We learned about people – we named them Neanderthals (one boy insisted on calling them Neanderthals) that used to stride the Earth. They lived in caves and they hunted animals, and they painted. They painted with berries and animal fat. ‘What’s fat?’ one of the children asked. Hmmm... without wanting to fat shame myself, I ventured, ‘We all have fat – humans and animals – to keep us warm. And we have muscles which help us move’. The children and I then patted and felt our arms, legs and tummies. ‘Where were the muscles in our arms?’ We flexed our arms and found biceps and triceps, ‘And what were they hidden beneath?’ I asked. Silence and then, ‘Fat?’ suggested a girl. ‘Yes! We have layers of fat beneath our skin. They help to keep us warm’ I told them. ‘And do they help to protect us when we fall?’ a boy asked.
‘They certainly do!’
And after that little discussion we set about making Neanderthal paints. Using berries, butter (I couldn’t source animal fat and some of us are vegetarian) and a mortar and pestle. The children loved getting stuck in! We all got wet, greasy and messy!