Friday, July 30, 2010

The Volcano Erupts And Our Marble Paintings Go Super Dooper

The children in our most recent and just completed 3-week summer session identified the problem: "We need a new volcano," and spent their time making one. In my last post on the topic, I detailed how we worked through the process until we got to the stage that looked the way I thought it should look . . .

Masking tape frame around a 2-liter soda bottle.

A first, very thick, layer of paper mache.

A second layer of paper mache for strength.


More paint and the addition of salt. Perfect, right?

. . . but the children had other ideas. They had wanted to add trees, snow and more boulders, for instance. Boulders in particular. There was quite a bit of discussion among the children about "boulders" throughout the entire process, a few of them seemingly enamored with the way this powerful word sounded in their mouths. Some of them even made paper mache boulders that are visible, if you look carefully. I honestly can't recall where the idea came from, but someone remembered that we had some red lava rocks in Little World. What could be better than real lava boulders? So we broke out the glue guns and gave our purple mountain some boulders.

After this, I asked several times about the snow and trees, but they were done. It was time to erupt the new volcano, so we took it outside and with much fanfare . . . Oops, our plans were thwarted by a lack of baking soda. Rats! That dearth corrected, the following day we returned to the outdoor classroom bearing our volcano only to discover that we'd used up almost an entire gallon of white vinegar at the construction/tinkering station earlier in the day. Rats! We were running out of time before the session was over. This time Teacher Tom hoarded materials, making sure we had everything we needed. We funneled in some baking soda, added dish soap, gave it a good squirt of red liquid water color, then added a healthy dose of vinegar and boom, we had our pink lava eruption. Yay!

In fact, we erupted it several times. Thomas, one of our primary advocates of boulders, was particularly excited by the fact that the eruption caused some of the lava rocks to lose their grip and avalanche to the bottom of the slope. "Just like a real volcano! That's what happens on a real volcano!" In the future, it seems, we will always need to first re-attach some lava rocks so that they can realistically tumble back down. Cool.

As we stood watching the kids, one of the fathers, Terry, and I discussed the future of volcanos in the preschool. Terry already has 3 kids enrolled in the school for next year and his wife is currently expecting twins. He and I will be working together at the Woodland Park Cooperative Preschool for a long time. I mentioned that I thought we ought to get into the routine of making a new volcano each year instead of waiting 8 years in between like we did this time. We discussed how we could display such a volcanic mountain range and how incredible it would be to get them all erupting at once.

In another update, I'd mentioned that we were going to add some warm colors on top of our super sized marble paintings. Although they were beautiful, the children wanted to top off what had turned out to be some rather dark canvasses with warm colors.

Specifically, we had decided to roll balls around in yellow and orange paint for "just 20 minutes." So that's what we did. As it turns out, they knew exactly what they were doing.

These paintings have now been declared "finished" and are now just waiting two weeks before some wall space opens up at a local coffee house. The parents have decided we'll put price tags on them and see if we can use them for a little fundraising. I'm just saying, I'd hang them on my wall, especially if doing so came with a tax write-off.

And while the volcano and paintings are finished, I wasn't quite done with the whole super sized marble painting concept, so yesterday we tried a version of super dooper sized marble painting.

The only space large enough for this is our "gym." And instead of rolling the balls/marbles around, we took off our shoes and kicked balls across the paper to one another.

Oh, it was messy.

Bookmark and Share


Scott said...

Tom, this post is overwhelming my brain! The volcano is wonderful; the avalanche of rocks sounds like a great addition to an eruption.

And those paintings are terrific. I would pay to have one of those masterpieces.

And kicking balls to paint - that must be the ultimate supersized "marble" painting.

My head hurts. I think I need to go lie down and think more about these things.

MOM #1 said...

Oh, I love the marble paintings. I'd certainly buy one.

LOVE the idea of super-sized, ball-kicking, marble paintings.

Unknown said...

I adore the idea of kicking painty balls across a canvas. Fun. Fun. Fun. I hope the fund raising goes well.

Amy A @ Child Central Station said...

I am always amazed and in awe when your new posts come out. It is so inspiring to see how you take ideas, expand upon them and make them your own. I'd love to be 3 and to spend time at your school!

Let the Children Play said...

Tom Hobson you just can't help yourself can you - you take an idea that has already been super-sized and then you take it to the next level! I love this idea. I wonder how we could do it on the grass?

Teacher Tom said...

@Jenny . . . I think you would be much happier doing this on grass. There is paint all over our carpeting. It's so messy (and the mess was so foreseeable) that even I feel guilty leaving to parents to clean up. Fortunately I have a carpet shampooer at my disposal!

What I'd love is to get a hold of a large sheet of plywood and have the kids go at it for several days, putting on layer after layer. What I'd really love is to get a large circular sheet of plywood, attach handles to it, and let kids try to keep balls on top as they paint!

Unknown said...

Boy, you sure seem to be having fun this summer! I LOVE the volcano! I have a little one I use, but I keep thinking I'm going to do one on a grander scale like yours, but alas, there never seems to be enough time! Awesome fun, Tom!

Play for Life said...

Tom I love that the children were free to run with their own ideas on the volcano and typically it worked out all the better for it. Good on you for letting them make the decisions.
As for the marble paintings ... ABSOLUTELY IRRESISTIBLE!!!! I reckon not only will they sell but you might just find yourself producing a few extras for special orders!
Super dooper sized marble painting sure sounds like super dooper fun ... on the carpet however ... hmmmm ... clearly you can get away with anything Tom Hobson!

pink sheep said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the idea of having kids kick the balls to create a painting! What an awesome idea! Thanks, Tom. I love reading your posts...I just wish I were in Seattle to see you in action, instead I'm all the way on the east coast!