Although it doesn't happen as much as we like, we still try and fit a little crafting in in the afternoons. Our recent play used some of our favorite elements - coffee filters (Dan bought the wrong size years ago, and we've been using that pack for art ever since), liquid watercolors, and pipe cleaners.
There are a few things that make painting at our house a little easier - an old party tablecloth, mini-muffin tins, and serving trays from IKEA. Really, I used to dread pulling out the paints - we have cream-colored carpets, and the mess was just too much at the end of a long day. But now it's easy: the plastic tablecloth makes it quick to mop up spills, the mini-muffin tins hold just the right amount of paint for my boys' attention span, and the serving trays give one extra layer of protection. And the right tools make all the difference in this case.
This project was a no-brainer. We each watercolored several coffee filters. And yes, I mean "we". When I set up a project and leave the boys to work on their own, the process lasts about 5 minutes. If I put on some music and sit down to work with them, we're good for at least 30 minutes. My favorite part is watching the boys play with different techniques. The little one is a big fan of lots of paint in lots of colors all over. The big one prefers a careful application of each color one at a time. I was playing with running one color into another. There are a lot of tongues out of the mouth, eyes narrowed in concentration.
Once the coffee filters are painted and dry, then it's time to bring in the pipe cleaners. Some were pinched in the middle to become flowers, and others were folded to become butterflies. Here the little one faded out, off to play cars. The big one was hard at work though, crafting away.
The whole time I'd envisioned the sliding glass doors covered with a pretty garden scene. The big kiddo had other ideas. In his world, spring should be everywhere. He grabbed his roll of scotch tape and began taping butterflies and flowers everywhere - one per window, all over the downstairs. And you know what? I love it.
Spring everywhere. Not a bad idea, right?