A Creative, Cloudy Day: Making Spin Art and Marker Dyed T- shirts

Today was one of those days where I had no agenda.  I left the boys alone to play and followed their lead on our day.  It ended up being a very creative day with lots of arts, crafts, and imagination.

While I cleaned house this morning the boys were downstairs getting breakfast ready and eating.

It was nice to hear Ian offer to read Evan's Power Ranger book to him.  He tried really hard to use expression and did a great job reading out loud.  I was torn between praising the heck out of him or just quietly going about my business.

I was hesitant to draw his attention to his reading because he is so convinced he's a lousy reader.  The other day when he was arguing with Alec over who should read the chapter in James and the Giant Peach he told us all that he reads slow and like a robot when he reads out loud.  This is a criticism he heard form many of his teachers when he was at school, and in their defense, he really did.  He was a slow, methodical reader and focused so much on words he didn't seem to even notice punctuation.  I tried to tell him it's been a whole year and that he's grown so much as a reader.  He read a few sentences, that I thought sounded fine, but he argued it was his robot voice.  I didn't push it that day and so I was doubly thrilled to hear him, not only offer to read this morning, but actually argue with Alec that he was reading the story not Alec.  Yet, I was still afraid to point out what a wonderful job he was doing for fear he'd argue he doesn't read well out loud and end up stopping.

Once I was done cleaning, Alec and Evan wanted to make a marker-dyed shirt like Ian did a few months back.  I helped them get out the supplies and make some really nice shirts.  

Evan found that twisting the cotton balls made more alcohol fall than just squeezing them.  Alec found that he could color faster if he used several markers at once; what he called "synchronized coloring!" (just like the synchronized swimming in the Olympics).

Their completed shirts 

While the two younger boys were making their shirts Ian was upstairs working on his Lego's. 

 He could build for hours and not get sick of it at all.  I'm always amazed at what he can come up with using his own imagination and some blocks.  Today he worked on improving his boat trailer.  He found some smooth curved pieces to make a ramp at the end of the trailer so the boat can slide off into the water and he added some extra wheels on the sides of the trailer to keep the boat from bumping around and getting scratched when it's on the road being transported. 


The younger boys pulled out the animal zoo's and filled them with water, using small sponges to bathe the animals and play.  They discovered medicine droppers in the cabinet and pulled them out to transfer water from one zoo to another.  They brought out a tiny net to catch the animals.  Alec discovered that he could combine two droppers into one to make an extra large dropper.  They realized that moving water by droppers was a much slower and more painstaking process.   They learned to squeeze just a bit to get a little water in the dropper and to squeeze a lot to fill it up with water.

They played for quite a long time.  When they were done Ian had a turn playing too since his arm was tired of coloring.

Ian had asked me to help him work on his color by number book. 

 I finally broke down and purchased one for each of the boys since they all were enthralled with Alec's book.  Ian and I finished half of the page he picked out.  It's always fun to watch the picture emerge.   I went through Evan's book and labeled each of the numbers on the pages with the appropriate color marker since he can't read them and has been making up his own colors.  They still have come out looking quite nice but he would like to be able to do them the "right" way.

Evan's picture
Evan's picture 
Ian's half finished picture

It was pouring out all day and the boys were getting bored and restless so they decided to watch the Disney Imagineering movie about models.  Then they watched quite a few episodes of Liberty's kids followed by Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?  Science, History and Geography! 

Ian and Alec played Words with Friends for some fun spelling and math practice.

Ian decided to paint and so his brother's followed suit; They made some spin art and painted actual pictures too.  

They pulled out the tablecloth, paper, paint brushes and paints.  They saw the salad spinner I keep in the art bin and I told them that's for making spin art. They all wanted to know what that was and each took turns making spin art paintings.  I had found a cheap $5 spinner at big lots for the specific purpose of painting with it and we had never gotten around to using it.  We cut paper into circles and experimented with dropping colors into the middle and edges of the paper, spinning fast and slow, what colors cover which.

They loved how they came out and when they weren't having turns with the spinner they were creating paintings with brushes.

Evan commented that they were just like brushes real artists use. They had a ball and whether they knew it or not they were learning all sorts of wonderful cause and effect relationships, about centrifugal force, about abstract painting and even about color theory.

Ian's building
Alec's rainbow
Evan's "spooky Halloween pictures"


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