The heat is really wearing us down, and, even Jason, who will usually play outside in any conditions, won’t stay out for more than a few minutes. Even in the sprinklers. It’s that hot. One of our indoor pursuits this week was making collages out of scraps of paper – pink paper, of course.
Every day when I pick J+J up from school, Jenna is careful to make sure that I take home all of her art. She is especially concerned with her drawings, which she often carries to the car herself. Over the past few weeks, a definite visual style has emerged in her drawings. While they look completely haphazard, I can tell that she takes great care in creating them. In fact, if I arrive at school while she is coloring, I have to wait until she’s finished using EVERY color in her bowl of crayons. That seems to be the key to her drawings: making sure she uses all of the colors available to her.
Earlier this year we decided to remove all artificial dyes from J+J’s diet. But the artificial dyes are still in my pantry, alongside a fairly extensive collection of colorful sprinkles. I haven’t decided what to do with the sprinkles yet (I’m sure Jenna will think of something), but I have been bookmarking a lot of activities involving food coloring. A couple of weeks ago, we made magic potion, which was a huge hit with Jason. Tonight, we tried a color mixing activity. I should probably understand the science better, but apparently milk and soap react in a certain way, causing the dye to go a little crazy. The swirly patterns that you see aren’t the result of swirly the cotton swabs in the milk, it just happens.
You’ll need food coloring, a bowl of milk, dish soap and cotton swabs.
Start by adding a couple of drops of dye into the milk. You can use a single color or multiple colors.
Add some dish soap to a cotton swab and then touch the surface of the milk with the swab. The milk reacts, causing the color to move around.
It works best if you don’t stir the milk, which is easier said than done if you’re doing this with preschoolers. J+J don’t like watching anywhere near as much as doing, so they stirred the milk endlessly.
Eventually, stirring all of the colors resulted in a grayish brown concoction, which J+J seemed pretty pleased with.
I love our new coffee maker. We call it our coffee robot. It’s that easy. Just pop in a coffee disc, press the giant button and out comes coffee. No measuring, pouring, cleaning. My almost-3-year-old daughter practically makes my coffee every morning. She’s developed a bit of an obsession with steamed milk (‘coffee milk,’ as she calls it). It’s just frothy milk with a tiny bit of sugar (or ‘sprinkles,’ again, in Jenna-speak), so I don’t mind. Another side effect of our new coffee robot (and my tendency to go overboard buying things in bulk through Amazon Prime) is a pile of coffee filters for our old machine. By my estimation, we have about 350 coffee filters on hand.
What to do with hundreds of coffee filters? Make art, of course.
For Valentine’s Day, I cut hearts out of the same filters and let J+J dip-dye them, much like dyeing Easter eggs. Jenna LOVED this activity and kept requesting more and more hearts. So this weekend, I brought back the dip-dye coffee filters, this time in flower form.
I started by cutting the filters into flower shapes:
Next, I prepared the dye. Last time I used food coloring, but this time I tried watercolors:
And then Jenna went to work:
We let the filter flowers dry and then glued them to paper to create bouquets:
On a related note, here’s morning Jenna, wiping a little coffee milk off her chin:
It’s pretty rare for Jason to focus on anything for very long, especially anything involving staying in the same place for an extended period of time. But on Saturday, he was really focused on painting. He selected a giant brush, dictated which colors to provide and knocked out a couple of pretty awesome pictures.
One of Jason’s Christmas presents this year was a Vtech Kidizoom Camera. He’s loving the independence – the fact that he can use his camera anytime he wants (unlike mommy’s) – and I’m loving seeing what he shoots. Sometimes, it’s clear that he really wanted to remember something – like when he photographs the tv while his favorite cartoon is playing – but most of the time it’s much less intentional. Oh, and did I mention he can add graphics to his pictures? Yes, his camera comes with a built-in mustache filter.
A Few Other Favorites
This weekend we recycled our collection of broken crayons by dividing them into cupcakes tins and baking until melted. Jason was pretty fascinated by the process of cooking crayons. And once the new crayons were done, neither wanted to color with them. Instead, they stacked, arranged, counted and spinned. Oh, and we named them. Mustard, Ocean, Swampy and Valentines are shown below (clockwise):
I have a new post today on Blissfully Domestic on how to make snowflakes using paper punches. This is perfect for younger kids who haven’t mastered scissors yet.