A couple weekends ago, Mya had a 102 degree temperature and a faucet for a nose. (You’re welcome for that visual.) The weather was beautiful– a whopping 60-something degrees in February– and we all needed to get out of the house… even if it was just the back patio. So Derek set up a pretty stellar paint station and Mya– in between blowing her nose– worked her magic. If you only do one craft with your kid this year, THIS should be it. I can’t tell you how warm my creative heart was watching Mya paint a large scale piece of art. It is most definitely one of my favorite things we’ve done together. We’ve painted a lot, but never at this scale. It was so much fun seeing Mya go all out and all in on something so big. She felt pretty special doing it. And she was so proud of the final product that she insisted it be hung in her room.
Since posting her “latest masterpiece” on instagram, many have asked if Mya really did it all herself or if I had a hand in it too. And the truth is, I really didn’t! At one point, I helped her push the nozzle down on a spray paint bottle. BUT!– since we have painted a lot before and I’ve handled our little threenager in such activities, I have learned a few tricks to the trade… Here they are in case you want to try it too!
- Offer a variety of paint colors and tools (brushes, sponges, plastic pallet knives, rollers) to give them choices and control of their own art. The variety will add depth to their piece and make it more fun for them to use the different tools. And they won’t get bored with it as fast. ;P
- Paint a base color. Even if your base color is white, paint a base color. It will make the other colors “pop,” as they won’t be as absorbed by the canvas material. Mya used a small roller to paint the light pink base. She didn’t put it on thick, or even cover the entire canvas. But that’s all that you need.
- Admire the moments. Don’t forget to take it all in. Sometimes I’m taking pictures to document her creation and I don’t soak in all the real-time. I’m always glad to later look back on the pictures, but there has to be a balance. Don’t forget to be in-the-moments with them.
- Make suggestions. Sometimes when you give a three year old (or anyone!) 20 paint color options at once, it can be overwhelming. Open up five or so at a time and let them work with those select few for awhile. Then rotate to some other choices. Also suggest using different tools– sponges, brushes, rollers, and fingers to create different effects.
- Foresee the mess. When Mya started to smear black paint over everything, I stepped in. It’s happened before– she’s covered much smaller paintings with a black muddled mess and I didn’t want this one to go south. Any other color can be smeared… but not black!
After Mya deemed her painting complete, she named it “Baby Margaret” and then “Zoey”– just like she names everything else. She also decided to sign it with a black marker when neither Derek nor I were looking. She told me she was going to “play on her mattress.” Buuuuut… as it turns out, she wasn’t jumping on the bed. She was “drawing on her canvas,” not “playing on her mattress.” So yeah. She signed it with some M’s and A’s and L’s. And as she logically explained “The L is for baby Leah.”
As her Mama, I love every stroke, every blob… and every letter.
Mya’s favorite part about her piece are the black dots.
And now every time I walk by her room, I love glancing in and seeing her creation. It will always remind me of our special day of uninhibited color… and snot. Lots and lots of snot.
So there it is. I love it so. And I’m guessing that whatever your little human makes, you will love it too. Happy painting!