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38  chapter 3 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Whether your art center is in its infancy or is the product of years of experience, you can always learn more about early art education. I recommend exploring other ways to invite children to explore and create beyond what you currently do. You can get new ideas through books, colleagues, work- shops, or the Internet. Art can be a simple planned activity that goes according to our finest expectation. Examples of fun experiences include two types of ice cube paint- ing, one with liquid watercolor and the second with thicker tempera paint. This activity can lead to won- derful discoveries and differences detected in the consistency of melting paint cubes. Art can be unexpected too. “Ooh, I did not think of that—but wow, look what he is doing!” As a child painted on a canvas with rubber brayers, the bray- ers reminded him of one of our previous art activi- ties, monoprinting. He then began scraping designs and making prints. I thought it was great he had recalled the project and turned this project into his own idea. So I went with it! And then there are those art moments that make many grown-ups cringe! Splatter painting! Covering the whole sheet of paper—and hands too! How can we present art materials to young chil- dren in an age-appropriate and explorative man- ner? It can be difficult to find the balance between letting children experiment and worrying about creating a giant mess or wasting materials. It is true that the early stages of art exploration are often messy and indulgent. But what the children learn through mess and indulgence is priceless. This project evolved in a completely unintended way. And that was half the fun! I had planned to have the children wear backward smocks with lamb’s tails attached to represent the lamb in their daily nursery rhyme, “Little Bo Peep.” But wearing the smocks did not appeal to the children in this particular group. So we ripped off the tails and used them as paintbrushes. Most of the children dipped the tails in their choice of paint and gently painted with them. But one child had his own ideas. He said, “I have a plan! I need to put the paper on the floor like this.” Then he began dipping his lamb’s tail in paint, lifting it up, and whipping it to the ground! The tail left colorful splatters of vibrant colors on the large sheet of paper. It also decorated the walls, the furniture, and the hair and clothing of those nearby. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL