Childhood is performance art — and making art of any kind involves a glorious, marvelous mess. A child’s entire purpose is to explore, express, discover, unfold, make sense, and become. As parents, we want to honor and encourage the inherent beauty and necessity of that… and we want to do it in a way that doesn’t exhaust us. (Parenting is performance art, too.)
We want to set up the littles at the kitchen sink and let them play with water and Tupperware for hours. We want to say yes with enthusiasm to painting and playdough and “baking” and “gardening”. We want to not dread slime-related science experiments. We want to feel that our children’s requests to be the children they are are not a burden but a blessing.
We want to facilitate childhood as a time of doing rather than watching. We believe the becoming is up to us.
So, we embrace the messes and call them good. We don’t worry about marinara-as-medium and carpet-as-canvas because we’ve put systems in place to make it all a minor event. We’ve got Smocks, Mats, Bibs, Aprons — the basic elements of a wonderful, old-fashioned, creatively satisfying childhood. Just add (water-based) fingerpaint.
Freedom of expression within logistical limitations makes for great artmaking. It makes for great parenting, too.
Let’s let kids be kids. Let’s let them be the artists they already are.
Mare + Jess
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