I had a whole post ready to write about spring, flowers, Earth Day, and recycling. Yet, when I sat down to do this project with E, I ended up learning so much.
When we had new cookware shipped to us, I saw these packing pieces. I knew I had to keep them to make something out of them, but what? Spring = flowers of course!
Here was my dilemma: I always strive to provide E with activities that are so fun that they engage my attention as well, because then I know that they are sure to be a hit with her! So I was super tempted to create one of these flowers myself.
At first, I felt a bit silly and selfish to be taking her materials to make my own art. But then I thought, we encourage parents all the time to play along side their children. We are advised to eat dinner together, read together, do everything together. Why not create together? Splat Studio advertises that their preschool classes allow parents to have materials to work along with their child, which was a huge draw for me. I decided to make a flower, too.
While we were working something happened. I was using Do-a-Dot stampers while E chose paint. She started mimicking my stamping motions on her flower.
If I would have suggested she try that, her two year old stubborn streak probably would have resisted. I would never have taken her materials to "show" her how to do it on her own flower because that feels like disrespect to her as an individual and artist.
Yet, by creating beside her, she had the freedom to make the decision to do it like Momma or in her own way, neither of which was wrong or right.
I was talking to my mom about this on the phone and she brought up how this is the way animals learn how to behave in nature. The mother chimpanzee doesn't take something from its baby, say "No," and show it the proper way to do something. Instead, the mother performs an activity as she's always done and the baby follows her lead and imitates her. It's such a natural way to learn!
So I want to encourage you to create art beside your child. Get messy with him, buy extra materials for yourself so you both have your own space, and have fun creating masterpieces but also memories. You can also ask your child if you can work on one project together, but respect their answer. Collaboration is a choice.