Art, therapy.

I was really excited when Paint Glaze & Fire, a paint-your-own-pottery store, invited me out for their Halloween painting event. Just one little problem. Due to space, there was only room for me to bring one of my kids. Gulp. What to do, what to do.

Should I take our first grader who would definitely show off the most skill?

Should I pick our 4-year-old who does so much art every day at preschool it barely fits in his take-home cubbie?

Or should I take our little guy, age 3, who is so excited about Halloween already that he just might burst?

I knew they would all love it so the decision wasn’t easy but I chose … drumroll …our 4-year-old, Captain. I wanted to feed his new art obsession and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with our middle man. (Hear that, future Captain? Despite being the middle kid, you did get some extra attention growing up at least once. Be sure to tell your therapist that.)

Captain was so excited. He only “accidentally” told his siblings where he was going three times right before we left AND went back into the house twice to tell everyone goodbye.

Captain and I had a great time, the atmosphere was fun (art on the ceiling) and the staff at Paint Glaze & Fire was very friendly and helpful. They had a whole table of full of different Halloween ceramics to paint, the perfect size (and price!) for younger kids. Witches, spiders, ghosts and more. After much thoughtful consideration, Captain chose a Frankenstein to paint. I thought for sure he’d go for the pumpkin, but like I said, we were overdue for some get-to-know-you time.

Next, it was an artist’s dream to see paint from nearly floor to ceiling in any color you can imagine. Thankfully, there was a rule of only using three at a time so that made it easier to manage my little Picasso’s masterpiece. We took lots and lots and lots and lots of trips to and from the paint wall and back to our table. You’d think he used every single color but there was such a big selection, he didn’t even come close.

 

Another favorite thing for Captain to do was picking out paint brushes. Big, little, narrow, fat, medium …. he was able to experiment with all of them. If he had decided to paint a plate or something with a larger surface area, well, we’d still be there, but he could have also dug through the many baskets of stencils and stamps they had to give it some extra flair.

 

So at this point our Frankenstein was 6 different colors of green, 4 blues, back, white, red and yellow BUT, as Captain pointed out, our pal Frank needed some polka dots on his shirt. So we got special paint that you squeeze out of a glue-like bottle for that part.

While we waiting for Frank to dry, we walked around and checked out pieces other kids were working on. It was fun to see how creative and different everyone’s were. And the really strange thing? For a place that was full of kids, it was actually pretty quiet. There were plenty of kids, but they were all really concentrating on their masterpieces. Note to self: Might be a great calming activity for our extra-energetic Daisy troop.

Captain and I both had a great time, trying something new, flexing our creative muscle and spending some quality time together. Now I not only know why Frankenstein is Captain’s favorite Halloween creature, I also know what he and his friend played at recess that day, that he really likes the thought of his siblings in bed when he’s still up, and that he’s got an eye for blending greens together.

It was a good reminder to me that special time with my kids doesn’t need to be over-the-top, overthought, or so expensive that I’m not doing it as much as I should. Sometimes it can be as easy as sneaking out of the house and spending an hour or so painting together. It’s just a bonus that this activity comes with memento so you’ll both remember the fun times. (Or, to be used as physical proof of love and attention during a therapy session later on in life.)

Paint Glaze & Fire Ceramics and Coffee House is located at 12683 Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, Kansas. For hours or information, call 913-661-CLAY.