Today I planned to mop the kitchen floor. I don’t know why that matters considering tomorrow it will once again see drops of paint, but I figured since I’m going to be scrubbing anyway we might as well make a mess.
As many of my friends know, I am the Napoleon Bonaparte of the revolution against bougie motherhood. If my kids are without mosquito bites, dirt under the fingernails, skinned knees, and splattered paint on their clothes…I start to wonder what I’m doing wrong. It’s unfair to expect kids to act like anything but kids, and I say we might as well facilitate some of the opportunities for them to enjoy childhood. Life is too short to be tidy. We survived our own germ ridden grubby childhood…our kids will survive theirs.
Sensory play is a driving force in the way kids explore the world, and inside every child is the creativity that makes an artist. At least that’s what I believe, anyway. Understanding these two aspects offers the opportunity for fun projects that, while messy, create interesting paintings you wouldn’t be able to recreate with a regular paintbrush.
Here are 5 alternative paint activities we’ve tried:
This one takes some overnight prep time, however, it’s super easy to put together.
All you need is an ice tray, food coloring, popsicle sticks, and aluminum foil or saran wrap.
It’s a pretty obvious process. Fill the ice trays with water, leaving enough room for food coloring, as well as space at the top so the different colors don’t slosh into one another.
Experiment with varying amounts of food coloring, as well as color mixtures for different shades. Use your popsicle sticks to stir the coloring.
Cover the ice tray with saran wrap. Or if you’re like me and completely incapable of working with saran wrap, aluminum foil works just as well. I simply marked out the lines of the tray beforehand so I knew where to find each slot once covered.
Poke a popsicle stick into the middle of each section of the ice tray, and carefully transfer the tray to the freezer. Let it sit overnight.
Once the ice is completely frozen, pop them out of the tray. Mine came out easily, however, you can also use a knife around the edge of each piece of ice if you’re met with a struggle.
As each piece of ice melts, run them over white paper to create watercolor paintings. At first not much will happen, but given a few minutes, the effects can be pretty interesting to play with!
This next activity didn’t require prep time, but of the painting activities we tried, it was the messiest.
All you need is paint, paper, and a fly swatter.
Yes…a fly swatter. Personally, we used brand new and unused swatters. But hey, do each their own.
The activity is simple. Drizzle paint on to white paper and then smack it with the fly swatter. Of course this splattered paint everywhere, but the kids had a ton of fun. Next time we will do this outside if I’m not already planning to scrub the floor. That will give us the oppertunity to be a bit more violant and crazy with our splashes.
The squeegee painting was a huge hit with the kids, and it also made an incredibly beautiful picture.
Once again set up was simple. We poured a line of paint across the top of a piece of paper, using two or three different colors.
Simply swipe the squeegee down the page, and the result is gorgeous.
Bonus points for the fact that this was not especially messy compared to all the other activities we tried, with the exception of our marble painting:
The marble painting required only a container, paper, paint, and marbles. We placed the paper at the bottom of the container with drops of paint (once again using two or three colors). After dropping a handful of marbles on top of the paint we tilted and turned the container, causing the marbles to roll around and create fun designs.
This one tied with the squeegee painting for most beautiful. I can’t decide which one’s my favorite.
Our final activity was for the sake of pure fun and mess. This is where I set up and then stepped away, leaving the kids to simply play and see what comes of it.
Like the marble painting, I took some toys from the playroom in the name of art: Hot Wheels.
I set up the track from the edge of our art table, laying pieces of paper on the floor at the end. The paint was poured onto the track and the kids let their cars run over the paint, streaking the paper with their wheels.
This one was second in messiest, but also held the kid’s attention the longest.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with the new art we have for our fridge. Now it’s just a matter of waiting till the paint dries.