day 25 – face paint

You knew it was coming. Kids love having their faces painted, maybe because it’s nice having you close, and you can’t go wrong because they don’t see the result. It really doesn’t matter what it looks like. It’s not messy, and even the wrigglers will sit still for quite long periods. I reckon it sends them into a trance, a bit like stroking a chicken.

Keep your stuff together in a little box and you’ll find face-panting is easier to countenance. You can get good quality paints at an art supplier – you only need two colours to start off – or pick them up at a cheap shop for around $2 each. You might also use a makeup sponge, a headband to keep fringes back, and a plate to mix or dilute colours on. What you absolutely MUST have is a good brush. Art suppliers have brushes to die for but, again, cheap shops have brushes that will flick to a nice point and do a good job.

Avoid using red and yellow close to the eye area. DO NOT use anything that is not labelled face paint.

A little lizard on a cheekbone or a butterfly on a temple will delight children. These can be embellished with a sprinkle of glitter or some sequins placed on wet paint. If they want Spider-man or a cat or something, use a picture, and you may want to lay down an all-over colour with a sponge first. These ‘bigger’ jobs aren’t hard, so have a go.

Kids will soon be able to paint each other’s faces

Painted faces are a good addition to storytelling and dressing up. This is also a good reward activity – ‘You guys are so good today, I reckon you could get your face painted after your sleep.’ Yes! When you get really brave let them paint your face. Come on – it washes off.

Published by Dr Toni Risson

Dr Toni Risson is a storyteller and a cultural historian who has penned everything from children’s picture books to a PhD on the Magic of Lollies. An expert on the Greek cafe phenomenon, Toni curated Meet Me at the Paragon for the State Library of Queensland, and her latest book, Brisbane’s Greek Cafes: A Million Malted Milks, was a finalist in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. Having encountered the elegant Paragon Cafe in Katoomba as a child, Toni developed a fascination with silky oak panelling, bevelled mirrors and Art Deco wall lights long before she understood the stories behind Australia's iconic Greek cafe. She continues to document our lost café culture.

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