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Imagine yourself trying to finish up the breakfast dishes and get a few other items prepped for the rest of the day. You've got noodles on the stove, a sink full of soapy water, and a cast iron pan drying in the oven. Then the kids start yelling at each other. Again. In the last ten minutes you've broken up at least six fights. He's sitting on her cushion. This one wants the Duplo that the other one has been stacking for a good twenty minutes. She's tired of getting stinky boy feet stuck in her face. You don't want to yell but inside you feel yourself screaming. The house needs a change of pace but you don't have anything ready. What do you do?
This is exactly where I found myself last week. I don't know what had gotten in to them but they were extra touchy about everything the others did. There were rarely any behaviors that were truly meant to cause hurt feelings but everyone seemed on edge. I knew something needed to pull them out of their funk so I searched the kitchen and found this:
Crayola washable paint. Want to know the last time this got used? Halloween 2014 when my sister bought it for the kids to paint pumpkins. It has sat on a shelf since then because in my brain paint=super mess and I don't want to deal with that. But I thought it might just be something out of the box enough to shake off the funky blahs all the kids had.
But what to use for paper? The kids have DEMOLISHED my construction paper stash and I'm holding out for back to school sales to replenish it. I have/had every intention of getting some canvases for them to decorate but I haven't done it yet. So what do I have on hand?
Cardboard. Lots of cardboard. We may have a slight addiction to buying things on Amazon. But it's so easy! And the boxes then turn into all sorts of fun imagination starters for the kids! That justifies it, right?
So I grabbed a box that had already served as a race car, spaceship, sled, etc and was broken into several pieces. I made sure I had five around the same size, found five paint brushes, a few water cups, and brought it all outside.
I didn't have any plan going in to this. I figured give each of the little boys a couple blobs of color and let them smear it to their hearts' content. I let the big kids do their own. I'm not sure whether that was a good plan or not yet but I didn't have any disposable plates for them to use as pallets. Whatever, they were happy.
Guys, we seriously painted for a good twenty minutes. And the big kids? Closer to thirty with Mercedes going the longest and then getting upset when it started to rain and I made her come in. Twenty to forty minutes of no one fighting, no one complaining, no one fussing. It was AMAZING! And I warned them all before we started that the art wasn't for keeping, it was just a fun activity that would then go away. Surprisingly there were no arguments about this and the paintings are currently in the garage.
Of course the little guys were pretty well covered in paint (I stripped them to diapers) by the time they were done so I stuck them in the bath tub and every drop of paint was gone with just water. AWESOME. I'm all about the quick and easy clean up. I kind of wish I was a spokesperson for Crayola so I could get paid for spouting off how awesome this paint is but alas, I'm not that cool. But maybe that means you can trust my words more? I don't know. But I do know I'll be getting some more of this because it worked so well.
And the best part about this random art time? It completely changed the mood in the house for the rest of the day. They talked about the colors they used, how much fun they had, what they would do differently next time. Score points for mom. I'm not sure there was a single argument the rest of the morning. Phew!
I still can't believe it was that easy.
What do you do when everyone is in a grumpy mood? Do you enjoy doing crafty projects with your kids? What is your favorite kid craft time?