I have learned that when my kids are quarrelsome, cranky, or simply not in the mood for anything else, some paint and water will save the day. They never tire of painting. I think we could paint six hours per day and they'd still ask for more.
And, slowly, I'm getting easier and easier about the mess. (Read carefully- the mess isn't getting easier- I am.) I just breathe and surround them with an army of damp paper towels. It's well worth a little mess to see the beautiful art they create, and the beautiful smiles on their faces.
And here's a friendly little tip. Did you know that watercolors are even more fabulous when a dropper is part of the mix? This was fun- and is leading to an outdoor art activity with droppers, ice trays full of tinted waters and lots of thick paper. Only waiting for a warm day!