William is a busy kid. Unless he is reading, he is constantly on the move and loves physical activity. I’m pretty sure he’d live in a den under the trampoline his dad and I encouraged it. Point is, because William is a bit of a mover and a shaker, it can be sometimes hard to get him to actually sit at the kitchen table to do art unless it includes something like cutting, gluing, or a new painting technique.
For William, simply finger painting means smearing all the colors together to make a big, brown mess of wet paper, if the paper is even identifiable when he is finished. This is fine. William is only two and a half, so creating artwork is more about the process and exploration than the finished product. But, sometimes he gets bored with even that, and that is when I introduce something new and fun to paint with.
The other day, it was pipe cleaners. At first William was unsure why I had given him a pipe cleaner, and he was unsure what to do with it, but my seemingly daily words to him, “Be a problem solver,” seem to have sunk in a bit and William quickly figured out how to use the pipe cleaner while he was painting.
The pipe cleaner did bend a number of times, of course, and it was fun to watch William use a tool that was so malleable. First, he wanted the pipe cleaner to remain straight. Then, he didn’t mind a bend in it and started using it more like a stamp than a painting wand. Next, he just spent some time playing with the paint covered pipe cleaner.
When he was about to wave his hands to sign “all done” (yes, some words he still signs, for some reason), I showed William how to make more shapes and stamps with the pipe cleaner.
Although William didn’t have the dexterity to make a stamp of his own, he certainly enjoyed the new tools and continued painting for a while longer, which was a great distraction from not being able to play outside in the nasty, cold, windy rain, which was a great thing for all of us!