Toddler Mixed Media

Materials: Paper, chosen by G; paints, type and colors chosen by G; oil pastels, requested by G

You  may be getting the idea that this activity was completely toddler run… as I mentioned in the last post, I think our most successful activities are the ones G directs, but she has the vocabulary to so do because I’ve introduced her to the materials. So when I finally felt well enough to go downstairs with the kids, G asked to paint. Her brother and I were using liquid watercolors, but G wanted tempera, and not big watercolor paper, but smaller purplish paper.

She’d asked for white and purple paint, but since we don’t have purple tempera, I gave her blue and red. Instead of using a different brush for each color (like she does at the easel), she decided to just use more than one brush at a time. When her brother began using the yellow watercolors on his painting, she asked for yellow tempera, and she began enthusiastically mixing colors.

Then, G asked for the oil pastels. A couple times now, after painting with watercolors, she’s asked for pastels, and I’ve said we need to let the painting dry first. Once it was dry, she had no interest. My apologies to G for being a slow learner, but this time when she asked I realized why not? It’s a $4 box of pastels, so if one or two gets ruined, so what? And really, I realized, I could just wipe the crayon off if necessary (which I did). And coloring on wet paint with an oil pastel made for some really neat effects, including a scratch effect where she had layered paint and the topmost, still-wet layer rubbed off while the drier layer underneath stayed behind.

But I get ahead of myself.

You can’t tell in a photo, but G was dancing as she drew with the pastel. She’d seen me and her brother drawing and painting with big swirly motions, and I think she was trying to imitate that. She moved her whole body while she drew, and her artwork really reflects the energy coming out her fingertips and onto her paper.

I think her finished piece is fantastic. It’s my job to facilitate… and then get out of the way!

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