So Colouring with pens versus colouring with Sand Art?
Which is easiest? What do the customers prefer?
Kids Bee Happy recently ran 3 craft workshops for the Skiffie World Championships, and we used this opportunity to put the sand art and the colouring mobiles head to head, specifically to answer these questions. And here are your important takeways:
(1) Equipment and space
You need tables and chairs/benches for colouring. It can take 40 minutes or so to colour in a mobile, longer if you have people that do both sides and/or pay attention to the detail. So you will need a bigger space, you will get less people through it in an hour, and you will need something for them to sit on and work from.
Packing for the colouring workshop was a doddle. 2 packs of colouring mobiles, 6 packs of pens (see (9)), 6 bowls, and my KBH banners/stickers etc. That's all - definitely travelling light.
(2) Families - bonding
Although we regularly see parents and grandparents join in with sand art, helping and sometimes even doing their own picture, you will find with the colouring parents join in much quicker and in far bigger numbers (its part of the reason that you need those seats and space). If the organisation that you are working with is particularly focusing on parents/children bonding and playing together then the colouring mobiles go straight to the top of the list for your perfect activity.
(3) Families - budgets
If you have a family on a budget, or a big family, then letting a family divvy up the colouring mobile between the different children works really well. Each of the children can colour in one of the sections, and then when its hung together there really is a family made creation that everyone can feel proud with. It also lets the parents who are on a tight budget feel that their children are included and not left out, without putting extra pressure on the family pursestrings.
(4) Charities and organisations who want you but don't have much money to pay you
For the same reasons as (3) above, this point applies equally well to organisations that don't have much budget to spend. And is great to offer as the "paid" activity where they will let you bring the sand art or other crafts along for the customer paying upgrade.
(5) General Atmosphere & Ease of work
I have to admit, when we were doing sand art v colouring mobiles, the colouring area was much much calmer. Infinitely calm - a calm oasis of mindfulness and well behaved adults and children. (And yeah, Sand Art was a busy and crazy as normal ;) ) From a consultant's perspective, the colouring was as simple, and low effort a workshop as you could ever have.
Sand art was more popular with children than the colouring mobiles. Even though only the day before most of the children (who were at the Skiffieworlds all day every day for the week) had done sand art only the day before. In a direct comparison of numbers, for ever colouring mobile made, 2 sand art pictures were made. So even though the colouring was inside with seats, and the sand art was outside on a slightly blustery not so sunny day, the Sand Art was still more popular.
Oh an hopefully Kids Bee Happy have put this old chestnut to bed but as for "boys don't do colouring" - it really is complete and utter hogwash - we had more boys than girls - and I counted.
(7) Joining the Mobiles - Links and Clips
There are double ended link clips to connect each section of the mobiles. Each end of the links opens up like a safety pin or earing, you then slide the clips over the pictures and through the little holes on the pictures, and then clip shut. The first few may be a bit tricky but you soon get into the hang of it. In our event we made 40 mobiles, so that's 120 clips and links, 80 of them cliped at both ends - that's........... well, its a lot of clipping and linking. So what do you need to know - well the most important bit is that the holes are very close to the edge, I only ripped one hole, but if the parents were doing it themselves, there would have been many many more torn holes. So please, don't try to save a minute or two and give the links/clips to the parents to do themselves - this is guaranteed to result in a family drama where mum or dad tears their carefully worked on mobile followed, but some sulking on both parts that it wasn't their fault. For the sake of happy families - do the clips yourself, everytime (and remember, because they;'ve all been doing colouring, everyone is chilled and happy to wait ;) )
(8) Pens in Bowls
In the other blog on Pebble pets, you'll find me extoling the virtues of bowls and how you just need to use them for everything. So it will be no surprise to hear that I put the pens in bowls along the table. This meant that pens were available to reach all through the workspace, and that then pens went back in the bowls when they'd used that colour, and that they didn't end up all over the floor. And for the cheap pens (see (9)) the lids went back into the bowls too.
(9) Cheap pens v Good pens
We used 2 packs of the KBH colouritime double ended pens (20 colours in each), and we had 4 packs of 10 cheap felt-tips, just to see how they compared side by side. And what we found was this:
- People preferred the good felttips, moving to spots where the good pens were as opposed to the cheap ones.
- I only had to replace lids on the good pens 3 times - ie, 3 pens, once, during 2 hours of colouring and 40+ kids plus parents.
- I was constantly replacing lids on the cheap pens, and the lids didnt stay on properly either, and I was scurrying around on the floor to pick them up.
- We had no damaged good pens.
- About 40% of the cheap pens would not have been reusable for another session, lots of them had broken nibs where the children had pressed hard, others were splayed out, some were dried out or had run out of ink.
- The good pens were sought after because of their wider range of colours
- I could tell the difference when looking at the finished mobiles between the kids that had used the good pens and the cheap pens.
(10) Cut to the Money
We were being paid a flat rate to provide this workshop. However, if this had been a pay as you go event, then the colouring mobiles would have taken substantially less money than Sand Art. It did though require a lot less effort, a lot less equipment, and a lot less kit to transport.