Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Photography Walk

My husband and I have given our preschooler our old digital camera.  We came across it while looking for items for a yard sale and since it is over ten years old we decided that instead of selling it for $5, we’d outfit it with a neck strap and hand it over to our preschooler.  It is pretty fun to see pictures he takes from around our house from his point of view.  He takes pictures of things that are important to him and that he finds interesting.

from our flamingo tour

Now that warm spring-like weather has arrived, we’ve been able to break out the sit- and-stand stroller and take the boys for walks in our neighborhood.  One of the fun things to do with my little budding photographer is to go on a photo walk.  Sometimes we decide ahead of time what we are going to look for and take pictures of.  We’ve been on a flamingo tour of the neighborhood.  We’ve watched for flags, pumpkins, shapes, birds, flowers and litter (which we picked up along the way).  Our most recent excursion was to take pictures of signs of spring.  Sometimes we have a certain destination like the post office or library and we have created a game for him to practice counting.  He knows how many pictures he has room for on his card.  We divide that number in two and he pays attention to the number on the screen and tries to pace himself, taking half the photos on the way out to our destination and half on the way home. 

When we return home we watch a slide show on our computer of the photos he took and choose the best ones.  We then upload these to Facebook where we can share them with friends and family, especially his grandparents who have an interest in photography and are probably his biggest fans.  We sometimes do some more counting as we figure out how many photos were taken in a certain category.  For example, we add up the total number of flamingos in our neighborhood, how many flags were American flags, or the total of each shape he found.
 Our photography walks are a fun way to get some fresh air and exercise while taking in our surroundings, teaching my little one a creative way to be more observant of the world around him.  Dust off that obsolete camera in your closet or keep a lookout for a cheap one that has been tossed aside.  It may turn out to be very valuable to your creative little heart.

Our Fall foliage walk
Signs of Spring walk
some fantastic fungus caught his eye on this walk
I know I am biased, but I have to admit some of his photos are pretty impressive!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Flower Pounding: celebrate springtime with a bang!

My preschooler was thrilled that today is the first day of spring!  The weather was actually more summer-like, but we’re not complaining!  My guy has been picking me “wild flowers” out of the lawn a lot during the past week.  When I suggested that we make a card to cheer up a friend he thought we should pick flowers and attach them to the card.  I explained that the flowers probably wouldn’t hold up well in the mail, but it reminded me of the perfect spring art project!

Flower pounding is the process of layering colorful petals and leaves on paper and then pounding them to release their pigments onto the paper.  We started by exploring our yard for blooms.  We picked some flowers, clover, and blades of grass (being careful to pick plants that are not poisonous).  Then we found a sturdy surface to work on.  Next, we placed some single blooms or petals onto a sheet of heavy paper like cardstock or watercolor paper and covered them with a sheet of paper towel or waxed paper.  (The paper towel or waxed paper  keeps the petals from sticking to your hammer or mallet.)  Carefully, we pounded the flowers to release their color onto the paper.  Watch those fingers!  If the waxed paper slides around a lot you can secure it with scotch tape (or painters tape which would be easier to peel off).  After filling the paper with pigment I gave him a pen and some butterfly stamps that he used to embellish his picture.  When he wants to stamp with multiple colors we use this trick: quickly color the rubber stamp with washable marker and then stamp immediately before it has a chance to dry.  You can get colorful images without turning all your stamp pads into mud!

Flower Pounding was a huge success at our house.  My son loved the process!  I hope you give it a try with your little creative hearts as a way to celebrate the beginning of this new season!