Posted by Karen O'Hanlon
Skills taught: Fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination. Listening to, observing, and following directions. Sensory vocabulary (squeeze, flow, pastel, pink, lavender, yellow, light blue, light green), sequencing vocabulary (first, second, third), design vocabulary (curved lines, swirling lines, bumpy lines, dots).
Prerequisite skills: Name-writing. Ability to cut and trace. Ability to squeeze the container hard enough to get the goop-paint to flow.
Activity length: 30-40 minutes over a period of two days. Cutting and goop-paint decoration can be done on the first day. Goop-paint dries overnight. On the second day ribbon or lace is added using glue. Another overnight period is required to allow the glued lace to dry.
Materials: Pencil, scissors, glue, eraser, selection of pastel-colored construction paper, ribbons and laces. Tracing template made from light weight cardboard. Batch of salt-flour goop-paint (recipe below). Squeezable dispensers such as honey bears, mustard, or ketchup bottles. (Experiment with different containers to get the effect you like. Some containers dispense a wider swath of goop-paint while others with more cone-shaped lids dispense a more delicate line). Aprons can be handy for keeping clothing clean. Clothes pins are useful for holding lace in place while kids are gluing it down.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup cold water
- food coloring
Mix ingredients together thoroughly. If too thick, add extra water to adjust consistency.
1) Start by displaying a finished egg and describing the designs on it. Show how the egg is traced, cut out, and then how their name should be written on the back. Talk about how the kids will control the flow of the goop-paint. If they squeeze too hard, too much goop-paint comes out. Too soft, and not enough will flow onto the paper. To give the children perspective of time and sequence, talk about how the project will occur over two days because of the need for drying.
2) Next, have the children take a seat at a table. Each child gets to pick one of the pastel pieces of construction paper that they prefer for their egg. If the kids have previous experience with tracing, each child can select a tracing template and center it on top of the pastel construction paper they chose. Then, holding the template against their piece of paper, they trace around the template with a pencil to outline the egg-shape.
3) Have the kids cut out their egg-shape by cutting along the pencil line they just traced. Once the egg is cut out, the children immediately write their name on the back. (Be sure to do the name-writing after the cutting so the kids do not cut away part of their name.) Have a waste paper basket handy so that you can clean up scraps as you go, which helps keep an organized work surface for the next part of the project.
4) The next step will be goop-painting. Rather than having a million goop-dispensers, I provided just 4 or 5 dispensers, each with their own color of goop-paint. I used coloring sheets or some other independent project to occupy kids waiting their turn, while I called individual kids to one section of the table or an adjacent counter to do their goop-painting. This is the potentially messy part of the project. Put an apron on the younger kids, as sometimes they accidentally get elbows and forearms into the paint. (The apron can prevent the mess from being transferred onto their clothing.) Before goop-painting, tell children that they should have a general idea about what they want to make, and that the result might be different because the goop-paint is hard to control. If children are having difficulty controlling the flow of the goop-paint, it is ok to put your hands over theirs and help them feel how much pressure they will need to get the paint-flow right. If you do this, be sure to talk to them first about what kind of design they want to make so that you are not taking over the design aspects of the project. (With older kids it can be a good idea to do a planning step early on.)
5) Once the goop-painting is done, place the eggs flat on a counter or drying rack to dry overnight.
6) After the goop-painted eggs have sat and dried overnight, add some trim. Put glue, scissors and a selection of ribbons and lace on the table for kids to choose from. Each child picks a trim material, then puts a thin line of glue all the way around the edge of their dried egg. The line of glue needs to be about 1/4 inch in from the edge. You can help kids with where to put the glue by drawing a pencil line around the edge for them to follow with the glue. Once they have a line of glue, help them to lay down their strip of lace or ribbon on top. Most every kid will have trouble estimating the length of ribbon or lace they will need, so an adult can help them with this aspect. This is also where the clothes pins are useful. Help the kids pin the lace to the egg to hold it in place as they work.
7) Allow another overnight for the glued lace to dry.
Things I like about this activity: There’s no sugar-coating it—controlling the goop-paint and gluing the lace down can be really challenging. As a result, the kids become very attentive and focused on what they are doing. This is great practice for how to concentrate in order to finish a task. The result is attractive and the kids take pride in their work.
In my classroom, I would often integrate activities into a larger unit. I used to include this activity in a science unit about different types of birds and their eggs. I had even had a small egg hatcher and hatched baby chicks and ducks in my classroom. We studied the structure of the eggs, and looked at pictures about the stages of chick development. Then we would graph the number of chicks and ducks that hatched.