I mentioned in a previous drawing post about honouring the process of play more than the end product. Today I’m coming from a different angle, that of selecting the right materials and tools.
When I set up an activity for Miss 14mo in which I know there’ll be some sort of mess involved, I make sure I am ready for it.
I want her to have as much control and free reign as she possibly can to play with and explore the materials provided. I want her to have a positive experience and to be minimally redirected or interrupted by me in the process.
In this case, it means putting her in clothes that I’m happy for her to get potentially permanent stains on (Tip: A cheap white onesie doubles up as a canvas. You’ll be surprised at the masterpiece it becomes after several wears during art sessions). It means providing washable markers/ crayons so that I don’t have to constantly tell her to be careful of getting marker stains on her clothes, floor and body, or worse still remove the markers from her when it gets a bit too chaotic.
Toddlers are gonna get messy and dirty. They’re gonna get stains on themselves and every other surface within sight and touch. They’re still learning how to hold and manipulate materials and if we don’t give them the chance to freely explore, they won’t have the opportunity to learn.
Today, Miss 14mo enjoyed pulling the marker caps off and putting it back on more than actually drawing. In the process, because of her exerting strength to pull the lids off and figuring out which is the right side of the lid to put back on the markers, she managed to get stains all over her body, face, clothes, and floors. It was a MESS, but nothing a couple of baby wipes couldn’t fix 🙂