My favorite thing to do with my 3 year old during playtime is color. I mean, come on, who doesn't like to color? You can use your imagination in ways that nature never could. I love to color the grass blue and the trees pink. And let's face it, I can't get on all fours and play horsey the way I used to so coloring becomes a very attractive alternative to the rough housing she so enjoys. She loves to run to the coloring drawer with her little stool, climb to reach the handles, and slide the drawer open to reveal stacks of coloring books, many boxes of crayons and markers, and endless sheets of stickers. It becomes a wonderful creative outlet for her (and me, I must admit).
She has been coloring since she could hold a crayon. I still have some of her original artwork where she matched sticker colors with the crayons; a creative fete at her then young age. She will often quietly work on a certain picture, her lips pursed together in extreme concentration, carefully peeling stickers and tenderly placing them just so only to break the silence with a loud screech, "All done!" and flail her artwork in the air with one hand. The look on her face is priceless as I praise her for a job well done. I always ask her to sign it (in her scribble, of course) and I date it for posterity.
Recently we have found ourselves in a coloring frenzy. We are coloring at every free moment. She has matured to the age where she doesn't need the fat crayons, or the triangle shaped crayons, but can use a good old box of original Crayolas. I find that she prefers to peel the paper off the crayon before using it. For whatever reason, this is how she most enjoys coloring. Being a neat child, she is always careful about putting each crayon back after using it. But lately she has found that challenging. With such overuse of the crayons, and their increased vulnerability without the protective paper, they are breaking in half. When in the box, broken crayons leave what appears to be empty spaces for crayons only to find she can only get them half way in before being stopped by a broken piece. Oddly, this hinders her creative outlet, and mine too. Personally, I also find myself avoiding the crayons that have dulled and lost their sharper point. There is nothing like the smooth glide of a sharply pointed crayon along that special coloring paper. But after a while, abused crayons just don't have the same effect. The popular ones are most abused leaving the less desirable colors shoved along the back of the box.
It's time for a large, fresh box of crayons. Can you just imagine breaking the crisp yellow and green box open to reveal a multitude of colorful soldiers all in a row, the variety of colors many of which are a normal part of our vocabulary, and the smell of the factory fresh wax? Children and adults alike can appreciate the freshly wrapped paper on each one, beckoning for use in an inspired original. I can already sense my creative juices flowing just thinking about it.
In so many ways, our lives are like old and cracked crayons. We are dulled by overuse. We are vulnerable to breakage when left unprotected. Or we are shoved aside by the more popular and attractive. There are many areas in our lives that could use a fresh box of crayons, a new start, new ideas, and sometimes new people. Consider those things in your life where you are no longer creative or feel worn out. Be refreshed and renewed by a fresh start, whatever that may be. Be motivated by the memory of factory fresh crayons. Make it a box of 96 and avoid dulling with a built in sharpener.