Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Weaving A Pot Holder With a Loop Loom

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One of the best parts about homeschooling is that you can pick and choose different styles of education that you like and work well for your family. One of the things that I really liked about Charlotte Mason style of education is the incorporation of handy crafts that are practical. As Little BBQ’s first handy craft we decided to have him make a pot holder for his play kitchen using a loop weaving loom.
Loop weaving looms are very inexpensive. I found one a few days before Christmas on clearance at Michaels that came with a weaving needle (you can use a crochet needle if your kit does not come with a needle) and cotton loops. I showed Little BBQ how to weave the first row. Then, he tried to weave by himself but he lacked the coordination to keep track of the over and under pattern and get the loop to where he wanted it, so I helped him with his first weaving project. Next time I will help him weave less until he can finally complete a pot holder on his own. Our kit came with enough loops to complete four pot holders. I predict that he will be able to weave by himself by the forth pot holder. This project took us 3 different sessions to complete. The first time that we weaved Little BBQ only had enough patience to weave for 4 rows. The second time that we weaved, he again lasted 4 rows. However, on the third session he was able to finish the rest of the pot holder. I finished off the sides for him since it was not clear even to me while reading the directions how to finish off the pot holder. Next time I will show Little BBQ how to finish off the sides. The only thing that surprised me about the weaving was how much the pot holder shrank when we took it off the loom. The pot holder really is only good for play dishes.
A loop weaving loom is great for early elementary students. Concepts that can be explored by using a loop weaving loom include counting by twos and pattern making. Weaving is also good for fine motor skills that early writers need to develop in order to write clearly.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Freezing Art

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For Christmas I got the kids some liquid water colors because I was tired of struggling to get the water color pellets to produce nice vibrant colors that I had seen on so many art teacher blogs. Our first project with the new liquid water colors was a science experiment on freezing. I got the idea from the book, Science Arts by MaryAnn Kohl and Jean Potter. The book is fantastic. The book uses art projects to explain science concepts. This book is great for a child who loves art or a child that is weary of science.
In this experiment, the concept of diffusion is explored when children paint on a wet piece of paper with water color paints. Diffusion is when the paint molecules spread. Then, the concept of freezing is explored when you place the painted piece of paper is placed outside in freezing temperatures or in the freezer. When freezing occurs, the water molecules line up into organized structures to create sheets of ice. We took the experiment one step further and watched the paper thaw again in the house. In this case you can watch the paint become more diffuse again causing the intensity of the paints to diminish as the pigments in the paint spread out over the piece of paper.  I recommend taking pictures of your paints before freezing, after freezing, and after thawing to see how much the paint diffuses. The results with liquid water colors can be really stunning. This experiment is appropriate for preschool to early elementary aged children. My toddler also participated, but she does not have a concept of diffusion yet.
Science concepts explored in this experiment: diffusion, freezing, states of matter (liquid and solid), thawing
Materials modified from Science Arts p 101
White paper
Liquid water colors
Cookie sheet
Plastic wrap
Freezer or freezing temperatures outside (we put out paintings outside)
1.       We the white piece of paper. You want the entire paper wet.
2.       Paint the wet piece of paper with liquid water colors. I recommend taking a picture of your work after this step. Observe how the paint diffuses outward as you paint.
3.       Place the piece of paper on a cookie sheet and place a piece of plastic over the painting.
4.       Place the painting outside or in the freezer.
5.       After 12-24 hours, remove the plastic wrap from the painting and observe the ice crystals. I recommend taking a picture now.
Miss Bubbles': painting a wet piece of paper
After freezing:

The ice up close:

After thawing:
Little BBQ's painting:
After freezing:

After thawing:

Posted on We Love to Paint
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