Take advantage of these last few weeks of summer vacation with the August Smarty! This month our art goes outside and becomes a social activity – Ice and Water Bottle Bowling!
The August Smarty combines two art projects – color bottles and frozen balloon art. Older children will enjoy bowling with the finished products, but both are age-appropriate for younger children too. Ice provides a fascinating and dynamic tactile experience and the water bottles provide unique auditory and visual stimulation. Both of these projects can also be done independently and expanded upon.
Frozen balloon art is a great way to introduce the concepts of freezing and melting (Cause and Effect). Because it takes time for the water to freeze, it is also an opportunity to practice patience (Inhibition). Placing balloons in the freezer at different times will give children a chance to compare and contrast water in different states (Same / Different). Younger children can enjoy frozen balloons too, as long as an adult removes the balloon and the frozen balloon ball is too big to choke on. Objects can be frozen in ice to provide stimuli for a guessing game (Guess / Describe). (Hair dryers or warm water are a fun way to speed up the melting process.)
One of my favorite summer activities is ice paints and ice chalk. To make ice paints, mix food coloring or tempra paint with water and freeze in balloons, Dixie cups or ice cube trays. Once frozen the ice can be used for a unique painting experience. To make ice chalk, mix cornstarch, food coloring and water and freeze (this combination is fun to play with dry too!) Once frozen, use the ice to make sidewalk pictures. Because both of these activities are variations of familiar activities and provide multiple language opportunities, they are excellent activities for play-dates (Social Play).
Color bottles are fun for children of all ages and are another great play-date activity. Adding glitter, dish soap (bubbles), beads and other small objects add variation and interest. A bottle of every color can be used as stimuli for color matching and object labels (Colors). Leave the water out and you can create sound bottles (Sound Discriminations). For long car trips I like to make “I Spy” bottles. Collect a variety of small objects (shaped beads, lego figurines, Barbie shoes, rocks, shells, etc.) and take a picture of them. After taking the picture put the objects in a bottle and fill 5/6th of the way full with rice (or something similar). Once the bottle is full, shake to distribute the items and secure the lid tightly. (Gatorade bottles have a wider mouth and can fit larger objects.) Give the picture and bottle to your child and let them find the hidden objects. Bottles can be themed to correspond to a child’s interest, and objects can vary in size and detail to increase the complexity.