Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fun-kid-elic Activities: Nature is the best paint brush

Today was one of those glorious summer afternoons where the mosquitoes called in sick and the breeze picked up their shift.  It was also one of those loooooong summer afternoons when it became glaringly apparent that I have officially run out of ideas to keep my preschool-starved child busy.  So having discovered that the house was mysteriously 10 degrees hotter than sitting in the shade, I packed up my daughter's IKEA easel (love that thing!) and created a little artist's studio outside.  We've done this before but today's outdoor art session came with an extra twist.
Bored with the usual paint brushes and fingers, we raided our kitchen and back yard for some "fresh" inspiration.  A withering cucumber served as a great stamp, as did a wrinkly clementine sliced in half.  Snap peas, a leaf of lettuce, a sprig of mint, some fun leaves from the yard and a pointy stick were added to the pile and we were off.  Easel and toes alike in the grass, something green in each hand, our outdoor atelier was farmers market meets art studio.

There is something magical about creating outside.  Nature and creativity seem elementally intertwined.  It is easy to feel inspired when sitting on grass, surrounded by blue sky and the sounds of a world that could care less about the unnerving blend of stress and excitement of an impending new school year. Mix that with a dab of the playfulness of using familiar items in such a new way and you have the makings of a much-needed carefree moment framed by an even greater reminder that the world, even in our own backyards, is a magical place.

For added fun:
1) Read one of our family favorites Bridget's Beret by Tom Lichtenheld before painting.
2) Hang your child's art on a clothesline and have a gallery walk.  Invite anyone who will look (neighbors, pets, the mail carrier).
3) Display the implements you used for painting and have someone try and identify which tool made which mark.
4) Clean off with the sprinkler or better yet, chase your kiddo around with the hose. Then if you're really cool, let them have a turn chasing you.

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1 comment:

Annick Hivert-Carthew said...

Wonderful ideas. Very creative. Siena can chase me with a hose any hot day in MD. The paintings, of course, are fabulous.