Little Makers: gravity painting

This fall I am starting a new preschool program, Little Makers, once a month on Saturday mornings. All of our preschool-only programs have been during the week, so I wanted another option for parents who work and a chance to explore making and STEAM with the little ones. When I was planning the program, I borrowed a lot of ideas and inspiration from Carissa (seriously, she’s gonna think I’m getting creepy), and other art/stem preschool program rockstars (Kendra, Amy).

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This month, we did gravity painting, inspired entirely by the awesome Miss Meg! I used this awesome block name tag idea, and had each kid create a name block as they entered. This turned into a lot of pre-program block building!

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I explained the new program to parents, and then we launched in with our name song/blocks building:

Hello __________ (first child in the circle)
Hello __________(second child in the circle)
Hello __________(third child in the circle)
Come build something with your blocks!

I had a small enough group that we sang one whole verse for each kid, which was a good idea in theory but some of the younger kids started crying as soon as everyone looked at them! Next time I’ll start with the older kids first, but I’m also chalking it up to a new program and (for at least one kid) their first library program EVER. (!!)

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Next up, I read the book Gravity by Jason Chin. I made the kids say the word gravity, and then we talked about it a little. After the story, I explained our project: gravity painting using pipettes to drip water onto paper taped to the edge of a kid-sized table.

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At the last minute before the program, I put down a huge piece of butcher paper under the table, and its a good thing I did! I hadn’t really considered all of the paint that would drip onto the floor… We used liquid watercolor for the paint, which I diluted heavily, and it worked great!

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I had a pack of 100 pipettes, and although I also put out a few brushes just in case, I explained to the grown-ups that the pinching motion was great for kids to practice and encouraged them to stick to the pipettes. I also sent the families home with a few pipettes to keep practicing and trying.

The other big and new part of this program was a grown up challenge. This month, our challenge was to avoid the word “pretty,” (I HATE THAT WORD WITH KIDS) and instead talk about gravity, colors, and what/why the paint is doing.

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At one point, I heard a mom say, “That’s really pretty. Oh! I’m not supposed to say that… I like the colors you chose!” It was awesome. There was a lot of talk about dripping, lines, color mixing, and lots of gravity. Some kids did multiple paintings, and they all took them home.

This program was a big success and lots of fun! I can’t wait for the next one!

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