It’s Saturday. The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday to be exact. Being a special occasion, I thought I’d better put my Pinterest Mum hat on and organise some sort of holiday-themed activity for the kids…
I settled on egg painting. There were eight free-rangers sitting in the fridge just waiting to be used, and the gel food colouring was still close at hand thanks to the Big Boy’s birthday.
I know, I thought. I can blog about this. I’ll take photos and write a post explaining how we did it and how much fun we all had. Genius!
However, because I set out to blog about my life as a mum authentically, I will not be giving out step-by-step instructions. Nor will I be raving about what a wonderful experience it was, and how my kids had the time of their lives. I’m not one of those Pinterest-esque bloggers. I’m here to tell it like it is.
The problem with craft activities for children is that prep takes at least 15 minutes, and the clean up takes even longer. This would be fine if the activity lasted more than five minutes, but how often does that happen? I spent a good half-hour boiling and then cooling eggs, sourcing paint brushes, and organising edible paints this morning. Compared to the ten seconds it took my kids to smear paint all over
the table their clothes their hands their eggs and announce that their work was done, that’s practically a lifetime. And don’t even ask how long it took me to clear everything away again!
It wasn’t just the duration of the activity that got to me either. I hate to admit it, but I found the whole thing incredibly stressful. I wanted the painted eggs to look good. I didn’t want anyone to make a mess. And I definitely didn’t want my expensive food colouring to be ruined. So when all three children failed to rinse their brushes properly between colours, I kinda, sorta lost my cool. Shame on me. The poor kids had no chance of actually enjoying themselves with Grumpy Mum standing over them.
If I were to attempt egg painting with my kids again (and let’s face it, I’m dumb enough to have another go next Easter), I’d take a slightly different approach. For starters, I’d set everything up outside. The children would be dressed in already-stained clothes, and we’d have a ratio of one paintbrush to one colour pot. I’d stock up beforehand so there were enough eggs for everyone to decorate four or five each (two per person just wasn’t enough). And, most importantly, I’d go into the activity without any expectations. The kids want to mix all the colours and end up with a boiled egg that resembles a turd? Fine. They want to dab on a couple of colours and then go and find something else to do? No worries at all. They have so much fun painting their eggs that they want to paint themselves too? Perfect. Just remind me a year from now that kids’ crafts are about the process, not the end result, and we’ll be set.
– Fern xxx