Everyone had fun when we finger painted at our first meetup. Our group has significantly grown since then, so I decided we should paint again. This time, we got creative and encouraged painting with objects other than just our fingers. In the meetup posting, I asked parents and nannies to think of objects, such as toy car tires, that could transfer paint to paper without using a traditional paint brush. Parents brought all sorts of objects to our meetup, including: cars, balls, sponges, spoons, foam shapes, and – of course – the little ones’ fingers. A five-year-old girl brought a tupperware container as her creative object for painting. The circular top made a great stencil and stamp. One mom brilliantly brought a shower curtain for us all to sit on, which made the end of the day an easy clean up.
Eleven children showed up, which is our best turn out so far! There were a lot of children around the age of one, but there were also some five-year-olds. The five year olds’ nanny told me it was such a delightful surprise to see so many little ones painting. It was very exciting to see the children exploring the taste of the paint (non-toxic of course, because what don’t toddlers put in their mouths), experiencing the feeling as it squished between their fingers and toes, and using their sense of sight to see the cause and effect of what happened with each object they chose to spread the paint. I loved seeing the caregivers get messy with their kids, without them stressing out about their children having paint all over their outfits and bodies. Being outside put both the children and caregivers at ease. The children even stayed engaged for about 45 minutes. We were all so pleased!
Many children shared paper as they were creating their masterpieces, so not all caregivers brought the paintings home. This demonstrated that they understood it was the process and not the product that was most beneficial to their child’s development. Another mom used the Art in the Park opportunity to have her twins make a birthday card for their dad; it came out great! My favorite piece of art that was created was by a five-year-old girl. She and her sister were very protective of their paintings when the babies approached them I reminded the babies to look with their eyes and listen to the girls’ words. At one point I looked over at the girl’s painting and told her, “I love the texture you made on your painting.” As I watched, I could tell that she was very purposeful with her color choices and in the stroke of her fingers. Her painting got many compliments; she has the skills of a true artist!
Kelsey Plimpton is currently a nanny in Boston and has been nannying for five years. She started as a part-time nanny while earning her associates degree in Early Childhood Education. Kelsey has worked with ages 2 months to 15 years in both nannying and babysitting positions, since the age of 13. While working with children she follows their interests to help create activities targeting developmental goals. She blogs with SitterCycle.com and is the Early Childhood Coordinator.