Sunday, September 23, 2012

Artsy Fall Leaf Creation

It was such a gorgeous fall day, this past Saturday, cool, crisp air and beautiful sky and leaf colors. Making the most of the season, Kim Schueller, a fourth grade teacher at the Ladysmith Elementary School, created an art project to go with the season for the Toadally Artsy Kids’ Event.
It is a project you can do at home with your preschooler. Go for a walk and collect some maple or oak leaves and a stick about a foot long. Collect some scraps of an off-white muslim or cotton fabric about 5-6 inches wide and 12-14 inches long and piece of yarn about 2 feet long. Locate a few bottles of craft acrylic paints in fall leaf colors. Find another color or two for the background, such as light blue or green or violet.
Lay one leaf on the muslim and trace around the leaf with glue. Gel glue seems to work the best. Do a few leaves. Let the glue dry if you are patient, but if not, the hanging will still be beautiful. If you have a small spray bottle, spray the fabric with a little bit of water to help the paint spread.  If you don’t have a spray bottle, thin a small amount of the paint with a small amount of water or dab the fabric with a damp paper towel.
Now paint the red and yellow paint onto the leaves. Paint the outside with your alternate color paint.  Let it dry and glue your stick to the top of the hanging, using the yarn on each end of the stick. Voila! -- a memory of a beautiful fall day that you can save and hang on your wall. If you’d like to see photos of the project on the web you can go to the webpage

Climbing up the ladder
Look at me!
I’m at the top of the apple tree.
I’m picking apples,
One, two, three.
Now the tree is bare as it can be.

Pantomime climbing a ladder
Point proudly to self
Point up high
Pantomime picking 3 apples
Shrug shoulders

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Thumb Sucking

As I was slicing tomatoes today, I nicked my thumb. When I put it in my mouth I began to wonder whether today’s parents are concerned about thumb sucking. It seems as if parents’ concerns about this are not as worrisome as years ago. I can recall hearing my grandmother recount tales of cayenne pepper and other totally useless and sometimes cruel management of a toddler’s thumb sucking. Perhaps, I mused, parents are more knowledgeable concerning the needs of their babies and more knowledgeable about behavior that is normal in different developmental stages.
Why do babies suck their thumbs? Most likely the reasons are similar to why we, as adults, eat when we are not hungry, chew on the end of our pencil when we are thinking, enjoy sipping a glass of wine or beer when we want to relax, and have coffee when we want to feel energized.
We find ways of meeting our sensory needs with these little habits, just as babies meet their needs by sucking their thumb or pacifier, twirl their hair when tired, or rub a favorite fuzzy blanket. If we simply try to eliminate thumb-sucking behavior because it makes us uncomfortable, we are doomed to failure or doomed to see this behavior replaced with another sensory, comforting device.
Developmentally, the baby should find ways of soothing themselves and if thumb sucking concerns you, I would only offer this bit developmental wisdom: your child will not continue thumb sucking when they go off to college or get their first job or get married.

In a milkweed cradle
Soft and warm
Baby seeds are hiding
Safe from harm
Open wide the cradle
Hold it up high
Come on wind
Help them fly!

Cup hands to show milkweed pod, peek into cupped hand to ‘see’ seeds. Open cupped hands, raise hands, and blow. Do this in the fall, showing children the milkweed pods.  Save the empty pods to make lovely tree ornaments or bird feeders