This may seem a little strange but I was amazed at the outcome of one frustrating afternoon. My son was being, well a terrible two year old and nothing seemed to interest him. So I thought ok, painting always makes him happy. I got out the plastic to cover the floor, the artist bib to protect his clothes and separated three colors into a mini muffin tin for him. He immediately poured all the colors into the small container of water meant for washing the brushes and never touched the paper on the easel, then asked for more paint and clean water, what?
Ok, deep breathe later, I turned the easel around to the chalk board side and said why don't we draw with chalk, nope, not interested, but then an accident occurred. While I was cleaning up the brown water and empty paint tray, his brush that only had clean water on it touched the chalk board.
He played with the clean water and different paint brushes for over two hours, which is a record for this almost never stand still and do anything for more than ten minutes kid. He painted without paint over and over again as it dried each time and claimed a picture of a witch, a cat, a pumpkin, what ever he wanted it to be. I got into the action too and it was actually quite freeing.
Who would have thought a project that is completely mess free could be so fun and enhancing. We have played paint without paint and imaginary art a few times since and it has been just as rewarding.