Make art, not mess

Unlike the hands on moms who can pull out the many utensils of art and let their children explore and find themselves, I’m one who pulls her hair out when art time rolls around. Don’t get me wrong, I provide plenty of art supplies and art exploration activities for my young ones, but, the activities are usually constrained to space, material or at the very least, clean up time. I applaud the bravery, patience and energy of moms who can let kids be with paint or markers or glue in a house that needs to be lived in by others later in the day. Quite possibly, their little ones are more creative, more expressive and enjoy learning more than mine. However, I have placed importance on retaining my sanity and hence my ho-hum activities. Recently though, I learned of an art form and activity which I wish I had known much earlier on. It’s called the Andy Goldsworthy activity and for anyone who needs a clean space or dreads the aftermath of an art activity, this is perfect!

Andy Goldsworthy is a British sculptor, photographer and environmental activist who works in urban and natural environments creating and then photographing site specific sculpture and land art. Taking from his ideas of using objects found in nature, art projects take place outside the house (Yay!) It uses objects in their own space and leaves them there at the end of the project (double yay!) Through this, children can move, scavenge, pick up but not tear down, any natural object they find and create their own imaginary art. The use of natural objects and more so the idea of leaving nature undisturbed resonates with many environmental activists,while moms who don’t want to deal with clean up have a field day (excuse the pun) as well. 

Beyond all this what it teaches our little guys and girls is that beauty can be found anywhere as God has made this world full of beauty. Additionally, it teaches us all that beauty does not just belong in our home, but in our world. We don’t have to make a project to bring and showcase it in our living rooms or on our refrigerator. We can leave it outside, keep it unnamed and share it for all to enjoy. 

Also, apart from the concept of creativity adding in a language component makes this even more powerful. Having each child tell about their imaginative pieces or write a story about it while you photograph and “save” their work greatly enhances the art education opportunity. An even more ambitious activity would be to photo journal and publish a picture book with the children's art projects! As for myself, I’m just glad I don’t have to plan, prepare, hold my breath and then clean up an indoor art project!