Guest Post by Meredith of Homegrown Friends
I am delighted to be guest posting on I Can Teach My Child! My name is Meredith Magee Donnelly. I am an Early Childhood Educator, mother of three and the creator of the blog, Homegrown Friends, a site dedicated to children’s activities, recipes and literature recommendations. After creating our original Salt Dough Suncatchers my children are loving brainstorming new ways to use our salt dough and melted pony bead technique. Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect opportunity to create our Suncatcher Heart Garland. Fun to make and absolutely gorgeous hanging in a window!
YOU WILL NEED:
ingredients for salt dough (1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup water)
transparent pony beads (we used a mixture of pink, red and purple)
string or twine
2 heart cookie cutter (1 large, 1 small)
AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT:
mathematics (measurement, counting, fractions)
literacy (listening and following directions, exposure to written instructions, discussing the art process)
gross motor development (rolling dough)
fine motor development (placing pony beads inside the hearts, practicing pincher grasp)
scientific exploration (observing changes in beads and salt dough when baked in oven)
creativity and artistic expression (choosing bead colors, enjoying finished garland)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Begin by mixing together the flour, salt and water to make the salt dough. Roll out dough and make shapes using larger heart cookie cutter. Use the smaller heart cookie cutter in the center of the cut out shapes. Remove the dough from the middle.
Using a spatula carefully lift each heart onto a cookie tray covered with parchment paper. Set up a table with transparent pony beads (we used an assortment of pinks, purple and red) and the tray of salt dough hearts. To promote fine motor development I encouraged my daughters to pick up the beads using a pincher grasp (thumb and pointer finger) rather than reaching for handfuls of beads. Strengthening the hands by using the pincher grasp is an important pre-writing skill.
Fill the centers of the hearts until there are no spaces left.
Bake at 375 degrees F for approximately 1.5 hours or until the beads are melted together. Remember oven temperatures can vary it may take a longer or shorter amount of time. The salt dough will turn a light to dark brown color. Let cool completely.
You can leave the heart as is, paint the salt dough or use glitter. We decided to cover the salt dough with glue using a paint brush and then generously sprinkle with pink glitter. Once dry I attached twine to the backs of the hearts using my hot glue gun. Our new Suncatcher Heart Garland looks beautiful hanging in our dining room window!
Meredith Magee Donnelly, MS, Ed is an Early Childhood Educator and mother of three. Meredith received her Masters of Education from Bank Street College of Education. Prior to becoming a mother Meredith taught Preschool and Kindergarten and now is a stay at home mother to her five year old boy and twin three year old girls. Meredith created the blog, Homegrown Friends (http://www.homegrownfriends.com), to share her knowledge of child development and play-based education.
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