Week Eleven was interesting. For the first time, we had a timing issue. We wanted the project to be done and delivered by Valentine’s Day. (Insert common cold for four here.) We had an idea of the project we wanted to do. (Insert realization that glue and yarn and children under five are a tough proposition for even the most mellow of mothers.) Then sweet, sweet inspiration arrived (cue the angels) in the form of Valentine’s On a Stick from Full House.
My kids are younger than hers, so I knew watercolors would turn into one giant, muddy mess of brown, rather than the pretty pastels they used for their paper yo-yo’s. Instead we used paintbrush-like pens to keep the mess to a minimum, and we took a cue from them and used craft dowels for the sticks and cash register paper for the yo-yo. (Insert joke here about us being a family of yo-yo’s. It’s okay. I’ll wait until the cackling ends before I continue.)
What was that I was saying about mess?
We hit another small wrinkle when we discovered the stamps weren’t terribly visible with the primary colors we were using, so the stamping was kept to a minimum, and we let the artwork shine. It was a wise move, considering how whimsical the painting turned out.
Quick tip if you want to replicate this: Lay out a looooong strip of register tape on the table and let the kids paint, then cut it into smaller strips, about a foot long, and you’ll get them done faster that way. I know this next photo makes it look like I had those kids slaving away like they were employees of a Southeast Asian sweat shop, but I swear we managed to make a couple dozen yo-yo’s in about an hour.
Since I’m the only person in the family who is qualified to use a glue gun (and just barely), I waited until my husband took the kids upstairs for their baths to glue the finished paintings onto their dowels.
Then we rolled them up, tied them with red yarn…
…and finished them off with a dollop of glitter glue to give them a little extra pizazz.
Then came the really hard part. Where to put them? The locals will confirm that making this an outdoor project was hopeless, since the temperatures had dropped to bitter sub-zero lows. No one was on the streets or around the lakes that week. We briefly considered planting them at a nearby church where we’d celebrated Christmas Eve, but we have another project planned for that location when spring arrives. (When is that happening, by the way? Anyone know? Because the groundhog lied.)
We took off on Valentine’s Day to do a little skiing and, along the way, came across a small elementary school playground that inspired us to create a yo-yo bouquet.
Sometimes the hardest part of the Hokey Pokey Project is not seeing people’s reactions firsthand. We were incredibly spoiled by the Wishing Tree, because it gave us tangible, hourly evidence of the smiles and joy we were creating. As the project progresses, we’re all learning to let go of the need for a reaction and beginning to simply trust that it happens, that people find our bits and bobs of fun around the city and smile over them or even find inspiration in them.
As proof of that new-found trust, we didn’t label the yo-yo’s with anything about the Hokey Pokey Project. We didn’t include the name or the URL. We simply planted our bouquet and walked away. When we returned, they were gone, and the bell for class was ringing. Whether the students found them or they were picked up by teachers or administrators, we don’t know. We just trust that someone took joy in them.