Last week one of the girls in my 2s class was painting at the easel when a blob of blue paint accidentally hit the floor. I watched her surprise as it splattered on the floor, and then as she intentionally shook the brush to make more blue drips on the floor.
"No!" I called to stop her and asked her to help me clean up the floor. Thinking of her excitement at watching the paint drip and that at CCNS we are all about finding a way to say "yes", I stifled my knee-jerk reaction and instead covered the floor with newspaper put her paper on the floor and told her now she could drip the paint.
Two other children seeing what she was doing joined in.
As I planned my activities for the following week, I thought about this girl's exploration of dripping paint and decided to make it the painting activity for the week. I had to move some tables and cover some shelving to protect from paint splatters. I didn't want to use paint brushes that might encourage painting rather than dripping, after a little experimentation I settled on wooden spoons in tall plastic cups of paint.
One parent told me that on the way to school that morning her daughter told her "I want to paint on the floor today". She hadn't gotten a chance to try it last week, but remembered it over the weekend.
I started with individual drip paintings, then as a variation used a large sheet of paper to make a communal painting together. I used this activity in both of my classes, but noticed that there was more excitement about it in the class that initiated the activity.
It really made me appreciate how much more involved children are in activities when we follow their lead and let their interests guide our planning.