It was back in 2005, when I began working on my CBA portfolio, that I first saw a painting activity that used clear acrylic panels for children to paint on. I thought this was such a fabulous idea that I just had to find a way to incorporate it here.
I love painting. When I paint I become completely immersed in the activity. I’d love to give the children the opportunity to paint all the time. Sadly I had not been able to. Certainly we do paint but not nearly as often as I’d like to.
I do have a designated indoor art area which the children use freely but it only has paint when we are doing a group art activity. The reason for this is because there is so much set up and clean up involved with paint that it just isn’t feasible to have it available all the time.
Sure, I can involve the children in the set up and clean up – some of them would enjoy that. The biggest problem is that no matter how often I read ‘washable’ on a container of paint I know from experience that they are lying. In fact, I’ve had better success cleaning up after painting the walls in my house than cleaning up after the children have painted with ‘washable’ paint.
So, painting becomes an activity with too many rules. I loathe painting rules. Rules and creativity are antonyms.
Paper is the other issue with painting – more specifically, wet paper. Some children enjoy creating elaborate creations with painstaking detail that requires the precision of a surgeon and hours to complete a single piece of artwork. Others take mere seconds to cover a piece of paper in paint and then make another and another and another until there is no where left to hang any more. Then there are the ones that like creating texture with their paint – piling it on so thick that it will be at least a week before the paint will dry.
Now I’m back to the clear acrylic panels for painting – it would solve the paper issue but what about the mess. Then it occurred to me that the once place where we never worry about messy play is outside. So this spring I incorporated a clear acrylic panel to the ‘manger’ (nickname for the covered seating area). Located between the gravel area and the deck it can be accessed from either side allowing many children to use it at once. The addition of a garden hose with both hot and cold water and a laundry tub which drains into the gravel makes clean-up super easy too.
We have used it often this summer;