Friday, June 8, 2012

friday photos: and one of the best ideas ever

The other day I was talking with a nanny at the park about creative play with kids. She said one of her favorite drawing activities is to put huge pieces of paper on the ground and let the toddlers sit on the paper and draw around themselves. According to her, being in their artwork gets them really engaged.

Luckily, we had on hand a household essential: white butcher paper.* One afternoon, Genghis, Xena and I taped down a few sheets of paper on our patio and went at it. Our inspiration was a trip to the petting farm that morning. I was thrilled that Genghis is old enough to start telling stories about what he's done. I asked him what he remembered seeing at the farm, he would tell me, and I'd draw it. We labeled each drawing and then had fun pointing to or stomping on the drawings.

Things I loved about this activity:
Little preparation. Genghis enjoyed helping me tape down the paper.
Great conversation piece. Not just for Genghis and I, but for him to tell others what he'd been up to. We kept the paper out for a few days and Genghis continued to refer back to it.
Fun for me. I loved the chance to try to draw the different things we saw that day. It helped me capture the memory of the whole day.
Indoor or out. We have an awesome screened-in porch for playing in, but we don't use it nearly enough. This was a fun way to have the whole family outside (but contained) to enjoy the wonderful weather. Xena particularly enjoyed being outside but out of the sun. This could also be a great indoor activity in the winter (like indoor sidewalk chalk).
Easy to be creative. I found it easy to be creative when we were drawing jumbo pictures and drawing stories about things we'd done that day. The jumbo pictures helped me feel less inhibited about drawing things "right" and setting up a few rules of the game (in this case, things we saw that day) gave me enough direction and constraints to then be creative.
Grow with me potential. I see this as something that would work with a lot of different ages, so we'll probably do it again and again.

*In my family, we kept a roll of butcher paper on hand to make things like jumbo "Happy Birthday" signs. I was shocked to find out that other families did not keep butcher paper in the closet. (I was also shocked to find out that other families didn't grind their own wheat. Go figure.)


Whitehead Family Fun said...

Where do you get your butcher paper from? I had a hard time finding it for a reasonable price.

Maggie said...

You come up with the best ideas! This sounds like a blast and I'm sure Gray would love it. But ditto the Whitehead family question-- where do you buy it?

Rita said...

Before you were born, Erin, we had newspaper roll ends because I worked at a newspaper and could bring them home "free." The butcher paper was a step up. I'm sure we didn't pay for that either. Not having money to buy stuff provided greater dividends in the future - wonderfully creative children :)

Sarah said...

My kids love to color on it too. But then they want me to save their drawings.

I buy the big rolls of paper from IKEA. My kids always wrap birthday presents for their friends with it and then decorate them with their own drawings and messages.

I'm impressed with your animal drawings.