What Works For Me 25/365 It’s Raining! It’s Pouring! Pass Me An Umbrella!

Day 3 stuck inside with up to 24 boisterous 2-4 year olds.  Day 2 had been exhausting and a bit too boisterous so I wanted to do something today that would capture their interest and be an incentive for good behaviour.

On the night before I found this activity that used the rain itself to help create an art work.  Daniel was roped in to being my test subject.  This is something that happens often now but he doesn’t mind at all.  Well there was one bit he minded but he soon got over it.  S.B. used coffee filters for her umbrellas but I only had paper towels so they had to do.  I drew umbrellas on the paper towels with a permanent marker – the fact that it is “permanent” becomes very important later on.  Then I had D colour and draw squiggles and things on the umbrella with normal (water soluble) felt pens.  Then I told him that he was going to stand in the rain with his umbrella to let it get wet.  This is where he became less enthusiastic – something to do with toads!  So we compromised and stood under a drip on the back deck.  We probably ended up with too much water because the ink ran a bit too much but it was enough to give my little people a good idea of what we were doing.

I learned quite a bit too when I put this activity into practice.  Chubby felt pens were way better for this because they were easier for little hands to hold.  Some little people even needed me to hold the paper towel on the table for them because it was a bit tricky to keep the paper still and the pen moving.  Then, after scoping out the playground again to make sure I could take kids out there without getting them drenched, I took out 3-4 little people at a time with their “umbrellas”.  At times the rain was so light we had to leave the umbrellas outside and come back in for a while and at other times the rain was so torrential that I could just hold the paper towels out for a few seconds to get all the water I needed and more.

Being paper towels they were actually still quite sturdy when wet so I could get them inside on a big sheet of scrap cardboard and lay them all out to dry quite easily.  They were all dry by about 3:00pm in the afternoon and I cut out most of them and handles by the end of the day.  If I had the opportunity to display them I think they would look wonderful on a glass window with the light shining through them.

Lots of learning was going on here.  Children were experimenting – some even did a second umbrella to try different things.  They were following a process and many were very keen to see what came inside each time and they were comparing (in a positive way) their pictures with those of their peers.

This process is formally known as “paper chromatography” and the water makes the ink run and if the ink has more than one colour in it the process helps the colours to separate.  That’s why black felt pen is a good choice for this activity because it produces “surprises”.  In fact if I were to do this activity again I would provide just black felt pens and let the other colours emerge.  We still had the problem of too much ink running and I’m thinking an answer might be to dry them quicker but not sure how to do this.


One Comment on “What Works For Me 25/365 It’s Raining! It’s Pouring! Pass Me An Umbrella!”

  1. isildael says:

    These look wonderful but I have discovered if you leave the finished product with a toddler and a glass of water – the ink magically transfers from the paper towel to the hands of the toddler and thence over the furniture and walls…

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