My favorite day of the year is coming up next Friday, Painting Day. Each year we do some unique painting activities in the morning. In the afternoon, we turn my classroom into a giant painting. Everything becomes a paint brush: brooms, bath scrunchies and eventually the kids themselves. About 45 minutes into it, as the teachers try to change the kids’ clothes and keep the paint contained to one room, I start to question the wisdom of the painting. Does it have to be so big?
Well, yes, it does have to be that big actually. I remember Bev Bos writing about using vinegar and baking soda. She said that it wasn’t enough to have a cup of vinegar, it should be a gallon of vinegar and it should explode. The kids should be wonderstruck.
The kids walk into the room covered in white paper. The kids start by pumping paint into pie tins and using brushes. They paint the paper on the walls first. Then someone puts their hand in the paint and spreads the paint around on the walls. When some paint spills, someone will start sliding their feet around.
Slowly, kids leave to clean up. As the painting gets less crowded, the kids move around more. The painting turns into dancing. Kids roll around. They paint each other.
It gets a bit crazy, but the joy it brings is worth it.
side note: We started our Big Painting after seeing JAO create a “speed painting” of the Sistine Chapel. See her create a speed painting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTld-q3_AgU
- We use the paper that photographers use for a backdrop. It’s 9 feet wide and comes in 60 foot and 150 foot lengths, available at photography supply stores.
- We buy four gallons of cheap tempera paint with pumps.
- We have brooms, bath scrunchies, pie tins, rollers, feather dusters, etc.
- We tells parents to send clothes for the kids that might be destroyed.