Gracie is an early bird, often ready for the day to begin an hour or more before the other girls awaken. Nicholas is often up, too, but he wants his quiet and his sports headlines and he isn't a very good early morning companion. Just so happens that Gracie doesn't really need to talk to anyone in the morning; she's happiest with a bottle of glue, some markers and popsicle sticks. Crazy, ridiculous happy.
So, this summer, I called to mind my own happy mornings at a preschool in Charlottesville, where we'd take a few moments the night before to prepare a table for arriving children the following morning. Usually, we'd leave out the makings of a very simple craft or drawing activity. The assumption is that teachers might be busy greeting children or talking with parents, so these should be activities that required little or no instruction or supervision. Honestly, though, I loved it when I could pull up an undersized chair and work right alongside them.
This summer, the "school" table in the sunroom has been a perpetual craft table. I tidy it at night and try to leave something inspiring there for Gracie and whoever shakes off sleep and joins her there.
My very favorite activity at that long-ago preschool was making "stained glass pictures." (I've even shared it with you previously.) We'd cut tissue paper into squares and leave them in a basket for the children. Then, we'd water down some liquid starch and provide soft paintbrushes and plain white copy paper (this doesn't work as well with construction paper). The children would place the dry squares on the white paper and then paint over them with starch, overlapping at will. Can't quite capture it, but there's something infinitely relaxing and rewarding about this process. Really, you must try it.
This summer, we took the basic idea and tried it with glass jars, after I saw something similar on a blog I've now forgotten. [Please email me if this was you--I'm happy to link:-)]
Instead of starch, I used diluted white glue. I gathered jars of all sorts. My favorite shape is a Dijon mustard jar.
The children "painted" on the squares, being careful not to leave any edges dry.
While they make lovely flower vases, do be careful. They don't take kindly to water drips and filling and emptying is most definitely a mom job.
Beautiful, useful crafts that even the littlest hands can successfully complete.
Happy summer morning!