Thursday, March 25, 2010

Natural Materials Workshop

Last weekend, Rachel and I went to a Natural Materials Workshop that was presented by Little Owl Preschool. Little Owl is a Reggio-inspired preschool that will be opening up soon. I will admit, Reggio is new to me, but I'm very excited to learn about this philosophy! It centers on the interests of the child, with the teachers as co-learner and collaborator and the environment as another teacher. Very neat!
We participated in some really cool projects, and I was excited to give Rachel the chance to interact with other students.
We got Rachel's ever-present-she-can't-live-without backpack and went exploring! They had several stations set up with different activities and projects for the kids to do.

Sensory Tubs

Three sensory tubs were set out for the kids to explore. A couple had some small seeds inside and another had soft, cool white sand. The kids could dig inside, feel around and even play with some little toy animals. There was also a bowl nearby for them to use to explore the seeds and sand.

Natural Materials Collage
 At this table, the kids took a piece of a board and made a collage. I loved the way they had baby food jars full of glue and paint brushes to put the glue on! There were tons of materials to use--sand, seeds, lavendar, sea glass, acorns, dried flowers, shells, etc. It was very free flowing and child directed!

Sun Painting on Silk
The kids could choose a piece of framed silk and then painted on some colors. Next, they were able to choose objects to put onto their silk, including starfish, shapes, animal shapes, shells, buttons, etc. Then they put it in the sun to dry. Once dried, they took the objects off and it was so cool to see how the outline of the object appeared!

Flower Prints
Rachel got to put on some cool pink goggles and play with a hammer. She was set! The kids put some fresh flowers between 2 pieces of cloth and hit it with a hammer or mallet. They pretty much knocked the moisture out of the plants which left beautiful colored prints of the plants. Unfortunately, Rachel grew bored quickly and went off to the next station. I thought it was cool! So much so that I even tried to do this activity in my classroom...but it didn't work! Oh well!

Nature Baskets
They put out several baskets full of natural materials for the kids to explore, including sticks, sea glass, seeds, yarn, rocks, shells, etc. Rachel had a blast carrying around a basket...and dumping the contents all over the place.

Here are Rachel's collage and sun painting
And here are Rachel's favorite activities from the whole afternoon
Those were taken before her epic tantrum of the afternoon...

We had a really great time and I'm enjoying watching Rachel explore and learn, and I'm looking forward to learning more!!


  1. Very neat. My son loves doing collages so I think we'll be trying the natural materials collage soon :)

  2. I am very interested in learning more about Reggio too!

  3. Sounds really cool! At the Montessori school we visited they had glue in nail polish bottles. I thought that was ingenious!