Remember our outdoor painting on Thursday? Well, we were painting with purpose. A friend who recently became a mother of two shared an idea she had heard with me about introducing a new sibling into your toddler or preschooler's life. She was encouraged to have her son pick out a gift for his new brother. Then, when his brother was born, the older sibling would also get a gift from the baby. I thought this was a great way to make the baby's homecoming seem more personal and something to which Audrey could look forward.
Then, I ran across this post on The Artful Parent, which led to this tutorial about doing glue batik with children. Enter a little cotton newborn shirt (with a few stains on it, what better reason to paint it?) amongst a pile of garage sale clothes given to my mother. A plan was born. If picking out a gift for her brother would help Audrey to feel a special connection to him when he came home, how much more would that gift matter if it was something she had made herself?
So we got supplies and got our hands dirty. You need to use a specific glue for this project - Elmer's blue gel glue that is washable. Unfortunately, we weren't able to find the glue during our one-stop shopping adventure before the project. Not wanting to stop at another store, we ran across blue gel glue sticks and bought those. Shirt and glue in hand, the project is a simple one (but takes some time):
1. Draw on the shirt as you wish. Audrey drew some random marks and then I helped her draw a heart on the back of the shirt.
2. Let the glue dry.
3. Paint over the dry shirt with really watered-down acrylic paint (it will almost have the look of paint for water colors). Audrey chose orange paint for her brother's shirt and loved just splattering the paint on. Between the random glue marks and splatter paint job, the shirt looks a little tie-dyed.
4. Let the shirt dry.
5. Soak the shirt in hot water to remove the glue. A little of our paint washed out as well.
6. Wash the shirt and wait for the arrival of a cute little boy to wear it.
Audrey really enjoyed this project, and I think as she learns to write her letters and numbers, it will be something we revisit often, graduating to bottled gel glue rather than the glue sticks as she gets more adept with her fine motor skills. Until then, we wait. For more sunny days that made this project that much easier to clean up. For motor skills we know will come. For a little boy in an orange shirt.