I support process over product with art. I support exploration and play as a way to learn. I hate when all kid artworks look the same. But…I cannot stand the sight of a tray of watercolors all wrecked by a young person. I just can’t stand it. It’s the reason why I subconsciously avoided watercolor projects as an elementary art teacher and a reason why I shy away from watercolors now with my own kids. Not only do I can’t stand when the tray is a mess, I also have zero skill with watercolor paints. I just avoid them.
Everyone take a breath before viewing this next picture.
I need to get over this. It’s dumb. Watercolor is easy and a no-brainer for the kids. It’s cheap (what is lost if they get a little messed up?! $2? Geez). Set-up and clean-up time are minimal. Messy trays are easily fixed with some running water and paper towels.
It’s time to embrace the watercolors, and not just embrace them, but let my kids go crazy with them without me constantly reminding them to clean their brush between colors.
So, this week, that’s what I did. Usually, I let my 5yo use the watercolors while I give the 2yo something else, or I’ll let the 5yo do it while the 2yo is napping (haha. yeah, right). But, Zuzu thinks she is 5 too, and there is no convincing her otherwise.
It turns out that Zuzu is a natural with the watercolors. Sure everything was dark purple and the tray was a mess, but she loved it. She even wanted to do more the next day. She painted maybe 20 sheets of computer paper, and her fingernails are hopelessly black underneath.
I just need to relax and let her do it. The only reminding I did was to remind her to get more paint when her brush was dry and to remember to get paint instead of just painting with the water from the cup. I tried to stay as hands off as possible.
My mini-me 5-year-old, on the other hand, had a much harder time than I did letting go of perfection (and that is saying a lot). She couldn’t stand watching Zuzu do everything “wrong” and couldn’t stop trying to correct her.
Letting go is something we both need to work on I guess.
What activity do you avoid with your kids because of your own idiosyncrasies?
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