Today Levi was with me and he asked if we could make something ‘artistic’. I told him that would be fine and asked him if he remembered how to draw the different kinds of leaves we learned in art at school last year. He thought he did, so I got out all the supplies.
I had told him how in my last art lesson at the preschool, I had showed the children how to paint with Kool-Aid…and of course, he wanted to do that, too. We made a run to Winn Dixie, and a side trip to Chicken Salad Chick…and came home to start our work.
First we practiced drawing leaves. When he got some he was pleased with we started the painting. Luckily, I’m a smart Lulu and I had put a whole king size sheet on the floor! To paint with Kool-Aid…first you spray your picture with spray starch. Then lightly sprinkle different colors of the powder onto the wet starch. Using a sponge brush, brush in a downward motion in long strokes…overlapping to mix the colors.
OK…Ours did not always show the differing colors because we were pouring out of the package and we got big globs. At school, I transferred the powder into salt shakers and it was much more controlled. But, I did not have any extra salt shakers…so we made do. That’s the thing about giving kids freedom in art. They make mistakes and use their own minds to figure out a solution. Levi thought we needed more starch, before I could say that was probably not a great idea. And so it got a double dose of starch which turned the dry powder into a liquid. Therefore some of his leaves are solid and that’s ok, too. The main thing is that he was so pleased with how they looked.
Then his mind went into overdrive. “Lulu, I want to make a big picture like a collage and put it in a frame, but I want it to be fall things behind the leaves.” Get that? So, I got out my 300 sheets of scrapbook papers and he set about going through them to find the ones he thought looked like fall. He found these 4. I just wait to see what would come next. He got the tape and taped all 4 together on the backside (My suggestion to turn it over). He missed a few spots in his taping and things got a little wonky. But, he said he would just put some green paper there like that part wasn’t fall yet.
After getting the background ready, he was ready to glue down the leaves. I suggested he plan it out first to see how he liked it before we glued. He did and came to the conclusion there was not enough leaves. I asked if he wanted to make some more…but he said that he thought he would build a tree. And he did. Two trees actually! We painted and cut and I ironed them all to dry them and make them lay flat. Then he began designing again. We quickly discovered school glue and glue sticks would not hold, so we got out the glue dots. These worked very well. And here you see the finished masterpiece…
Now he wants it framed and hung on the wall. I’ve got to do some thinking on that part! (He wanted to be sure his Providence logo on his shirt was in the picture, too.)
Friends, if you are able, DO ART WITH YOUR CHILDREN OR GRANDS! The mess is well worth it. I like the fact that Levi gets so relaxed and calm when he is creating, that we are able to talk about so many things. For instance, When he was so delighted with the final product, I told him it was a ‘masterpiece’! “What’s that”, he asked. I explained it to him and then told him there was a bible verse that used that same word.
We were able to talk about how God made him and all of us just like he wanted us to be and he was just as proud of us as Levi was of his artwork!
We talked about the colors of the leaves and why they changed colors. How God has a plan for our world and He says it will always be this way.
We discussed if we thought leaves were prettier when they were green or if we like the changing colors. We talked about how God used so many colors in His world. And, that led us into talking about colors of skin and how God created people with the skin he wanted them to have…and that they are all beautiful. We talked about how different people do different things well. God gave us all talents. Levi said, “Like me, I am a great artist!” And so you are, Little Man!
It would be near impossible for me to sit him down and just talk through all the things we discussed that day. He would not sit still long enough in the first place and his mind would be on too many other things. But, art frees the mind and nourishes the soul. It allows you to relax and let thoughts and ideas come easily to the forefront.
I realize that many think ‘I can not do this…I’m not artistic’. But, it really is nothing more than having some materials…a safe place to explore…and lots of towels! It about making it available and then just sitting back and watching the magic. Levi has his own art area. He has markers, crayons, paints, pencils, tape, glue, old magazines, stickers, colored and white paper, scissors, colored tape, popsicle sticks, stamps, inks,etc. And, it is there for him to use anytime he wants. He has learned from just a toddler that we always put something on the floor and he either puts on play clothes or his painting apron. Crayola makes wonderful art supplies and almost everything we use is washable.
Just some thoughts to share with you this morning. Our collage of fall things turned into a collage of beautiful thoughts, as well. Thanks for listening…and please give it a try with those little ones who you love!