One activity that the kids enjoy immensely is "Communal Colouring" - taking time to create a work of art together independent of my direction or instruction. The only times I intervene are to soothe frustrations and bring them back to the idea of a work of art built together. Responding to wails of, "Mom! He's ruining it!" and little grabby toddler hands means reminding them that during this special time no area of the canvas is any one artist's territory and that materials are to be shared. Sometimes it is also necessary to keep one particular artist from eating the chalk. Sigh. So crunchy. So blue. Blech.
We got the idea for communal colouring while looking at Pieter Bruegel's paintings. It seemed to us that many of his works involved villagers working and playing together. Sometimes the participants in the paintings work at cross purposes to one another and some are lazier than others but the spirit of the paintings are lively and communicate a sense of "togetherness" that we like. Everyone in the paintings is an individual but stuff seems to be getting done or at least fun is being had. Click on the image below for an incredible tour of Bruegel's work at the Met!