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Christmas Ideas For Toddlers?


Guest katylouise1984
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Guest katylouise1984

Hi everyone

 

Working in 2-3's room :o and am curious xD as to what or if any othe birh to three'ers!! are doing xmas cards, calendars, displays etc.

 

I am fully aware of the anti pre cut amnesty :( BUT anyways of getting around this, We are having an Advent Tree on our display board but my concerns are with this damned tree? Can I pre cut a tree shape to hand print on a large scale or can i join 2 triangles together to make a tree shape, Hmmm?!?!?

 

Any1 else conquered these issues and want to share HOW!??

 

Cheers guys!

 

:D Katy Lou :D

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I'm in a nursery at present where although they try to work to BTT they are struggling in the same way you are. I have never been a fan of displays anyway, I simply dont like them, they werent part of my training and I never had to write an assignment on them, but I acknowledge that they make the walls attractive. :o

I would say that if you can document how the display came to be, the process the children went through, the experiences they had, the emotions expressed when they felt the paint, glue, etc or smelt any added scents, then you could 'get round it'. Is there anything that says the 'tree' has to look like a tree we would recognise? Can you give the children big triangles to stick onto a big piece of card before they decorate them? How about letting them do anything they want and calling it a tree in a snowstorm!! xD

It must be difficult if you've got people, be it parents, management or other staff who still need these things. Hope you come up with something :D

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Here's an idea,

 

rolls of wallpaper, paint rollers but with paste, lots of shredded paper.

 

Children roll paste, or spread with hands, all over wallpaper, get a handfull of shredded paper and throw in the air, some will stick to wallpaper, voila - a snowstorm.

 

Our children love playing with shredded paper, this just extends the experience and will save sweeping up afterwards, well the bits that stick anyway :oxD

 

Maybe the older ones can squeeze and mould the shredded paper mixed with paste into balls, papier mache snowballs or stick two together and voila snowmen.

 

Peggy

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I remember as a small child enjoying making christmas cards with precut/ adult lead precision and at the end of the day all 26 cards looked the same,and I think it was partly because at the end of the day when I looked at everyone elses work I didnt think "theirs was better than mine"

 

I liked having a finished product to aim for when I was creating, I never liked my paintings and it didnt matter what I glued to a yogurt pot it was still a yourt pot to me I can remember my mum always praising my work "thats wonderful alison" which I could not understand as I would still have to explain what it was.

 

I dont have a problem with providing children with a precut activitives for christmas as long as it is in moderation with other creative expiences during the session. children like to make specific things that will have a finished product as well and being left to be creative

 

as for precut displays I can agree that they are pointless, we tend to have themed galleries of work, and an occassionally we make a display picture from things the children have made but it must be a clear team effort between adults and children.

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Gosh Alison - Don't you ever sleep!

 

I too get confused with the 'to cut out, or not too cut out' debate. I currently am working with 2-3 year olds - mostly, we give them free access to a huge variety of materials to which they can help themselves to create whatever they choose and we support and encourage their exploration. However, sometimes I feel, they like the finished item to look like things they see during their day, or in books - for example making hats - without any direction they sometimes get frustrated. I've had occassions when a 2.8 year old has said of their 'creation' after I've praised it. "that's not a hat, you do it".

So like all things, I think moderation is needed. For winter & Christmas we will role play, read books, expore ice, bare branches, fir tree branches, feel frosty grass and windows crunching it beneath our feet, blow our breath into the cold air etc. etc. and hopefully, hopefully play with snow!! We'll then give the children resources to create as THEY see fit following what interested them most. However.....We will produce a Christmas Card, and some precut felt christmas shapes for them to stick onto or paint as they see fit.

Display wise - as long as they are involved at some part in the creation and particularly if the display is at their level and interactive - pockets or velcro involved to add, move, remove or items hanging free for them to explore and see cause and effect - I believe displays are worth having - they encourage language at the very least.

 

Monica

 

Ooops..just read my reply... We don't actually walk on windows!! On water sometimes maybe

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My son was much like Alison, whenever he brought something home he saw it for what it was... a box with bits stuck on it, paper with bits on, tubes stuck together, he enjoyed much more a process with adult input and help to produce something that looked more like a tree or star or house etc. As he developed he found he had developed skills to do this himself and came very handy producing the end product he felt was worth doing,

 

In his case too much freedom to begin with put him off and he never actually tried ,

help and adult cut shapes etc and he began to explore more and enjoy the process. (eventually did GCSE art with an A)

 

everyone is different and from this experience I do not have any worries about using pre-cut shapes in moderation along side the more free activities giving choice.

 

Inge

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How about a big clear space on the floor, lots of art materials (- shredded paper included, ours love it too!!) some pictures/stories with reference to xmas beforehand to 'plant the seed'....then let them go!!

 

I'm sure lots of individual creations will appear, take lots of photos during the process, then when it comes to creating the display(s) you can (with the children of course!!) cut/snip and adjust their individual work and display all the photos around it to prove it! We do this with lots of our activities and the children love it because its their own work!

 

Would love to hear what other ideas people have to keep xmas child led? I think all to often the conveyer belt of calenders/decs/cards etc comes out and takes away everything we have been promoting as good practice through the year!

 

Jayde

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Jayde - I like the idea of including photos on the display showing the children working through the stages of its creation I might try that with the next display we are in the process of hatching.....

 

 

Inge - im glad to hear I wasnt the only child with that feeling and yes like your son I am quite competent at art now,

 

I think some children need a little bit of precut to get them started, and if its managed correctly I feel precut crafts can help prompt ideas and build confidence in a frustrated artist who desperatly wants people to see the picture without having to explain, its like when a child learns to write and the feeling of achievement when they write a word and someone else reads it without being told. As the child develops their art skills their need and desire for precut crafts fade (like taking stabilisers off a childs bike).

 

 

Katye - I hope you find a solution to you display dilema "precut or child led?", I wouldnt worry too much over it, get the display done it will soon be January and time to change it again!!!

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as your examples have illustrated, it is about the individual child, thus conveyor belt or totally free choice creativity may not meet all individual needs.

 

How do we define the term 'creativity', we tend to think of it as having materials and creating 'something' from them, the need for a 'something' however recognisable or not, is where the 'pressure' is felt, or where a brick wall to what is actually 'creativity' is placed.

 

To me creativity is an 'expression' and to me a child should feel able to express him/herself without having the need for 'meaning', ie: to be abstract, or to represent his/her own ideas in his/her own way and not to feel they have to 'explain it'. It is from exploring a vast array of media first that they discover their own ways of using their chosen media to express themselves.

 

It is how we enable exploration that helps. Why would a child be sticking paper on more paper or boxes, sticking tubes together, if they weren't happy with doing that? because they felt they had to to please an adult? We have had a boy with us for 2 years, he has never shown interest in the art area, so, yes, we have tried to encourage him by providing what we think might attract his attention to the art area, but we have never made him paint a dot, or stick a bit of paper for 2 years. This last term he chose to get a paintbrush and paint, his 'artistic' skills are at the early stage of development, but we are sure this will progress now that he is interested, all at his pace. He didn't make a Christmas card last year or the year before, mum didn't mind, but this year he might, all be it covered in lots of glue because he is still at the stage of 'painting' with the glue rather than 'sticking with it', but there again he might not, depends on how he feels between now and the end of term.

 

I would think that most 2-3 yr olds who haven't learnt the artisitc skills, by which I mean cutting, sticking, folding, pressing hard or lightly with a pencil, shading, filling or sketching, etc, would become frustrated if they attempted to make a card when they see the 'perfect model' made by others, or even in shops, at home etc. What makes a child want adult support in making something that is theirs, or do they not really feel that it is theirs? The same child that will say 'look peggy, look what I can do as he/she jumps or hops", proud of their independent achievement. Or the child who insists that they can do their own coat up, or put their own socks on. Enabling that sense of independence and achievement, praising whatever the outcome is, is only meaningful if the child has a sense of achievement from whatever they have tried, not just because he/she has stuck a piece of paper to a box. It's what messages we give every day, that helps a child develop a sense of pride in whatever he/she creates. How we talk about the process helps with identifying the 'artistic' skills they are using, not the ones they haven't learnt yet.

 

I often just sit and 'play' with items available at the art area, just talking about how they feel, how I can bend a peice of card, or swirl a strip of paper around a pencil etc, I show that just 'handling' the media is worth my time. I enjoy the sensation. I much prefer to rip than cut some days and others I enjoy snipping lots of peices off a strip with the scissors.

 

I may be wrong but to me 'art' is the methodology and 'creative' is the, at this age, unjudged expression. As we cannot make a child talk if he/she doesn't want to, we cannot make them use other methods of expression, they will only do it if they feel inclined to, and shouldn't be made to if they don't.

 

With writing, the 'word' is the methodology, the 'story' is the expression. We can give children the tools and the skills, at an age appropriate time, to be able to write words, but if they haven't experienced lots of them, in different ways and contexts, their stories will lack expression and just be a conveyor belt of words.

 

Children will make Christmas cards, because the adults around them expect it, they won't understand the why at age 2- 3 yrs and therefore they will not be a true expression of the childrens creativity.

To be creative we need to be able to think of, to know what we want to express, and feel what way, and how we want to express it.

 

One of the first ways I encourage children to do this is by either them making something themselves, or me giving them something which they cannot make and asking them to place it on the display which they are shown is being used to 'show' / express' whatever the display is about and let them decide where to place it. They have expressed a choice, nothing more, nothing less.

 

This can be observed as a defined choice, ie: we recently did a display called 'Autumn' lots of different leaves, some made by picking leaves and laminating them, some crayon rubbings, some paint prints and some plain leaves ( not plain actually, beautiful, brown, orange and red leaves) Every leaf on the display was placed by a child, the presentation of the display was completely child led. One child chose to place 7 leaves all in a row, others just one or two in random. etc etc.

 

When they next choose to pick up a leaf, they won't feel that there is a correct or wrong way of handling it, within a creative context, they have been shown that they can do what they want with it, even stick it on a box, should they wish to.

 

Peggy

 

oops seem to have waffled on a bit there, just thinking out loud, don't mind me, it's how I wind down at the end of the day :o

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I dont think anyone will mind you Peggy. :D

I have many of the same thoughts, just not so well expressed.

The idea that we can tell the children what they are going to 'create' has always baffled me. NN's who spend time preparing an activity which the children have to be 'helped' with so it looks right are still out there and do my head in :o

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Very well expressed Peggy and interesting to read.

 

I agree with going with the needs of the child but children do sometimes need to be shown how they can achieve something or be given ideas, or encouragement to move their learning on. That kind of intervention should be timely, based on what you have observed about that child, not something forced upon them.

I do think that there are occasions, like Christmas, when a bit of help for children to produce say, a card for Mum, is one of those things that you do because Mum adores it, the child gets pleasure out of giving, and no-body takes it too seriously we hope.

For cards we always let the children do their own thing nursery/reception, but we looked at lots of cards and ideas first and talked about what might be appropriate. Then they did their own thing. They were always fantastic, lots of glitter usually and the children had great fun.

For calendars we used to either keep a wonderful piece of art work and mount it on card, or if they had done something new or special, for example learning how to do Batik, or making their own Autumn collage or making fabric pictures then we would use those.

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Peggy

 

Wise words, beautifully put. Have you ever thought about writing a book for early years?

 

I would LOVE a manager like you.

 

I will try to 're-educate' the non believers of total free creativity at my setting.....slowly, but surely!!

 

You're an inspiration!

 

Much respect

 

Monica

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wow peggy!

 

I totally agree with you that art is about exploring and the question of who the finished product is for does influence the childs desire to create

 

on the subject of exploring for the sake of it (rather than trying to produce a "piece of art")

I remember my mum putting big sheets of paper on the kitchen floor giving me the contents of the kitchen cupboards (potato mashers and pastry cutters etc) and saucers of paint and because there was not emphasis on making a finished product and no peers to campare art work with I would get stuck in and enjoy myself creating all kinds of patterens, but in the nursery environment when work was being taken home I desperatly wanted it to be "something" to show mum.

 

In my setting we try to provide lots of alternative messy activities to encourage the children to explore, touch, feel, squeeze, cut and mold without any emphasis of producing something to take home.

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Being creative and having displays are two different areas. Some displays should be creative, some displays to help with learning and some to show skills a child is mastering. If a child never sees a picture of a fire engine or a castle, how do they know what you are talking about? They may recognise these but not understand the verbal clues you are giving them. So we put up pictures to help them. A number line is a display, the children may have helped create it but it probably is not all their own work. Children may have been trying a new technique, such as printing, glue dribbling, tearing, and again this could be displayed in a creative way, such that the children feel proud of their work and can discuss how they achieved it. A gallery of pictures is a display, that could have a huge variety of stuff. My Head insists I label well all work on the wall so parents, ofsted and others can see where we are coming from.

I find that being creative often has no end product, as said before by others, it is enjoying exploring and experimenting with different medium, whether visually, with sound or touch, or even smell and taste. So good luck with Christmas or any other topics you are covering.

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