I love the creativity that comes from a good, old fashioned art project. It is important to me that peanut be exposed to lots of different activities in his life – sports, art, books, music, games – so that he can not only find and confidently forge his own path in life, but also be a well-rounded kid and adult.
We already participate in a Music Class that we plan to continue in the fall and there are hours upon hours that we spend outside crawling, climbing, running, swinging. But I’ve been struggling with the arts and crafts. It can be extremely intimidating and exhausting to pull out all the supplies, coral peanut, introduce the activity, and clean-up for all of about 3 minutes of actual activity. So our projects have been limited to stickers, crayons and markers.
Until I came across her blog. Reading about her weekly toddler art group got me thinking. And then she wrote this post and I figured there was nothing stopping me from doing this. So out went the email to a few mommy friends who all have kids about the same age as peanut and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
We had our first toddler art group play date this morning…and it was a resounding success! We decided to try something easy first, so finger painting was the activity of the day. We met at the playground across the street from my house and set up the supplies on the picnic table. Every kid got a piece of paper taped in front of them and we put out paper plates of various colors of washable finger paints. The munchkins all focused on their projects for about 5 minutes and then they were off to play on the playground and share a snack. It was interesting to watch every child’s approach to the project – some wanted their hands cleaned between each color, others only dipped a finger in and drew small lines, others put whole hands in and smeared the colors into a mash-up of gooey goodness.
Five minutes was more than I expected from a group of one to two year olds, to be honest. Having the playground was a distraction, but also a blessing. The kids could simply run off to another activity and I didn’t have to worry about my house becoming a mess of red and blue hand prints. We plan on trying this play group strategy out about once a month rotating houses among the other mamas and hopefully trying new activities.
So peanut hasn’t proved himself to be the next Van Gogh or Pollack yet, but he did correctly name a few of the colors. Hey, it’s a start.