A Intern’s Reflection: Hayon Park

This summer we had a wonderful team of interns who were involved in a variety of projects around SEEC. Hayon Park, our Art Enrichment Intern, had the pleasure of spending time with a number of our children doing art inspired activities. She assisted with the Smithsonian Early Explorer Program (our two day a week toddler class for child and caregiver), developed in-class experiences for infant, toddler, and twos classes upon request, and led afternoon art studio experiences for the pre-K classes. Below you will find Hayon’s reflection and favorite projects from her time at SEEC.

Internship Reflection 1: SEE Program

Every Smithsonian Early Explorer (SEE) class was an insightful moment for me to see how children engage with the museum resources in their own playful way. Although I only joined the last classes of the year, I sincerely enjoyed getting to know the children and their caregivers. One girl’s grandmother told me that she asked “Is Miss Hayon going to be there today?” I was amazed at how she remembered my name and was anticipating playing with me despite our limited interactions in class. I am grateful for every moment I experienced within the SEE program and hope to join the class again soon.

The image above I designed for the SEE program was printed on the end-of-the-year gifts for the family, and on SEEC’s gala brochure.


Internship Reflection 2: Art with Infant and Toddler Friends

For the last half of my internship, I had the opportunity to do something I absolutely love: making art with young friends. I visited the infant, toddler, and twos classrooms classes twice during the month of July.

I began every class reading a book that would trigger some ideas for the activity. A short discussion time followed, where children shared their brilliant observations. Then I introduced the main activity and gave a quick demonstration on how to use the materials. Most of the projects were sensory based and open-ended. I was quite nervous if the children would be interested in the activities, but each artwork turned out to be fun and unique. To me, just being there with the children was a joyful moment. 

Art with the Infants

With the youngest friends of the center, I explored ice painting. I first read a short storybook called “Little Blue and Little Yellow” to introduce the color-mixing activity. Then, I demonstrated how they could roll the frozen paint ice cubes on paper. As the ice cubes melted, the primary colors naturally mixed together, making an abstract piece of work. More importantly, our little friends enjoyed the sensory experience of touching and exploring the cold ice cubes.


Art with the Toddlers

With the toddler classes, I introduced the activity with a book called “Mouse Paint”, a story in which three white mice explore color-mixing by diving into primary color paint jars. We imagined that a white piece of yarn was a mouse and dipped it into red, yellow, and blue paint bowls. The children then made the yarn dance on the white paper. As the yarn playfully danced on the surface, curvy lines and dots appeared and created a Jackson Pollock-like abstract piece of art. They had so much fun with the yarn painting and I loved playing with the little artists as well.

Art with the Twos

I started off by reading one of my favorite children’s books, “Matthew’s Dream”. I emphasized that ANYTHING could be art, including food, landscape, and even ourselves. I briefly introduced Robert Rauschenberg, an artist who used everyday objects in his artworks, blurring the border between 2-dimension and 3-dimension works. In order to encourage children to explore different objects, I brought in small objects, such as pasta shells, beads, short straws, yarn, stickers, pieces of paper, and pompoms. I handed out cardboard pieces to each student and encouraged them to use glue to attach the different objects to the surface. Some friends were very creative and experimental.  For example, one friend glued the straws to stand on the surface, which made a sculptural piece. There were also friends who showed interest in only using particular materials such as stickers or pasta shells. Overall, everyone spent a lot of time working on their art piece, and each one of them was absolutely fun and artistic.


Internship Reflection 3: Studio time

Upon starting the internship, I acquired permission to do research for my Master’s thesis at SEEC. I obtained consent from the parents of the children in the four year old classes. My research focuses on how young children’s environment affect everyday art activities and creativity, especially their drawings and narratives.


Sketchbook Time

We started art with drawing in our own sketchbooks. I kept the sketchbooks on a shelf, so that kids could  grab theirs as they were coming in to the studio. Amazing conversations emerged during this time while friends gathered around the table and drew.


Snow covered studio

One morning, we had a stack of Styrofoam donated to the school. As soon as children saw the Styrofoam, they began working together to make an igloo. Some friends worked on making windows for the igloo, and some just playfully drew on the surface. The Styrofoam broke into smaller and smaller pieces, and the whole studio space became a snow land!

Homemade play dough

With some simple ingredients, I made a big chunk of play dough and brought in to the studio. The kids loved the texture of the sticky dough. They created imaginative figures by adding other materials and color to the dough and paper plates with markers. It turned out to be pretty awesome.




Egg Carton Ideas

A family donated a number of egg cartons from home. The kids loved making stuff with the cartons and used them in ways I never would have imagined. Some of them used other objects like yarn to create a container for spaghetti others created vehicles like trucks and metro trains. I loved watching them explore an everyday object in their own creative way.


Thank you Hayon for all of your hard work this summer! To read the full story and learn more about Hayon’s work visit here and keep an eye out for future artistic endeavors at SEEC with our new, full-time art educator, Carolyn Eby.

Life Lessons from Two-Year-Olds

I spend a lot of time listening to two year olds since my office at SEEC is across the hall from the two year old classrooms. Two year olds are incredibly cool human beings. They are honest, yet loving; assertive, yet shy; funny, yet serious. I have always said that the year between two and three is one of my favorite years of child development because you have a rare and fleeting view into the mind of your child– they can tell you what they are thinking but they have not yet started to censor what they are saying. I think that there are a lot of life lessons we adults can learn from two year olds. Here are some of those lessons…

  • Use all your energy to engage in things that you are interested in doing. Two year olds go and go and go, seemingly nonstop, but it’s all about doing what they are interested in. We all say that we wish we had the kind of energy two year olds have…maybe we would all have this kind of energy if we spent more time doing things we like.
  • When you are done, be done. While two year olds go and go, when they are done they are done. When they are done with the Playdoh there is no convincing them otherwise. When they are done playing cars they move on. Have you ever watched a tired two year old fall asleep? One minute they are wide awake and the next…sound asleep. No tossing and turning and worrying there. Be done with it and move on.
  • Eat a little bit all day long. Nutritionists tell us that this idea of grazing is the right way to eat but do we do it? No! We sit and eat three (often huge) meals every day. Two year olds, when left alone, prefer to graze on small meals all day long. It is so much healthier.
  • Hold someone’s hand and get their attention when you want to tell or show them something really important. I love how two year olds come take my hand or put their tiny hands on my face to be sure I am looking right at them when they have something important to tell or show me. Too often we talk at people rather than with them.  Get people’s attention when you want to talk to them and give them your attention when they talk to you.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a great facial expression. Two year olds are experts at funny faces. They break the tension, communicate their feelings and make people laugh. If only more of us did that the world would be a better place.
  • Make sure people clap for you when you do something cool. I love how two year olds do something and then look to you to clap for them as soon as they stop. Everyone needs to be acknowledged for doing something cool. We should do it for each other more often.
  • Ask “What’s this?” and “Why?” a lot. It makes things more clear and helps everyone know what is really going on. You should also ask “Why not?” a lot as you get older. It opens new doors and new ways of thinking.
  • Feel proud of yourself in pictures. As adults we often resist getting our pictures taken and worry about how we look when they are taken. Two year olds delight in getting their pictures taken and insist on seeing them over and over regardless of how they look. They just love to see themselves. No image problems here.
  • Move around often rather than sitting still for hours. It makes you healthier and keeps you slim. Two year olds have it right. It also makes you tired so you sleep better. Not a bad deal.
  • Let people know when you are not happy. It is so much healthier than keeping your feelings all bottled up inside. Two year olds are masters at letting you know when they are not happy, but they don’t hold a grudge either. We could learn from both of these behaviors.
  • Try something new often. Two year olds often don’t think twice about trying something new, especially if you don’t make a big deal about it being new. Two year olds know how to “live juicy”…not a bad way to live your life.
  • Give hugs and kisses. Lots of them. Every day. To lots of people. Say “I love you” often.

If you have not spent any time with a two year old lately I strongly suggest you find one (the adorable one below is my granddaughter!). It will put your life in perspective and make you appreciate the small things that truly make up a life. It is definitely making my life better.