Chalk on the terrace

Over the winter, we’ve done a lot of indoor art projects.  There were a few that included fun and messy things like glitter and glue, but mostly we stick to (relatively) clean and orderly art in the winter when we’re stuck indoors — things like dry erase markers, stickers and coloring books.  (I’m working on being less worried about messes in favor of fun, but I’m making slow progress.)  I was more relaxed about this at home, where the house was ours, and I’m more concerned about it here, with parquet floors that we’re only renting.  So, our messiest art projects (like painting on the easel) principally happen outdoors, which means they have to wait for the warmer weather.

And, then, of course, there are the things that are only ever going to happen outside — like coloring with sidewalk chalk.  Today, for the first time since last fall, we got out the chalk and colored all over the terrace.

This is one of those activities (I’m sorry to say that there are several of them) that is ALWAYS more fun than I think it’s going to be.  I always have to overcome a good deal of inertia to get myself and the kids into shoes and coats, locate and acquire the chalk and go outside.  (Writing it down, it’s pathetic how little effort that really is, and how big of a task it seems in the moment.)  But once we’re out there, it’s just so much fun.  The kids get to be creative, I get to be creative, there’s very little to worry about (now that they’re past the age of wanting to eat the chalk) and there’s very little that I have to say “no” to (other than Benjamin hoarding the chalk).  It’s great.

I draw pictures, Liam walks on them, Benjamin erases them.  Benjamin draws lines and shapes.  I write their names, Benjamin reads them.  Liam draws with tons of enthusiasm.  Benjamin tells everyone which colors they’re allowed to use at any moment.  I draw stars and balls and cars — all words that Liam knows so he can point and name them.  It’s really a lot of fun, and it’s so nice (and rare) to allow them such liberty in their activity.

We finally went inside when we got too cold.  We had a great time and got really messy.  I really must remember, in the future, how worthwhile it is to get ourselves together and make a big mess sometimes.

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