Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back To School Picnic

Recently I posted about our painting picnic and how much fun we had with it. I love the idea of having a "theme"picnic and that got me thinking about having a "Back To School" picnic with the girls. 

This year I have a kindergartener and a preschooler. Sometimes the end of summer days leading back to school can be a crazy time of squeezing in school supply shopping, dr. appointments, and last minute summer trips. I know for my family there was little time to really talk about the upcoming year with my girls. Our back to school picnic was the perfect time to do just that. 

It forced us to set aside some time and slow down. I asked both my girls what they were most excited about for the new school year. It was my 3 year olds first year in preschool and my 5 year olds first year in kindergarten so we talked about what they can expect in terms or daily schedules and routines. 

Of course I planned ahead and packed some fun "Back to School" goodies to share on the picnic. 

I made little apple tags and used Traders Joe's Cookie Butter and Apple Sticks for our snack. 

They were a hit! 

We also read several books about starting school and Kindergarten. Reading books about these subjects was a great way to get them talking about what was to come.  

I found these foam school buses from the dollar aisle at Target and we used them to make a simple "Back to School" art project. 

The girls found the letters to spell their name and stuck the letters onto the school bus. They then used glitter glue to decorate their school bus. Easy and the mess stayed outside! 

Peeling off the foam sticker letters and using the glitter glue pens serves as great fine motor practice for little hands! 

You certainly don't need to have a picnic to talk about the upcoming school year with your kiddos but it definitely was a fun and simple way to kick off the start of the year! 

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Painting Picnic

I had the pleasure of being a guest poster on Mess For Less last month and was happy to share my painting picnic over there. You can find the original post here: Painting Picnic- Mess For Less 

Summer is winding down and we are trying to spend as much time as we can outside!  Here is a fun way to take the painting outdoors! 

I told the girls we were going to go on a painting picnic and I gathered the items needed ahead of time.
We packed the following items in our picnic basket, clip boards, white paper, various sized brushes, paints, container for the paint, blanket, apples and oranges.

I thought it would be fun to bring along fruit for two reasons: To munch on for our snack (of course) and to use as still life art for the girls to paint. This could be a fun way to introduce still life painting with young kids!

To keep it simple we chose to go on our picnic in our own backyard but of course this activity would be great to do at your local park, forest preserve, ocean side (If you you should be so lucky to live near the ocean).

We spread the blanket out and I set up the activity. We talked about the fruit and the meaning of still life painting and I explained that the fruit was there so they could make their own version of still life paining. I didn't want to limit them so I stressed that they could do the still life painting or paint whatever their hearts desired.

My 4 year old chose to paint the apple and orange and my 3 year old said "Mommy, I'm not painting anything, I'm just painting." Both were perfectly acceptable in my eyes! It's about the experience and the process not the final product!!

Can I just tell what a hit this little picnic became! Sometimes I have these grand plans of how an activity is going to go and it fails to meet my expectations. Either the girls are crabby or I thought they would enjoy it but they are bored after awhile. This however was so fun for all of us!

You can just see the concentration in their little faces! We were surrounded by nature and it was calm and peaceful!

We even had an unexpected visitor join us for our picnic fun. My three year old loved letting this ladybug crawl on her arm.

My little artists built up an appetite and the very best part was eating the still life- the apples and oranges when they were done with their work.

That completed our painting picnic!  This will definitely be on our list to do again soon!

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