Creative landscape activities for kids: #3 Creative expression
Your kids make you finger paintings, which you put on the refrigerator. But have you ever made finger painting with your kids, with watercolors you made yourselves? We know the human need for self-expression goes back to cave paintings, petroglyphs and stacked rocks as early as tens of thousands of years. Humans first crushed rocks and charcoal to create pigments, with which they recorded their experiences. Here’s how that happen in your backyard.
- Go searching in your backyard for colorful stones to make watercolors. The ones you’re looking for will be gravelly, soft and easy to grind under your foot. (If you’re having trouble finding these, come to your nearest Southwest Boulder & Stone and we’ll help you get some.) With an eyedropper or maybe even some drips from your fingers, drip a little water on the rock powder (now “pigment”). When you have the right consistency, you’re ready to paint on paper or stone. If it dries while you’re working, just adding more water.
- Petroglyphs. Unlike paintings, “glyphs” are carved into rocks. Under the circumstances, it’s a good idea NOT to arm your progeny or even yourself with a chisel, since rocks can be dangerously hard or soft. We strongly recommend using pigments or chalk to “pretend-carve” on the boulders and walls of your yard.
- Stacked stones have been around since time immemorial. They were used for memorials or as mnemonic (“this path is the way home”) devices, and they are still popular. So much so, that conservationists worry that we may be turning our wild places into memorial gardens. Which is why stacking and balancing rocks in your backyard is the perfect place to do it. Have the kids search the yard for the perfect rocks to create skyscrapers, teeter-totters and more. Do remember, however, the rocks can be heavy. Make sure your children are safe!
Do you have any lessons to share with us? We’d love to hear from you!