Tag Archives: intellectual development

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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Leaf & Twig Paintbrushes

One week for our art experience the teachers wanted to give the children an opportunity to explore nature in a more creative way so, they collected different types of leaves of different texture and small twigs to make nature inspired paint brushes. Small bunches of the leaves were tied to the twig using fishing line and then laid out on white paper with some cups filled with bright-colored paint.



The children did not hesitate to investigate throughout this provocation at all. They were very inquisitive and examined each of the brushes carefully by running their fingers through the leaves and feeling the outer texture of the rough and bumpy twig.

As they explored the twigs they dipped the brush into the paint cups and naturally stroked it onto the paper themselves. This was an amazing observation for the teachers. Previously the children have been given regular paintbrushes before and in using that type of brush the children didn’t show as much interest compared to using the nature inspired brushes. Even after stroking the paint onto the paper the children would run their fingers through the leaves and examine the paint they collected onto their fingers then proceed to dip the brush back into the cup of paint again. The infants not only enjoyed this nature experience but also were engaged during the provocation as they participated and explored for a significant amount of time.


Photo-May-21-2-06-43-PMThere are many benefits in allowing children the opportunity to interact with nature. One of them being that nature is not only refreshing, but it is calming to a child and reduces stress, making it easier for them to participate in projects in the classroom.  A diverse variety of plant life encourages the children to interact with nature in more ways and more frequently. Even at this age the children are learning through exploration how to differentiate twigs from leaves and understand that both come from Mother Nature.  According to the Natural Learning Initiative, nature is crucial for children’s intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development.

Allowing the children to paint with an unconventional tool provides the children with valuable experience to think and explore outside of the box in a safe and educational environment as they connect with nature and paint.


“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”



Reference and additional reading:

Benefits of Connecting Children with Nature

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Beets-We Make it like Paint

The children have continued their exploration with beets. We wanted to extend this learning experience of food, and so we juiced beets. Beet juice is very vibrant in color and would serve as great material for painting. Using beet juice that we’d juiced that morning, we provided the children with the beet juice paint and long pieces of butcher paper on the light table.

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As they painted we discussed the characteristics of the beet juice paint. One child was asked what color the paint was to which they replied, “Red!” When asked if it was a dark red or a light red all of the children replied “Dark!”   They were asked to smell the paint and to explain what it smelled like, one child said, “It smells like beets”. The children also explained the process it took for us to make the paint. One of the children even noticed small particles of beets appearing on their paper as they painted. As a result all of the children began to paint more carefully paying close attention to every brushstroke they made to closely examine these particles.

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As they began to paint, many images evolved, and descriptions of their work was talked about.  The children painted all sorts of things like big trucks, clocks, and even big snow monsters. Painting provides the incentive children need to be successful in all aspects of life. Children who paint learn to think with an open mind, to look at situations creatively. They learn to express themselves more deeply through their art and their words. This provocation gave the children the freedom to document their thoughts without a predetermined technique in mind.

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When given a blank canvas (metaphorically speaking) the options are endless and sometimes can make one hesitant, not knowing where to begin or what decision to make. The children’s willingness to paint with beet juice demonstrates their openness to try something new and their ability to make decisions as they drew. They are developing stronger decision-making skills while learning how to express and analyze their thoughts through a tangible medium!

“I used to draw like Raphael. But it has taken me a life time to draw like a child.”



Reference and additional reading:

The Value of Art for the Preschool Child

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Putting Sensory Play into Perspective

The Toddler One children practiced fine motor skills in the Rainbow Room by using the dropper to add green watercolor and oil to the clear water. According to Donna Ackerson of the Tampa Child Care Examiner, fine motor skills can affect a child’s ability to eat, write legibly, use a computer, and turn pages in a book. In order to have a steady grasp of these developed abilities when the children are older, it is important for the children to have a foundation in stability, sensation, and bilateral coordination.

IMG_0896 Continue reading

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