This little boy would eat, drink, sleep and breathe arts and crafts if he could:
He's 4 and a half and this will be his first year of "preschool" at home. I'm still tinkering with his master plan but one of my biggest goals for Earlybird this year is to provide him with as much opportunity for creative expression as I can. (The other is to provide lots of time in nature.) He has a lot of sensitivities to chemicals, dyes and strong scents so I have to be very careful what he gets into. And at this age, art is very much about the getting into. :)
I am so grateful to Elizabeth and Donna Marie for their wonderful posts about children's art materials, for they have given me a great head start! While I work on our own "back-to-(home)school" shopping list, I am also pondering the when, where and how of our art. Off the top of my head:
~ I'd like to have a space devoted to creative work. We usually "craft" at the center island, but I need to protect the counter surface better. Oil cloth, perhaps?
~ I need a convenient storage system - containers and shelves - for our supplies. I don't really want the materials "out of sight" (and "out of mind"), but somewhat out of EB's line of vision. Otherwise it will be all art, all the time, all over the place.
~ I'd like to have a schedule for weekly art - flexible but dependable - so that if, for example, it's Monday, we know it's painting day (see below).
~ I'd like to have opportunities for "free art" as well, but in a way that is easy to maintain (i.e. crayons and paper are always available but the glitter is under lock and key).
I'm thinking our week might look something like this:
- Due to EB's sensitivities (and his penchant for using his fingers), we use a Lyra Natural Watercolor set (pictured above). The colors are produced from plant extracts. His current set was a Christmas gift, and now most of the pots are down to nubs. I'd like to try to make some colorful homemade paints for him, like those described at Martha Stewart and by Elizabeth.
- Long-lasting Stockmar Crayons are made of beeswax, and as Elizabeth and Donna Marie point out, their colors are beautiful. I'd like to make a felt pouch for storing both block and stick crayons. (Anyone know a good pattern?) We also like Ferby Short Pencils for little hands. And of course there will be paper - lots of paper. :)
Thursdays: Special Craft
- This will be a seasonal or liturgical project. Many ideas will come from our Little Saints Preschool Program (ex. Nativity Bells) and the Earthways book (ex. pine cone birdfeeders). If I am really organized about it, I'll work out a weekly craft schedule so I can make sure we have the materials on hand, and even prepare in advance.
Friday: Handwork and/or Baking
- EB loves to work with his hands and with all different textures. He's a very visual/tactile learner! We'll all be doing more handicrafts this year (I hope!), so I'll make up a small handwork basket for EB too - filled with soft colorful yarn, a knitting tower, lacing cards, small squares and circles of felt, and soft sheep's wool ~ I love this sheep measuring tape! I'm turning over some ideas for woodworking too (for all of the boys).
- Baking together on Fridays is a cherished routine we need to get back to. How fun it would be to begin with the sweet simple story of the Little Red Hen ~ then grind some grains (perhaps just for the experience if not for the wheat), and make up a simple bread dough for pretzels or breadsticks. There's a wonderful recipe in Earthways and Martha Stewart Kids. I'll try to post the recipes at Harvest Home soon!
*And before I wrap up, here are two of EB's latest creations:
Fireworks at Night
Green with Blue
We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. ~Stacia Tauscher