Before I had kids, I had wonderful visions of doing art with them all day.
I'm artsy! I love doing art! Kids love art! I will be such a cool mom.
I will set out a vast array of art supplies and they'll happily paint away while I sew or sketch or do some other crafty and satisfying thing alongside them.
Believe me, I've tried. My efforts always culminate in one of two scenarios.
I set up a beautiful arrangement of paint in little cups with brushes and piles of fresh paper. I cover the kitchen table with a drop cloth. I have water and towels handy.
I am prepared for a full afternoon of painting with them.
Set up time takes about fifteen minutes.
They are done. After only 3 minutes.
So I start cleaning up. Pouring excess paint back in the bottles from the cups.
And washing cups and brushes.
Cleanup time takes about 15 minutes.
Did you catch that math? 30 minutes of prep/cleaning versus 3 minutes of actual art making.
I hate Scenario One.
Their attention is actually held for quite a bit longer.
Scenario Two officially starts the moment they invent a new technique, like splattering paint across the paper or pouring it directly onto the paper. I always applaud these techniques. They are having fun! Creativity is messy!
I applaud them because there is a stifled artist inside of me living vicariously through their freedom. Plus, I am an idiot.
It always ends with paint being dumped on the floor or splattered on the wall. And they are covered in it too.
I either have to let them contaminate the entire house with primary colors, or I have to put them in the tub right away.
I strongly dislike Scenario Two.
Hopeful, I still believe that there must be an alternate scenario. There can't be just two.
In an attempt to avoid the time disappointment of Scenario One and the messy disaster of Scenario Two I must come up with a new project.
I've tried crayons. No interest. I've tried markers. Same. Finally, I think of something new that is sure to hold their interest.
Stamps! Stamps are perfect.
There is virtually no prep time or cleaning up. I just lay out stamp ink pads and a few stamps and paper.
The stamps are small and the ink is self-contained. No dumping of paint on the floor either.
This will be great! I'm so clever!
It is going well! They are stamping! I may have actually discovered the elusive Scenario Three! I notice the toddler is using the ink pad itself as a stamp on the paper and he is getting a little ink on his hands.
So I dash to the kitchen to grab a wet towel to clean his hands.
And when I return five seconds later, the scene is, um, a little different. The four year old is now standing next to the toddler and they are applying ink directly to their faces. They are giddy with laughter.
So I ask them what they are doing.
Foiled again. It is Scenario Two.
Do you do art with your kids? What do you do?