We had the best 5th birthday party ever yesterday – we did art with 15 children!
First, we designed t-shirts. Each child received a plain t-shirt and then they could put whatever design they wanted on it using paints, markers and stencils. We had girls mixing skulls with flowers and boys working out layouts. Today many of the children proudly wore their creations to school. My son described their shirts as “snazzy”.
Then we had the Messy Hands bus http://www.messyhands.com/arrive at the house. All the children boarded the bus and played with clay – making landscapes or handprints, painting and imprinting treasures into the clay. The children had a fantastic time talking about what they were making to their friends on the bus. For many of them it was a new experience as these are not the sort of art projects they do at school.
With few restrictions on what they could do, the children loved playing with the clay, dreaming up stories as they created landscapes and stuck items like magic mirrors, dinosaurs and frogs and rocks into the clay and then painting them. Their imaginations were running wild for a hour. The bus was buzzing with conversation and laughter.
Tonight, as I wrote my thank you note to the Messy Hands studio, I was sad to see that the studio will no longer be offering birthday parties as part of their services. I do encourage families to head to the studio for some art time. A few months ago, as we were planning the party, I took my two boys to try it out. We were there for 2 hours painting, creating and talking. We had amazing discussions while they did their projects – we probably did more talking there than we do on a regular weeknight given all that is going on. I felt my bond with my sons grow that afternoon.
I try hard to turn the tv off on the weekends and do an art project with my sons. Simply bring out the paints, putting on a smock and mucking around with papier mache or bubble art or whatever, makes for lots of laughs, experiments with mixing colours and lots of imagination.