Here we are in upstate NY, in the home where Mr. T was raised in we were married. The family’s beautiful country home is chock-full this week, as we all congregate from various countries and states for a family wedding. My kids are in a summer camp-like heaven — in and out of the pool, half clothed at all times, running (quite literally) to each subsequent activity. It’s nonstop high energy indeed, so I’ve been trying to infuse each day with a small dose of art — attempting to rein in the excitement and pour it into mindful (and messy) creativity. Yesterday was hot, like strip-your-clothes-off and stand in the refrigerator hot (and this is coming from someone living in the arid desert where summer highs linger around 105 degrees). So in an attempt to temper the heat, we devised an icey activity: Ice Chalk Painting. The kids loved this simple project, which generated a healthy dose of imaginative play.
- empty ice tray
- washable, pourable paint
- corn starch
- popsicle sticks
- mixing bowl
What You Do:
- In a large, art-friendly mixing bowl, whisk up some water and corn starch. We started with about 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of corn starch, adding in another 1/4 cup or so as we mixed. The substance should look milky and somewhat thick but not at all chunky.
- Pour the mixture into the ice molds, about 3/4 full.
- Squeeze a blob of paint into each mold so the tray boasts a rainbow of colors. One small squirt of paint goes a long way.
- Using one popsicle stick for each colored square, carefully mix in the paint. Leave the popsicle stick in the mold.
- Freeze the tray overnight.
- When frozen completely, pop the paint cubes out and get creative!
I strongly recommend playing outside, since this is guaranteed to be both messy and melty summer fun. The ice paint will become easy to work with after it warms up and begins to melt. My niece used her color cubes as drumsticks, painting the walkway as she drummed. Miss R painted on paper, on flagstone and on herself — even making a “follow the yellow brick road” footprint paint trail around the yard. She enjoyed placing her color cubes on the hot flagstone, watching as a “river” of colors formed. She also experimented with printmaking by pressing pieces of paper into the multi-colored rivers.
Eventually, all three girls (including baby K) were covered in icey chalk paint, and they relished finger-painting and foot-painting their way across the walkway. After about one hour of play, I gathered up the works on paper and hosed off the girls and the ground — explaining that this is true process art, created for the ephemeral experience rather than the finished product.