"teachable moments"

Bubble Wrap Painting
The best projects always emerge from following your child's lead -
what is she interested in now?
What does she spend her time looking at or playing with?
What is he asking questions about?
But everything doesn't have to become "a project".
There are many small moments that come in the day when, if you are ready, there is an opportunity for learning and fun.

If I was still teaching, I would use the jargon and refer to these as "teachable moments"  
But buzz words are so tiresome.

Now we just stay on the look-out for some fun! 
A piece of bubble wrap fell into our hands this afternoon.
One by one the bubbles were pinched between tiny fingers, snapping and popping in a most interesting way.

Until it wasn't so interesting any more...
Time to paint bubble wrap circles!
I taped the wrap to the table to keep it from shifting around while Maya was painting
(a good idea for any toddler or preschool drawing or painting activity - much less frustrating for the artist if the paper holds still!)
Then Maya picked the paint colors - red, blue and green - and we put a teaspoon or so of paint along the edges of the bubble wrap.

We got out the T-shirt painting smock and started the painting.

Bubble wrap is an interesting surface to work with, all bumpy and slippery with crevices to work the paintbrush into,
and it's still fun to stop and poke a few paint covered bubbles to feel them pop.
Once the bubble wrap is covered with paint and, more importantly, when the artist feels that this part of the process is complete -
it's time for the (almost) Magical Bubble Print Transfer!

We lay a piece of light blue construction paper gently over the wrap and trying not to move our hands around too much - we're after clear circles; sliding hands will smear and blur the print (but that's okay too, there's always more paper...)
We pressed the paper into the bubble wrap with the palm of our hands
Lift the paper off-
Dozens of beautiful circles! 
This was a fun way to spend a bit of time on a restless afternoon - even though it was Maya's first try at it, I have done bubble wrap painting many times, with many small children.

I think the first thing that stands out about this activity is the way the children enjoy the feel of the wrap, both popping and painting -
but more than that is the surprised pleasure and pride they convey when they see their circles appear.

Toddlers and preschoolers enjoy coloring and painting, but it's often disappointing to them when they can't make a picture turn out the way they imagined.
The bubble wrap circles are almost foolproof  and the paint doesn't dry very quickly on the plastic wrap so there is plenty of time to get more paper and try again.

Be alert for those "teachable moments".

Keep on the Look-out for Fun!