I'm always looking for ideas and opportunities to merge play and art. There are so many benefits to it, I will share the three aspects that I so relate with.
One – this allows us to take art outside home – in the open air. Be it in our balcony, in the park downstairs or even when on a picnic – away from home.
Two, it conveys the message to the kids that art is intrinsically fun and relaxing. That, it does not have to be desk-oriented like it is in schools. This makes them open up and shed their inhibitions.
Let's face it, not every kid will be naturally inclined to clouring, drawing or sketching. In fact, many may not find it interesting or fun. And, that's okay. But no child can resist play. And, when you sneak art into play, it works wonders for every kid. Even for those who are repelled with the notion of colouring or drawing.
Three and REALLY important – it does not take away from their all-so-important playtime and physical activity. On the contrary, such artful activities become playtime by themselves.
Yesterday afternoon, I set up one such activity for Pari and her friends. Over the weekend, when out on errand, I eyed a suction ball in a tiny shop. And, I immediately had an idea to use this for some colourful fun.
This ball has these suction ducts or cups-like attachments all over that makes it stick to a smooth surface when thrown straight gently. And, each time the child pulls out the stuck ball, it lends itself to a fun sensory experience along with that popping sound. All of us in the family played with it for almost an hour that evening.
We devised various ways. Like – I drew a circle on a whiteboard hung on the wall and each of us had to throw the ball into the circle so it sticks there. We then counted the number of time each was successful doing this.
I was amazed how a cheap Rs. 25 ball can make such a fantastic play tool for the child, and in-fact for the whole family.
The next afternoon, we were all set for the ball smeared in colour activity. I taped two big sheets of ivory paper on a balcony wall; gave the kiddos a tray full of tempera paint and they set the ball rolling…err..throwing!
The ball when smeared with paint and thrown at the paper, made interesting patterns on it.
The ball didn't stick, alright, nevertheless, they had a riot trying to get as many impressions as they could.
Actually, they started off intending to make a painting by throwing the ball in relevant palces and in appropriate colours. Like – smear in yellow and throw at the top to make sun; smear in blue and throw at the bottom to make water and such.
But, after a time, they just started throwing all over the paper – and the wall! I said it was okay to do this and they were now super excited.
She called over one more friend from the neighbourhood and the three of them had a gala time.
Towards the end, with whatever paint remained, they smeared their palms and started stamping all over the sheets!
The balcony looked like a colour factory. But, we have a tap there so cleaning up is not a challenge.
We're going to use these sheets of big art to gift wrap return gifts for Pari's birthday, which is on Nov. 30. Talking about 'Big Art', this life-sized self-portrait painting is another idea you can try at home for the holiday season.
While we are on the topic of play, I would like to share with you the '30 days to Hands on Play' event this whole month being hosted by my blogger friends at Hands on As We grow andImagination Tree. As part of this month-long play celebration they share an idea a day for us parents to spend a few minutes each day playing with our kids. What a beautiful thought! I love it because I do believe that play is the best way for us to connect with our kids and express our love. Today, they share an idea of water play.
Got any other ideas to merge play and art? Please share!
I need help sustaining this blog…
Dear blog readers – It’s been exactly eight years now that I’ve been writing on this blog! Yes, eight long years and hundreds of articles. From art, creativity and learning; to food, health, gardening, travel, sustainable and mindful living, natural birth. In our un-schooling life, as we go on introspecting, questioning and evolving, I’ve strived to share our stories and experiences with as much honesty, care and sincerity as possible.
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