Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Fun with Letter M (Part 1) - Marble Painting and Marble Run

There are several hands-on activities we did for the letter M. In this post, I'll focus on our activities with 'marbles'.

Marble Painting

Materials used:
-  a piece of drawing paper
- a cardboard box to hold the paper (You can also use a baking tray or container lid.)
- few dabs of paint (different colours) on the paper
- several marbles (there are 6 in the photo but I added more halfway to speed up the process of painting)

In this process art activity, the painting is done not with brushes, but with marbles! The idea is to move and rock the cardboard box in such a way that the marbles can roll over the paper in various directions. As the marbles cut through the paint, it will leave a trail as it moves about in the box.

David was totally engrossed in trying to move the marbles all over the piece of paper. I think it took quite a bit of strength and coordination to do it well, judging from the way he moved.

He was very intent to get the marbles cover as big an area as possible, and many times his head was very nearly going into the box due to his total preoccupation with the task at hand :)

The picture below shows the final product. I thought it looked like an abstract piece of art and can be used as a beautiful piece of wrapping paper!

Marble Run

I have been collecting cardboard tubes (toilet rolls, kitchen towel rolls etc) for craft and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities for some time. I was so glad when we finally came to letter M, for I had been planning to make a marble run for play and learning. I cut some openings on the cardboard tubes for a more visual experience but you can use the cardboard tubes as they are. I used lots of tape to tape the cardboard tubes onto a blank wall. If you have older children, you can involve them in designing the marble run. This is a good STEM activity as they will be learning about slopes, angles, gravity, engineering and problem solving. As David was rather short I made a very simple marble run on the wall so it would be more accessible to him. I placed a tissue box with its top trimmed off (you can just use a shoe box) at the bottom of the marble run to 'catch' the marbles. To prevent the marbles from bouncing off and from making loud noises when landing, I padded the box with some newspaper.

David had great fun playing with the marble run. He kept putting new marbles in through the top opening and soon started experimenting by dropping the marbles in through other available spaces. It was fun even for me as an adult to play! When my second son came home he couldn't resist and had to join in the fun too! It may seem like the youngest was just playing and having fun, but even in such a simple play activity, he was learning about how things work, and having a lesson in gravity even without being conscious about it!

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