Nearly half our group was absent yesterday for toddler art group at the Columbus Museum of Art, which was a bummer. But it worked out alright in the end because the kids who were with us were able to really spread out.
Following opening stations, I read the kids a book called I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! (Beaumont, 2005), a rhyming book with brightly colored illustrations about a little (gender-neutral) kid who gets in trouble for painting her/his body from head-to-toe. As I was planning for these gatherings, I read a few books about making art with young children, including Young at Art (Striker, 2001) which includes a 45 page bibliography of books about, or related to art concepts, for children. It could use an update, but I requested about twenty from the library and Cora and I have been previewing them at home. I asked her which of these she wanted to read with her friends in class, and she chose I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! I brought a few others that address color mixing to inspire the kids to experiment with the paint I we’d use: Leo Lionni’s classic Little Blue and Little Yellow and Mouse Paint.
Like a lot of toddlers, Cora loves to paint her body as much, if not more than a piece of paper, no matter how the paper BIG might be. So, I was a little apprehensive about using this book in our art group. However, I came up with an idea that seemed to keep the paint off the kids’ bodies and on the paper, with the exception of Cora, of course!
After reading the book, each parent traced her child’s body onto a large sheet of paper. Then, we passed around spill-proof containers of red, yellow, blue, and turquoise paint with long-handled brushes assigned to each jar. This kept the paints from getting too muddy and encouraged everyone to share so everyone could paint with multiple colors. The kids were engaged for a relatively long time and the end results are as varied as the kids’ personalities.
One thing I noticed this week was that as people finished up, they didn’t run off. They hung around and went back to the stations or read the picturebooks I brought. The adults continued our casual conversation and the studio felt like a studio. Just as we’re getting comfortable with the routine and with one another, this little experiment will come to a close next week. I’m already imagining how we might keep it going…