Thursday, August 16, 2012

Homeschool: Clean Finger Painting

OK, I'll admit it...I hate 'messy'. Even as a child, I just didn't get the concept of a - eeww - sandbox. I would stand there, fingers splayed, until my mother came to clean me up. This continued into adulthood and people would often remark, in wonder, about how I could help my husband set tobacco and come out looking fresh as a daisy - after 8 or 9 hours under the scorching sun, handling thousands of little tobacco sets. I'd learned how to stay clean even in messy circumstances.

Fast forward to parenthood and you might note that my adult children still associate a 'good' toy with one that comes with a case. That way, the one toy at a time rule is much simpler and even young children can be employed to help clean up their own mess. At All Saints Catholic Home School this idea reigns supreme. I can whip out hand and foot prints with nary a drop of paint spilled and even cooking with the kids is a tidy enterprise.

With a 2 and 4 year old to teach, however, I am having to look for ways to aid their manual dexterity. Both kids know their colors, shapes, letters, and numbers so the natural progression seems to suggest that it's time for some writing practice. Anyone who has taught hand writing to young children, however, will tell you that it's a time-consuming endeavor. Simon is a typical boy and goes at everything with male gusto. His lines become too long, his S's have too many curves and his O's look more like a tornado about to hit.
Note how all of the I's are one long line. lol

I've already found a couple of very helpful ideas on Pinterest and they seem to be doing the trick. One, very simple one, is to simply draw out his letters with a yellow highlighter and then allow him to trace them. For added incentive, I allow him to use a coveted ink pen! I do this at the top of every paper as well as papers dedicated specifically to this task. He is already showing some improvement - when he slows down enough to resist the temptation of racing through the effort.

I tried another Pinterest idea today and both kids enjoyed it immensely - and there was absolutely no mess!!!


Board or tabletop
Gallon Ziplock bag
Finger paint
Tape - I used the blue, low-stick painter's tape

How to Assemble:

Open bag and squeeze paint into interior...I used four colors
Carefully flatten bag to remove excess air and zip.
Lay on board or table top and tape on all four sides.
Voila! Allow kids to mix colors by pressing against the colors in the bag.
When they have enjoyed their color mixing, ask them to trace letters or shapes.

This is an idea that can be used over and over again...even on car trips or outdoors. Instead of making two, I only made one to teach them about taking turns. It also makes it more desirable when each one doesn't have least with my crew! Enjoy!