My mom took me hiking a lot in Eastern Oregon when I was growing up. Her Forest Service maps were a tangle of yellow lines — trails highlighted to mark which ones we'd covered and which ones were yet to be discovered. She wasn't against hiking a trail twice, per se, but she wanted to try all the trails and there was only so much time.
I can be like that with children's art. I'm always looking for new activities to try and new materials to experiment with. I think, "We've done that" and mentally mark it with my yellow highlighter. Sometimes I forget that kids enjoy doing the same, simple art activities over and over again. Or that they might not even remember doing it the first time.
Marble painting is one of those activities. We tried it. It was great fun. And I checked it "done" in my head. When the idea came up again, I had to approach it a different way. Bigger and grander. In the swimming pool. But really? Kids could probably paint with marbles and balls ten times in a row and get a lot out of it each time. Or regularly — once a week, even. I need to stop marking these activities "done."
When Maia had a friend over earlier in the week, I set out the materials for some marble painting. They had tried this with the toddler art group a couple years ago, but neither remembered. I put a squirt of paint into each section of a plastic dish that once held ravioli (a muffin tin works well, too, or just separate dishes) and got out some spoons, marbles, paper, and two rectangular baking dishes.
I added a couple of marbles to each paint color before the girls came back to the studio. They added plenty of marbles themselves as well as they got going with the activity.
Both girls enjoyed rolling the paint-covered marbles around and around the paper to create painty designs. And taking out the old marbles, adding new marbles, trying new color combinations, rolling, rolling… It's about the process after all. So why limit a process-oriented art activity like this to just once? I need to remind myself to offer art projects again. And maybe keep a list of some great standbys — marble rolling, spin art, drawing in shaving cream, and crayon resist.
How about you? Do you offer the same activities again or do you try to do something new each time? What would go on your standby list?