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Markers, paints, and play dough, oh my!

February 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The art area of our classroom has been very busy in the last couple weeks! From drawing with crayons and markers, to painting, to molding play dough, the children have been busy making creations of their own.

When working with markers, crayons and pens, the children use both individual pieces of paper to make works of their own, along with paper that covers the entire table that supports collaboration with others.  Our younger toddlers who are working on developing their small muscle skills, enjoy the large paper. It allows them to draw with both their large and small muscles.  We encourage them to talk about what they are writing or drawing. We also talk to them about what we write.  The skills they develop when using crayons and markers at this age are skills that are important foundation skills for future formal learning. They develop their pencil grip, move from scribbling to making discrete marks with their writing tool.

When we encourage them to describe what they are drawing, they learn to associate oral language with writing. They often watch us writing our daily notes and want to participate.  At home, you can give them an opportunity to write alongside you, whether you make shopping lists together or give them paper to work on while you do work. We encourage their art-making and writing by placing value on them. We hang their art around the classroom, both up high on our bulletin boards and down at their level.  At home, you could place drawings on the refrigerator next to important family materials.

They enjoy more hands-on manipulating materials, such as play dough and moon sand, as well.  They squish, mold, and flatten with their hands along with learning to use tools.  Kitchen tools are a fun addition to typical play dough tools, like cookie cutters, rolling pins, plates and forks.  They explore with the tools to figure out what different things they can do and different marks they can make. You could offer these materials, or any other tools you have available, with the play dough you received as your holiday gift.

These activities really keep our children engaged. They learn so much while exploring tools and materials and problem solving different ways to use them.

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