Homemade Monday: Painting with Tape Resist

Last week we talked about bringing the snow indoors and painting it as an extension activity after reading books about the winter and snow. This week we continue our snowy day theme with tape resist painting.



  • White art board/canvas OR thick construction paper
  • Watercolor, fingerpaint, or washable paint
  • Masking tape OR blue painters’ tape
  • Glitter


1. Tape off the edges of the paper or canvas. Begin to create the tree using the tape. Tear the tape into skinny pieces to make the branches. Use tiny pieces of tape around the background of the canvas–this will eventually look like falling snow once the tape is removed.

2. Let your child paint all over the canvas. Let them paint on the tape, but make sure they paint all over the white paper or canvas. Talk to them about the colors mixing. Ask questions. Let  your child use his finger to add a red cardinal to one of the branches.

3. Sprinkle glitter on the wet paint.

4. Once the paint has dried slightly, begin to peel the tape off. Add lines across the white areas of the tree so it resembles a birch tree.

5. Talk about the winter scene and let your child make up a story about what is happening.


Asking the “right” Questions Matters in Dialogues about Learning

Dialogue About Language, Literacy and Learning

Here’s an example/excerpt from

Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why? By Maanvi Singh, Published Oct 24, 2014


“How does a sunset work? We love to look at one, but Jolanda Blackwell wanted her eighth-graders to really think about it, to wonder and question.

So Blackwell, who teaches science at Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior High in Davis, Calif., had her students watch a video of a sunset on YouTube as part of a physics lesson on motion.

“I asked them: ‘So what’s moving? And why?’ ” Blackwell says. The students had a lot of ideas. Some thought the sun was moving; others, of course, knew that a sunset is the result of the Earth spinning around on its axis.”

Once she got the discussion going, the questions came rapid-fire. “My biggest challenge usually is trying to keep them patient,” she says. “They just have so many burning questions.”


View original post

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Raise your hand if you have more than five stuffed animals in your house. Raise both hands if you have more than 10 stuffed animals in your house. Raise both hands and both feet if you are reading this while buried under a pile of teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Don’t worry; you are not alone. Today, we are going to share some ways to use those teddy bears and bring them to life!


One of my favorite stories is We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen. There are so many options for telling this story. You could read it directly from the book, but here are some more exciting ways to tell this story:

  • Add hand motions to the story.
    • If you are waiting for a meal to finish cooking or you have a few minutes and need to occupy the attention of your child, act out the story using the motions as presented by Michael Rosen.
  • Hide your child’s teddy bears in one spot in the house. Tell them you are going on a bear hunt. Bring the story to life as you make  your way through your house or backyard chanting the rhymes of the story. Let your child make up things that he or she “sees” along the way.
  • Let your child retell the story in his or her own way.

After you read a selection of books about bears, have a teddy bear tea party picnic. Set out a blanket on the floor in your house. Let your child set out dishes and cups. Serve small cookies like Teddy Grams and juice. Make sure the serve the teddy bears something.

Lastly, here is another of my favorite teddy bear story is Cordoruy by Don Freeman. As a preschool teacher, this was one of my favorite books to read with my class. Normally, I don’t promote watching movies on this blog, but in the 1980s they made this book into a movie. After you read the book to your child, it’s worth watching. Cordoruy actually comes to life in the movie–make sure you are watching your child’s face at this point.

Bringing the Library Home

Question: How old do you have to be to sign up for a library card?
Answer: Newborn to age infinity!

That’s right. There is no set age for a person to qualify for a card at the Stark County District Library. So what’s stopping you? Sign up your child for a card. You can stop by one of our 10 locations throughout Stark County or find a Bookmobile stop. Just go to http://www.thesmartstore.org to find a location near you.

And while if you get stuck inside on one of those cold and snowy wintery days, have fun creating a library at home with your child. Click here to download and print your own set of library pretend play materials from Learn, Create, Love. It even has a printable “scanner” to scan books and check them out.

Homemade Mondays: Painted Snow

On days like today, it’s easy to stay inside, put on a movie and watch television or play video games all day–especially, if weren’t planning to stay inside all day. But when it’s too cold and icy to go outside for extended periods of time, here is an easy activity you can do with your children while you try to stay busy inside. You need to things: watercolors and snow. That’s right: snow.

painted snowGive your child a bowl or container filled with snow. Let them explore the snow for what it is. Describe it. Cold. Slippery. Wet. Icy. White. Clumpy. Smooth. Sandy. Then give them a set of watercolors or colored water if you don’t have watercolors (just add a couple drops of food coloring to water–be careful though…it’s not as washable as watercolors). Then let them have fun painting the snow. Ask them what they are painting or what happens when the colors mix as they paint. Talk about the rainbow they create.

As an extension, read books about snow and/or rainbows.