Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pendulum Painting

Pendulum painting
A few months back I came across this IKEA chair leg in a studio and thought of at least three things I could do with it so it has earned it’s keep as a useful object in daycare land. So far this little bit of nothing has been made into a fast food window, a puppet stage and a teeny fort for one by the wee ones during freeplay. Last night in a slightly intoxicated fit of creativity I decided I would use it for one of the original reasons I salvaged it from the landfill - Pendulum Painting. 

I set up the provocation for the project by tying paint sponges and funnels to the bottom of the frame. Then I positioned the frame on long sheets of paper then added 2x4s on either side so that the kids would have something to lean on as they worked. I was also hoping the wood would give a solid visual boundary of where the sticky paper was so the wees could keep from getting tangled up as they moved around. Next I set out some disposable plastic cups and paint in my up-cycled self serve soap containers. 
Naturally they all abandoned their previous projects and flocked to see what was going on with the strange contraption. I gave them some time to study the frame and swing the objects back and forth. Once they saw the paint cups come out all seven wanted to work together meaning we would have to do some serious negotiation for space and materials. 

The children found it challenging to fill their paint cups because the soap dispensers were very tricky to pump. The paint was much thicker than soap making it hard to push down and the direction the paint squirted as they pumped was difficult to predict. Eventually someone got smart and decided to unscrew the lid to pour the paint instead of pumping. 
The idea caught on and a fantastic pouring frenzy took place. As the paint supply dwindled I introduced some spoons so they could scoop up paint from the puddles to fill funnels. Pretty soon funnels and sponges were flying across the paper causing a lot of laughter, some tears and at least one full body painting experience.
After the excitement wore off they stopped the funnels to scoop in various colors and watch it ooze out the bottom creating thick marbled puddles. 

Some children opted to paint with sponges in the traditional way by loading them with various colors and swiping the paint in great rainbowy swaths across the paper others decided to forgo the paint tools all together to squirt the paint across the paper straight from the pump.

In the end the paper was soaked through and they didn’t really care about keeping their feet out of the paint; in fact the whole project was a great glob of tangled torn paper but we had a fantastic time making something out of nothing.

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