As we were preparing for the day, I thought about the pictures on the inspiration blogs...and about my kids. "This could be messy," I told Cindy. She said that we would just tell the kids to use small amounts of paint. "It could still be messy," I mused.
Cindy covered the table with newspaper. I suggested that we use our trays, too. Cindy agreed. Here are my kids in action.
"You were right," Cindy said later. "Even using just a little, it was messy."
So often I think we teachers forget to think ahead...think like the kids. ("Let's use the pipettes over and over and over and over.") That can cause us "behavior problems" because we get flustered at what is happening. But what is happening is natural and (sort of) expected.
If we had pools of paint all over the table...and probably running onto the floor...I would have declared this activity a real mess. I may have been tempted to move it to the "never again" list because I wouldn't want to deal with the consequences of doing it. But the real problem would have been that I didn't anticipate and plan for what the kids would do - how the kids interact with the materials.
As I think back, there may be a couple of activities that I need to try again. A different group or a little anticipation can cause a "failure" activity to become a keeper.