Paint and roll

Watching the children walk into the studio this morning and wandering around the space to discover the experiences that are on offer is always a highlight of what we do. The questions soon followed, “What is this?”, “What do we do here?” and “What is that?”

On our large table this morning we set up a motion painting experience. We placed white paper into trays together with large spatulas and a few bouncy balls. The children had the opportunity to choose their paint colours and squeeze them on to the paper. This was only the start of the fun! A couple of balls were added and the children either chose to push the balls around with a spatula or they picked up the tray and let the balls roll back and forth and side to side.

The results of the colour mixing and patterns obviously looked amazing but beyond the aesthetics, this experience encourages both fine and gross motor skills with the children being able to squeeze the paint and then to move the ball around the tray. It also develops hand-eye coordination and introduces concepts such as colour mixing, patterning and understanding cause and effect.

squeeeeeeeze the paint

squeeeeeeeze the paint

Using the spatula to move the balls around.

Using the spatula to move the balls around.

Shaking the tray all around.

Shaking the tray all around.

Once the paper was pulled out of the tray, we spent time observing the outcome, identifying the colours, pointing out the lines and negative space and the effect of movement.

Once the paper was pulled out of the tray, we spent time observing the outcome, identifying the colours, pointing out the lines and negative space and the effect of movement.

The power of creative play

Creativity is a subject very close to our hearts here at Big Wild Imagination but it can be a word that scares people (especially grown-ups!). Some people believe that creativity is an inborn talent and you either have it or you don't. But everyone is creative!  It is our ability to problem solve, to imagine, to dream. As we grow older a lot of people lose confidence in their creativity and fall into the trap of thinking that if they can’t paint, or draw then they are not creative. But creativity is a skill and one that can be nurtured, developed and improved. 

Creativity isn't just about artistic talent, it is essential for almost all areas of our life including our social and emotional wellbeing. Thinking creatively not only helps to solve problems but also assists in adapting to change and technological advances. If we want to future-proof our children and raise a generation of creative, entrepreneurial thinkers, we need to provide the time, the space and the resources for unstructured, imaginative play.

The best thing about being creative, is fully immersing yourself in an experience and getting lost in the moment. There is no right or wrong. If you need proof of this, just watch a young child making art and experiencing the joy of the process. They aren't worried about the end product or if it is "good" they are just enjoying the experience of making and doing.  Creativity is a skill ingrained into our minds and the only thing stopping us from expressing ourselves is society's belief that there should be a result at the end or that art only belongs to those with "talent". 

If you want to encourage more creativity at home you can do this by:

  • encouraging it - making the time and space for it
  • displaying it - on the fridge or in frames, it doesn't matter
  • discussing it - not just what children produce but the creative arts around you
  • encouraging divergent thinking - is there another way to solve the problem or more than one solution? Let them disagree with you or break up old ideas.
  • highlight process over product - worry less about the end result and more about the experience. Was it fun? What did you like doing?



Making Goop step-by-step

Goop (also known as slime) is a big hit with all ages in our workshops. There's something irresistible about the way it morphs from a solid state to a melting, oozing substance and then back again. 

We make big trays of it in masses of colours at Big Wild Imagination but if you want to enjoy the fun at home here's how to make a smaller batch.

What you'll need:

  • 1 x packet cornflour (approx 300g) - any brand

  • cold water

  • food colouring or liquid watercolours

  • shallow tray or tub

  • (optional) little toys, spoons, containers and utensils for scooping and filling

Tip the cornflour into your tray or tub and add the water a little at a time, mixing as you go. Hands work well here but you can also use a spoon, mixing until you get a liquid like consistency. The ratio is 2 parts cornflour to 1 part water.

Add your preferred colour and mix through. Or add a few colours and experiment with colour mixing. (Note: some food colours will temporarily stain hands when used in Goop - but nothing a good bath can't get out later).

Once it is all mixed together, you can press it and it will be hard and crumbly but let it go and it will trickle through your fingers. Can you try and make a ball with it? Can you scoop it into a container? What happens when you press your hands on it? So many experiments - so MUCH fun!

We recommend playing with your Goop outside or using a drop sheet as little hands have a tendency to flick this stuff about. However cleanup is easy as it rinses away from hands and clothes with warm water, or if you let it dry it can be brushed off or vacuumed up.

Goop can be stored in a ziplock bag or airtight container to be played with on another day but you may need to add a little more water to re-use it another time. When completely finished you can throw it in the bin - don't put it down the sink - it might clog your drain!