Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Let My Kids Paint My Car

The first death knell sounded for our pretty nice white minivan one day when Syd was a newborn and Willow wasn't yet two, and a driver careened through her red light and T-boned us at an intersection just a few blocks from our house and across the street from the police station (I was so flustered calling 911 that when the operator asked for my location, I was all, "I'm right outside your house!"). Did you know that even if the other driver's insurer pays up, you're never going to get enough money to flat-out purchase a comparable car in a comparable condition to the one that the other driver trashed for you? Fun, right?

We drove that minivan with the caved-in driver's side for years more, and actually it wasn't so bad because since the insurance totalled the car but I refused to give it up, they paid me an extra coupla-grand for the salvage rights to the car and lowered my insurance payments, since who needs collision insurance on a car that's already been totalled?

Of course, if your car already looks that beat-up then it's only downhill from there: window stop rolling down? Air conditioning stop working? What's the point, right? We even kept driving the damn thing after the transmission went out on the way home from Cleveland last winter--the trick was to keep the rpms under 2,000 and the speed under 20 mph.

We were SO happy when Matt's parents offered us their old minivan and we could officially trash this white one that's been half-dead for four years already. And wouldn't you know, when Matt called the insurer to tell them that they could pick up the car for salvage, they said, "Yeah, we don't really actually want it. Feel free to junk it yourself."

And so while Matt waits for the perfect offer (he's holding out for $220 at least), our junked minivan just sits in the driveway, a giant white paperweight.

White. Like, blank canvas white.

I told the girls that they could paint the car.

Now, this activity isn't completely unheard of. Chalk in My Pocket once blogged about a jeep painting activity at an event that she attended, but a whole, huge, WHITE minivan, belonging to us, all ready to be painted and then sent to the junkyard? Sign us up!

Our paints are standard student-grade tempera, and the brushes are soft student-grade acrylic brushes:
Our kids are standard student-grade kids, and they jump right in, as you can see:
Yep, I even let Willow climb onto the roof. But I assure you, when she's not busy breaking her leg at the playground, she is quite the monkey climber:
A little paint got on the children, as well as the car:
Especially when they discovered splatter paint, Pollock-style:
Behold, our masterpiece!
A rainstorm the same night knocked about 70% of that paint right off. It's freezing cold again outside, but as soon as it warms up I'm going to send the girls out with some buckets and soap and sponges and teach them how to wash the car up perfectly clean again.

And then?

We'll paint it!

14 comments:

Phyllis said...

Before you told us it was washable paint, I was wondering if the paint job increased it's value.

Angela Pea said...

That is absolutely the coolest thing. Ever.

Tina said...

I love it! My father-in-law buys junk cars so maybe next time we are up visiting we can decorate a car before it brings it to its final resting place.

momma rae said...

i LOVE it!!! they are having so much fun!

Heart Rockin Mama said...

This just may be the coolest, funnest thing ever! What an amazing memory they will have!

MJ said...

this is awesome, but I don't think I can show my kids this!!!

Regina @ Chalk In My Pocket said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE that I found this post. This is fantastic and we've been totally out painted!

Leisa Dreps said...

Wow, that's an even better art project than what kids usually do at school! They are practicing their creativity, family bonding, and even realizing their sense of responsibility. They're lucky the rain had already washed off most of the paint on the car, so they didn't have to work too much.

Clovis Seeman said...

That's kinda cool! I never thought of using a car to teach the kids how to be artsy and all that. Now that you've said it, it would be awesome to try and teach kids to mix colors. You know, the red + yellow = orange and all that?

Anonymous said...

Does the paint really wash off? I would love to let my kids do this but I don't have a junk car?

Anonymous said...

you are one cool momma! i wish my car was white, by the time my son is your girls age i'm sure my car will be in the same condition. maybe i'll prime it for him...

Nicole Vickers said...

Cool! What a great way to leave a good memory to a car that is ready to go to the junkyard. I’m pretty sure the kids had so much fun in this activity. You can see in their drawings how creative they are. That’s the kind of bonding activity that will stick with them for as long as they live. Hehe.

Patrick Gauer said...

What a nice idea! We have an old car that is ready to get dumped. I’ll try this idea first before it head its way to the junkyard. I’m pretty sure my kids will love this since they love painting a lot!

Unknown said...

Fantastic idea! I wish we had let the grandkids do that before my daughter sold her car for salvage! What precious memories you allowed them to create!

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