Exploring Familiar Materials In A Different Way

This picture captures the moment when our children walk into an unexpected provocation!

We purposefully create invitations in our classroom to encourage the children to come and investigate.  It is through this investigation that creativity and curiosity thrives, which will in turn prepare our children for the complex thinking in the future.


It is interesting to watch and see which children jump right in without hesitation, and which children are not comfortable with the new experience.  It is something we watch in hopes that the children who are hesitant, may become comfortable with an unfamiliar experience after time.



It was a new experience with familiar materials.  The children use the rollers with play-dough, but not yet with paint.  String was glued to the rollers to produce impressions in the paint.

They stayed engaged in the activity as they rolled the yellow and blue paint to create green.  The experience taught the children all they needed to learn, even with out a teacher.  They were able to explore using their senses, and collaborate with each other.


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IMG_0690 IMG_0691This activity was lead by the environment, which in the Reggio Emilia philosophy, is one of the fundamentals of the values and principles with in the philosophy.  The environment is considered a teacher, and teachers organize spaces that support the engagement of small groups.
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Exploring Hair

One week our children had some time to play with ears of corn and yellow paint in the classroom. This prompted one of the children to say that, “the strings off of the ear of corn was the corn’s hair.”  After this comment we wanted to extend the corn study and begin an investigation on hair. Continue reading

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Pineapple Exploration

Recently the children have been studying the color yellow in class. They explored the color yellow in different materials, from play-doh, flowers outside, to paint and water our food exploration for the week incorporated yellow in different aspects so pineapple was a great material to explore the color further. Continue reading

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Toilet Paper Trumpets

The children were given toilet paper rolls, blue and yellow paint, and paintbrushes. They painted the rolls in the morning and let them dry during nap-time. In the afternoon the rolls were collected in a basket and taken outside. Continue reading

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Snap Painting

This project was about demonstrating sound visually and exploring the process of rubber band popping and visually seeing what type of reaction can be produced with it. The children were invited to the light table area with baking pans set up with rubber bands wrapped around them and paint placed underneath the rubber bands.

At first the children pushed the rubber bands downward and once the teachers showed how to ‘strum’ the rubber band they became even more engaged with the project. One child took the rubber bands off and said, “Look! Teacher I did it!”

The children strengthened their fine motor skills through strumming the rubber bands. They also learned cause and effect, as they strummed the rubber bands paint would splatter onto the baking pans.

20140515_161738The benefits of this provocation entailed understanding cause and effect. Through this experience the children learned that their actions create positive results during their play. Piaget theorized that children learn through play when they are able to cause things to occur or change. This serves as a confidence boost for them as well because the children are able to see that their efforts have meaningful impacts. According to G.A. Davis and J.D. Keller, “Observation is used as a tool for understanding relationships, making predictions, and figuring out why things happen. They learn to cause situations so that related events can be observed and enjoyed.”

The experience combined auditory and kinesthetic learning that allowed the children to interact with each other and the loose parts materials to explore sound. It also encouraged them to examine and experiment using the rubber bands with paint through out the exploration.

“From the very beginning of his education, the child should experience the joy of discovery.”—Alfred North Whitehead


Reference and additional reading:

A Child’s World of Cause and Effect 

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