Taking the cousins down to Art Alley in Rapid City with paint and brushes seemed like the next logical step after doing sheet murals in the backyard. The boys (ages 3, 4, and 7) especially were very thrilled to be painting on the walls, doing something that would normally be off-limits. We brought tempera paint, brushes, and rollers, and they quickly set to work adding some color to a nearly solid black spray-painted wall that looked much happier with the magic touch of children. The oldest painted a train after hearing one’s whistle a few blocks down. All of them added their handprints to the walls. We had quite a few smiles and laughs from passersby when they saw the tots out painting alongside the spray painted graffiti. Of course, even though Rapid City is quite safe during the day, we planned carefully, going in mid-day, having four adults (including one big male) to keep an eye on the four children, painting near the end of the alley so we were not able to be blocked in, and keeping a close eye out for traffic or aggressive panhandlers. The kids loved it and felt quite special to contribute to this bit of public art. Afterward, we took them to Rapid City’s thoughtfully-planned Main Street Square to run in the fountains and wash off the remaining paint from their hands and arms. I’d say this was one of our most successful cousin camp experiences this visit.
(Originally published on my previous blog.)