I decided to just move the location and change up the project and I'm so glad I did. Today's time together was by far my favorite out of the four meetings that we had. Watching children being creative is just a happy site. And once you get past the mess of it and the control of it and you just enjoy it - it's a beautiful thing. So, what did we do? First, let me give you the back story.
(Art by Miss M)
A few weeks ago Miss M was trying to come up with a craft to do with a friend. I had remembered reading about a mom who did simon-says art projects with her kids. She'd basically call out random things for them to do like "draw a circle" or "swap crayon colors with your friend". Things like that. I loved the idea. I remember thinking it would be a great way to take the pressure out of creating art.
I think sometimes, especially with pre-teen kids, they loose the innocence of creating freely and they start to compare their work to every one else. It's in that age group that we start to hear the self-doubt statements like "I can't..." and "I'm not..." a lot more. It's sad really, but the truth is, that's when it starts and it stays with us, even as adults. So, this project is a fun way to just get kids to create just to create. The end result should just be something they had fun creating. Today I think that is exactly what happened!
When Miss M was ready to do her project with her friend we realized that we liked the idea but that it really needed to have a little more to it than just calling out statements randomly, that would work but we decided to tweak the idea and make it a little more structured.
She and I sat down one night and listed out 40 things that could be added to a canvas and then we typed them up and made them into little cards. We turned it into a game, kind of. When it was time to create they would just pull a card from the stack and do what the prompt said.
We included things like splatter paint, painting on bubble wrap, painting on a border, add words, adding sticker masks and many, many more. After the cards were printed and cut to size, Miss M pulled out her art stuff and started doodling away on the backs of them. Now we have a little art game that we can use over and over and we used it today.
When Miss M did hers it was just two of them painting so it went pretty quickly but today, with 20 kids, we weren't as fast and really only made it through about 6 cards but still, the kids were successful and had fun so it didn't matter.
I wish so badly I had remembered to take my camera to the park today. We had 20 kids show up and all 20 walked away with very unique canvases. It's just so cool that all the kids had the same prompts and all the kids did their canvases very differently. I wish I could have taken photos of all the canvases lined up together so you could see them. I did get to snag some photos of Bug and Jet and one of their friends at home afterwards. You can at least see the differences in their work.
I love this one that their friend did. She was talking to me after about how she was very careful about picking colors that contrasted against each other but would still look good together. She told me they were colors that she normally wouldn't paint with. I love it! I love that something sparked in her and made her try something new. She did great!
All my craft campers did great and it was so fun, I totally want to do this myself. I think I need to get a group of my friends and have a painting in the park party for myself! Who's in?