Mention paint and glitter and my children shout with glee – while I shudder and grab for the nearest package of wipes. It might be my type A personality that abhors anything messy or out of place, or it could be that for the last 8 years I’ve lived in a house that had carpet in every single room, including our dining room/school room. My steam cleaner got a lot of use.
When we moved into our current house and saw the lovely hardwood floors my kids immediately started begging for paints and play dough and glitter because there wasn’t any carpet to worry about. I managed to put them off for a few months until Christmas rolled around and I hauled out the requisite arts and crafts materials for the kids to create masterpieces out of. And then I vacuumed glitter out of the floor for the next 6 weeks.
Last week Micheals had their big craft sale, and I picked up a 10 pack of 8×8 canvases for a St Patrick’s Day project I’d been thinking about. When I announced that we would be painting today the kids couldn’t contain their glee, and I must admit that their enthusiasm was contagious! I grabbed our Crayola washable paints, paintbrushes, paint trays and the white canvases.
First off we made shamrocks out of their hand prints. I love using their fingerprints and hand prints in art, and this seemed like a super fun way to remember how tiny their hands are at this age. The kids loved getting their hands painted, and even Little Man was all smiles when I painted his hands. After they dried I hung them on our school room wall:
Super cute, right? They are so simple to make!
After we finished the hand print art, I put Little Man down for a nap and let the big kids paint away. On our last trip to the Crayola Experience I had picked up some new color paints, including paint with glitter in it! The girls were just a tad excited.
While I watched them chatter and paint and doodle and create, I realized that I need to be more open to making messes. The creativity that flowed out of them was pure and such a joy to watch. Sam occupied himself by making modern art and seeing what happened when he layered color over color:
Bella drew a castle in the sky and then added in a rainbow, because rainbows and castles go together, right? Since Bella only sees in 3 dimension, it can be hard for her to add details and she gets frustrated easily. Today I didn’t give them any more instructions other than to have fun – and so she let herself just paint. It was really neat to watch her face glow as she created on her art!
Sophie is happiest when she is creating, so the fact that I pulled down paints and told her to create made her day. Since Sophie is type A like me she needed me to tell her something to paint, so I asked her to incorporate a rainbow into her painting, but to just have fun. So she did.
Something happened around the table as the kids painted. They managed to share all the paints and paint brushes without yelling or shouting at each other. Bella told Sam his painting was cool, and Sam told Sophie that she was a *genius at painting*. The girls talked about the colors of the rainbow and together they decided that leprechauns probably were not real, but maybe the next time we saw a rainbow they should try hard to find the edge of it.
In short, letting them paint without direction was great! Believe me, I had wipes and a roll of paper towels right on the table, and washing out the paintbrushes took me 30 minutes – but it was worth it. When Daddy came home they couldn’t wait to show him what they created, and being able to hang their own art on the wall was priceless.
I’m still not ready to unleash the glue and the glitter, but after today I realized that messy can be good. Life is messy after all, and it’s all really good. I guess like life, you can choose to see the blessings in the mess, or you can choose to ignore the mess for the boring.
I pick the mess.
Just don’t tell my kids.