Spring came early to Vancouver this year. For the past month, the buds have been appearing and the flowers coming out. Now, in early March, our gardens are filled with daffodils and crocuses and tendrils of other plants are in abundance. To celebrate, I created a drawing prompt inviting the boys to document their own Signs of Spring.
I took the boys outside armed with pencil crayons and organized neatly with some inexpensive clipboards, to make it easier to draw on rough surfaces. The boys took great pride in drawing – Aiden was careful to document many kinds of flowers, some early shoots of plants, a little tree with lots of new shoots, and some unfurled ferns. Damien just scribbled, but it kept him occupied for a good 20 minutes running around to different areas of the garden and yelling how “need dark blue!” in excitement. It was a great afternoon!
Download the Signs of Spring Printable below (click for hi-res PDF):
Aiden and best-bud Zayden are currently obsessed with art. Every morning and every afternoon they are at the table pulling out markers and stencils and papers and scissors and other materials hard at work on their creations. I don’t quite know where this art attack came from. But it began with a leaf:
The boys picked leaves on the way home, deciding first to paint them, then to use glitter glue instead. They used a lot of glitter glue (note to self: buy more glitter glue), but their creations were beautiful. Following that, they have been doing full-page creations all this week. Covering every part of the page with colour (especially blue skies – the poor blue markers!). This is very unusual for Aiden, who likes to create art but rarely colours it in.
These creations are taking hours to complete, page after page. Their usual play time has been completely abandoned in favour of art. And only art.
Yesterday I posed a link to the ActiveMama Facebook page with some Halloween craft ideas. Among the ideas was a super cute Mummy decorated with masking tape (from No Time for Flashcards). So easy, I thought! I’m totally all about the easy.
Well, the kids were tired yesterday afternoon and starting to bicker. I took a sheaf of paper (first off, I’m out of black paper) and cut out a quick gingerbread person shape. I was about to give the kids some cute Halloween-themed washi tape that I had, when I realized:
- Giving them tape and asking them to cut it to specific lengths was not going to buy me the quiet time needed to complete dinner
- IT WAS TOO STRUCTURED
I’m kind of anti-structure when it comes to crafts and art. I think offering a child a limited set of materials with “instructions” to follow really limits their creativity. I avoid it whenever possible, particularly now as Aiden is in school. So, I kept my mouth shut about the tape and handed Aiden and his best buddy the shapes and told them to have fun. I accidentally let slip the “you could make a Mummy” but quickly recovered with “or any Halloween creature. Whatever you want!”
Of course, my blunder meant that both boys created a Mummy first (see how used to instruction they are?!) but then they got into it. Aiden began a Frankenstein (he still wants to colour the feet green and apply eyes), accenting it with torn clothes and trimming the face shape and hands. His buddy made an awesome zombie.
My supplies? A paper, a bin of odds-and-ends (buttons, beats, google eyes) and freedom to grab anything from the craft cabinet.
Allowed to explore their own creativity, the boys spent a half hour at this craft (that’s a huge time for boys on a playdate). Even Damien scribbled on a man for a bit.
All chalk is not created equal. Some chalk is very brittle, breaking constantly, and others are very dusty. Others still are not as bright. A lot of the kids around us use generic bins of chalk and have found creative ways to make use of the chalk dust, like mixing it with water, but my favourite chalk for outside is the Crayola Sidewalk Chalk that comes in bright colours and large easy-to-hold pieces of chalk.
We go through about 1 box of chalk per summer and are the go-to house for chalk when the kids want to draw. I would gladly buy a box a week if it kept the kids happy, since my kids have learned so much from their interaction with the older kids who live around us! We gave Damien some glitter chalk for his birthday too, which is fun (even if it’s hard to see the glitter on our driveway).
Most days outside involve some drawing or hopscotch creation. I also have it on my list to attempt this game of Sidewalk Simon Says, which sounds SO FUN!
Aiden loves to draw. From a child who never wanted to make a mark on paper until well past age 2, he has come a long way.
Snail / Bus route #100,000
Racer with #1 bib / Aiden in “cursive” and triangle people
As a child, Aiden preferred crafts with glitter glue or scissors or stickers or stamps – nothing with paint or markers. Perhaps too messy. However, once he began writing his name around age 3, there was no looking back. He was obsessed with drawing letters, mostly without any guidance, and soon enough had the confidence to draw pictures.
From then, art has become one of Aiden’s preferred pastimes, and a great way for him to relax or calm down if he’s overwhelmed (as is looking through books). He will happily sit at his art table drawing pictures or making cards. He prefers to freehand art as opposed to colouring books, though he loves activity books. Most of his drawings are single colour.
Aiden’s favourite themes are architectural (buildings and houses) or vehicular (cars, buses, boats), though if you ask he’ll try just about anything. From time to time, he does abstract art, where he’ll focus on something and build around it, like perfecting his spirals then making the snail (above), or repeating the same kinds of shapes and marks. For Valentine’s Day, his preschool friends all got cards with his abstract themes of connected letters with bunched up strings or lines in a variety of patterns, possibly born out of his desire to learn cursive writing (see his attempt above).