Friday, July 9, 2010


One of favorite resources in the past week as been the book ScienceArts by Mary Ann Khol. Both kids enjoy doing art and have from an early age. They both do something with art every day, usually painting or drawing, and they've also enjoyed the few science experiments we've done in the past.

So, when I ran across ScienceArts on Amazon I knew it would be something they'd love, and I was right. We've been doing quite a few experiments in the past week with liquid and powder tempera paint.

The first experiment involved wetting a piece of construction paper in water and placing it on a cookie sheet. Then, using watered down liquid paint, you suck up the paint with an eyedropper and drop it onto the wet paper. The paint quickly diffuses across the page.

The second experiment is similar except you use powdered paint and sprinkle it on the paper. We watched how the powder became absorbed into the wetness of the paper. Of course, the kids couldn't resist just smearing the paint around with their fingers. It was cool to experience the powder becoming liquid underneath your hands.

Of course, I had to create my own picture, too (it's the one at the bottom of the post). I always have a weakness for wanting to follow the directions exactly and not deviating in any way (I'm sure a side-effect of my institutional schooling), but I'm gradually learning to follow my children's example. I believe there can be benefits to copying and modeling something, but kids are not given near as much time to play with objects, resources and supplies on their own. An art, science, writing or any other type of project is usually presented as, "Watch how I do things, and then copy me."

Gradually, I'm learning to trust myself and to sometimes just jump right in. There will be time to learn from those more experienced than me along the way, but if I can't have that initial thrill of exploring something new on my own terms, I might never get to the point where I'm interested enough to benefit from listening to or observing how others have done it in the past.


Nicki said...

I will have to get this book for the school year, when I'll be watching Pufferfish plus another three-year-old... it sounds perfect for us! I think I'm like you... as much as I feel like kids need to try their own things and be creative, when I'm following projects in a book I always hope they will do it the way the book asks you to, so that they can get the "right" results. One thing I try to do is get them to do it once by following the directions, and then they can do it as much as they want either by doing it that way or doing it their own way.

Stephanie said...

I'm ready for a paint project day! :)