Easter party game – fitness, not candy!

This was a big hit during Zumba® Kids in the Spring.

Fill eggs with strips of paper, each with a different way of moving.  Place 2 baskets – one with eggs, one empty for eggs/paper already opened- at either end of gym/studio/yard/classroom.  Kids take turns opening the eggs and calling out what to do.  As a group, they do whatever the eggs says to get to the other basket.

I played the Bunny Hop jazz song while they played.

3rd Grade Bugs: Art & Yoga

Or, activity ideas for a Brownie troop earning their Bugs Badge.

Cursive Bugs
Watercolor paper, folded in half lengthwise and black oil pastels yield the best results.  We used liquid watercolors for brilliant color, but basic trays would be fine, too.

Have each girl write her name in cursive* in black oil pastel, pressing pretty hard, so that her name is resting above the fold.  Fold the paper over and rub, transferring the pastel to the other side, for a symmetrical bug.  She can go over her original name if she needs to, to get enough pastel to transfer.

When she can see the mirror image, have her go over those lines and then step back to take a look.  Any loops that would make good eyes?  Flourishes that look like antennae?  She can add those elements and close up any open ends, to minimize paint spreading outside of her bug.  The coolest results are usually the most simple “bugs,” where the name is still legible.

Then, paint!

*Our third graders are learning cursive, so this exercise was timely.  I wasn’t sure of everyone’s comfort level  with cursive, so I provided a handwriting worksheet with each girl’s name and pencils for practice.  But, as is always the case with pencils, a few girls spent too much time erasing, and not enough enjoying the freedom of art!  I quickly encouraged them to commit with oil pastel.

Bug Yoga Poses
My daughter had fun teaching “bug yoga” to the girls at the end of the meeting.  We’re not sure there’s actually a “moth” pose, but the butterfly pose is a good chance to mention how to tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly at rest – wings (or legs!) up and it’s a butterfly.  Down, or open?  It’s a moth.

Oh, and we played crickets chirping in the background.

Watercolor Birds in 35 Minutes

Yet another successful Art Parent lesson inspired by Deep Space Sparkle!

In 35 minutes, the 22 kids in my daughter’s second grade class learned about James Rizzi, an American pop artist who died last month, and “painted” these funny little birds that pop up in much of Rizzi’s work.   Nuggets about Rizzi that the kids enjoyed – a public elementary school in Germany bears his name and he painted on cars, a jet plane, fancy dishes and a house.

The kids drew on 11×15 watercolor paper with black Sharpie markers.  Click here for Patty’s simple drawing instructions.

Liquid watercolors would’ve done a better job at mimicking Rizzi’s bright colors, but because of our time constraints, the children colored their birds with washable markers and then added water with a brush for a quick watercolor effect (my own children’s old Pip-squeaks work great for this).

They even had time to make their own frames.  I pointed out the graphic doodles that Rizzi added to frame some of his work, and the kids went to town with my favorite metallic Sharpie markers on black paper.  This last step satisfied the children who had been itching to add detail to their birds.  Rizzi art lesson 2nd grade #11 Rizzi art lesson 2nd grade #10 Rizzi art lesson 2nd grade #9 Rizzi art lesson 2nd grade #9 Rizzi art lesson 2nd grade #8 Rizzi art lesson 2nd grade #8 Rizzi art lesson 2nd grade #7 James Rizzi art lesson 2nd grade #6 Rizzi art lesson 2nd grade #5 Rizzi art lesson 2nd grade #4 Rizzi art lesson 2nd grade #3 James Rizzi lesson 2nd grade Rizzi bird 2nd grader


Coloring the Yard

If you like color and can live with plastic, these adirondack chairs are fabulous!

Comfortable, stackable, easy-to-clean.  And, as my recent football player-sized party guest can attest to, surprisingly sturdy.

Adams Manufacturing makes them.  Last summer, after they sold out at Home Depot ($8 each on clearance), I found them at DoItBest.com, a hardware store co-op.  Several candy colors are available for $18.99, and they ship site-to-store for free, if there’s a store in the co-op near you.  They popped up on Craigslist, too.

The chairs are back at Home Depot now for about $16, but in more muted colors.  I prefer the brighter, candy colors at DoItBest.com, but if they’re too saccharine for you, there’s yet another option at Target for $17.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Here I am this morning.  Cold coffee, dirty hair and squirming kids.
Big, tired smile that makes my eyes close.

If you can relate, then Happy Mother’s Day to you!

(Good thing it’s not Hot Wife’s Day.)