Written by contributor Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
Once a year, our local museums – children’s, history, art, and one aquarium – have a night in which, if you’re a member of one, you can rotate through all the museums. They have a shuttle that takes members from one museum to another and you can spend as much time as you like at each.
We did the tour several years ago when my kids were younger and we had a membership to the children’s museum.
We were having a blast…until we got to the art museum.
There this rather stern and grumpy employee followed us around snapping, “Don’t touch that.”
“Don’t sit on that.”
“Don’t get too close to that.”
I understand that this was a fine arts museum and they were kids, but, good heavens. I was watching them. They weren’t touching, sitting, or getting extraordinarily close.
We were really having a miserable time until we got to the basement where they had an art center set up for kids. We cut. We glued. We had fun. That hands-on art center, where touching, exploring, and creating were encouraged, redeemed an otherwise disappointing experience.
Tell me I’m not the only one guilty of being the grumpy museum lady at home sometimes. Tell me its not just me who can be known to keep the art supplies on a shelf because they’re messy or skip the fun science projects that might – but surely won’t – blow up the kitchen. And don’t even get me started on glitter glue.
Let’s don’t be the grumpy museum lady! It’s summertime. Let’s resolve to redeem our grumpy lady moments.
The days are longer and it’s warm outside. Paint and marker can be scrubbed off in the pool or under the sprinkler. Baking-soda-and-vinegar volcanoes can explode to their hearts’ content in the grassy backyard. Rain will eventually wash the glitter glue off the patio…and, if it doesn’t, surely the patio could stand a little bling.
Photo by pennuja
Quick! While we’ve got time, let’s liberate the art supplies and the science lab! How can we make the most of the rest of summer with the kids?
- Get butcher paper and create the world’s longest mural (The definition of “world’s longest” is open to interpretation.)
- Open up the science lab
- Have an outdoor movie night – even if it’s on a much smaller scale – because we can’t ignore the fine arts. Okay, so maybe most of your movies, like ours, don’t qualify as “fine arts,” but it’s summer and we’re on a mission not to be the grumpy museum lady. Don’t get hung up on technicalities.
- Don’t miss the life-size Jenga game when you investigate the outdoor movie night above. I think that sort of project counts as creative art.
- Pull out the sidewalk chalk and let the driveway be your canvas.
- Have a campfire (at night, of course – no heat strokes are encouraged in the making of this masterpiece). Make s’mores and once everything cools off, practice charcoal drawing on paper or on the driveway.
- Let your budding artists paint the house – with food-color-tinted water. (There is a little part of me that cringes at the thought that food-coloring might stain certain surfaces, so maybe just plain water would be fun. While we don’t want to be “grumpy museum lady,” we also don’t want to be “divorced because the kids ruined the siding on the house lady”.)
- Try your hand at chalk pastels.
- Erupt a volcano. Do it a few times and try to determine which works better – adding the baking soda first or the vinegar. (We figured that out one time, but it’s been so long that I think it’s time to refresh our memories.)
Most of these outdoor activities assume a sunny day, but don’t let the rainy ones slow you down too much. Letting the kids put on their bathing suits and play in the rain always gets me cool mom bonus points.
What kind of messy, creative fun have you been putting off? Do you have any ideas to add to the list?