Life’s greatest teachers

Today I was reminded of the joy of creating – just by experimenting and having fun, by a bunch of wet, naked 3 year olds covered in green paint and shaving cream.  

A good friend of mine invited me to her little girl’s 3rd birthday party today. The party started out with the usual – kids arriving with presents, me helping to blow up some balloons, and some healthy and not-so-healthy snacks.  It was a lovely, but hot, Spring day in Sydney today, so next came the the naked and the wet kids. The wading pools were out, the inflatable toys were up and the kids were having a ball splashing around and playing with the different spray settings on the hose.

After much fun splashing about the Mother Of the Birthday Girl (MOBG) got out the art materials and lay them out in the shade on the concrete. Kids being kids didn’t care they were still wet and naked and got into the paint without the hindrance of clothes that would just get dirty. First there were were paintbrushes and paper, then glue was mixed in and hands were used and paint was dripping all over the ground as kids played with the paint dripping it on the paper from high above and splattered it all about. Totally in the moment and just enjoying the materials in front of them, experimenting, playing and having fun.

Some parents were a bit amazed as MOBG was calm as ever as she reassured the kids “it’s all good.” She then reassured the parents by explaining that she could hose it down later, and that the paint would wash off the kids with another dip in the pool. It a lot ways it was her attitude that set the scene for so much free play as much as the planning and cheap Ikea paint and chalk.

Just as we all thought that the kids couldn’t get any messier MOBG brought out a can of shaving cream, explaining to the kids that the could mix it with paint and paint with it. (Also warning them to keep it out of their eyes as it was like soap). She even gave them the can and let them have a go at squirting it out. It was almost as entertaining for the adults to watch the young ones try this new white stuff out, cautious at first, and then turning the whole thing into a shaving cream body paint extravaganza.

They were so happy playing in the paint and water and shaving foam mix that not one of them came running when I came out with a plate full of cupcakes and asked who wanted cake! (The adults may have been a different story!) I had to leave shortly after the cake and as I made my way out there was a glorious wet mess and many half-wet, still painted mini-people around, as well as some colourful chalk drawings on the ground. 🙂

The only sad part of the day was that nobody felt comfortable to take photos. It was a private party full of innocent fun. Lucky it was also one that nobody old enough to remember will ever forget.



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