Mouse Paint

I’m going to be honest. This one scared me a little because there was only one way to go with it, and that way involved a lot of paint. And, Big Kid has not been interested in watercolors recently, so the tempera paint or finger paint had to come out. This is something I have really been working on as a mom. I know messes are a part of growing up, and I know they are healthy and necessary for exploration and learning. I fantasize about all my kids can learn while making a big mess, but, I also know I have to clean them up, and that part makes me anxious. I am working hard on letting it go, just letting things happen. There’s nothing a good vacuum and carpet cleaner can’t clean up right?

So, this rainy morning, we took out the paint…

We read Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. The three white mice in this story generally like to stick to white paper where they blend in and can hide from the cat. However, they happen upon jars of paint containing the primary colors and can’t help but jump in. They dance around in puddles of other primary colors, discovering secondary colors as the paint mixes. After washing off, they mix the same colors again, but with brushes on paper this time, of course leaving a white piece, so they can still hide from the cat. This is a simple story, but Big Kid really enjoyed it, and has asked to read it multiple times since. It’s a great way to teach primary and secondary colors, and to introduce color mixing.

On our second read this morning, we mixed the same colors as the mice, following along with the story. Big Kid did this with finger paint on finger paint paper. Little Kid used the same supplies, but hers was contained in a ziplock bag (a great trick to keep paint mess to a minimum!) to prevent paint from getting in her mouth, on her clothes, in her hair, in her eyes…you know. This was the first time I had done an art activity with both girls. We did ok, not great, but ok! I’ll call it a win.

Even after reading the story, and mixing all the colors, Big Kid wanted to continue finger painting. So we did. It was actually an enjoyable morning, and because I had mentally prepared myself, I was able to clean up with a smile.

What books have inspired you to drag out the paint recently?

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