Thursday, 20 December 2012

'Twas a Night Before Christmas' Baby Art Class

Stockings are out and full of presents for babies to explore, paper is cut and prepared such that it can be folded into a stocking once the masterpieces have been painted, Winter Wonderland is playing in the background and mulled orange juice is on the stove ready for parents.

Bags of discovery are ready- Christmas colours and items like pine cones to be explored and dragged through the paint.

Babies arrive and quickly venture over to the presents, which are inspected, bashed and rattled (all containing what babies really want- boxes and random objects like lids of pots!) but abandoned when the first 'paint' is handed out- frozen berries.

From frozen berries on to warmed berries- much messier and fun to paint with- although some beautiful marks were made with the frozen berries. Fruits are mixed with Christmas spices- nutmeg, cinnamon and all spice to add to the sensory experience.

My favourite aspect of the classes Mum and little one enjoying some painting together.

Truly immersed in the paint and all that is going on, with beautifully crossed over feet- sadly missed capturing the big grins and clapping.

Eating is an added bonus (interestingly the frozen blueberries at the beginning were a hit for eating!)- joy of using natural food paints no need to worry about what is consumed! And some bashing of pots, not just used for containing paint.

Bags of discovery being discovered- 'What's in here Mum?' 

There is always something that is good to chew on.

Busy, content babies! I love to sit and watch how amused the little ones are throughout the class- enjoying the space, the paint, the props, the exploration, time with one another and especially time with Mum (or Dad or Granny or other important person).

And I forgot to take a picture of the finished painted stockings! Suggestions are that they can be used to wrap a lucky relative's present or simply to hang on the fireplace. My daughter made her own stocking this afternoon (we used paint, brushes, hands, feet, glitter and 'Baby' helped), she decided to make hers into a Christmas card for Mummy (I am very lucky :-)).

Once again a thoroughly enjoyable class, a lovely end to a year of Baby Art. I look forward to more classes next year, putting together fun themes with various materials and paint and ultimately watching babies paint for the first time, seeing their individual reactions- so different and varied but always absorbed and inventive.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Hanging out with a Toddler

I want to take a moment to share my observations from a morning hanging out with my toddler. I am continually amazed by the imagination and resourcefulness of my daughter as she plays. I love watching how she utilises all that is around her.

Today, to name but a few, she has used a candle as her cake, singing bowls as saucepans, the cupboard as an oven, snowflake confetti left over from lantern making as further food, a Christmas card as something Poppa has (I missed what this actually was), the washing up basket as a bath for baby, a cushion was her wheelbarrow and she has walked her dog the balloon.

 The random household/toys that have been utilised this morning

Alongside her imagination I love her curiosity that drives her need to learn about everything around her. Whilst she was busy cooking I took the opportunity to do some very long overdue filing, so we were busy together doing our own activities and sharing space. It was not long before she came over to see what I was doing and asking to do it herself. So I showed her- it was great watching her learn to place the paper in the hole punch, helping her push down, then how to line up the paper with the rings and get the holes over the rings. Then Teddy was spotted and it was his turn- what I loved about this was that I suggested she show Teddy how to do it- which she did. It was fascinating watching her teach Teddy as I had taught her.

Teddy, the oven, the file and the hole punch

So what has my daughter been learning this morning- 
  • How to be resourceful and make use of the materials to hand
  • How to be in the world- cooking, filing
  • How to teach and show someone how to do something
  • Working together on an activity
  • How to be patient and precise  
  • How to file and use a hole puncher!
 So what have I been reminded of-
  • Less is more- little ones do not need complicated toys to amuse themselves
  • Little ones are interested in what we are doing- they want to learn about the everyday world 
  • Keep it simple- give imagination space to create
These are all important elements that I try to bring to my baby art classes, as time and time again I see that by keeping it simple I give the babies space for their imaginations to grow, to learn about their environment and have free rein to their creativity. 

The results of creative explorations

These times when my daughter and me simply share space and activities together- especially when we are in harmony and have time to be- are precious and it is great to be able to take the time to share and document my simple observations.

So what have your little ones been up to today?