We had our first summer art play date here on Monday! It was awesome. We had fifteen of our best kid friends over and did two different kinds of messy painting in the back yard. I started this series of play dates for this summer as a way to fill in the vacuum of activities left from preschool being out for the summer. The hope is to create fun, messy outdoor arts/crafts for kids from one to four years old to participate in all together as well as just to play and hang out with friends. I’m going to try to post here after each play date. We’ll see if I can keep up! The plan is to do two or three craft activities at each play date. Monday we did some fly swatter painting and giant golf ball painting.
Fly Swatter Painting
This idea came from the awesome blog, Teacher Tom, who is an incredible co-op preschool teacher and champion of play as a learning tool. If you haven’t checked out this blog and you love a preschooler, you really should stop by. I love Tom’s philosophy of early childhood. All you will need for your own fly swatter painting are some fly swatters, some tempera paint, and some paper. I put cardboard down on the grass to collect extra paint and I put the paint in pie plates (which will have another purpose later in the summer, I promise). That’s it. Some of the kids were into smacking with the fly swatter, some smearing with it, and Nancy gave up the fly swatter almost immediately and just rubbed her hands in all of the paint.
Giant Golf Ball Painting
This idea came from Pink and Green Mama, whose blog I also adore. She has an art teacher background which is something that I don’t have, so her ideas usually turn out much prettier than mine, but she also has the teacher sensibility in the way she blogs and comes up with projects. The idea of art playdates came from her as well as she did something similar last summer.
All this project requires is a wading pool, tempera paint, golf balls, some bowls and spoons (I used recycled single-serve applesauce cups and plastic spoons), and some newspaper. Line the bottom of the pool with newspaper. Mix the balls around in the paint in the bowls with the spoons. Have the kids dump the balls in the pool and roll them around as a group. This was, surprisingly, an awesome teamwork activity and Clara’s favorite part of the whole day.
Besides these two art activities, we also had play dough out on the kiddy picnic table, balls, the playhouse, the baby swing, slide, and plenty of room to run around. Our friends brought snacks to share with everyone. The morning ended with everyone grabbing a bucket for an impromptu bug and slug hunt. The chickens were grateful when I dumped all the buckets into the run. Can’t wait for the next play date!