Science and art are natural partners. We see it every time a child constructs a snowman or builds a sandcastle. Our natural environment provides countless opportunities to explore beauty and exercise creativity; encourage children to collect natural materials whenever they can. An interesting leaf, a twig, even a stone can provide new inspirations for budding artists.
Wind Sounds : ages 5 and up
Materials: wind chimes or pictures of wind chimes, small branches, hard-plastic drinking cups, paper towels, nail, aluminum foil, hammer, cookie sheet, markers, yarn, oven
In advance preheat the oven at the lowest setting, and cover the cookie sheet with foil. Show children pictures of wind chimes and talk about how they make their sounds. Give each child several plastic cups. Help children turn each cup over, place a paper towel over it, and make a hole in the bottom by gently tapping a nail into it with a hammer. Then suggest that they use markers to decorate their cups. Encourage children to decorate cups with large, solid blocks of color. Sometimes thin lines will disappear when the cups melt. let children place the cracked cups upside down on the cookie sheet. Then put the sheet inside the oven and ask children to predict what will happen to the cups. Leave the sheet in the oven for a few minutes until the plastic melts into flat disks. Allow the tray to cool for 10 minutes. Then help children string yarn through the holes and tie their chimes onto the branches they collected. Tie another piece of yarn to the top of the chime to hang it. Tie chimes to trees or whatever is appropriate in your setting. Invite children to listen to the chimes. When do they sound louder or softer?
Spring Day Mural : For ages 3 and up
Materials: collage materials such as paper cupcake holders, pipe cleaners, construction paper, tissue paper, seed catalogs, cotton balls, and other materials children suggest, mural paper, markers, scissors, glue
Talk to children about spring and read books about spring. If possible, go on a neighborhood walk and encourage children to point out the signs of spring they see. Clear an area of the floor to work, and tape your sheet of paper to the floor. Put all art materials on a nearby table. Encourage children to talk about what they are making. Help children to label their signs of spring.
Creative Gardens : For ages 3 and up
Materials: natural materials such as twigs, pebbles, seashells, walnut shells, and eggshells cracked in half, plastic or plastic-foam meat trays, chart paper, plastic forks, potting soil, spray bottle, marker, pencil, grass seed
Discuss what a garden is and what is needed to help it grow. Invite children to make their own gardens. Offer each child a plastic-foam meat tray, and help them use a pencil to poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Help children fill their trays with about an inch of potting soil, sprinkle the soil with grass seed, and use plastic forks to gently rake the seeds into the soil. Have children take turns misting their gardens with plenty of water from the spray bottle. Place the trays near a sunny window. Observe and discuss your gardens as they grow. When the grass reaches about half-inch allow the children to decorate with materials to individualize their gardens.