We here at OBE like to think of ourselves as pretty darn adventurous parents when it comes to the whole process of kids making art. Whether it be spinning paint, watercolors, sticky glue or paper mache, the fun of making anything is in getting all gooey in the process – right?
Well, not so much lately.
It seems like we find ourselves more and more tucking away the markers in an inaccessible drawer, making sure the paints are stored tightly away and hoping that some other brave parent starts organizing a neighborhood summer art-a-thon so we don’t have to deal with it all.
Then, a few pals passed along a great reminder from Simple Homeschool about it all. Being fellow museum junkies, we all really loved what Kris had to say about setting kids creativity free. Less in the “beauty of childhood” department, we particular connected with her introduction to the grumpy museum lady.
We’ve all met that lady. You know, the one in that (unnamed) museum who feels it is her duty to remind small children over and over (and over) again never to touch anything or make a mess. She is the nasty creature we whisper about at diaper gym. The one that we may even feel the need to make sweeping claims that she is stealing our kids childhood. She is the stifler of creative kids, the one who would see paint on the walls or touching the art as akin to one of the deadliest of sins.
We as protective momma bears loathe her. Buuuuut, it is only out of familiarity that we found ourselves obsessively hating the grumpy museum lady.
It’s like realizing you are starting to sound like your own mother. The grumpy museum lady lives in all of us when it comes to our own houses.
Make a mess? We don’t think so.
After reading that, we got super inspired for some summertime outdoor art projects – mostly because none of us wanted the grumpy MUSEUM lady label, the grumpy lady label we’ve already made great strides establishing with our kids seemed more than enough for this year. Why pile on?
We admit that our desire to find ourselves beloved by neighbor children and parents alike means we may have put a few too many ideas on the plate this summer. But, if you can’t make a huge mess, why bother?
Here are a few of the projects we thought would score big in the messy kids art department this summer:
1. A fence mural. No, we are not suggesting you let the kids paint the back fence (which would be so cool. But, way out of our league). More like scoring some rolls of newsprint or butcher block paper and rolling it out along the fence, passing out the tempera paints (they wash up pretty easily) and letting the kids go for it. You could go all free-form or draw a scene for them to paint in. This also works on the driveway, in the car port, on the back porch.
2. Making a cardboard village. Moving boxes, cleaned-out-the-basement boxes, scored them from the grumpy neighbor boxes. They are all awesome for creating a backyard village. Bust out the paint and it all gets very colorful. Awesome.
3. Sponge painting. For those extra hot days, set up a folding table under a tree, squeeze some paint into little cups, cut up some sponges and go for it. Good times.
4. Kris recommended having an outdoor movie night. Still trying to figure out how that would work without enticing the local vagabonds to break into the house later and swipe our televisions. But, this sounds like such a fun idea. We’ll be working out the details and getting back with you.
5. Nature crafts. A day in the forest or park or at the lake means treasures to spend lots of time creating with. We’ve got a whack of project ideas HERE and some other gems including puppets and nature collages HERE.
6. The science lab is one of our favorites. Grow some mold. Make some fossils, blow up a volcano, make swirly colorful things out of a pop bottle, oil, water and food coloring. This is a great (sometimes gross) and super fun way to make a creative mess.
Now, to put all of that creative energy into action, and make sure we grab ourselves a bottle of wine on the way back from the craft store – you know, to wash away all of that paint, glue and science goo off of the back porch when it’s all done.:)