So having read our previous blog you have decided to get kids cutting! Great! However, what if the child is not ready for scissors? Should you be worried? Why can they not use scissors straight away? How can you improve children's fine motor skills? Read on as we help answer these questions!
Why tearing is good
Scissors require hand-eye co-ordination which does not happen straight away. Could you zip up your coat the on the first try? No, and it’s the same with using scissors. Scissors also require strength which does not come automatically either, and it is building up this strength which will get children cutting straight lines and ultimately being able to write neatly.
So how can you build this strength and coordination to get then ready for cutting? Get children to rip some of our tissue paper. This will help get both hands working and building up strength. They could start by tearing small pieces (perhaps these could become a mosaic in an art project) and then try to tear in a long straight line.
For added literacy and numeracy you could ask your child to rip the shape of a circle, or square etc. Or, reverse that and get them to vocalise to you what they are tearing and how many!
Building Muscles and Fine motor skills
To build muscles and dexterity even further before the complex task of cutting get children to play with our hand puppets! These are ready made and are great for communicating a story and also for finger isolation, which is where you are getting each finger to work one at a time. Why is this useful? You will notice you don’t use every finger to hold scissors or to hold a pen when writing. Getting your brain to tell which finger to move at a different time requires practice, but with our materials, these important lessons will seem like child’s play!
In our next blog see which of our wide range of scissors are great for beginners and what products we have to get kids cutting…
Learning how to use scissors in early years can be engaging, fun and most importantly a fundamental part of a child's development.
Whilst you scour the internet for teaching ideas and activities to help children with their learning and development, scissor cutting may not be the first thing you think of. However, looking for activities which would teach your child to zip their coat up, catch a ball and in the future even help them learn to drive, well, suddenly activities encouraging this seem a lot more interesting.
Our Bestselling Scissors!
Early Years Development
The EYFS explains that when guiding children through nursery, preschool and reception, the professionals must incorporate these areas:
- COMMUNICATION AND LANGUAGE
- UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD
- ART AND DESIGN.
As a supplier of early years art supplies, we understand how important it is that our supplies help support your work in these areas.
Getting children to use scissors allows them to build up tiny muscles in their hands because they will need to continually open and close their hands to grip. Gripping a pen to write may become easier, and gripping a paintbrush to paint may seem more fun.
A child will also need to hold paper with one hand and cut with the other, which introduces some bilateral co-ordination. This is where each hand needs to do something different at the same time. Can’t think where this could be useful? Try zipping up a coat without some bilateral co-ordination. It also enhances hand-eye co-ordination (helping in P.E to catch that ball I spoke about earlier).
If your child is not ready for scissors, you can get them to tear pieces of paper. If they are not ready to cut paper, children can cut playdough or foam. Using tools or hands to manoeuvre a piece of paper or play dough can help children to understand the way things work a little more, and is a step further into understanding the world.
In the next few articles we will talk about the different tools and scissors available from us and some ideas on how to use them.
Think about all the things you do in your day to life and how many of them involve using your hands and their muscles in a co-ordinated way and suddenly getting children to play with scissors doesn’t sound so silly…
April is getting close! The weather's starting to get warmer, the flowers are blossoming and the trees are getting a little less bare!
We have some great events which would be perfect to turn into themed craft or just used for educational purposes.
We look forward to keeping you informed on all the days of interest each month, so you never miss out!
We have a list of, what we thing are, the most fun and educational holidays. Make sure to check it out and click the links to find out more about each day!
April Fool's Day 1st April This day which is also known as All Fool's Day is the perfect day to prank your friends and to celebrate the changing of the seasons! Have a look at the BCreative Pinterest Boards for prime area learning inspiration! Jazz Appreciation Month 1st of April – 1st of May A month dedicated to appreciating all things Jazz. A time to look at the past, the present and the future of Jazz music. Ideas for teachers on how to celebrate this season! National Pet Month 1st April – 1st May This is a month of appreciation for all pets, it is also an opportunity for many organisations and animal lovers to raise money causes which support the well being of animals. www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk International Children's Book Day 2nd April This day marks the birth of Hans Christian Anderson in 1805! So, grab a book because this day is made to inspire a love of reading and call attention to children's books www.ibby.org International Pillow Fight Day 2nd April One of our favourite day out of the whole year! It's aim it to promote conscious celebration in public spaces and replace your face being attached to your phone!
I know I will be going to the one in Brighton! (Brighton's pillow fight will be held outside of the Bucket and Spade café at 2pm.)
pillowfightday.com World Autism Awareness Day 2nd April Autism doesn't have to be limiting and this is a day to truly appreciate that! There are more and more famous bright sparks leading the way such as young genius physicist Jacob Barnett or movie director Tim Burton. It's a day to acknowledge the hard work, love and understanding that it takes to make a change. www.facebook.com/worldautismawarenessday
World Health Day 7th April This day was established in 1948, the year the World Health Organisation was founded. Each year there is a theme, this year it is depression and raising awareness about mental health. http://apps.who.int/depression-campaign-2017/en National Gardening Week 10th – 16th April A time to get green-fingered and promote the healthy wonders of gardening. There isn't a more perfect time to get into the garden and get involved in nature! Have fun building garden borders outside and planting seeds with children. www.nationalgardeningweek.org.uk/ Passover (Jewish) 11th-17th April Passover is one of the most important celebrations in the Jewish calendar. It commemorates the liberation of the Children of Israel out of Egypt, led by Moses. http://bit.ly/passoverjudaism
Russian Cosmonaut Day
12th April On this day in 1961 Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, aboard Vostok 1. He spent 108 minutes in space orbiting the earth once. This marked the beginning of the space race! bbc.co.uk International Moment of Laughter Day 14th April Another wonderful day that we love! Izzy Gesell (Humorologist) wanted to share the benefits of laughter so he initiated this day. Laughter relieves stress, influences positive thinking and relationships. Laughter can even defuse resistance to change and build self confidence. http://bit.ly/1R6ONVC Easter Sunday 16th April Happy Easter! Today should be filled with egg hunts and chocolate. This Christian holiday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. there are also so many fun crafting possibilities for this holiday! http://bit.ly/funeastercrafts International Jugglers Day 18th April This day was originally established mid 1980s by the International Jugglers' Association. This day we celebrate the act of juggling which takes a lot of skill! www.juggle.org Earth Day 22nd April Celebrate Earth Day and make a difference to the planet. Established in 1970, this day raises consciousness and action in environmental global issues. Make sure to get involved with some of the activities on the Earth day website. www.earthday.org
World Penguin Day
25th April World Penguin Day is the day the native Antarctic penguins start their annual migration northward. http://www.isfoundation.com/news/celebrate-world-penguin-day Allergy Awareness week 25th April – 1st May A week to raise awareness of different varieties of allergies and to promote well-being for those who suffer. www.allergyuk.org/other-ways-to-help/give-a-car St George’s Day 23rd April St George is the patron saint of England. The medieval legend of St George the crusader and the dragon are widely known and still told today. www.stgeorgesday.com Shakespeare Day 23rd April This marks the date of William Shakespeare's birthday! He was an English Poet, Playwright and Actor. Born in 1564 and died in 1616. shakespeareweek.org.uk World Stationary Day 27th April On World Stationary Day we celebrate the power of the written word. In an increasing digital world let's not loose the skill of writing! Make sure to check out our stationary in our shop! worldstationeryday.com
Link to shop:
International Astronomy Day 29th April This event was started in 1973 by Doug Berger, the president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California. Hopefully the skies will be clear so we can fully appreciate the beauty of the stars! https://www.astroleague.org/al/astroday/astrodayform.html
With 50% of children suffering from allergies, it is crucial to become more familiar with allergic conditions and how to deal with sudden reactions in all areas of child care. Avoiding certain ingredients in school lesson planning for instance will reduce scenarios where any child may feel excluded. Ideally you want to provide an environment where allergy sufferers can thrive and participate in as many activities as possible.
Here are the main types of allergies to be aware of:
- Childhood Food Allergy or Food Intolerance; this can be the most common and worrying allergy for carers and sufferers. It can involved a range of reactions for each individual when consuming anything that is listed in the care plan as an allergenic for the individual. Allergic reactions can be caused by the proteins in foods. Bread can contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. It can also be hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. There is currently no cure for food allergies. The only way to prevent a food allergy reaction from occurring is to avoid the food causing a reaction.
- Childhood Asthma; asthma causes a range of breathing problems. These include wheezing, feeling of tightness in the lungs/chest and a cough (often in the night or early morning). When extreme it can lead to an 'asthma attack'. Most will have prescribed asthma pumps in their care plan for this scenario.
- Allergic Rhinitis; this is the inflammation of the mucus membranes in the nose. Common symptoms are an itchy nose, red eyes, watery discharge from the nose and/or eyes, a blocked nose and sneezing. There are two types of allergic rhinitis: seasonal allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever) and perennial allergic rhinitis.
- Latex Allergy; this can cause skin irritations such as rashes or swelling, breathing difficulties and rhinitis. In some extreme scenarios it can cause anaphylaxis.
- Dermatitis/ Eczema; this is a condition causing inflammation and severe skin irritation. Dry skin patches become very hot, itchy and even red and inflamed. Breaking dry skin can cause skin to bleed and weep.
- Oral Allergy Syndrome or Pollen Food Syndrome; usually affects people who are allergic to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. Hence why they’re likely to suffer mostly in the spring/summer seasons.
- Wasp and Bee Sting; this can cuase severe pain and swelling, some people can have an allergic reaction to the sting, leading to anaphylaxis. The person will experience breathing issues with the tightening of the chest and a swelling of the tongue.
Teaching Allergy Awareness
Children are naturally inquisitive and will want to know why certain children can’t eat or try certain things or are excluded from some experiences. Circle time is a good setting to introduce a discussion on allergies. A child with allergies can be involved in sharing their experience. With greater class awareness children with allergies feel less excluded and other children learn when it is not the right time to share certain foods with other children. Children are taught to share but awareness of other children’s sensitivities will help them to think twice about sharing something potentially dangerous so they don’t feel left out. Group discussions will also help to inform and clarify how a child can self manage their intolerance also.
As children grow up they can become supportive to each other’s differences in diet and environmental sensitivities.
Things teachers and child carers can do for someone with allergies:
- Once you know every child’s sensitivities exclude all those things from class activities. Find alternatives that are natural for all to enjoy. For example; sweet potato instead of potato, gluten free bread instead of normal bread, fruits & veg all children can play and eat, milk/butter dairy free substitutions, wheat free pastas or rice, dairy & nut free chocolate or pure cacao powder, etc.
- Always check ingredients on labels! Stick to sensitive skin products.
- Avoid soaps and shaving foams for skin sensitive children.
- Use gluten free paints and glues.
- Run a gluten free class.
- Have a look at Allergy UK’s collection of safe cooking recipes, CLICK HERE.
- You could always try putting materials into zip-lock sandwich bags for the children to squish and prod without skin contact - this is a great sensory activity! An alternative is to get them to wear gloves but be aware that rubber and latex can also cause a reaction in some children.
- Keep a record of incidences where a child had a reaction to certain materials/ingredients during activities however mild. Allergy patterns can change as a child grows.
Play & Learn with Allergy Safe Products from BCreativetolearn.com
Ready Mix Paints – All our ready mix paints are gluten free, non toxic and made in the UK. This is the safest paint to use with educational art and craft activities.
Soft Dough – It’s wheat free and gluten free, soft and safe to use for children. We sell a 2.4kg tub of soft dough in 8 colours. Keep in sealed container to avoid drying out.
Have a go at our Harvest Bread Making Activity !
Soft Clay – Daz or Scola clay is a soft, easy to use air drying clay which is acid free and nontoxic.
Define your Allergy Management Protocols (School & Nursery provision)
You can download and use a free copy of the Child Allergy and Anaphylaxis Protocol here: https://www.allergyuk.org/downloads/childrens-allergy-and-anaphylaxis-protocolv3.pdf .
A specific protocol is required for each child which can be drawn up with the help of reviewing their individual care plan. It ensures that all adults caring for the child are aware of their allergies, symptoms and can help promote better understanding of the child’s needs and medical requirements.
Regular updates of this document should be made (it is recommended that this document is read by those caring for the child between 3-6 monthly periods to ensure familiarity and up-to-date appropriate care). An annual review is recommended (unless changes need to be made as suggested by the treating doctor before this date).
Here are some of the products you may need to watch out for:
- Craft Paste - This may contain wheat
- Dustless Chalk - This often contains casein (milk)
- Crayons - These can contain soy
- Papier-Mâché - This can contain wheat
- Play dough - This can contain wheat
- Finger Paints - These can contain wheat, milk, corn and oats.
- Slime and Gloop - This can contain corn
- Stickers and Sticky Tape - These can contain gluten
- Pasta used for threading and collage
It goes without saying that toddlers and young children are forever putting their fingers in their mouths so what better way to ensure peace of mind than to use products that are hypo-allergenic. Our main paint manufacturer (Brian Clegg and Scola) make certain that their products do not contain latex, nuts, wheat and gluten.
Every setting needs some play-dough! Follow this allergy-free recipe to make your own. Or if you haven't got time, click HERE to purchase our soft dough!
Gluten Free Play-dough Recipe
1 cup salt
1/2 cup cornflour
3/4 cups cold water
Optional: Natural food colouring and essential oils for a nice smell
- Pour the salt and the cornflour into a pan.
- If you are using food colouring and/or essential oil, mix a few drops into the cold water.
- Add the cold water to the cornflour and salt, and mix well.
- Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken, starting at the bottom of the pan. Scrape the pan as you stir.
- When the play dough becomes very thick, take it off the heat and turn it onto the table or counter. Allow it to cool until you can handle it, then have your child knead the warm play dough until it’s smooth and pliable.
- When you’re finished playing with it, store it in an airtight container or zip lock bag.
Useful Contacts and Resources
- Call AllergyUK helpline on 01322 619 898
- AllergyUK on Twitter @AllergyUK1
- Government FoodIntoleranceEnquiries@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk
- ‘10 Tips for Managing Food Allergy in Schools’ video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzxUd-Ey8Xo&list=UUxDOS3BJZ93NCo0erxfqElQ
- Harvest Festival Craft with soft clay
Yes, it is nearly Easter! In addition to chocolate eggs, Easter incorporates many symbols of spring such as baby animals and flowers to represent the cycle of rebirth.
Spring and Easter can incorporate so many wonderful learning opportunities and there are many Easter and spring craft ideas out there! In this article we have decided to look at how you can incorporate the key symbols of Easter and Spring into your every day learning. This is a wonderful opportunity to engage independent learning and child led activities.
All of the activities can be easily differentiated for EYFS, KS1 or KS2, as well as ensuring the prime areas are covered. Some even produce a wonderful take home gift!
Children will develop their personal, social and emotional skills, increase their confidence and expand their cognitive capacity. They will develop fine motor skills, learn about colours, maths, literacy, science and gain more understanding of the world whilst thinking they are covering Easter!
Fingerprint Chicks for Numeracy
Fingerprint painting is a great way of creative counting! Using yellow paint, ask the children to imprint a number of fingerprints on the paper.
An easy way to differentiate this is to use an orange marker or paper collage cut-outs for the eyes, feet and beaks. Don't forget to wait for the paint to dry before you draw beaks, feet and eyes! You can also tell children you need a certain number of chicks, ask them for one more or ask them to count how many they have hatched!
Using wiggly eyes gives a lovely 3D effect. This is a great activity to do on pastel coloured card, it can be turned into a take home Easter card! You can include the painted chicks in your discussions about the season and the cycles in nature.
Mark Making & Repeated Patterns on an Easter Egg
Create a 2D Easter egg painting with colourful repeating patterns! Creating patterns develops the fine motor skills to facilitate pre-writing and is a great mark making exercise. Draw an outline of an egg on a large piece of A3 paper and get the children to decorate it using repeating patterns. For KS1 and KS2 this could be an independent activity, but guidance would be required for EYFS learners.
There are a number of ways to create the patterns. You could use Easter sponge shapes, which are a great way of incorporating the Easter theme. You can use a selection of ready mix paints in pallets to dip your sponges in and print a series of patterns within the large egg.
You could also ask children to pinch pom poms with clothing pegs, dip them in different coloured paints and make repeated patterns on paper. These activities will aid a child's development in the seven areas of learning, with a large scope for differentiation.
Some children may push or squeeze sponges too hard and lose definition in the final print. If a child struggles to produce defined shapes, a great alternative is to use Easter stencils. In this case, any shape of sponge or paint brush can be used to apply paint to the stencils - children could always use markers instead of paints.
Easter falls around the spring season, the time of year when flowers come into bloom. Tissue circles encourage young children to create flowers independently through simple layering, twisting and gluing. You can use green pipecleaners or paper art straws for the stem. The flowers can be incorporated into discussions about seasons. Using the different colours of tissue paper is another way to investigate patterns.
They could even include a picture of themselves or their family photo in the centre, using the tissue flower circles as a frame around the photo highlighting that it is a special family time!
Plastic Egg & Marbling Ink Exploration
Use plastic marbling eggs to incorporate elements of science! The children will progress with their ability to explore physical processes and make observations. Children will have fun creating their own patterned eggs exploring colour mixing and patterns. Any discussion on this activity can help children to naturally extend their vocabulary with new words, i.e. ripples, wavy.
BCreative provide all kinds of marbling inks: fluorescent, metallic and normal colour ranges. The process involves dropping ink onto the surface of water and using a small stick to lightly draw patterns in the liquid mix. Gently dip and roll the plastic egg on the liquid surface and the ink should adhere to the egg surface. Are the eggs taking too long to dry? Extend the experience by adding a hair dryer in the final stages to speed up the drying process of the eggs. Children will get to observe the additional processes of temperature (hot and cold) and texture (dry and wet). Ensure that all children wear protective clothing as the this product is oil based.
Maths & Literacy with Polystyrene Eggs
Use different sized polystyrene egg shapes, to play a ‘sorting by size’ game with Easter baskets. Ask children to pick the eggs and sort them into groups of small, medium and large. This is a great opportunity for counting and introducing natural discussions on weight (heavier or lighter), quantities (bigger or smaller) and sizes (more or less).
Why not incorporate maths and literacy? Colour code and number your eggs and encourage children to match the numbered egg with the numbered basket/container. You could always use them in counting games and order the numbered eggs into an egg box. To incorporate literacy simply add letters of the alphabet instead of numbers.
You could also use the eggs for an Easter egg hunt, once decorated by the children. Children could be set the task of finding specific coloured, numbered or lettered eggs. Ready mix paint or collage materials are best for egg decoration. For after school clubs it might be practical to use felt tip pens to decorate the polystyrene eggs.
Polystyrene Egg Chicks
The polystyrene egg shapes also make great collage Easter chick figures. You can talk about the hatching of chicks, life cycles and seasonal changes. Use the polystyrene egg to show the process of an egg developing into a chick. You could nestle the class chicks in raffia/straw nests in a classroom display area. The smooth polystyrene egg surface is great for collage or ready mix painting and free expression. Children could use pva glue to stick yellow feathers, wiggly eyes and orange card (for the beaks and feet) onto their egg shapes. Create little characters and build on a child's understanding of the world around them! These can be included in the Easter sensory tray mentioned below.
Matching Bunny Tails
Develop children's visual recognition using matching games. Matching pom-pom bunny tails to the right bunny can be a great independent maths activity. Use white bunny cut-outs with a colour word written on each one. The children learn to read the written version of the colour, in addition to matching and sticking the right coloured pom pom.
You could also do a simpler version using coloured bunny cut outs. Children can match through colour visual recognition. If you laminate the bunnies you can use this as a regular class exercise. You can use Velcro or white /blue tack, otherwise use pva glue for take home gifts.
Download a free copy of the BCreative Bunny Tail Matching Game templates to save time!
Easter Sensory Investigation Tray
A tray filled with colourful objects and textures is a great sensory activity for Easter time. It promotes the use of all the senses and can be incorporated into the wider discussion about Easter/ spring time.
Children can investigate and explore materials, shapes, sizes, textures and colours. This will help emotional development and build a positive sensory association to the theme and the overall memory of learning.
Here are some fun things you can include: different sized polystyrene and plastic eggs, Easter spangles, yellow coloured pom-poms and feathers, mixed coloured raffia, mixed coloured feathers, yellow craft fluff or cotton wool and other related topic objects (i.e. small bunnies and chick toys). Children can use items from the sensory trays to tell their own stories.
Story of Easter with Jesus
Visit our YouTube channel for more videos of the featured activities in this article!
Our Powder Paint Bestsellers!
Why Powder Paint?
Powder Paint is super economical!
You need so much less to do more!
You set the desired paint thickness
What is Powder Paint?
Powder paint is coloured pigment, which you mix with water to get wet paint.
It's popular with many schools as it is child safe, gluten free and highly versatile!
It comes in many shades including fluorescent!
Powder Paint vs Ready Mix Paint
Powder paint is highly cost effective! For runny paint, you only need very small amounts of powder.
Whether they're painting a picture, spraying the paint outside or printing/mark making, it's in your hands how thick you wish the paint to be for each task.
The dry quality of the powder paint means it has a longer shelf life.
One tub will last you months if you make mostly runny watery batches. It’s good to store powder in a dry place.
Luckily our powder paint comes in thick resealable plastic containers!
Get Creative with Powder Paint!
A few ideas to get your inspiration rolling!
get children to spoon a variety of coloured powder paint onto large pieces of paper outdoors on a day with intermittent rain showers. By the end of the day you have a mixed colour rain picture.
sprinkle powder paint onto an A3 piece of sugar paper and get children to use plant pot sprayers. Watch the transformation as the colours start to move, run and change shape! (use the fine spray setting).
Sponge and Splatter
cut out small shapes (i.e. stars, hearts, squares) and lightly stick them with blue-tack onto a big piece of thick paper. Let children dab their paint-filled sponges or splatter flickers of paint off their paintbrushes onto the paper. At the end, take away the blue-tacked shapes and reveal the shape pattern all over the paper.
prepare a colour on your pallet. Choose a printing object; you can use feathers, paintbrushes, small toy pieces like Lego, sponges, toothbrushes, sticks, roller brushes.. etc. See how many different marks you can make using that one object’s different sides. By using powder paint rather than other paints, you can create different textures and thicknesses for different marks. Powder paint is much more versatile.
Create a Turner Style Painting
a task for older children using powder paint is to create atmospheric swirling sea and sky scenes whilst learning about art, expressionism and colour exploration. Remind children they only need to start painting with very small amounts of powder and water mix, then they can build darker shades.
Coloured Sand - super easy!
You will need a zip locked plastic bag, add some sand then a tablespoon of powder paint, seal the bag, give it a good shake and squeeze. Ta-daaaa! You can start by storing loads of bags of different coloured sand. It looks beautiful applied on patterns of glue on card. Colourful, full of texture and 3D! You can make a lovely firework effect on card using glue, glitter, powder paint and sand again. Click Here to link to our Making Coloured Sand Blog
Coloured Cornflour (Great for Holi festival!)
you can use pure powder paint for Holi when mixed sparsely with cornflour. Fill a small bowl with cornflour, add a teaspoon of powder paint then add 5 tablespoons of water (do this by feel, depending on bowl size). Make sure you add enough to mix to the right colour consistency. Start adding more cornflour to thicken. Once thick pour it into a small plastic bag or thin plastic bag surface, lay onto another plastic bag and roll out the mix with a rolling pin. It will start to dry out and crumble. Start crushing it into a fine powder. You will end up with fantastic coloured powder for your Holi celebration! (You could store the powder into little plastic sandwich sealing bags.)
Sensory Shaving foam
Mix small pots of powder paint with a little water to get runny or thick paint mixes. You can choose a big, flat piece of paper/ card (black for nice contrast) or trays and fill them with shaving foam. Allow children to start mixing the paint into their tray of shaving foam using paintbrushes or small teaspoons. Try to avoid their hands going directly into the paint pots so their hands don't get too stained!
UV fluorescent and sensory tray
mix dry, fluorescent powder paint into a sand tray in a dark room setting and use UV light. (Can be done with sand and powder paint mixed in a clear plastic bottle, create your own sensory objects.)
Children and Powder Paint
Powder paint is thought to be easier to use with older KS1/ KS2 children than with nursery but there are in fact many creative ways to use powder paint with all ages.
You can use non spill paint pots for less mess and more time gained in demonstrating how to mix. Have you tried using the WASPP method?
WASPP Method: Water, Sponge, Powder, Pallet
Using powder paint will aid in children’s fine/ gross motor skill development. You can get them to mix the powder and water using the WSPP (Water, Sponge, Powder, Pallet) system of painting.
Being involved in the paint colour mixing step-by-step process will exercise the child's hand-eye coordination, organisational skills and spacial awareness
It's such a creative way to mix paint, help children understand colour shading and mixing processes in more depth , not to mention it's way more fun and tactile!
Mark making pictures turn 3D due to the variety of texture variations you can get!
For example, you could mix the paint thicker so the child can feel and see the different bumpy texture result. Adding glitter is great for adding texture in addition to thickeners!
Children spend their first years mark making and exploring materials, but by the time they reach primary school they want to start controlling their materials, make accurate impressions of the world around them and be independent.
Powder paint is great for keeping children engaged and adventurous with paint! It helps them to connect with the creative processes taking place in their work.
Science Curriculum and Powder Paint!
You can encompass the science curriculum by talking about the reaction and changes of the powder with different amounts of water, investigate different textures.
Buy UV Fluorescent powder paint for sensory science experiments under UV lights!
Add the UV Florescent colour to water bottles, sand bottles and sand pit sensory trays.
So, how best to work with powder paint?
You never need more than 1-2 maximum small teaspoons of powder paint per non-spill children’s paint pots.
Try to use paintbrushes with natural fibre bristles like hog hair. It grips the paint better.
Non-spill paint pots are the best containers to use during a powder painting session.
Use a dry spoon when putting powder paint into pots.
Our paints are mostly washable, but it’s always a good idea to wash everything straight after you use them to avoid staining clothes.
Sugar paper is a great paper to use, especially if you are doing watery spray painting or making a mixed media/ gloopy sensory mix or try cartridge paper.
If children are painting at various times throughout the day, it’s handy to keep wet paint pots in a tub with a lid to stop them drying out too quickly.
More on the WSPP System
The WSPP (Water, Sponge, Powder, Pallet) system is a simple discipline children can learn early on.
They gain a visual/ tactile memory of the paint mixing process and bringing paint to life from scratch!
Dip the paint brush in the water pot.
Press/ dab it against the sponge (paper towel/ cloth) to remove excess water. This teaches children to control the amount of water they are using.
Dip the damp brush in powder paint pot and stir into the pallet.
Apply to the paper.
They will start to learn how to the paint runny or go back and make it thicker!(video/pics)
Ways to thicken powder paint
A mixture of washing up liquid and PVA glue is a great way to thicken paint and gives you a glossy , shinny finish when dry.
Add the PVA slowly whilst stirring it into your already wet powder paint mix.
We discovered that if you start mixing half a teaspoon of washing up liquid, a teaspoon of dry powder paint, a teaspoon of cellulose powder paste and slowly keep adding water you get foamy tactile sensory goo!!
Don’t buy wallpaper paste but fungicide free cellulose powder paste, which is otherwise known as papier mache paste. Sold in 45g sachets, one sachet can make up to 5 litres of paste. Always start with water in a tub then slowly add small amounts of cellulose powder to thicken. It's a great way to avoid solid lumps!
Best to stay clear of wheat thickening recipes in group setting due to allergies - keep your mix gluten and wheat free. This glue thickening process increases the chance of paint sticking together instead of running off the paper! Less runny = less messy = less staining!
Mixed Media Fun!
Another fun versatility of powder paint is the fact that it mixes well with water, glues, sand, cornflour and shaving foam!
It's much easier to mix and colour other media with powder as opposed to ready mix paint.
Add glitter to the mix when you want a magical, twinkling finish!
Types of BCreative Paint
Our powder paints come in handy tubs, which can be re-used thanks to the secure strong re-sealable lids.
There are many fun colours to choose from; we sell six fluorescent 500g tubs, six main colours in 500g tubs great for when you want to set up primary/ secondary colour mixing and many variations/ shades in 2.5kg and 15kg!
You will find up to 20 colours to choose from in our range!
BCreative sells all powder paints photo shoots, colour runs and a variety of other uses!
Most people don’t realise just how much children learn and recognise before they can even talk. Before children learn the basics of numbers and letters , they learn through colours and shapes. They may not know that they have a "RED" cost but they will recognise their coat because of its colour. However, they may still end up with someone else’s red coat by home time!
When children are out and about in the world they are already starting to record lots of information such as trees and sky especially with the help of a chatty adult pointing and saying look blue sky, green apples, yellow lemon, etc.
Looking at the world of colour, what is a young child doing?
- Sorting and classifying building bricks
- Organising toys, plates and cups into piles!
- Observing differences and similarities!
- Enjoying the sensory effects of colours - they will already have a a favourite colour that makes them happy!
They will do all of these things without even giving a colour a word! Below are some great ways to reinforce colour names with children
Talk about colours and play fun games
- Colour Eye Spy - "I spy something that is red..."
- Colour sorting - can we sort these pom poms so we have all the blue ones in one place?
- Colour scavenger hunt - lets all see if we can find something that is blue? (especially good for outdoor play)
- Pom Pom Easter egg hunt - hide a pack of poms around your setting, assign a colour to each child and see what they can find.
- Sorting and naming coloured food/cereals pieces - how about an edible rainbow cereal necklace?
- Rainbow song and other colour songs, i.e., 'blue, blue, blue (repeat twice), the colour of the sky is blue...'.
Once children have grasped primary colours, it’s time to move onto colour mixing so they can differentiate all the shades around them.
Before we get all magical and create brand new colours, it is best to talk about shades of colour.
Shades and Tones
Ask each child to find something blue and then talk about the different shades of blue they have all found a group. You can these take these item and put them in shade order from dark to light . Use this to show how a colour can change but still be called, "BLUE".
Then it is time to get the paints out! Experimenting with shades can be done with other media but paint is the easiest!
Let's start with making colour lighter!
Give everyone a brush and a dollop of paint in their favourite colour. Ask them all to make one mark of their colour. Then slowly, slowly, add a little bit of white and ask them to mix - make a mark using this new colour. Rinse and repeat! Remembering don't add too much white early on as you will lose the colour quickly. Your should end up with a lovely tonal line.
What about making colours darker?
Ask the kids (and a lot of adults) and they will say "Add black!" This is not the best way - you do tend to end up with BLACK!. There is a couple of ways to show children how the colours form.
Get some children to repeat the colour mixing shade process in the opposite direction. Start with white and add their favrouite colour drop by drop - it will take a longtime to get back to your original colour or go darker!
Show another way by asking some children to take the original colour and give them a colour opposite on the colour wheel (complementary colours), if you start with red, add green drop by drop. We talk more about colour wheels and complementary colours later on!
Once your tone lines have dried see who has got the darkest colours!
What are Primary Colours?
These are the basic colours that can’t be mixed from other colours! When you mix them together you can create different colours!
Mix them together and you can get some lovely colours:
RED + YELLOW = ORANGE
YELLOW + BLUE = GREEN
BLUE + RED = PURPLE
These are the secondary colours!
We have made a great little video to show how this works - it looks great on a smart board or tablet! Feel free to share.
What are Secondary Colours?
Secondary colours are made by mixing two primary colours together.
Green is quite often confused as a primary colour - even if it is not it is a nice one to buy in ready made as making a nice shade of green can be quite hard!
The secondary colours all lay between the primary colours on the colour wheel.
You can make some lovely colour combinations by mixing primary and secondary colours:
BLUE + GREEN = TURQUOISE
RED + GREEN + BLUE = BROWN
PURPLE + RED = FUSCIA
It’s always exciting to see what children organically create and invent when in a mixed media setting! You can use ready mix paints, crayons, food dyes, play dough, powder paints, water colours and inks in water to explore all these colour rules.
Of course when it all get a bit much, you can buy the colours ready made - Ready Mixed Poster Paints (P485)
What is the Colour Wheel ?
The colour wheel is a lovely visual representation of what happen when you mix colours together. It is great to have a copy in the classroom so children can use it to find which colours they need to mix together.
Choose a colour, (for example green) and the primary colours either side of it are what you need to mix to get green. In this case blue and yellow. We have a great classroom poster that includes the colour wheel.
The colour wheel also gives some great information about complementary colours.
What are complementary colours?
These colours sit opposite each other on a colour wheel, for example:
GREEN is complementary with RED
PURPLE is complementary with YELLOW
ORANGE is complementary with BLUE
Earlier on we discussed the best way to make a colour darker is to add it's complementary colour! You can get all of this information from the colour wheel.
As well being a great teaching point, knowing complementary colours is very handy when it comes to doing your display boards. You know you are off to a good start if you poster rolls complements you border roll!
What else do we need to know about colours?
What about colour temperature?
The colours on a colour wheel can be roughly split from warm to cold colours .
This a lovely concept to introduce to children - show them a colour and ask them how it makes them feel? Talk about the colour in favourite cartoons, such as Frozen, how does the world change when the world if frozen in comparison to how it looked before the coronation?
Most warm colours will complement with cold colours and you’ll see one colour that stand out up against the other
Ummm - what about Black and White?
Black and white are not colours on the colour wheel, but they are defiantly colours we see in paints, crayons and other media.
It's fiercely debated whether they are or aren't colours, but in a teaching setting they are definitely pigments so we think they can be classed as colours used in art!
They aren't the most popular colours in most settings but they are great for adding tone and shading to colours. It is always great to have a bit of each on hand!
Creative Ideas with Colour
- Mixing colours in water – use inks, food dyes, paint blocks and ready mix paint (all in small amounts) in water. Children can get their hands in the water to naturally interact with the changes in tone.
- Colour object sorting games – you can use buttons, lego, painted stones, small sorting rubber toys, coloured clothing pegs (this also works on motor skills when they attach them to a paper plate).
- Painted ice lollies – children love these lollies of discovery. You can use spices and flavours in your lolly for extra sensory. You can then paint them in primary colours for children to explore on paper (like paint brushes) and in their mouths! It’s inevitable!
- Painting with ice cubes is fun in the summer! Watch as the colours appear and melt into each other!
- Painting with sweets! – you can mix sweet delights into your primary paints like chocolate and fizzy pop rock! This will leave a memorable fun and happy experience whilst discovering colour mixing. They will see and hear the popping and feel like scientists!
Classroom Colour Tips
- In Early Years use less colour selection when you put out your paint pallets. This will avoid colours turning into a mucky brown!
- You can create areas in your class that have limited materials/paints for specific colour mixing targets of the day, ie, yellow and blue green mixing discovery day (KS1). This way the children are more independent in their discovery and sense of achievement!
Still struggling with colours?
Have you considered colour blindness? It is not routinely tested in schools. It's more common than we may realise but it affects 1 in 12 boys and 1 in 200 girls! Identifying colour blindness is one of many challenges in school classrooms. Look out for some of the signs if a child is:
- using inappropriate colour choices.
- using reoccurring dull colour choices on painted art work.
- holding back in colour split team school sports.
- being reluctant to make choices or voice them in colour selecting/matching.
It’s incredible how much learning is happening through colour!!
You can find fun ways to introduce the discovery of new mixed colours. One example is a simple task of painting one hand yellow and one blue ...clap hands,.. and hey presto!... Wow, look a new colour and it’s green!’
Join us next week for our blog on powder paint!
Follow us on Pinterest for fun arts and crafts ideas throughout the year!
Soon we will be heading off on our well-deserved Christmas break (some of us earlier than others!) When things start to wind down, you may want to take 5 minutes and think about Spring Term! You don't need to get it all done, you can make sure you've jotted it down on your list somewhere before you go off to enjoy your lovely break!
Spring Term (well, Winter really!)
January is traditionally known as Spring Term even though a glimpse of sunshine feels so far away! Based on the weather, we tend to feel more wintry when we go back and this brings a whole new set of things to think about!
What, Christmas is over?
Yep, it took nearly four months to celebrate it (well, it feels like it!), but it's finally over and someone needs to tell the kids! Hopefully you charges will return to your setting with a hop and a skip, but there may need to be a little bit of management!
We all love the Christmas break, but it does throw routine well out of the window. Children will have had the excitement of Father Christmas, late nights, late wake-ups and more Mum/Dad/ carer time. All of these things combined can spell disaster and disrupt those routines you spent so long introducing in September.
Now is a good time to think about revamping your visual timetables and self registration methods.
Visual timetables are a great way to reinforce what is going to happen throughout the day. Talking through the timetable welcomes children back and reintroduces the routine of your setting. This is perfect for children who are feeling apprehensive, but it also helps to focus excitable children ! The best thing about visual timetables is that they can be differentiated for all - use a mix of text and words, let the children announce what is next or remove an activity that has been completed.
If you want to refresh your timetable, www.twinkl.co.uk have a great range of free print outs.
You may already be using self registration, but if not, January is a good time to start! The older children like the responsibility and younger children can be taught by example.
If you haven't got an all singing and all dancing electronic whiteboard, you can get quite creative with your self registration process!
The self registration tree not only looks great, but links in with topics season topics (spring and winter). Take pictures of the children and stick them onto the small colourful hands. When children arrive they can find their picture and attach it to Velcro on the tree.
For differentiation, you can add names to the hands instead of pictures. As term progresses, you can add surnames to the first names.
Here are some more great examples:
Is the setting ready?
What else do we need to think about for the start of the new term (other than taking down Christmas decorations)?
To be honest, once the decorations are down, any setting will look a little bleak. You'll probably want to think about revamping your display boards!
Do you need new borders for your display boards?
Do your information boards need updating? For example, are there any new procedures, new staff, new achievements, new Spring menus? It's always a good idea to write a handy little list - you don't have to do it all before the break but at least you have an idea of what needs doing!
The colder weather will bring new challenges including the dreaded flu season!
Take a look at this document for Winter Readiness from Public Health England. It's mainly aimed at Sussex, Kent and Surrey, but it is pertinent for all!
It includes key messages for staff and parents and a helpful checklist for making sure you are doing everything to prevent flu and norovirus spreading.
There's also some brilliant information on flu vaccines and who should be getting them this year!
There are some lovely free posters to download and stick up as well ! Below are just two examples:
Baby it's cold outside, but the kids will still be out there!
Outdoor play is a year round activity for children but we need to ensure it's as safe as possible!
Before you go on break, however long or short, here are some things to consider:
- Tidy away toys that would be happier inside (if a frost strikes)
- Do you need to cover up sand trays and pits?
- Do you need new play sand?
- Are you growing any vegetables that need protection from frost?
- Have you left a tuff tray out to see if you can gather ice?
- Think about leaving a larger container out (like a washing up bowl) and filling it with water & small toys. If the weather gets really cold, you should come back to an ice excavation block!
And now, last but not least, send a note home asking children to return with hats, gloves, scarves and outdoor shoes (all labelled with their name), so they can enjoy the outdoor area you provide for them!
Join us next week where we will be discussing display ideas for popular Spring Time topics.
With the amount of young children now being diagnosed with food allergies and Celiacs, it's time we became more aware of the problem products within our setting.
When we think of allergies at school, the first thing that springs to mind is banning peanut butter and ordering special gluten-free bread. What a lot of us fail to realise is that the everyday products we're using in our setting, such as glue and paint, have allergens in them too!
Even though little research has been done into whether allergens in non-food items can actually cause an allergic reaction, it is better to be safe than sorry!
According to the Anaphylaxis Campaign, you can never be too cautious. They say that "Because uncertainty remains with regard to many products, our advise is to play it safe and avoid any product that contains a food ingredient to which you are allergic." Common sense really!
Here are some of the products you may need to watch out for:
Craft Paste - This may contain wheat
Dustless Chalk - This often contains casein (milk)
Crayons - These can contain soy
Papier-Mâché - This can contain wheat
Playdough - This can contain wheat
Finger Paints - These can contain wheat, milk, corn and oats.
Slime and Gloop - This can contain corn
Stickers and Sticky Tape - These can contain gluten
Pasta used for threading and collage
It goes without saying that toddlers and young children are forever putting their fingers in their mouths so what better way to ensure peace of mind than to use products that are hypo-allergenic. Our main paint suppliers - Brian Clegg and Scola, make certain that their products do not contain latex, nuts, wheat and gluten.
All items on our website are labelled accordingly and we pride ourselves on the fact that hundreds of schools, nurseries and clubs have ordered from us specifically because of this. These paints are by no means specialist and our prices reflect that! They can be used by everyone and are a great staple to have in your nursery, school or pre-school.
Click HERE to take a look at our gluten free product range!
What to do...
Check the ingredients on everything! - Annoying, but it has to be done.
When setting up an interactive play area avoid using anything like soap or shaving foam or stick to brands specifically for sensitive skin. Don't use any food products that could be a problem (such as pasta). You could always try putting materials into ziplock sandwich bags for the children to squish and prod without skin contact - this is a great sensory activity!
An alternative is to get them to wear gloves but be aware that rubber and latex can also cause a reaction in some children.
Every setting needs some play-dough! Follow this allergy-free recipe to make your own.
Or if you haven't got time, click HERE to purchase our soft dough!
Gluten Free Play-dough Recipe
1 cup salt
1/2 cup cornflour
3/4 cups cold water
Optional: Natural food colouring and essential oils for a nice smell
1. Pour the salt and the cornflour into a pan.
2. If you are using food colouring and/or essential oil, mix a few drops into the cold water.
3. Add the cold water to the cornflour and salt, and mix well.
4. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken, starting at the bottom of the pan. Scrape the pan as you stir.
5. When the play dough becomes very thick, take it off the heat and turn it onto the table or counter. Allow it to cool until you can handle it, then have your child knead the warm play dough until it’s smooth and pliable.
6. When you’re finished playing with it, store it in an airtight container or zip lock bag.