Who doesn’t want to go back to their youth? I’m not talking about the brace-face, pimply, totally awkward days of seventh grade (I got glasses and braces at the same time, and was about a foot taller than all of the boys in my grade). I mean those princess dress-wearing days of preschool. To tuck the work emails away and put all adult responsibilities on hold for a few hours is a precious commodity that many of us don’t have the luxury of doing. How often to you turn your cell off? Stop checking emails? But social media on hold? If you just burst out laughing at the thought of doing any of those things, you aren’t alone. That’s part of the reason why a preschool for grownups sounds so darn good to so many of us adults. It’s freeing, inspirational and puts you back in touch with who you were at a much simpler time.
If the whole go back to preschool thing is starting to sound good right about now, you don’t have to jet off to NYC just to take a try at it. I usually write about kids’ art activities. But, today it’s all for you! I know, I know – you spend 78 percent of your day covered in goo, gack and what was supposed to be DIY finger paint (but, really turned our looking more like oatmeal) already. So, why do art in the afterhours? I’m all for helping the kiddos out with their crafting, but isn’t it really all about them? Now it’s your turn. Whether you put on a suit and head off to the office all day or you’re at home with the kids in your yoga pants, making time for your own preschool for grownups is a way to relax, de-stress and forget about your mortgage, taxes and whatever else is cluttering your mind. I’ve put together a list of a few artsy activities that will make you feel young again.
Before you head back to preschool (mentally, not when you drop your 4-year-old off in the morning) remember: BE A CHILD! Don’t act like one, don’t pretend to let go. Really, truly let go and enjoy the process of creation. Forget about the mess you’re making, and stop worrying that you’ll chip your manicure. Throw down a tarp, newspaper, a garbage bag or whatever else you need to make yourself feel better about the impending clean-up. Turn your cell off, or at least turn the sounds off and put it somewhere you can’t see it light up when you get a call, text or email.
No we’re ready to make some preschool-inspired art. I always tell parents that when it comes to their kids’ art, it’s all about the process and not so much the product. I stand by this for adult-made art. Don’t worry about making ‘something’ or a picture. None of these requires an MFA in studio arts to create. Just enjoy!
Clay paint. This is an easy one if you’re still slightly afraid of the mess. Instead of finger painting, smooth modeling clay onto a piece of cardboard. Same motion, equally as relaxing, but no spills.
Glitter and glue. Draw squiggles, circles, zig-zags or anything else with clear-drying school glue onto a piece of paper. Sprinkle gobs of glitter on top and shake off the excess. Keep on repeating the process until you’re all sparkled out.
Finger paint plus. Are you ready for the preschool staple yet? You can start with a basic finger paint activity. Step it up by adding glitter, craft sand or just about anything else you want to the tempera. Toss in a teaspoon of baby oil for a moisture-rich slick feel or add course sugar crystals for a scrubby texture.
Shaving cream paint. Use your hands or a paintbrush to mix up a batch of DIY puffy paints. Little kids love this, and so should you! Drip some tempera into pools of shaving cream and paint a textured masterpiece.
Torn-paper collage. You have no idea just how relax tearing pieces of paper up can be until you try it. Tear up tissue paper and glue it onto a piece of card stock, collage style.
Color-mixing. Make your own rainbow by mixing paints. Name the colors that you make with the most creative titles you can think up.
Mixed-media buffet. Set out a buffet of all kinds of art materials for yourself. Use paint, glue, craft feathers, sequins, markers, oil pastels and anything else you have on hand. Put it together on a piece of cardboard in any way that you want to.
A preschool for adults is kind of a genius idea that I wish I would have thought of. Sure, we don’t all have this type of program down the street. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t ‘homeschool’ yourself. Put the kids to bed, go on a technology fast and let your inner child loose.