In my last post, I reflected on the creativity process through the eyes of a parent of a toddler. I included some photos and I wanted to make a separate post that would go over what he was doing, exactly.
This activity is easy, cheap and has no end in sight. It can be repeated and adjusted in infinite ways, for kids or even for adults. WOOHOO!
The first thing I did was set up a space where Kingsley could create without ruining anything too much. By anything, I mean our furniture, walls, and floors. But let’s face it, life with a toddler means you’ve signed a contract with the Universe saying you’re okay with those things being ruined. Also, our floors need to be replaced so we really don’t care that much.
Regardless, I took an old piece of large paper (it had been used to pack some breakable products at Winners) that he had already painted on, and used blue painter’s tape to stick it to the table.
We use that tape because it comes off easily and leaves no gunky mess.
I like this paper because it’s FREEEEEEEE and big. Did I mention it’s free? I love free.
Next, I took two full pieces of watercolor paper from the studio and cut each into four. Simple scissors, nothing fancy. I basically created oversized trading cards for him.
Why? He’s 2, so he swished the paint around and then wants to move on. I was going to be making supper while my wife nursed the baby, and we needed him occupied and doing something worthwhile.
Plus, he said he wanted to paint. Knowing that he works for short bursts, I decided to use the same amount of paper I normally would, but by splitting it I bought more time. It also looks different than what he’s used to, which has a certain allure for anyone, 2 or 90!
I taped the paper down to the big paper underneath, using a donut wad of blue painters tape. It was simply to keep it in the general spot, so that when he aggressively painted, it wouldn’t go flying off the table.
He wasn’t super into it.
He said that now he wanted to draw.
Okay, no problem! I know that wax crayons are amazing to use with watercolor. I think most of us have been amazed as kids when we see the relief-effect. So I grabbed some crayons and quickly made some marks – he loves drawing tractors, so we did a tractor. He loves stars, so we made a bunch of stars. And so on. It took me about a minute to get these down, and then I said: “Now it’s your turn to color these! Go!”
And he did. Every now and then I would check in to keep him going, to add another color (I had two brushes out, and so I got to join in the fun from time to time), and to switch out the cards. I only gave him 2-3 at a time. This kept him busy and interested for a solid 20 minutes, which is sort of like a miracle in 2 year old land.
The best part was that when he was finished, he grabbed one and said, “I WANNA HANG IT ON THE WALL!” He was SO proud! So, we did.
I took the dryer ones and stuck them on the wall immediately. The rest went on after everything else was cleaned up, and he is so proud of his art on the walls, just like in Daddy’s studio.
If you want to do this to, but aren’t sure where to start, I recommend:
- buy the cheapest watercolor paint you can find – pucks are available at the dollar store, and do the job just fine if you’re not working professionally with them (and maybe they will work if that’s your style!)
- buy the cheapest watercolor paper you can find – if you can find a pad of children’s watercolor paper, even better. The texture are usually more intense which is so awesome for exploring with.
- cheap watercolor brushes – again, go to the dollar store
- any crayons will do
- have fun with it – scribble, draw shapes, draw things, and then paint over top
- try other things under the paint, like markers or pencil crayon, and see what happens; as your kids get older, more intentional exploring will be even more exciting
- HAVE FUUUUUN! If it feels like work, you’re not doing it right! Stop and try again tomorrow. 🙂
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