I’m not a huge fan of greeting cards. I mean, I like reading the nice messages that people write inside but I just don’t get the fancy $9 cards! They’re some really gorgeous ones but I’d rather put that extra money towards the gift itself!
Usually, I just buy boxes of blank cards on sale and use them for every occasion. Now that I have Freestyle though, I have a personal card maker in the house! It’s a fun art project for her and I think people like getting the handmade cards. They do, right? 🙂
For Father’s Day I decided to get her some water colour paints and cut up a couple of pages from a water colour art book that I have. She really enjoyed painting (I know this because she pretended to kiss the paint and the paintbrush when she was finished!).
Whenever Freestyle does an art project like painting on a canvas to give as a gift or making these cards, I don’t interfere or try to guide her to choose certain colours or do specific things on it. It always turns out perfectly because it is just her work.*
For the cards, I set up the paper and paint on the kitchen floor, added a bit of water to the paint and showed her how to dip the paintbrush to get enough paint to brush onto the paper. Then I let her do her thing while I made dinner next to her. It was messy but fun!
Oh, one thing I didn’t think of was the mess that a toddler will make on a water colour palette. She wasn’t washing her brush after every colour, so they all got mixed up. So just keep that in mind if you try it with a toddler! Of course with an older child, you can teach them to clean their brush whenever they want to use a different colour.
I also bought some alphabet stickers (scrapbooking section) so that Freestyle could “spell” out the names. I would peel them off in order and say the letter name aloud. She would repeat the letter then stick it on the paper (with help to put them in the correct order).
* Speaking of children’s artwork…
I think kids’ artwork should be just that: the kids’ artwork. Bring on the mess and the chaos! When I was teaching, I always tried to let the students do their own art and holiday crafts. After showing them how to handle the art materials properly and demonstrating the techniques, it was off to the races! I think lopsided, “imperfect” pieces are way better than a perfectly polished craft that you just know an adult had a hand in, right?
During my first year of teaching, I got my Upper Elementary students to do most of their science fair projects during class time. I really wanted to ensure that they did the work themselves because apparantly there was a history of heavy-handed parental involvement in the past. They had a great time (obviously!) and even though on science fair day their display boards were a bit messy compared to the pristine boards of many the Lower Elementary students (who brought their boards home to be finished), I thought it was great because you could tell they really did the work on their own. Okay, I’ll admit I was a bit anxious when I saw all the boards side by side, but I got over it quickly and would just say to the parents, “Isn’t it wonderful how so-and-so did this entire project him/herself?” 🙂