Monday, August 13, 2012

Mess Free Window Painting Letters

 A while back I posted something about 40 ways to distract a toddler... remember that? Yeah, that's how you all found my blog, right? Great! 

Well, I decided to use one of those ideas, specifically the one about paining on a window through a Ziplock bag from No One has More Fun Than The Adams', to teach letters to my preschool set this week.

Here's what you need:
The largest, heaviest duty Ziplock bag you can find
Poster or finger paint
Duct Tape
An index card
A marker
Smiley face stickers, optional

Here's what we did:

First, we dumped some extra poster paint into a strong Ziplock bag. 
 Then we reinforced all edges and seams with duct tape. We really wanted to be sure the paint wouldn't spill.

 Then we taped the closed bag of paint to a window, with an index card with one letter written on it.
 To use this writing center, I asked Ava to first trace the letter A with one finger just as she does in our Handwriting Without Tears curriculum: "Start at the top, big line down, froggy jump, another big line down, froggy jump, and small line across the middle." Is she needed prompting, I showed her with my finger- careful to use the same vocabulary as we use in our curriculum- and then asked her to repeat what I had done. If she still needed help, I guided her hand along the lines first, verbalizing our actions as we went.

 Once she had successfully done each step in order on the practice card, I asked her to do the same thing with the paint bag. (After we'd been at it for a while I had to push the paint back up into the bag before she could do her letters- thank you, gravity!- but it was a minor inconvenience.)

 The resulting letters were so cool! Everyone got to try a few just because they looked like they were on fire thanks to the backlighting.

Then the baby just had to have  a try. It is a toddler-friendly paint medium as well, this idea.
 Only on the second day of having this center installed in our school room did I think to put a small smiley face sticker onto the top, left hand corner, just as all of our HWT work is done. Better late than never, right?
 I put the same sticker onto the top, left side of the paint bag to help my students remember to start at the top and from from left to right.
May I just share what a tremendously fun time we had with this  idea?

And may I also stress just one more time how important it is to use the heaviest duty bag you can possibly find for this project? My kids all used their finger tips well to trace the letters because we've practiced a lot using HWT, but a few kids from the neighborhood where using this over the weekend to play and could not seem to use the pads of their fingers rather than their fingernails. I am so, so, so thankful that I used a heavy bag reinforced with duct tape at each seam because I really, really, really didn't want poster paint all over my floor!

Smile. 

What fun "play" activities have you repurposed as "school" lately?

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