Ah, fingerpaints! The kiddos in the toddler art group painted with homemade fingerpaints last week.
I used the recipe for warm cornstarch fingerpaint from MaryAnn Kohl's First Art: Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos. It was easy to make, but pretty thick and goopy (maybe I cooked it too long). I'll probably mix up one of her other recipes next time — perhaps the liquid starch fingerpaint. Or just try commercial fingerpaints — I just got some Colorations finger paints from Discount School Supply and am looking forward to trying them soon.
As with the playdough, these one year olds were not so sure about the fingerpaints. Most of them didn't even want to touch it, let alone paint with it. Here the parents are touching the fingerpaint and using their most encouraging voices. Pretty funny, actually. :)
Considering that my child will happily fingerpaint with applesauce, yogurt, and other foods, and doesn't seem to have any hesitation in getting messy normally, I'm not sure why she was so hesitant to touch the fingerpaints. The color? Texture? The studio setting as opposed to the kitchen table?
Whatever it is, she was not alone in being wary.
In an effort to make the first fingerpainting experience just about the fingerpaint (especially after all the comments regarding the playdough introduction), I made sure not to put anything else on the table, and even removed all the paintbrushes and other tools from the vicinity.
But, when parents added more fingerpaints to the table using spoons (tools!) the two boys latched on to them. Joe, who wouldn't touch the fingerpaints before, now happily interacted with the paint using his newfound tool.
And, since Julie Liddle talked about letting kids with sensory issues experience playdough by squishing it through a ziploc bag first, I thought I'd try that with the kids who wouldn't touch the fingerpaints. It didn't quite work as I thought it would though. While we demonstrated touching and squishing the paint through the bag, Daphne and Iver just carried the bags around.
I have to remember that most of these toddlers are still really young at 14 to 16 months (Joe is the oldest at 22 months) and that even a month or two (and continued exposure) will make a big difference in their confidence with these art materials.
And that personality plays a role as well. Juniper (16 months) and Flynn (20 months?) didn't seem to have any hesitation at all in painting with their hands. They really got into it!
As will the playdough, we will try this again (and again).
And just so you don't think we're struggling to engage the kids each week, I'm happy to say that we had a wonderful experience with the toddler art group this week painting with liquid watercolors and (gasp!) brushes. They all loved it! I'll try to get photos up soon…