Spaghetti Art? Fail!

A friend recently told me that as much as she loves my site (thanks, D!), she wasn’t having too much success getting her child on board with all of our activities. This of course saddened me, but then it occurred to me that not every activity is a success story around here either.

Take “Sticky Spaghetti Art,” for example. I borrowed this idea, which involves inviting kids to attach sticky pasta to a sheet of paper, from a play-based activity newsletter that I subscribe to. With a newborn in the house, I’m presently attracted to all things easy, and a simple bowl of pasta fit the bill.

Back Camera

This is what the project looked like when I set it up: two sheets of paper for some side-by-side art making and a bowl of starchy spaghetti. Now, the idea is that kids will pick up the pasta and move it to the paper, a maybe make a design.

Back CameraDespite my prompts, super-cheerful excitement about spaghetti art, and encouragement, N requested a fork and knife in order to cut the noodles into smaller pieces.

Okay, that’s cool, we could use some cutting practice. Just let me know when you’re ready to slap some of those noodles down on the blank paper!

Back CameraAha, you’re hungry! You know, we’re having dinner in about an hour…

Back CameraWith the pasta mostly devoured, we moved on to glue and rice.

I guess I just wanted to clear up any misconceptions that our art projects all turn out the way I have planned. And the “I” in that sentence is key here, because it’s important to remind myself that these projects aren’t for me at all. They’re for my daughter. Every gardener has a few tricks up his sleeve one of which is to use.

And if she wants to eat the art materials (paint and glue, not so much), so be it. Every time a project fails, I learn something new…in this case, introducing food-art right before dinner is probably not the best use of my graduate degree.

What failures have you had (with or without your kids), and what did you learn from them?

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    • They are. And maybe this is why we don’t “accidentally” leave them at the grocery store. 🙂

  1. I love the final sentence of your post! Hilarious!

    I’ll try and think of some interesting ‘failures’ we’ve had – right now what mostly comes to mind are the art projects that last only about 30 seconds before my son wants to run outside and do something more physical…

    • We have those all of the time, too. As editor of this little blog, it’s usually in my best interest to share our successes, and it occurred to me that it was time to come clean!

  2. I’m in the same boat as Aleksandra – our attempted art projects usually last 30 seconds as well before JD goes into destruction mode and wants to run around. Since we have our fair share of failures, I thought I’d share a success here…
    In an attempt to do a quick creative activity, I introduced the “sticky fall collage” project to JD (we had contact paper in the cabinet that I’ve been looking forward to breaking out ever since I read your post on this). Since it was almost nap time, we didn’t have time to venture outside to collect leaves so I cut out different shapes from construction paper. Completely expecting him to throw around my shapes and use the contact paper’s stickiness to his messy advantage (I figure he would crumble it up or try to stick it to other objects), I was amazed that he actually did really well with this. He neatly placed the shapes on the paper – taking into account spatial relationships and spreading the shapes all around the contact paper. It turned out great! Lesson learned: expect the worse and you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Not a philosophy I’d teach to my kids, but I’m glad that these little ones surprise us (in a good way) many times 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your positive spin on the failure question. I’m so happy to hear that JD enjoyed this; there must be something appealing about contact paper, because this seems to be the effect it has with kids across the board! Like you, my expectations aren’t always that high, and I usually try to justify our “failures” as a learning experience. It seems that something can always gained from being exposed to new materials and ideas, regardless of whether it’s a 30 second or 10 minute activity.

  3. my deepest heartfelt failure is my daughters desk. she has every imaginable tool to create with, with the exception of paint. and when her desk is clean she creates these beautiful pieces of art. and now she even declares them to be art. but due to the volume of choices on her desk, one creative session and it’s a giant three layer mess.
    the failure is. I don’t clean up the mess for days and sometimes Daisy, my loving domestic assistant, ends up cleaning it. And here comes the really sad part. the minute it’s clean, she’s back at it. Completely consumed in the process of making art.
    I believe this embarracing confession will change a failure into endless successful art works

    • no, it’s not at all embarrassing, but honest. cleaning up after kids is hard work, especially when you have more than one to corral. now that i have two kids, not a night goes by when i haven’t left something undone: forgetting to cover the sandbox, a sink full of dishes, toys scattered in the living room, and so on. tonight’s failure? two loads of unfolded (but clean!) laundry sitting in a heap in the corner of the bedroom. but it does sound like you want to keep that desk clean, and i hope this confession works for you…let me know for sure! xo

      • i cleaned it last night! But it wasn’t the guilt cleaning. It was hormonal wired energy looking to organize. Too bad I couldn’t have that desire to clean everyday, but drop that “going to get angry any minute” energy that goes along with it.
        Oh Laundry. I ask myself. Why fold it? Simone just scatters it all over her room. Spencer throws food on my clothes with in minutes of getting dressed. And he, himself can not stop drooling layers and layers of drool on his shirts, socks, pants (when he bends over). I say leave clean clothes in the corner of the house and if you need a shirt, dig through the pile and make an adventure out of it. xo

        • glad to hear you took charge of the mess. i always feel better once the art-making disasters are under control, and like you said, it paves way for more creative thinking. oh, how i wish we had a designated art studio. wouldn’t that make things easier? and thanks for feel-good idea. laundry is still in a pile…

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