Sunday, June 30, 2013

PlayWatch: Painting the Rabbit

This story was shared by Exhibits Director Robin Meisner

Walking out into The Children’s Garden, I noticed a girl – about 4 years old – instructing two other young children in how to “paint” the rabbit. They had lined up their materials on the ground next to the rabbit – small wooden pots from Underland filled with water and a larger bowl with sand. With a paintbrush from the sand pit in hand, the girl instructed the others, “first, you dip the brush in the water, then in the sand, then you paint the bunny.” She demonstrated dipping, then painting in long slow strokes following the direction of the rabbit’s fur. The others joined in, each getting bits of advice on proper painting techniques.

A short while later, I watched as the same girl and a young boy approached the fountain with their empty water containers and paintbrushes. They climbed onto the rocks surrounding the water, soaked their brushes and filled their pots. They then started to make their way down from the rocks but quickly discovered that climbing down with water was tricky. My first instinct was to offer my empty hands, but I held back and observed. After a few moments of fidgeting, the girl handed the boy her water, set her brush down and jumped off the wall. She then reached up and took the two filled containers and both brushes from the boy. He climbed down carefully, gathered his supplies and they made their way back to the rabbit – no adult help needed.

I followed the pair and watched as the painting continued. New children approached, got their lesson and painted for a few minutes before moving on. And, hours later after all the kids were gone, the rabbit was still specked with painted sand.

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