Have you ever seen how many details you can notice when you spin something around three-hundred and sixty degrees and beyond?
This video clip teaches our children so much about possibilities for discovery through inquiry. I left the revolving tray (I really dislike the alternative name for it, sorry.) with some markers on my children’s art table. I started experimenting with it and when they were ready, there was much noise, conversation, laughter, vocabulary (“what do we call this moving thing?”), growling and so much time to explore.
When I had it in my classroom, “spin art” offered a wonderful opportunity for children to practice kindness, controlling impulses that are so hard to keep in check, especially when they “just want to do it!” Kids can take turns spinning and drawing and that’s a great way to rehearse these really hard-to-come-by qualities…
Children typically dive in when they see this. They experiment with colors by mixing them. They experiment with directions and the illusion of “traveling lines.” They use their smaller finger muscles and become more confident at holding a marker, pen , or pencil. They go beyond the lines and off the paper!
Now, something interesting happened here: the younger of the two children worked hard on coordinating his hands, markers, and paper. When I saw that the struggle was getting in the way of his exploration and enjoyment, I adapted the environment to match his needs at that moment: I offered a paper plate that had a rim (and a “helping hand” of sorts). This child had to coordinate multiple inputs at once: the physical push with one hand and the drawing with the other, colors, and centering the marker to make it work. At first he couldn’t understand why it was easier to spin it first and gently hold the marker afterward. Watch his process below:
He learned from trial and error and felt competent after revisiting this for a while. He looked at what others did and incorporated that into his new way of using this revolving tray. Every time our children can access something that they have explored before, they are construct knowledge from the interaction between their previous and new experiences. And this is exactly what rich, creative and engaging learning is about. Our children form their own opinions from the numerous choices that they have when they explore and experiment, learn and discover!
Set-Up for Episode #17:
- Revolving center trays (or whatever you call this)
- Paper of various colors
- Paper plates
We tried using paint as well but I was just a bit discouraged by the splashing on my fancy pants camera…! Try it. It’s a lot of mess, but a lot of fun and even more discoveries! Color grades and the chemistry behind color mixing – “Is that how Crayola makes their markers?” was the initial question I got. If you decide to give paint a try, I recommend that you cover the edge of the tray with paper standing up, forming a “protective wall” around it. Yes, that’s exactly what it is! Goggles might be a good thing to have handy…
We also started a “mini gallery” on the window frames:
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