I was at the grocery store the other day and they were having a sale on toilet paper. That, in and of itself, is not the point here. Sure, I bought a couple of packs of discount price yet high quality butt wipe and felt good about that. But no, the important thing was that since it was on sale, the grocery store had wheeled out a couple of skids of Cottonelle or Cashmere or whatever they call it these days and just set them directly on the floor. And each layer of toilet paper packages was stacked with these big, lovely sheets of cardboard between them. Luckily one layer was almost finished and so I was able to grab two big sheets of the stuff to hustle out to my car to be put to good and artful use someday at home. And I don't know about you, but the toughest hours, parenting-wise, in my house are from 4:00 when the Little Dude gets off the bus till dinner at 6:00. There can be a lot of fighting, whining, and random angry outbursts over the smallest things. And I find it really, REALLY helps if I have an activity for the kids to do. And I don't mean an activity I have to preside over and walk them through (I have dinner to make y'all) but something they can engage with on their own. No multi-step, paint and glue mess-making extravaganzas (those are for the leisurely weekend mornings). Just something simple, like "Here's a giant piece of cardboard and some markers. Have fun!" And fun they did have! The Little Dude was very focused on making swords. First he traced a toy sword he already had, and then he decided to make his own.
I had two sheets of cardboard, one for the Little Dude and one for the Little Guy, so as to avoid the inevitable conflict. But since the Little Dude is a much more competent drawer than the Little Guy (being nearly three years older) it quickly became a game of watching-your-big-brother-draw. Luckily L.D. likes to draw almost as much as L.G. likes to be drawn for, so it was a win-win situation.
And he also incorporated the negative space of the ripped out corner of one of the sheets of cardboard as the chomped-out bite space of a "deep sea electric eel". Please note that is is transparent (as many deep sea creatures are) and antomically correct, featuring internal organs, intestines, a penis and a rectum. Because, science.
On a side note, this was a really fun exercise in the concept of scale. If you like drawing with your kids, you should totally get some sort of big paper or cardboard and give this a try. It really rejuvenates the experience for them, and you get some really great results. Also, it kept them busy for, like, an hour, which is awesome in my books. And think about the drawing supplies you give them too. I put out a box of standard crayola washable markers which got totally ignored in favour of some sharpies. They don't usually get to use the big sharpies (those are typically mom and dad territory) but I let them have them since they were outside and it couldn't bleed through onto my table top or anything, and they LOVED it. Its the whole forbidden fruit thing. Or in this case I should say forbidden markers.
When the Little Dude tired of entertaining his little brother (those swords are not going to draw themselves!) the Little Guy finally decided to do a bit of drawing himself. Not as elaborate or large scale as the Little Guy's...
Now I've just got to find some more big cardboard. I'll be watching for the next toilet paper sale with a whole new agenda.