June 29, 2012

Messy Paint Day: Educational and Fun


Messy Paint Day: Educational and Fun





I believe kids need to get a little messy to learn.  The challenge is to structure activities so that 'a little messy' does not turn into a big mess.  Its hard to be creative when you can't find your art tools in all the clutter and spills. But how do you contain the mess within reasonable bounds?  Here are a few suggestions I've learned the hard way.



♥ Protect all surfaces:  Cover tabletops and floors with plastic, newspaper, cardboard, etc. Or better yet, work outside.

♥ Be prepared:  Have all supplies within reach.  Accidents happen when you turn your back or zip out of the room to get something.

♥ Fill containers only 1/3 full:  There won't be as much to clean up if it spills.

♥ Join in the fun: Get a little messy yourself.  Make you own painting, collage, etc.  Your kids will love it, and your presence will communicate controlled fun.

♥ Have your exit strategy figured out: In the case of little-arty-pants (above), his clothes came off outside, and he went straight into the bathtub.  Once he's old enough to help clean up, he'll do that too.






  • Let's face it, there's more work after a painting activity than after a paper and pencil activity. So is it necessary to get messy?






  • My answer is yes.  It's the best way to help our children learn.  Just look at Calvin's face (above). His mind is totally engaged.  He shook the bottle. Then he squeezed the bottle.  The first resulted in drops, the second in streams of paint. When you're fifteen months old, this is serious learning.   
 











  • What did Calvin learn from his messy art?



         1.  He learned if he shook the bottle too close, he got it on his foot; and if he held it far away, he didn't.  He learned how cool and slippery paint feels and how it moves like water.


          2. He learned that he could use both hands at the same time, and that he could mix green and yellow by shaking one color on top of another.















  • The result was a little mess, a lot of learning, and a very interesting painting. I think a messy paint day can be educational and fun!






Do you have a comment or a suggestion?  I'd love to hear from you.








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