Painting without the mess

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Have you noticed that the sidewalk changes its colour when it rains? Where it is light grey at first, the rain droplets will turn it dark grey. Somehow, when it gets wet, it gets darker. (There is some cool physics behind this which I won’t spare you.) When it doesn’t rain, that phenomenon is something that you can use to your advantage. You can use it to carry out some legal graffiti! If you go to China you can see calligraphy masters carrying out their daily showcase of talent. With large brushes dipped in water, they paint their characters with excellent skill for anyone to admire. When it dries up it fades and it starts all over again.

Trying to keep a tidy house with little kids is like playing Maxwell’s demon.

This in itself is a fun thing to let your kids try at home. Order some regular-sized calligraphy brushes (they’re not expensive) and let them have a go on a sunny day. However, there is a new technology that really blows me away. It’s called magic cloth and that is exactly what it is. It is a piece of cloth that looks light grey. When it gets wet, it turns the deepest black you’ve ever seen. When using your water-dipped calligraphy brush on it, it looks just like actual black ink. Although it’s only water! With this combination of magic cloth and brushes, your kids can even paint indoors on a rainy day. There is no mess because it is just water. Once they’ve finished hang that cloth over the radiator to quickly dry it, and voila.

If you find that your children ‘colour in’ their magic cloth too quickly using those authentic calligraphy brushes, you can give them cotton swabs instead. These have a small tip with which they can make small strokes. It’ll take them even longer to fill up their page now. Just have your camera ready because they might want to eternalise their transient masterpieces!