Learning from great teachers… Children
The other day I was coloring with Eva. We were coloring one of those giant coloring pages. I had picked her up a Hello Kitty one a while back and we take out a large sheet and work on it together.
I immediately start coloring things their “proper” colors and “inside the lines”. I can’t seem to break that habit. Eva pulls out any old crayon and just starts making wide swaths across the sheet in the color of the moment. Kids do that naturally, they decide on something and commit to it. Then just as easily they pull out another crayon and make a quick change. Hello Kitty is going to be Bright Orange today. Bam! Hello Kitty is Orange. Now she should be Purple. Bang. Purple.
Now I tell this not because I think that Eva’s going to be the next great artist or anything but rather to say that kids have no fear of making mistakes until we start telling them the “right” way to do something. As a kid one thing I always looked forward to was a new box of Crayola crayons. Let’s face it, they were the best. Rose Art? No way. Opening that brand new box of 64 colors was great, you not only had green-blue you had blue-green in your arsenal. Fast forward to the middle of the school year. How many of those crayons still had perfect tips? Most of them? None of them?
What does your Crayon Box Look Like?
I think that we are so afraid to make mistakes. We don’t take chances with those additional colors in the box of crayons. If I took bloggers, for example, I’d say that the people who are making the biggest differences are those who have a box full of broken and peeled crayons. The box is ripped and there are marks of every color all over it. These are people who take big risks and in return make big mistakes but also make some incredibly big wins.
Using all Your Crayon Colors
As an exercise pick up a brand new box of 64 crayons. Take a photo of that new box. Show me those perfect crayon tips. Now Take out the core colors from the box of 8. Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Purple, Orange, Black and Brown. Throw them away. (Or give them to your kids just don’t use them) You’re not allowed to fall back on these colors. Now you can grab some sheets of blank paper and start coloring and drawing. If you want you can grab some coloring pages from PBSKids.org like this one of Curious George in a plane. Or if you are feeling really up for a challenge grab some coloring pages from Jan Brett. Her pages are very detailed and amazing. Pick a crayon at random and start putting color on paper. Don’t think about the lines or what color should be used. Just blindly color at random. Every minute take a new random crayon continue coloring. Do this for 30 minutes. When you are done shoot a photo of the box of crayons and a photo of your drawing, coloring page or whatever. We’re not looking for Rembrandt here we are just looking for pushing creativity. If it helps lay on the floor with your kids and color with them. Make it a game for the family.
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