Posts Tagged ‘young children’

Painting on an Easel

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011


My children have always enjoyed painting on an easel outside, ever since they could stand up and hold a paintbrush. As they grow older, you can experiment with different kinds of paper. You can clip watercolor paper to the easel, and allow your children to do some watercoloring of a beautiful scene outdoors. You can clip sketch paper to the easel, enabling the child to sketch the scene. You can also go all out and buy a canvas and do oil painting. This is better than watercoloring outdoors, because the watercolors drip if you use a lot of water, whereas the oil paints don’t drip and have a richer color.

You can also do sketches with colored pencils, oil-based crayons, or chalk. I recommend getting bright chalk colors so that your child can see the chalk show up on the paper. Artist chalk is brighter than sidewalk chalk and can be purchased at a local art supply store.

Try going to a local botanical gardens or to a well-known hilltop near where you live, somewhere with a good view. Then sketch out briefly with a pencil the main shapes in the picture. Now paint with the oil paints. You can even wear a French beret while painting, adding to the artistic ambience. Your kids will be growing in their art skills as well as getting fresh air!

Food Groups: Early Learning Activities

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010


Cut and Paste Activity for Food Pyramid

When my children were younger, we studied the food pyramid with the different food groups. We cut out pictures from magazines, and we rolled out some butcher paper on the floor. I labeled each section with a different food group, and the kids glued each food picture under the correct heading. By the end of the project, each of the children knew the categories.

Categories of the Food Pyramid

  • Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Group
  • Fruit Group
  • Vegetable Group
  • Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese Group
  • Meat, Poultry, and Fish Group
  • Fats, Oils, and Sweets

Here is an old fashioned chart of the food pyramid:

Here is an updated food pyramid:

Alternate Hands-on Activity for Food Pyramid

You can do the same thing with cardboard boxes and plastic food. Label each box with different categories from the food pyramid, and the kids can place the plastic foods into each box as a sorting activity.

Retention of Food Pyramid Information

For the next few days, the children would mention the food categories. For example, they would say, “Cucumber is a vegetable, isn’t it?” as we were eating our food. They had a much better awareness of what they were eating.

Nature Bracelet

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

nature-braceletWhen my daughter was younger, we went on a nature walk, collecting odds and ends from nature in a bag. When we got home, I opened a piece of clear packing tape, sticky side up, and placed it on the table. My daughter stuck some of her nature finds onto the tape, including beautiful flower petals, small leaves, and some white animal fur. I put another piece of packing tape on top, so that the two sticky sides faced each other. Then I wound it around her wrist, trimming it and taping it so that it was a bracelet. She smiled as she wore her nature bracelet all day. When Grandma came over, she showed Grandma her bracelet, too.

What Love Meant

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

what-love-meantThis is a humbling story about a toddler who taught me what love meant.

One morning when my oldest son was 3 years old, I was lying down, exhausted from potty training a boy who was making no progress. I was tired of cleaning up pee, and the smell of Lysol permeated the house. I was frustrated and angry with my son. I prayed that God would help me not to be so exasperated.

I looked at my son, who was sitting next to me on the bed. Despite how bad the morning had gone, I wanted my son to know that I loved him. I said, “I love you.”

He hugged me and said, “I love you, too.”

It occurred to me that he didn’t know what love meant. I asked him, “Do you know what love is?”


“It’s more than that,” I said. I tried to think of how to explain it, when I Corinthians 13 came to mind. “Love is patient…”

Suddenly my 3-year-old son recited the rest of the passage, which he had learned when he was 2. “Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

There was a lump in my throat as I fought back tears. I felt convicted by the Word of God out of the mouth of my toddler. I knew I had not shown love that morning to my son, that I had disobeyed the majority of that passage. I realized that my “I love you” meant nothing because I hadn’t done it. I resolved within my heart that I would change.

Out of the mouths of babes…