My boys love books…and a very close second favorite is painting…and crayoning. The crayons invaded our house when they boys were about 14 months old and they seem to be here for the long haul. We have crayon art on cupboards, walls and floors…pretty much everywhere other than on paper. In fact i stopped giving them paper to scribble on. In stead we work directly on the floor. The wax crayons are very easy to wipe off the floors – we have light colored ceramic tiles that make an excellent canvas for the boys – and once the boys are done, i give them a wet cloth or wipes to help me clean up! But i think crayons deserve a post of their own and i will get to that in a bit. Right now i want to share a really fun reading – painting day that i had with the boys.
Last month i picked up a lovely book called Cave Baby by Julia Donaldson
I loved the story and the illustrations are absolutely stunning! Anyway, the boys were a little bored and did not feel like playing with their toys or puzzles, so I decided to show them the book. The book is about a cave baby who likes to paint and his adventures with a wooly mammoth, a hyena, a saber toothed tiger and more. The baby scribbles on the wall and that is where the story begins and ends.
We started out by looking at the cover. “What do you see boys?” i asked. “Elephant! Baby! color color painting!” were some of the more understandable replies. Yup – there was definitely all of that in the book. With their curiosity now aroused, we started reading. The boys identified with the story immediately! Especially with the painting on the wall. My best friend and i often paint on the walls in the kids room, adding every now and the to the existing wall art. And the boys crayon on the wall and sometimes run a brush of washable paint too, so the pictures got them super excited.
We looked at each page and searched for all the fun elements in it. One of the boys wandered off and would join us whenever i resumed reading. each kid is different and one of my boys loves detail while the other is easily distracted. Anyway – this book is great for either type…it has a lovely, simple yet imaginative story and the illustrations make for great discussions and conversations.
We read the book together about three or four times and soon enough one of the twins was pretend reading along with me and finishing all the sentences. Then it was time for some action! I taped one sided paper on the walls and gave the boys brushes. I used old take home chinese carton lids as palettes and gave them a few blobs of ELC washable paint to use. The boys painted imaginary animals with spots and stripes and had a blast (this lasted all of 7 minutes). They still managed to get paint on the wall, which was fine because then i gave them wet wipes and they pretended to be the Cave Baby’s mum singing out “no more spots, no more stripes” as they cleaned. Of course, i Had to do a more thorough cleaning job after.
Our art activity ended with a nice soak in the tub. I used the paint left over on the plastic lids to make colored water. the boys had fun pouring the colored water from one container into another, watching the colors mix and then just generally splashing around.
I totally recommend this book and a follow up painting activity. It’s also a great way to introduce some prehistoric animals!