It’s just a table with some crayons and paints and paper, but in a surprising way, it’s changed the course of my children's lives.

It’s rare that a simple change can alter the course of an entire household, but our recent decision to turn an otherwise unused table in our home into an art table for our children has made all the difference.

Almost instantly, the table pulled our children into its sphere of influence like a Russian dictator warmed with nuclear weapons. Crayons, paints, markers, stickers, and cut paper littered the table and floor in seconds and self-started art projects began to leap forth from their little hands. Without an ounce of guidance from us, the kids began creating things solely from their imagination.

A month later, little has changed. Every two hours, I find myself sweeping the floor beneath the table and reorganizing the construction paper and coloring books and sticker books. I grumble and complain about doing this, because it’s annoying, but I kind of love it, too. The table is now covered in marker and paint and is permanently ruined, but the projects that my children have envisioned and created on their own astound me.

More importantly, they can sit at that table for endless amounts of time, happily occupied by their work. My daughter has learned to use scissors. She’s coloring in the lines now. Her grip on crayons and markers have improved. And the kids can sit opposite each other with rarely a complaint.

If I remember correctly, the art table was my idea and Elysha’s execution, which is to say that I had a random idea that never would have happened had Elysha not actually done something about it.

Parental teamwork at work.

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