I was recently lamenting on the facebook page that I find myself blogging about fun activities for the kids more often than we actually do them. I’ve told myself engaging in messy art projects with a toddler and a baby is just too difficult. And while that may have been true in the past, S is a year old now and the name of the blog is Modern Parents MESSY kids… it’s time to put up or shut up.
So today I’m introducing a new series, called “We Tried It!”, in which I’ll be trying (and photographing) some inspiring play activities from around the web. They won’t all be art projects but that’s where we’re starting. The hubs took C to Seattle’s annual air show/hydroplane/navy ship extravaganza that is Seafair on Saturday, so S and I had some alone time.
I decided to go with finger painting as our first activity since I’m all about art that focuses on the process, not the product, at this age. Also, at 12 months, S still has a tendency to stick stuff (especially new stuff) into her mouth every now and then so we used this recipe for homemade edible fingerpaints.
It’s basically 1 part water, 1 part flour, and some food coloring – although we ended up using a little less flour. This stuff is definitely meant for sensory exploration more than traditional art. Nevertheless, I was surprised to find it dried enough on our paper plate to hang up later. Check out the original DIY for two other easy recipes too.
I made three bowls of “paint” and started by dipping S’s hand in them and smearing them on a paper plate to give her the general idea. (Note: I taped the plate to her high chair tray and had modest success preventing her from throwing it.) Next I let S manipulate the paint for a while. This definitely peaked her interest. Click through to see how the rest of our art adventure went.
I was surprised to find that S actually did spend a significant amount of time finger painting. The colors mixed nicely without becoming muddled and I think she liked the effect.
After several minutes her interest waned so we transitioned from painting to color-mixing. She watched me pour first.
Then I let her have a go at mixing. She liked smearing the smooth and cool mixture around the bowl and on her tray. Then the inevitable happened…
Splat! After that we were pretty much done. All and all I’d say this was a very successful activity. Good sensory and color play and easy to clean up afterward. I think this could also be a great one to include C in too. I’d probably set S up to paint the same way but give the paint to C in different size bowls and encourage him to pour and mix with spoons.
The use of the highchair with S was also nice because I was able to occupy her with food while I set everything up. Once we were done, I gave her a surface scrub and she ate lunch while I cleaned up. After that it was straight into a short bath and off to nap.
I think we’ll definitely do this one again – will you? Any other art activities you’d recommend? How about something you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t had the chance (or are a little scared)? Let me know and we might just be your guinea pigs!
P.S. Looking for more ways to simplify and connect with your family?