One of the most colorful ways to help a baby discover its way around that big world out there is through art. It also happens to be one of the messiest, especially if paint is involved.
But that's a small sacrifice, according to the Los Angeles-based Zimmer Museum, which takes pride in exposing children, especially those in the latter stages of infancy, to the joys of creating via its Art Crawl events hosted on the premises.
Younger parents more accustomed to more technologically-advanced design tools online to demonstrate art to their kids might balk at the notion of having Jr. glopped up in every color of the rainbow. But proponents of Art Crawl sessions declare that tykes have a riot trying to hold a brush and spread paint across a paper surface. Besides learning about color and form in the messiest way possible, the activity also helps build a child's motor skills.
Then there's the issue of safety, which Zimmer has covered, as in totally, from floor to ceiling. The museum uses butcher paper, which once unrolled can make a room kiddie paint-friendly in minutes. It's strong enough to absorb a baby's gooey replica of a Picasso masterpiece, yet has enough surface sheen to highlight the results. Zimmer also avoids the predicament of bristles coming off traditional brushes that could be swallowed by the infants by using durable silicone pastry brushes, which are much lighter and easier for a child to hold.
Then there's the paint, a dealbreaker among more cautious parents. To that end, Zimmer offers two types of paint. One of them is tempura-based, one of the easiest to clean off a surface. One wipe and the paint's gone.
As for the potential hazards of the kids eating paint, Zimmer has that base covered as well. The museum offers those cute little rug rats edible paint, made from food coloring, water, and flour.
Sometimes, the Zimmer staff likes to liven things up by throwing a ball around the room to see the effects of colorful trails and splats left behind by the projectile. It also gets the kids excited to the point that some of them bring their own toys to dip and test on their own. It's a baby's way of demonstrating to their parents that an artsy adventure is worth all that mess in the first place.