On Saturday, I took my almost-three-year-old to Kiddywampus’s new digs on Main Street in Hopkins. The toy store, which also hosts birthday parties and an assortment of art and music classes, is celebrating its Grand Opening with a month-long lineup of events through the end of September. We went for the paint throwing. The pros and cons:
1. Pro: Pre-paint instructions. Store owner Amy Saldanha gave us the DL on the abstract expressionist movement and painter Jackson Pollock’s penchant for dripping, throwing, and splattering paint across a canvas. She showed us a solid technique for throwing paint (whip the paint-filled brush at your piece of paper, but don’t let go!). She also told the children they could only throw paint at Kiddywampus, and that if they did it at home, bad things would happen, garnering smiles and nods of agreement from all parents in attendance.
2. Pro: Provided painting clothes. To my great joy, each child was instructed to remove shoes and socks, and was outfitted with an enormous t-shirt and equally enormous socks to defend their actual clothes from all that tempura paint. (Yes it’s washable, but we still have to strap the children into their car seats on the way home, and we don’t want to have to strip them down to their Dora the Explorer underpants to do it.) When they were finished, paint-filled clothes were returned for washing and the kids made a beeline for the sinks, which are located in the same room.
3. Con: She needed a bath anyway. It wasn’t a huge surprise: Paintbrush-wielding children are just supremely talented when it comes to getting paint where it doesn’t belong. My daughter walked away mostly clean, but with dabs of pink and royal blue on her dress, and an artistic collection of blue drips across her hair. Dress went right into the washing machine, child went right into the bath, and both are now paint-free.
4. Pro and Con: Take-home art. Each kid received two large pieces of paper to paint simultaneously. One was tacked on the wall, and the other was placed on the floor. Kiddywampus will store completed paintings for two weeks in case parents prefer to pick them up once they're dry--all of the parents in our session opted for this. Some of the older kids may have been disappointed to learn they would have to wait to bring their creations home. But my daughter, for one, was all about the painting experience itself, and didn’t even notice that we left her artwork there. And I was relieved that I didn’t have to schlepp those drippy masterpieces home in the car.
5. Pro: The experience. It’s not often (if ever) that kids can throw caution to the wind and paint to the walls. In fact, I felt a twinge of jealousy as I watched my toddler whip a dollop of lime green tempera through the air and onto her paper canvas. It looks very therapeutic. Would Kiddywampus ever consider a paint throwing session for grown-ups (with or without wine)? I would happily attend.
Kiddywampus, 1023 Main St., Hopkins, 952-926-7871, kiddywampus.com