Thursday, March 1, 2007

Happy Pig Day!

March 1st is Pig Day! That's me dressed up as Olivia. What a wonderful Pig Day today could be this being the year of the pig and all...I put together two lists for you, one for books and the other for fun so check them out and see if they give you any nifty ideas, I sure hope they do!

A long time ago at a pig party I held for Pig Day, I gathered an oddball assortment of all pink craft materials and asked the kidlets to make their own pigs. Now, I know there is no defining rule that says all pigs need to be pink and I told the kids this but just for fun this it what we did. I had just finished taking a children's art class and was overhwelmed with the pyschobabble of it all and decided to revamp my stories and art program to ensure all creations were open ended. I never modeled what the art should look like and I always encouraged creativity. If a kidlet asked for a supply that wasn't out and I had it, I brought it out. This pig party was the first of its kind and I was excited! You should have seen the pigs these kids made! We had fingerpainted pigs, artful pigs, playdough pigs, tissue paper was AWESOME! The kids were all having a blast except for a three year old named Joey. He was mighty stressed out and frustrated as he attempted to draw his very first pig. I sat with him and dialogued and offered questions and encouragment and did everything I could to NOT show him how to draw a pig. I was working on fostering his atonomy which for Joey was a big deal because he had an older brother who was just old enough to dazzle him. Through his tears Joey told me he couldn't draw and was not good and I had a sad sad boy on my hands. I brought out all the pig books I read and we talked about how they were alike and different. I brought out a book with photographs of pigs so Joey could see how the illustrations were inspired. After a while he sniffled and was ready to try again. I asked him how many heads does a pig have? Three? Four? Two? Through his giggles he hollered "One!" "Well, there ya go," I said, "What shape is a pigs head?" and slowly but surely he started to draw. You should have seen the twinkle in his eye when he added two dots in a cirlce for the snout and by golly that boy drew the proudest pig of them all and I of course cried like the weepy girl that I am. I was ecstatic. I did it! He did it! We did it! I rode that high for weeks! Joey was so so so proud and excited to show his mom his pig and after that, his little self blossomed. He stepped out of his brother's shadow and created his own little world of wonder. It was always there but he just needed a push. The even cooler part was when his brother got all excited with him! I tell ya, I needed an entire box o' tissues!

Yeah, yeah, nice story lady but what does it mean? It means that while it is super easy to model an object or picture for your child, especially when they are pestering you to "draw me a monkey! draw me a monkey!" it is so much more joyful to give them the tools to create their own monkeys, pigs, trains, etc. Take a moment when you have it and sit down with them and talk it out. One thing I do when a child insists I draw or make art with them is I use spots of color and just paint strokes or dots and talk about the colors and what they remind me of. When I play with clay, I roll little balls. I stack them, I count them. All the while I dialogue about the texture, the scent, the colors and how they play into the child's world. You talk enough and soon they will talk with you and start creating their own objects! It is a thrilling experience as I am sure you all know.

Check out this nifty dad and his daughter's amazing artwork and see what this mom does with her kids' creations!


  1. i was hoping "i like me" would make the pig list! one of our faves :)

  2. i do love nancy carlson! there are too many pig books! :)