We kicked off the beginning of our sunny summer session with printmaking. Martha Stuart’s, Living inspired me to add potato mashers (found at the flea market for a $1 a piece) to the table along side other fun stamping shapes and relief textures such as foam animals, corks, card board tubes, bubble wrap, and meat packing trays. We also used some recently donated stencils as stamps and experimented with some new rolling pins with foam shapes made for printing.

Even the youngest toddlers (18M-2Y) can use rollers.


My older students (4Y and up) were very careful with the placement of their shapes and textures. I love watching these budding artists explore composition!

Each child made at least two prints, and most often three or four. After students explored the tools, shapes, colors and textures on the table and accomplished at least one print I offered them glitter.

Here is a great example of color composition done by a six year old. She used bubble wrap (red), meat tray (turquoise), bird stencil as a stamp (blue), potato masher (blue), toilet paper tube (yellow), and roller (green).

 More fun examples:



After printmaking we explored cloud dough! Traditional recipes call for baby oil however we made our batches with vegetable oil. Since it’s my first time making it I can’t compare but I can tell you that it worked great for us. Cloud dough is unique and inviting. It’s soft and silky, holds a shape but crumbles easily with little handling.

I decided to give each child a personal bin with a quarter batch (1/4 cup oil:2 cups flour). A full recipe is 1:8 oil to flour.

I cut up ice cube trays in the shapes of fish, hearts, and flowers found at IKEA . They worked great as molds. The shot glass cups from the $1 store kept cracking so I replaced those with apple sauce containers which worked much better. Next time I’ll probably invest in some silicon cupcake wrappers.
Pre-School Play and Flight of Whimsy are two inspiring blogs with all you need to know to get started on cloud dough.