We started out by using these awesome manikans I bought from Dick Blick. These are just the Blick brand 12", hardwood male manikans. The kids LOVED using them! They posed them in sports positions to brain-storm some physical activity ideas.
Last year, even though I knew you should always start with the background first in a mural, we started painting the figures and did the background last. This ended up being part of the problem as to why it took us so long to finish the first mural. This time, I made sure we started with the background, and I also bought some new colors of mural paint so we wouldn't have to mix too many colors. Last year, we mixed the blue for the sky and the different heat and humidity caused the paint to dry differently in the sky, even though it was from the same batch of mixed paint! We had to paint the sky almost four times to get it right! Here's hoping we won't face that problem again this year!