I love the Pinterest art project idea just like every teacher and mother. I love watching my little guys' faces scrunch up inquisitively when they are following directions, and love the look of victory when they have completed an art craft. Some days, even our awesome babysitter shows up with an art lesson plan! The boys are lucky, but because our life is just getting busier and busier and they are getting older fast, I have started to take on a messy art approach these days because honestly...there isn't always a lot of time for planning art projects.
As a former teacher, I'm always thinking, "Are my boys learning from this? I know it's fun, but is it educational too?" As a busy mom of 3 active boys, let's just say that the art smocks don't even make an appearance any more. I have my spot cleaner for their clothes and carpet ready (just in case!) and let them go wild with art. I'm embracing letting go and letting them just have fun. Here are five reasons why:
1) Kids need a positive approach to new experiences and messy art makes it happen. When my oldest dumped and ruined a box of oatmeal when he was a tiny toddler, it became an art project. A very messy art experience indeed! I added water right where it landed and had him touch and feel the difference. Children love to discover on their own and rather than making a negative experience over a mess made, make it a positive one and enjoy watching them dive right in.
2) The oatmeal project turned into the ultimate sensory experience for my son. Today, my other little guys love scented clay to mold, stickers to randomly stick, glitter paint, glue in different colors, and apples to stamp. I'm letting them feel, smell and even try different types of paper.
3) The boys have developed even more self-confidence through their messy art play. There are no rules and they are allowed to dig in and go for it. Scissors are okay (because I'm sitting there) and those little tools help them learn to trust themselves and their own creative process.
4) Because of the motivating factor to create something from nothing, and with the help of some awesome art materials, kids learn to express their feelings while working on messy art. Messy art time helps my boys release pent up energy on cold rainy days and it gives us time to talk and open up on sunny ones. There's something about bonding over googly eyes and scraps made of old cardboard boxes.
5) Creating art while talking and expressing emotions can produce some interesting work from your child. Watch their creativity go wild when you provide a paper shopping bag, tape, and markers! The ultimate goal is for our children to love playing and creating with different materials on their own and to grow to love all different forms of art in the future.
Have fun being messy!
Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over