Saturday was a cool, rainy day, and both the kids were cranky with runny noses and sore throats.  I spent the morning exclusively with the kids, trying to ease their moods.  While Dooter napped, I set up a big painting activity for Yummy (I'm sure Dooter would have loved smearing his hands in the goopy paint, but I am not ready for a rainbow carpet).  

A couple weeks ago I was outside painting some picture frames to spruce up our walls.  Yummy was intrigued by the big paintbrushes and I let her help a little bit, but not too much since it was a permanent, smelly paint -not kid-friendly.  I felt a bit like an ogre, shooing her away when she obviously wanted to experiment, and I started coming up with an idea that would allow her to use big brushes and do some large scale painting of her own.
  • big paintbrushes
  • containers
  • flour
  • dishsoap
  • water
  • food colouring
  • a big sheet of fabric or paper (I used an old white sheet)
  • a tablecloth to go under the painting and protect your floor

I found a recipe for a homemade paint from LearnPlayImagine which seemed perfect since I could pick a bunch of colours and make big batches for this project.  I love that you can make it in ziploc bags and have your kids help, but I wanted to get to the painting before Dooter woke up so I mixed them in margarine containers, with Yummy's help.  I didn't have any clear dish soap, just some pink and some green, so I made sure to add the pink soap to the warm colours, and the green soap to the cooler colors, and it seemed to work out fine.  The colours were vibrant!  We mixed about 1 cup of each colour (1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup each water and soap), which ended up being the perfect amount.  

We recently had a huge rainbow arcing over our yard -Yummy was sad that it wouldn't stay forever, so I decided to draw lines on the sheet in the shape of a rainbow, giving Yummy a bit of structure on such a large canvas (big white spaces can be intimidating!).  Yummy started off using the brushes, but she had a hard time pressing hard enough to make the paint flow nicely on the fabric and soon decided that she "didn't like to paint" and was ready to give up.  Yummy is a super strong-willed child and her opinions are shared loud and clear.  Though she likes creating and making art for the most part, I often have to get creative in how I get and keep her attention on a project.  Not ready to give up on the project when I'd spent the time getting it all ready, I suggested that Yummy ditch the brushes and try it with her hands.  Score!  Yummy loved this idea and got right into it, enthusiastic again, making sure each colour got on her rainbow.  She enjoyed mixing some of the colour stripes together to see what would happen (and even though my perfectionist nature shrivelled at the thought of the perfect separate colours mixing, I managed to keep my objections to myself and let her experiment -congrats to me!)
Yummy was very happy with the end result - a giant rainbow of her own! 
She then proceeded to do a Rainbow Dance, which involved a lot of hopping and gesturing and naming the different colours while her paint-smeared hands waved and pointed.  
The paint took until the next morning to dry completely, so I dragged it, tablecloth underneath, into my workroom and shut the door so Dooter wouldn't destroy it and the rest of the house.  I scraped off some of the bigger glops as well, to make it dry faster.  The paint dried stiff and crispy, which is a really interesting texture!

I hung Yummy's Rainbow on our kitchen wall, using clothespins on a ribbon that runs the length of the wall.  
Elements of Visual Art:
  1. Colour: colour mixing, discuss warm and cool colours
  2. Texture: experiencing real texture of paint, both wet and dry

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