As the pandemic stretches on, my days flow into each other with little to differentiate them. A trip to the grocery store or post office feels like an event to put on the calendar. I needed something to shake things up a bit, something FUN; but I needed help. I needed children! And the lucky grandmother that I am, I have five of them just 25 minutes away.
What could we do that would be outdoors, socially distanced (two families plus me) on a 95-degree, 98% humidity-drenching day in Arkansas?
I could resurrect my elementary school teacher creativity and plan a variety of activities to enjoy in one of their front yards. YARD ART, or as one of the grandchildren later renamed it... an ART PARTY.
I borrowed ideas from the internet (credited below), ordered materials, then let the Fun begin when the Amazon box arrived.
As a teacher, planning and preparation were as stimulating to me as the projects themselves. But I quickly realized that planning in the age of Covid added a new layer to the cake, and I was just planning for two separate groups – not 15-20 individual students. No longer could I put a jar of paint brushes, scissors or markers in the middle of a table and say, "Share." A yard allows plenty of space to spread out, but how could I have duplicated that in a classroom? I began to appreciate, on a practical level, the daunting job that teachers would soon be facing, of teaching and keeping students safe at the same time.
In the shade and relative coolness of Sunday morning, all the art choices were ready to go by 9:30. Only one needed direct sunshine, Solar S'Mores, not exactly an art project; but who can concentrate without snacks?
Luke, Nate, Anna, Ruby and Matthew had fun, as children/adolescents do; but so did the adults. Alongside their children, they blew bubbles that popped and splattered into designs, created bracelets, painted Tic Tac Toe boards/rocks, and fashioned construction paper cutouts into Matisse-inspired designs.
The morning lifted my sagging spirit and helped me realize that I don't have to accept a stretch of days that flow endlessly into one another. I have choices. I still have control of my situation, not as much as I did five months ago, but neither am I powerless. Creativity and connection, practiced safely, with a dose of FUN from time to time, not only sustain but energize me.
Whatever fun looks like to you, I encourage you to go for it! And If you can have CDC-approved fun in community, all the better.
As me for, I have all the left-over art supplies.
Guess what I'm doing after I finish writing this blog?.
Art idea credits:
Popped Bubble Art
UV (ultraviolet) Color Changing Beads
Rock Tic Tac Toe