May is finally upon us! Not only does it bring with it the arrival of summer, but it also brings bundles of holidays and important topics to commemorate. To prepare you and the children in your care for the upcoming weeks, we thought we would give you 3 Fun Ways to Bring in May:
1. National Postcard Week
May 4-10 marks National Postcard Week. To celebrate, we thought it would be cute for preschoolers to not only bring out their creative sides by making their own painted postcards, but work on literary skills as they express just how much the person on the receiving end means to them. Postcards can be sent home from school, to teachers from home, to penpals far away, or to relatives a few minutes away! Whatever your use for them, these painted prizes are sure to put a smile on the recipent’s face and teach your preschooler some valuable lessons along the way:
Use watercolors and card stock to create simple postcards that are almost too pretty to use! Before Beginning: Using a black pen and ruler, draw postcard address lines on one side of each piece of card stock.
- white or pastel card stock, cut into 4”x 6” rectangles
- black pen
- watercolor paints
- thin paintbrush
Make Your Great Gift
- Paint each card on the side without the lines.
- After they dry, have your tot write their own personal message on the back of the card with the lines. (You can look up the intended address and add it onto the appropriate lines for them.)
- Stack the cards and tie a ribbon around the stack, depending on how many you want to send to each person.
If possible, use the address lines on a commercially made postcard as a master copy, then run each piece of card stock through a copy machine. Resource: 101 Great Gifts by Stephanie Mueller and Ann Wheeler
2. Children’s Day in Japan
Did you know May 5th marks Children’s Day in Japan? Celebrate by involving your children in global art. Check out this activity from Japan that has young artists design matching sets of clam shells with permanent markers and then play a simplified version of Kai-awase with a friend!
- Oatmeal container
- Construction paper and colored markers
- Glue or tape
- Soap, water, and towel
- Clam or scallop shells, see options
- Fine-tipped permanent markers
What To Do:
- Measure enough construction paper to cover the oatmeal container. Trim away excess paper.
- Decorate the construction paper that will wrap around the container with markers. Cover the cardboard oatmeal container with the decorated construction paper. Secure it with tape or glue. Set aside.
- Wash each shell, if needed, and dry with a towel. Option: If clam shells are not available, draw a fist sized shell on a piece of paper. Cut this out and use it for a pattern to trace shells on white cardboard or matte board. Cut these out and use for the shells.
- On the inside of each shell, draw a scene or picture with the fine-tip permanent marker. Then draw a matching shell. All the shell drawings should be done in pairs.
- Play Kai-awase with several friends. Pour all the shells out on a carpeted floor or other soft surface. Turn them all face down. Next take turns turning a shell face up, looking at the picture inside and then turning another shell face up, trying to match the pictures. If they don’t match, it is the other player’s turn.
- When a match is made, tell a little imaginary story about what is happening in the shell picture, or a short poem or song could also be made up. When finished playing, place all the shells in the cardboard container for storage.
For even more Japanese activities: http://www.kinderart.com/artspeak/japanart.shtml
Did you know?
Kai-awase originated in the 12th century as a shell game for children of the rich and has since developed into an intricate art form. The shells look alike when face down, but when turned over, tiny scenes of Japanese life or scenes of good fortune are delicately painted on the insides. The object of the game is to turn over two matching shells, then recite a poem about the scene or describe its theme. The child with the most matches wins. Resource: Global Art by MaryAnn Kohl [photo-8]
3. Teacher Appreciation Week
Teacher Appreciation Week is May 5th-May 9th this year. As daily heroes, educators deserve to be appreciated for the difference they make in the lives of young children. One way to show a classroom’s appreciation is by making a Creative Classroom Calendar! -A clear cover and a few stickers turn a simple calendar into a desk or wall decoration.
- Clear plastic report cover
- seasonal stickers
- computer-genreated monthly calendar pages on 8 1/2” x 11” paper
Make Your Gift Great
- Place a piece of paper on top of the report cover, leaving only a 1 inch border of the cover exposed.
- Decorate the exposed edges of the report cover by having everyone in the class sign the edges and include a sentence telling what their teacher means to them. Seasonal stickers can be interspersed in the gaps between signatures.
- Remove the paper from the top of the cover and insert the paper montly calendar page into the report cover. Position the calendar so that it tis visible through the transparent cover and is framed by the signatures and stickers.
Variation: Use glue and flat collage materials instead of stickers.
Resource: 101 Great Gifts by Stephanie Mueller and Ann Wheeler We hope you enjoyed these tips on how to bring in May!