We have stayed home this week. My nine-year-old has been unwell and unable to go to school, I could feel he was down and getting more frustrated as the days went on. Sport is his release but this week he hasn't left the house. I wanted to try a large-scale art activity to help him relax and unwind.
"Creating art also helps children wire their brains to regulate stress. Art gives them the tools to learn how to calm themselves down. Tactile cognitive processing occurs when children create art; the neural networks in their brains fire up and signal their brain to focus solely on what they’re doing with their hands, blocking out outside thoughts and stimuli. What happens is, if kids are stressed out or upset about something and they’re making art, they can’t focus on that. Art involves active learning, meaning they have to focus on what they’re doing immediately, which takes away the upsetting, stressful things that are happening in their environment." - Spramani Elaun, Montessori Art Teacher.
In the morning I placed two rows of easel paper on a wall outside. This activity could get messy and any paint drips here would easily wash away. I asked Otto (3yrs) and Otis (9yrs) to dress in old clothes. I put out a lot of paint and different size brushes. Then I invited the children to paint!
This large-scale painting offered more than easel painting. Look how high Otto was able to reach. This involves whole-body movements.
Do children need large-scale art projects like this? It's definitely beneficial. The children loved using big brush strokes and not being confined by the edges of a small piece of paper.
They used a lot of paint and there was a feeling of abundance. An abundance of time, they had all day to create. An abundance of paper to work on, and an abundance of paint.
Initially, I was surprised they didn't paint pictures of anything specific but I was able to see how much they just enjoyed getting the paint on the paper and swishing it around.
We used easel paper, lots of acrylic or poster paint, various brushes, and some tape to tape the paper on the wall. I thought it would be nice to try this to music but today I decided to leave the children as free from outside influence as possible so they could just be.
Otto loved this so much he requested it again later in the day!
Related article: Toddler Painting Texture Wall/Box.