On the very first day of Kids Bee Happy, all those years ago, we learnt a very important lesson about children and crafts.
You see we found that sand artists fell into two camps - the first are the group who like everything to be authentic, things to be the correct colours, the sky is blue, the grass is green, and elephants are grey.
The second camp are a bit more free-er, and any colour can go anywhere, their elephants are not grey, infact they have mutli coloured patches, four different colour legs, and a stripey trunk.
We also noticed that the parents and grandparents tended to be much more in the first group, I guess years of being sensible and "grown up" makes it a little harder sometimes to be instantly creative, and even the little prompts to their children "now, what colour is the grass?" steers the children in a certain direction.
Now let me tell you about Ryan, Ryan was a lovely six year old we met at the Tartan Heart Festival at Belladrum, and Ryan wanted to do a dinosaur picture. First of all Ryan pulled off a bit of the dinosaur and coloured it in green, he then pulled off the bits for the dinosaurs arms and legs, and did those green too. Then he did the ground that the dinosaur was standing on, and yes that was green too, along with the sky, the tree tops, the tree trunks, the clouds, the volcano, the lave and smoke from the volcano, the dinosaurs eyes and even its teeth!
Ryan took over an hour to make his picture, slowly, carefully, dedicatedly colouring in every individual section, one by one, even the tiny bits. And then when he finished, he pulled off all of the black outlines and coloured them in too, (I'll let you guess which colour!)
At the end, he proudly held his picture high and asked "Guess what my favourite colour is?" Well, apparently it wasn't pink lol.
Its a funny story, but I think about Ryan regularly when i'm putting together the packs and the kits, because every time Ryan reminds me not to make assumptions about the "right colours" for the designs on the pictures.
So as a grown up, when you're helping younger children to make their picture remember that play is about creativity, and that its not always important to learn their colours. Ask them to talk about their story, hear whats going on in their imagination, because if they are thinking about colouring the sea in orange - you can bet there is a delightful story coming your way.
If you receive a kit and the picture includes sky, and there isnt a blue sand tube in the kit - what we you do? Well we get creative. What colour is the sky? Any colour you want, you can have grey and black thunder and rain clouds, you can have red, pink and orange sunsets, you can have a wonderful purple & turquoise sky like we see here in Dumfries and Galloway out over the sea, or we can be like Ryan and just do it green.
PS - see you at Belladrum next year?