Pendulum Painting

One of the wonderful things about being a nanny is that I get to experience so many activities and places that I wouldn't have even known about otherwise. So far I've gone to a train museum, a place called KidSpace where you can do things like crawl around in human-sized ant holes and work in a kid-friendly construction zone, and last week I buckled D and L into their car seats and drove to a beautiful park to participate in Make Art LA.

Make Art LA is an art class started by an artist named Darryl who is a stay-at-home dad and wanted to find a fun activity to do with his son. In his words, "After taking an art class with my son, and feeling very rushed and unsatisfied with the way the class was conducted, I decided to take it on myself to create an alternative experience. One that would be positive and empowering to the child, and within a flexible structure that fits each child's pace." He has managed to do exactly that.

This week's activity was pendulum painting. When we got there, we saw a row of tripod-esque contraptions set up on a large black tarp, each with a cup hanging from the middle on a string. A bunch of white papers were set out underneath each tripod.

Darryl showed us how to mix washable paint with water to thin it out, and then pour it into a cup with a small hole and the bottom, and slide that cup into the larger cup on the string. From there, he showed the kids how to pull the string back and let it go to start it swinging so the paint would drip out of the bottom, creating the pattern of the pendulum arc on the paper underneath. What followed was a paint-filled, splashy, artsy mess. Perfect for little kids, especially considering that this week they were all little boys. There may or may not have been some karate chopping of the cups going on, along with jumping in paint-filled puddles. The kids were excited about mixing colors and pulling the string in different directions to make different patterns.

Eventually, some of the boys tired of doing art and ran off to play Star Wars (this seemed to be the theme of the day; D&L brought their Star Wars cards, and one of the other boys had brought his Star Wars legos, so they had lots to talk about). Two great things about this class are that it's outside in a park, so they have the space to do that, and no one attempts to corral them back in; when they're done with the art, they're done, and that's okay. They still had a great time, and they got to flex their imaginations in multiple ways.

We spent the next couple of hours letting the kids play, eating lunch, and chatting.

It's so cool to be a part of helping little minds develop. I answered so many "what do [insert color here] and [insert color here] make?" questions, and each time I did I smiled, because they were genuinely curious and excited to learn. Plus they're just so dang cute.

This is a weekly class, so I'm looking forward to more art in the park adventures! And if you're in the LA area and have kids, definitely check this class out.

Things I'm diggin' right now:

:: A life lesson on having a positive attitude from Michelle Tanner

:: Party Rock Anthem, marching band style. I would have been a band geek solely to be able to do this.

:: In honor of Halloween - people pulling other peoples' shirts in the scariest part of a haunted house.

:: The Adventures of Dave the Dinosaur. If you have ever ordered anything from Photojojo, you will have a special appreciation for this one.

In the next few days I'll be posting about my weekend up north on the central coast, as well as showing you a million gorgeous ocean sunset photos (is there any other kind?). For now, I'm off to hike Runyon and have a photography adventure at LAX! What are you up to on this beautiful Saturday? Happy weekending!