Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Tickled Pink about Color wonder

Though having a toddler is a constant joy and learning adventure, it can also be challenging and at times, let's face it; embarrassing.

A few weeks back we were with some friends and their kids at a lovely restaurant in an agroturismo in Reggio Emilia when the owner of the restaurant in an act of ill-thought-out kindness presented the young ones with their own booth table in the restaurant, large sheets of gleaming white paper and markers in every colour of the rainbow. How lovely! We parents were free to enjoy the evening, sipping the local wines, gorging ourselves on paccheri and tartufo while the kiddies coloured happily in the background.

Only problem was, they also managed to colour the background itself! When the wine was long gone and our bellies were full we rose to collect our little darlings only to find table, chairs, walls and cushions having become an extension to their perception of what seemed to be fair game as far as canvas goes when mum and dad aren't looking on.

Red-faced we tugged the little artists away, gave our apologies (along with a nice tip and the hopes that the markers were the washable kind) and head off into the night.

I don't bring regular markers with me to public places or even friends homes when we're out in the evenings specifically to avoid similar situations. I would sometimes bring coloured pencils but they can need sharpening and somehow get on everything anyhow.

So how does a modern parent avoid this kind of faux-pas while still helping their child to express themselves artistically in a public environment?

Recently we've been packing Color-wonder marker pads and markers in our play bag and taking those with us to restaurants, hotels, to friends' and in the car.They're a brilliant invention in that they only colour on the paper that is made to go with them because the colour appears due to a chemical reaction with the paper itself and otherwise they're transparent. Made by crayola, they are more expensive than regular markers and paper but I love the freedom they give Sera in that I'm not constantly having to police her.

Some kids might find them frustrating at first because it does take a few seconds for the colour to appear after the marker has touched the page, but perhaps that's a bonus because we can teach our kids about creative expression and patience at the same time.


  1. Love the idea. However, as a mama of a little boy is is hard to keep him occuped with art... any suggestions and or tips?

    1. Hi Nancy, thanks for the comment!

      Most famous artists started out as little boys so I'd suggest persistance and creativity. What is he into? Bugs? Trucks? Superheroes? I know these are stereotipically boys interests but anything he's into really will work as a theme. You might be able to hold his interest for longer. Or how about getting messy? Bath paints or crayons are lots of fun and easy to clean up or sidewalk chalk now that the weather is getting better. That Wayne can experiment outside of a square piece of paper, which isn't for everyone. Collage or stickers could also be fun. In terms of taking things to the restaurant with you obviously some of these ideas won't work, but I've had good results with Aqua Doodles even spaghetti sauce on a paper placemat. It's just important to encourage experiment.
      Let us know how it goes!