Get ready for silly surprises with these easy, ongoing "guerrilla art" projects. Whether Mom plants them in a covert operation or the family teams up to do them, they're bound to spark creativity and conversation -- and bring your crew together in unexpected ways. Collaborate on a poem or drawing, give life to everyday objects with googly eyes and a speech bubble, or inscribe an upbeat message on the mirror. It's the perfect bit of whimsy to chase away the late-winter doldrums.
Even the littlest artists can shine in this communal creation.
First, use a black marker to draw a 1-inch border inside a sheet of poster board (the border will prevent spillover). With poster tack (we used Elmer's Removable Tack Tabs), stick the sheet to a wall in a heavily traffi cked spot, such as a hallway or at the bottom of the stairs, where doodlers can sit as they work. Draw one crazy black line across the paper, border to border, to get the ball rolling. It can be curved, loopy, zigzag -- whatever you like. Then leave the marker by the board and invite others to contribute their own lines. When shapes start to emerge, add a jar of colored markers and encourage family members to fi ll in spaces as inspiration strikes. Stand back and be amazed!
Everyday objects gain a playful personality with simple additions.
Randomly stick self-adhesive googly eyes of various sizes on objects around the house: fruits, veggies, toothbrushes, phones, mugs. Anything can be anthropomorphized. For added humor, make an assortment of mustaches from card stock and use poster tack to stick them on photographs and other items. Leave a tray of extras in a handy spot and encourage your family to join in the fun.
All the yard's a canvas with this easy activity. Walk around outside your home with a piece or two of chalk and look for interesting patterns -- eyes in knots of wood, oddly shaped cracks in the sidewalk or driveway, a nail hole in the wall -- that can be turned into a little picture with a few quick strokes. Let your imagination lead you; chalk isn't permanent. Take a photo for yourself, then leave your art for someone else to find.
Never mind rhyme (or reason). There are no rules for this evolving verse. Choose an easily accessible wall with a good amount of space on it or make room on your fridge door. From a roll of craft paper or a paper bag, cut long, thin strips (ours are 4 by 30 inches, but you can size them to fit your space). Using a colored marker, write a poetic line on a strip and stick it up with poster tack. Place extra strips, poster tack, and a jar of colored markers nearby. Invite family members to add a line -- silly or serious -- as the mood strikes, with each person using a different-color marker.
Who's the fairest of them all? Let your family know with a soap note.
Using the corner of a dry bar of opaque, soft soap, such as Ivory or Dove, write a message or draw a picture on the bathroom mirror or another mirror. The tone can be funny or supportive -- "Hello, beautiful!" "Here's looking at you," or "You're awesome" -- and drawings can work with your refl ection: a kooky hat for viewers to position their faces under, for example, or a fancy frame around the glass. When you're ready for a new note, just wipe the old one off with a damp cloth.
Grant the power of speech to everyday objects.
Draw the outline of a speech bubble on cardboard or foam core and cut it out. Cover it with a piece of self-adhesive dry-erase paper (we used Go-write Dry Erase roll), smooth out any bubbles, and trim the edges. Add a black edge, if you like. Using poster tack, attach the bubble somewhere it's sure to get attention -- on a family photo, by Dad's favorite chair, over a kid's or a pet's bed -- and add a goofy message with a dry-erase marker. Put the marker in a prominent spot and invite others to rewrite (and relocate) the bubble whenever they like.
Originally published in the March 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.