We took turns demonstrating how to decorate the cakes. We helped the children by breaking pictures down into simple, manageable shapes. Then we distributed brushes and green and red food paint and supervised the children as they decorated their cakes.


Some of the kids did really well at reproducing the examples that we provided, while others left happily munching muddy brown cake. One little boy painted his entirely green but with the most delicate and painstaking brush strokes. Some of the older children were able to creatively adapt the techniques that we demonstrated into their own designs. It’s fascinating to see what children can produce with even the smallest bit of guidance.

The workshops lasted about a half hour and ran all day, so we got pretty efficient about how we set up the tables and when we distributed materials. Only one child attempted to drink the “special food paint liquid” (vodka for stretching the food dye without softening the fondant icing).


Hollie showed two elaborate cakes that she had decorated herself and generated a lot of interest from the parents. For me it was quite literally food for thought about different applications to monetize artistic skills through generating products or workshops. I’m interested in working with children in the future, so it was very helpful to volunteer with a former school teacher to see how she captured the kids’ (and parents’) attention.


The experience has encouraged me to volunteer in the near future with October Gallery. They are currently helping me to apply for a background check so that I can continue to work with children in other art-related contexts.



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