“This is the best day of my life! When can we come back?”
That’s pretty high praise from a four-year-old! (I mean, I took her to Legoland last fall!) But there she stood, with her fingers covered in a rainbow of paint splatters, looking up at me with youthful sincerity and passionate exuberance!
We were just 10 minutes into our first visit to Paper Scissors Paint Art Studio in southwest Edmonton and my daughters were already enamoured. They love creating, so it was really a no-brainer that they’d adore open studio time at PSP.
Paper Scissors Paint is the brainchild of artist and designer Kadra Farah, who believes giving children the time, freedom and space to be creative is key to unlocking their potential – not only in art, but in life. Paper Scissors Paint offers children the opportunity to enjoy the process of creating. When they’re not fixated on trying to achieve a specific outcome, they can flourish creatively and produce art that is truly an extension of their own unique selves. As Kadra says, there are no mistakes in art – and the chance to create teaches life lessons, from perseverance to problem solving, and helps build confidence and appreciation of diversity.
During our open-studio visit, the studio was filled with a variety of stations and activities and the kids could go between areas as they wished. We glued shapes on cardstock; added clay, button and googly-eye features to cutouts and painted a variety of cardboard surfaces on the wall.
A beautiful white tent sat in the middle of the room on a taped-down drop-cloth. Two sides were draped in fabric and the other two were layers of a gauzy material. Flowers adorned all sides and a variety of spray bottles littered the floor. Kadra encouraged my girls to try the different bottles.
“This one’s puffy paint!” my daughter shrieked with delight! “Can we go inside?” the other asked. Kadra pushed aside the curtain and the two happily squirted paint onto every inch of the tent.
There were other amazing opportunities for play. A giant tub sat in the centre of the floor, filled with green water. The girls excitedly fished out frog after frog using alligator tweezers, buckets and even their fingers.
Two giant metal walls were covered in a variety of magnet shapes, as well as pieces of half-pipe (with happy-face ping pong balls!) that could be configured to a ball track.
The beautiful studio includes a bench covered in turf, with three birch trees “growing” out of it. On one section of the bench sat a doll house with wooden peg people and a variety of animals. Some animals were moved up to live on the roof while others found themselves making hoof print after hoof print in a rainbow of squishy, fresh play dough.
Paper Scissors Paint offers Saturday open studio times for kids ages 4 and up, as well as a special open studio time for toddlers. Starting in September, there will be weekly Saturday workshops with intriguing names like “Slime and Potions” and “Super Hero Adventures”. The weekday schedule is currently filled with summer camps, and Sundays are primarily reserved for birthday parties. There’s even an offering called “A Night Out” – on the first Friday of every month parents can take a couple hours to themselves while the kids (ages four and up) enjoy an evening of arts and crafts.
At the end of our visit, Kadra asked my daughters what they liked best. My A, who had made at least a half-dozen shape pictures, proclaimed gluing to be her favourite, while my E grinned and gave her signature response: