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There are few activities that are as liberating and satisfying as painting on a giant canvas. In this activity, explorers draw inspiration from a marvelous book by Julia Denos about a girl named Swatch—a vibrant character who can tame wild colors. Inspired by Swatch's adventure, kids will free colors and create a whirling, swirling outdoor masterpiece.
Watching color splash up on a clear outdoor canvas, feeling it swirl and whirl around, and being welcome to have at it are all the makings for joyful, engaging play—the kind of free and messy play that paves the way for a creative future.
This kind of free, wild and messy play can be difficult to come by for kids today (and not always easy on parents either). But the often misunderstood mess that follows carries so much value. Once you let go, you will see the excitement, joy and engagement such messy play brings to children. And, it turns out, you are enabling kids to develop their senses and benefit from sensory stimulating play, which research shows enhances brain development. Letting kids get messy early on also predisposes them to being comfortable with messy thinking later in life. The ability to think freely and push the limits of a situation is exactly what helps kids build creativity and solid problem-solving skills. Just the simple prompt to think about how colors are feeling helps kids develop empathy--the skill they may need most in life to make and keep friends, navigate social dynamics and learn to balance their own needs with the needs of others.