A Mistake, a Mess and a Masterpiece

Mistakes are a big part of life and learning from mistakes is something that takes practice. Catherine from Kids Learning Games is here to share an activity that focuses on turning mistakes into masterpieces. 

As every mother knows only too well, mistakes are a part of life. Kids are always making them – spilling chocolate milk over their party dress just as you are about to leave the house, knocking over your favorite vase, and turning what was supposed to be a fun preschool activity into one big mess. Adults are always making them too, many times in response to the mistakes that kids make. As parents and caregivers, we sometimes forget that nothing is ever perfect, and that every situation can look a lot better when viewed differently.

Of course, certain mistakes need to be fixed and not repeated again, but certain others can just be overlooked and even celebrated. A botched-up project that bears no resemblance to the Pinterest image that inspired it need not be discreetly done away with. There’s a lot that one can learn from mistakes, including the ability to think imaginatively and out of the box! Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg is a charming children’s book that illustrates this idea brilliantly, and this exciting preschool activity was inspired by the story. (Affiliate link.)

Teach your kids that some kinds of mistakes are wonderful, as long as they are willing to look at them differently.

Here’s what you will need:

White sheet of paper

Tempera paint


Dropper/ paint brush


Here’s what to do:

Mix the paint with a little water, enough for it to spread easily over the paper. You don’t want it to be too watery, or it will make the paper too weak to draw on.

Fold the paper in half.

Open it out, and put a few drops of paint on one side of the paper, close to the crease in the middle. You can use a dropper or a paint brush for this. Either way, it doesn’t matter much as the point is to make a ‘mess’.

A Mistake, a Mess and a Masterpiece

Fold the paper once more and rub it well so that the paint spreads over the sheet.

Open it out, and – oh, what a mess! Or is it? Ask your child to tell you what the shapes look like. More likely than not, you will be impressed with the creativity of your preschooler’s responses!

A Mistake, a Mess and a Masterpiece

Ask your child to add details to complete the picture.

This here is a giant alien robot, quite happy with his new home and healthy food! (Notice the banana in the bottom right corner.)

A Mistake, a Mess and a Masterpiece

And here is a spaceship going to the sun to put out the flames. As you can see, work is already in progress. The hose protruding from the side of the rocket has managed to put out the rays on one side of the sun already!

A Mistake, a Mess and a Masterpiece

Voila! The ‘mess’ is now a masterpiece! 

Author Bio:

Catherine Ross is a full-time stay-at-home-mum who believes learning should be enjoyable for young minds. An erstwhile elementary school teacher, Catherine loves coming up with creative ways through which kids can grasp the seemingly difficult concepts of learning easily. She believes that a ‘fun factor’ can go a long way in enhancing kids’ understanding and blogs at http://kidslearninggames.weebly.com/



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