Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fingerpainting (and other things that seem like a good idea)

Oh yes, they did.

At first glance, fingerpainting seems harmless enough. After all, it’s a fun, creative, old-timey kid pastime. Buying those brightly-colored pots of paint may seem like a smart decision—your little ones will be happily occupied while you get a few things done. Brilliant!

Of course, if you fall for the fingerpainting hype (like I did), you might find that you spend way more time cleaning the paint off everyone and everything in your household than you ever gained by having the kids occupied for a few minutes. Repeat after me: So not worth it.

When it comes to entertaining kids, lots of things that seem like a good idea are really just disasters waiting to happen. I seem to keep learning these lessons over and over again. Here are a few examples, gleaned from my vast personal experience on the topic:

  • Involving your child in a complicated, from-scratch cupcake recipe when they would have been just as happy with an eighty-nine-cent cake mix. (Kids don’t need you to be Martha Stewart. They just want food.)
  • Stopping for a treat after a long day at the zoo, because you just have to add one more fun thing to the day’s agenda. (Hello, fun overload.)
  • RSVPing yes for two birthday parties in the same day, to avoid disappointing anyone. (Overdosing on birthday cake and soda is never a good idea.)
  • Infusing homemade Play-Doh with a yummy scent that smells good enough to eat. (Because kids will!).
  • Taking your preschooler shopping for school clothes so they can “pick out what they like.” (Unfortunately, princess dresses and elbow-length gloves aren’t school attire.)
  • Moon Sand. (This stuff may be fun, but scraping the damp, clumpy “sand” granules out of your carpet isn’t.)
  • Taking your cranky kids to the grocery store at 6 p.m. in search of ice cream. (There will be meltdowns. And I’m not talking about the ice cream.)
  • Dragging your child to library storytime after they’ve declared that they do NOT want to go. (Any activity that begins with “Well, let’s just try it anyway,” probably won’t end well.)

Writing about this topic has also made me think about the flipside, things that don’t seem like a good idea, but are. Parenting: the surprises never end! Food for thought, and possibly a future blog post.


Abby said...

So funny and so cute! First of all, Moonsand is the devil. And Play-doh's not far behind. If they don't want kids to eat it, why do they have all those molds and kits to make it into birthday cakes, ice cream and hamburgers?!

Even though I love arts & crafts and I hate to admit it, I leave the messy projects for them to do at school. I have better things to do than pick dried Play-Doh out of the carpet and vacuum up glitter.

Malia said...

:) Our play doh set came with lots of little cookie cutters and rolling pins. Of COURSE kids think they can eat the stuff!

Amy said...

That is the glory of preschool - moonsand, real sand, playdoh, fingerpaint, endless supplies of tape, indoor water stations. Do it at school and leave the mess there! heehee. We do playdoh at home often, but never finger paint. We paint with a brush and an apron and I'm right there watching! You're very right - the mess is never worth the 15 minutes you had them occupied... ;o)