Thoughts: Art, Mess, and Children

Today’s daily prompt: Filthy

Although I’m usually a receptionist at the ECE center I work at on weekends, I also assist in the art class.

Art class is fun because I loved to draw growing up and I still do for fun. My favourite part of art class is when the kids get to paint or draw on the big paper that is taped to our mirrors/walls. This is an activity that not a lot of kids (or adults) get to do in their own house for fear of it getting too messy, but at our ECE center, it’s okay to be a little messy as long as children get to explore their creativity.

It’s funny, though, that not every child is down for that.

There are some children who do not like to get dirty. They don’t want to put on a smock or dip their finger into the paint. They freak out when we mix shaving cream with paint for a creamy/fluffy paint texture, and they request for a wet wipe every three seconds while they are making a craft.

I’m not sure if it’s due to the influence of parents or not (the old nature vs. nurture argument), but it is a shame when children don’t want to do an art activity because they are afraid to get messy. Where else can they paint on the walls or spread glitter around everywhere? This is the perfect place and opportunity to do so and I feel like the kid is missing out.

As teachers, we always remind children that we can wash our hands and trays at the end. We reassure them that it is okay to get some paint on us by accident, but there is little we can do if a child continuously refuses to participate or complete a craft. Usually we end up offering crayons and markers instead of paint if they are more comfortable with using those instead.

I understand because when I was a kid, I also disliked getting dirty. I would like to say I was influenced by my mother, but she never scolded me for getting dirty. She did, however, praise me when I return home from school looking the same as when I left. There were incidents where I cried because some food or dirt got smeared on my dress during recess.

To the children who are afraid to be messy during art, I encourage them to try it even more. I know because I was just like them.

Creativity takes courage.
― Henri Matisse

Sincerely, Loewe


2 thoughts on “Thoughts: Art, Mess, and Children

  1. Very nice message to share :) I also think it is good to get messy and dirty once in a while and to simply let the creativity flow. I love the feeling of wet paint on my hands haha

To Loewe:

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