Wide Mouth Frog Book + ART project

As a teacher, I believe children learn best when they learn about topics they are interested in, this is called emergent curriculum to those not familiar with classroom terms.  In the classroom, teachers who believe this this philosophy will follow the lead of the children to create curriculum projects around their students current interests or questions that pop up during group circles, like how does food get to your table? How do planes fly? ect.

So at home, I have been following Sibellas lead and her new curiosities in frogs.  We hear a lot of frogs at night in our back yard and occasionally get to see one up close -he lives in our wound up deck hose 🙂 -So tiny and cute. She is also obsessed with the two preschool frog songs- 5 Little Speckled frogs and the other has multiple titles, we call it “Shana Na Na Na” .  I should of recorded her singing!!

So to continue this learning opportunity we gathered books from our library to learn more about them.  The favorite book out of the bunch for the art project today was The Wide Mouth Frog, pop up book.

I taught Sibella a few clay techniques, pinch pot and how to roll snakes to make her air dry clay frog today.  She is at the age where she now understands where an eye, a mouth and or a tail goes when drawing a picture so now she is building realistic things out of clay.  If you are using clay with a younger group of students I would allow them to create their frog however they like, try not to persuade them in putting the eyes or legs in correct spots, for this is their art and they are using there developmentally appropriate skills 🙂 keep art fun and expressive! I built one along side her but this can sometimes frustrate older kids too, in that they want theirs to look just like yours, so know your crowd:) for we do not want our little artists frustrated in their work.

We referenced our book for shapes.


Big Mouth and Body

Big Eyes!

Long Frog Tongue

& Bug.

Once the clay was dry we painted our frogs and our mushrooms with acrylic paint and placed them in our herb planters.

For further curriculum extensions you can add in a

*cooking recipe, these SpinachWide Mouth Frogs look so yummy!

*You could order tadpoles to watch change into frogs-depends on season.

*You could explore the different kids of frogs, where they live and what they eat.

*You could extend the study into other reptiles, turtles, crocs, and even dinosaurs!-Food Chain :0

See You at the Next Studio!


Posted in Seedling Classes 2 1/2- 4 yrs

Watercolor Illustrations -PlayGround Book Review

This week my daughter and I found a new book at our weekly Library visit that I have never seen before-Crazy right!? I was surprised too! I feel like I know most children book authors quite well.

The book below is called Playground by Mies Van Hout, an amazing Dutch illustrator.  The pictures in this book, and many of her others are all  done in oil pastels and ink-very much my style:) I love monsters and watercolors! We checked it out with the rest of our books and this particular one we decided to keep for another week.  Thats when I thought it would be  great project book.  #littletreebookreview

So here are my thoughts….

This book is great for all ages.  Reading it with my daughter was easy, she loved the animals/characters, the magical watercolors, thoughtful designs and game like story line.  Its a great book to tie into a project.  With her we explored liquid watercolors and ways to play with the paint using salt, water, rubbing alcohol, blowing through straws, pom-pom and hammers.  We kept the project more process based.  I then put together all her paintings and wrote a story, by adding black sharpie to accentuate the watercolor shapes of what I saw pop out of the designs.  If it was a class project I would sit with all the students at circle time to talk about what we all saw in each others paintings and write a story together, and then the artists would design their black Sharpie designs on their page in the book.

With older students I would do the same activity on a higher writing  level and have them create their own full series, not just one page.

Wet on Wet.


Straw Blowing

Pom-Pom Splatter

Drip Painting

Using tools, Roller.

Oil Pastels

Final Drawings and Story…

Wanna take a trip?  Climb aboard my magic rocket ship!

We’ll blast off on an exploration! 5, 4 , 3, 2, 1 !  Here we go….

We will have to fly through the purple galaxy, which planet should we land on?

Wow, this planet makes me feel super small.  How are we going to find our way?

Let’s ask these ladybugs for directions.

Oh no, its starting to rain, lets run!

Look we can hide in this butterfly cave. Look there are Geodes!

We are almost through, whoa there is a swimming hole in here.  Lets’ follow that Blowfish!

Look I found a map! Which path should we take home?

We made it! Just in time for cupcakes!



See you at the Next Studio!

#littletreestudiosbookreview #toddlertinkertots





Posted in At Home, Drawing and Painting, Painting studio

Spin Art

After Gymnastics today I had my daughter demonstrate one of her favorite things to do in our studio-SPIN ART. She’s only two years old, but all ages really love it!

I never thought of sharing this, but it was brought to my attention recently because a parent, after being in the studio, bought one for her daughters school classroom! So I thought I should share with all of you how cool this salad spinner from IKEA could be, and a few activities to do with them.  -Its much cheaper than the art kits you would see in the aisles of your art store.

You could pre-cut a variety of leaves for fall, different shapes the children are learning about, or circles or squares to fit snug on the spinner is usually what I will have out for the kiddos.

Watercolor paper is fantastic, but you can use cheaper art paper for it absorbs too but will become soggier quicker. Many kids find they can keep spinning with just one piece of paper over and over and they can  get multiple layers of swirls and color mixing!

*Autumn Leaves can be used on a bulletin board Tree or put into a mobile.


The droppers I fill with liquid watercolor from Discount School Supply-They also make metallic watercolor!!  Choose your droppers wisely, some can squirt far and a lot of paint.  So to not waste, I have droppers that have a tighter drip to them and I teach children to put in only ‘baby’ drops.

I keep only a few rules for the kids around the use of the spinners for the process is a great experience.  Because you do end up with lots of work, that often doesn’t get used I will say to them that after 1-3 spins they need to take the paper to another station and “create” another project with it.  Below are a few activities.

White Sharpie pens for Zentangles and Dots

Oil Pastels drawn on first

For a silly project,  you could have them draw their faces and use the spin art for their hair!-cut and collage it together. Or with a sharpie and Googley Eyes,  turn the swirls into monsters.

Color mixing day- Only have out  two colors or the primary colors. Many children will use them to make cards for parents birthdays or even to frame other artwork they have made in their free time.

See You at the Next Studio!









Posted in Activities and Recipes, At Home

Stuffed Animal on a Stick





During this Friday Project with my Daughter we created a Stuffed Kitty on a Stick, that you can ride-old school toy 🙂 Inspired from the playful children book, Matildas Cat,  byEmily Gravett.

You will need;

  • Sock, Dowel,Ttacky Glue and Hot Glue, Fabrics, Stuffing and all the add ons-Buttons, google eyes, pipecleaners, ribbons, sequins, watercolor and puffy paints and felt.

First Sibby stuffed a tube sock with stuffing. -Lots of fun! After we gathered ourselves back together we then started to paint the faux fur hair blue and purple using watercolor paints. We started with this since it would take a bit of time to dry. Once dry, we then glued it on the back for a tail and added a small head tuft on top.

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Next, I tied the sock closed on the stick and Sibella started to decorated the fur by gluing on sequins and painting on puffy paint front and back. This was done quite quickly, this process can be done in many ways and over a few days if you wanted to spread out the activity- if you have larger groups especially.

*You could print or the-dye your fabric or sock before starting to add an extra cool textured effect. Making a chameleon, dinosaur or giraffe were other ideas that we thought of.

* You can talk about animal coverings with preschoolers during this project too- Feathers, shells, scales, fur etc- Why do these animals need these types of coverings? Also Talk about animal parts-tails, shapes and different ears ect. Also talk about the different pets you can have at home or on the farm.

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Sibella picked out her googley eyes and buttons.-Tough toddler decisions:)The whiskers and a button nose were hot glued onto the upper portion of the sock with the eyes.

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I would prep the felt ears  for younger groups, unless you are working with a smaller group or one-one and could take the time to work with your children to teach them how to hold and use scissors- I totally believe young ones can learn to use scissors correctly and safely.- I helped Sibella hold and cut with the scissors holding them with her to cut the ears and tail.

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Hot glue on the ears, fur tail and head tuft .


Ribbons are a great addition to the stick. You could also wrap it with patterned Washi tape or colorful yarn.

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Excerpts from the book-its so cute!

*Another teaching connection to this project could be centered around the topic of TOYS. How are they made, why, how, Which ones are timeless, How have they changed from past to present?

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Heres our cat, Sadie, she’s just like Matilda’s cat.



See you at the Next Studio!

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Posted in At Home, Seedling Classes 2 1/2- 4 yrs

A Toddler and Her Obsession with Shoes can be an Art Inspiration

So as most toddlers you will find that they are obsessed with putting on adult shoes.  And if your child is like my daughter is in love with rainboots and wearing seasonally the wrong shoes-sandals in winter and boots in summer?! Crazy Kid.


Here is a book, simple but has become a favorite to read and talk about her favorite shoes. Usually leads to her running to the closet and trying on a specific style. There are many shoe books out their but in terms if reading to a young child to get information this is a good one. Boots, Sandals, Heels, Sneakers, Slippers and you can even go into talking about traditional shoes from other countries and shoes that certain jobs require you to wear like Scuba Fins, Fireman Boots, Ballet Shoes,  and Track Shoes. *As a teacher I would resource these shoes from friends and family to have in my dramatic play area so that kids can try them on and play.


In doing this project at home you can take the time to make a bunch of styles and add a lot more detail.  Though as any teacher knows you can make detailed work if you take the time to prep the activity appropriately and think about how the child’s developmental age will use the materials in front of them.

*How will they use the glitter, glue, sequins paint etc. How will you guide them through the steps? Whats the time frame for the group if kids.  Are there specific needs needed for certain kids in the group.  Maybe you want to try to so this project with multiple ages. If you can try to answer these questions ahead of time you can prevent a failed project.-Though they can happen to the best of us!

This project requires you to raid your piles of art materials because everything can be put on a shoe!

  • Ric-Rac, Wahsi Tape, Yarn, Cardboard -THANK YOU AMAZON!
  • Beads, Pom Poms, Tassles, Buttons, Sequins and Gems, Pipe Cleaners and lots of variety of fabrics
  • Hole Puncher, watercolor, hot glue and tacky glues will be needed too!

To set up for a class project I would separate this into a few days.  I would bring in a math lesson and graph all of our sizes of feet.  In doing this we will trace around our shoes on cardboard and measured with rulers and then compared to see the differences in growth.  Growth is another great topic to pull into a lesson-How fast do people grow? Do you wear the same shoes every year?).  Older groups of kids can then use these as the templates for cutting our their fabric and cardboard for their shoes.  I would allow the older groups to choose their style of shoe and the toddlers to make one type-the Flip Flop. (I would cut the cardboard shapes if its a toddler group)

Then I would set up the tables with all the supplies and prep the fabric for the toddler flip flops.

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Finished Pieces; House slippers (made by Momma) Flip Flops and Strappy Sandals (made by Sibby and Momma).


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Her favorite for today are the Flip Flops, probably since she’s never worn a pair before. * made from the kite fabric, pom-pom and star beads, Washi-tape and Pipe cleaners.


See You at theNext Studio!

An Extra fun dancing game an be tied into the pre-k class by wrapping their feet in bubble wrap. See my past post Bubble Wrap Dancing 

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Posted in At Home, mixed media, Seedling Classes 2 1/2- 4 yrs

New Step for Little Tree Studios

As many of you know my family and I have moved out of San Francisco a year ago and are now relocating the art studio as well from its 6 year location in the Mission into the Marin area. The  new space needs to be bigger and also a good fit for our new addition an a.m. art based preschool 🙂

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In the meantime, while waiting for that perfect space to open up  I’ve decided to start blogging about my daughter’s Friday morning art activity that we have been doing each week. As well as other helpful kid ideas that I feel you may be interested in too!-I should have a few good helpful nuggets of  wisdom to share after 13 years of teaching little preschoolers 😉 Right?!

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My daughter Sibella,  is 2 years, and like her father and I obsessed with art.  So she  is my tester for activities, activities old and new that I am now compiling  into a photo/instructional book.  -A great resource for teachers and homeschoolers!  My hope is to have the curriculum built around all my favorite children books and famous artists.  Ill share a few of these ideas here in the blog but the instructions will come later in the book of course!






Hope Your Summer Vacations have been enjoyable!

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And your back to school days are off to a great start!


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See You at the Next Studio!


Posted in At Home
About Little Tree
At Little Tree, we welcome children from the ages of 2.5-12 to join our studio sessions.

Little Artists will learn about the elements of art and design along with creative principles through 90-minute studio sessions.

Check us out at www.littletreestudios.net