As a parent with a young child – it can be difficult to think of activities to provide a distraction that isn’t tied to an electronic device. There are only so many times that you can make coloring pages fun. As a result, I combined my son’s love of cars and moving vehicles with a creative outlet – painting. I know this is something similar which we had done previously at his childcare center, but I figured I would give it a go at home.
The set-up is fairly simple and I would recommend finding a floor that can be easily cleaned up for paint spills or errant car tracks and tread paths. First, find large pieces of paper – this can be large pieces of construction paper, if you have a large calendar pull off the pages and use the back-side, printer paper, the backsides of junk mail envelopes, index cards, post-it notes, etc. Use removable tape and tape down the corners and overlapping pages of your paper (ie. road surface). We had an old large wall calendar that we have found the backside to be durable enough to support racing trucks and cars but can also avoid unwanted accidents and prevent tearing up the road too much.
Using poster or Tempera ® paint place a handful of dots or spots of paint over the blank canvas. Feel free to embrace your inner Jackson Pollock, Jonas Frisch or Liz Barber (and others). After you have your randomized collection of paint drops – start your engines and let small hands start to create their car track masterpiece. This activity can buy you a few minutes or in my case, up to 20 minutes of free-time in which you can make another cup of coffee, take a much-needed bathroom break, and watch your budding Jacob Lawrence or Leonora Carrington hard at work.
Not pictured is a car wash – we repurposed our salad spinner bowl and filled it with warm water and a few drops of dish soap – which we had placed off to the side of our canvas. With all the paint-covered (in our house - “muddy”) cars, we realized we needed to have a means for them to be cleaned afterwards and avoid having to scrap off dried on paint. It may not be the least messiest activity you have ever attempted with your youngster, but it can be a new art piece to display in the fridge or mail to a family member who needs a creative hug while we are trying our best to stave off boredom, cabin fever, and keeping your children entertained and engaged.