Before I had kids, I taught preschool for several years. I loved doing art and craft projects with the kids. Planning units was like planning a new theme party every week or two, and was definitely my favorite part of teaching (besides the kids, obviously). The hard part, however, was giving up my preconceived notions of how their finished projects should look.
Fast forward three years, and I'm having to re-learn that skill. I hesitate to call myself a perfectionist since I wouldn't consider anything I've made to be "perfect," but the impulse is there, and having a blog hasn't helped any. So I made a point of starting this weekend's project with the simple goal of letting my son do it however he wanted.
The project was painting rocks to make durable signs for our garden. Thomas can read, and I want him (and me...) to learn to identify the plants in each stage of growing. (I tend to get crazy pulling weeds and end up with piles of herbs.) This is our third round of garden signs: The first ones were wooden stakes I made for Josh for Christmas-- what the dog didn't eat, the elements destroyed-- and last year my mom gave us some metal one that work great, but also make sharp accidental weapons for curious and rowdy boys.
So Thomas helped me pick out rocks from under our deck, load them in the wagon, wash them and paint them. He got covered in paint, as you can see here, but he had a blast doing our "art work" while Daddy did his "yard work."
Once he went down for a nap, I added words over the top of our paintings, except for a few of Thomas' that I didn't want to cover. My paint pen ran out after a few rocks and I was frustrated that I had to letter with a paint brush, since I'm not a great painter, but today as I covered them in varnish I discovered the paint pen smears under polyurethane, so it was kind of a blessing in disguise that I couldn't do them all that way. At any rate, here are our low budget, low tech, redneck awesome garden signs.