables, scrap fabric, old clothes, construction paper and craft supplies near your dress-up station!

What's the favorite item in your dress-up bin?
 

Sensory Play

10/09/2014

 

What is Sensory Play

Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child's senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities and sensory tables facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore.
Picture
Foot painting in the ORANGE EASEL studio

Why Sensory Play is Important

Toddlers and preschoolers need MANY MANY opportunities to get hands-on.  We learn through our senses...the more the better. Feel it. Hear it. Smell it.  See it.

Sensory play allows for self-discovery.  The open-endedness of it encourages imaginative play and problem solving.  Adults may not see "the point" of this type of play, since nothing is created or produced.  The child dictates the play that happens based on what he or she NEEDS to learn...cause-and-effect, the concept of filling-and-emptying, small world reenactment, etc.

Manipulating the sensory materials and tools also develops motor skills needed for future writing.  Scooping and pouring requires core strength, shoulder stability and wrist rotation.

Picture
Field Corn in a sensory bin

Rules of Sensory Play

They aren't many.  There's no WRONG way to play in a sensory bin!  Let the play evolve. It will be different with different children and ages.

Scooping and pouring is just the beginning.  Add figurines and watch the imaginative play that happens.  Rice becomes dinosaur food.  Feed corn becomes the "water" that fills the toy swimming pool.  


"Keep it in the tub" isn't one of our rules.  It takes quite a bit of skill to "keep it in the tub" and it's not realistic to expect that of our little hands who are JUST learning to scoop and pour with precision.  A broom and a shop vac make quick work of clean up (bonus: most kiddos love using the shop vac) 

A Special note For big kids

It's easy to think that this type of play is only for the five-and-under crowd, but we encourage you to rethink that.  Older children enjoy this type of play JUST as much as the little ones.  Give them permission to explore and play.  They are still kids too.

Ideas For Sensory Play

For specific sensory play ideas check out our "Sensory Play" Pinterest Board: