Tag Archives: paint

Bubble Paint


 For the truly brave preschool teacher or parent, looking for a creative art project, I present bubble painting!!  This can be a messy project, but very unique and with many opportunities for developmental growth.  Directions first, benefits later.

First, take your standard tempera paint and water it down a bit more than usual and add some dish soap.  Place it in a fairly shallow dish, such as a small pie tin, and use a straw to bubble up the mix until the bubbles pile on top.  Place a sheet of paper on top of the bubbles and press down until the paper is resting on the paint container.  Lift up the paper and you’ll see the prints left by the bursting bubbles!  You really do need to practice this yourself first, to be sure you have the right paint consistency and the right container.  Some containers just seem to spill over more easily and others never seem to build the right amount of bubbles on top.  So practice ahead of time.

As you can probably guess, this activity takes a bit more teacher involvement than say, a playdough art activity.  You need to make sure the children wear smocks, first of all.  Next, you need to make sure that each child gets a new straw, and that each straw is thrown away after use.  Particularly this time of year, and even more so this year, you do not want children sharing straws!  I’ve tried labeling them in the past so that children who leave the activity can come back again later, but it turns into too much of a headache.  I would recommend just chucking each one after use.

When the children begin the activity, remind them that they are not sucking the paint up like a drink, they are blowing bubbles, like when they bubble up their milk.  Remind them to do it gently so that it doesn’t just spray all over, but so that it bubbles.

DSCN2622Be ready for messes with plenty of rags, and keep in mind that as long as they are not being intentional or destructive in their messes, making a mess (and learning to clean it up) is just part of the learning process and not something to be scolded. 

I like to do this activity in the fall as I talk about pumpkins because I think the end result looks a bit like a pumpkin patch.  You may also want to use it as part of an exploration of water or air, or while talking about self-care skills such as bathing.  You could also do this activity, using several different colors and making the prints one on top of the other for a really cool effect.

In addition to being a great creative activity, this project encourages scientific inquiry as the children explore the properties of bubbles.  The controlled blowing is also ideal for building oral motor strength and control which aides in articulation.

So smock up, grab some rags, and have some fun!



Filed under Create, language activity, Learning through Play and Experience, Recipes - Nonedible, science activity, sensory activity

Colored Glue Art!

dscn1350For a simple spin on a classic medium, try colored glue!  Children love glue, in fact, more than once I’ve prepared a collage type activity, only to have some of the children spend the entire time playing with the glue, and never using it to adhere anything to the paper!  Well, it’s time to let glue have a well-deserved turn in center stage!  Simply add food coloring or water color powder to regular old Elmer’s and mix with a popsicle stick, right inside the bottle.  Put the caps back on and you’re ready to fire!  (Well, nearly.  It’s actually best if you have time to leave them on their sides, and rotate a time or two to get the color mixed in fully.  That is, if it didn’t mix completely when you stirred.) 

Depending upon their fine motor control and strength, your wee ones can fill their art papers with color straight from the bottle, or with paint brushes (fill baby food jar lids with the colored glue and have them use small “watercolor brushes”).  Either way, you will be building fine motor skills while also fostering creativitydscn1349

The glue is a fun medium, different from paint in the way it flows, spreads, and dries.  Talk about these differences with your preschoolers to enhance their critical thinking skills as well as language skills

With the open-ended nature of this project, you may be surprised what other concepts your children will bring into play.  Some may experiment with mixing colors, while others will use the glue to write some of their favorite letters in the alphabet.  (Writing with glue requires fine motor strength, but the motion required for shaping  the letters is larger, coming from the arm rather than the hand, making it a bit easier for beginning writers.)  Color some glue and set your budding artisans free!  You may be pleasantly surprised with what they come up with!

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Filed under Create, fine motor skills, Learning through Play and Experience, supplies

Make a Fantastic Dinosaur Mural

dscn1146To create a dinosaur mural that involves all of your preschoolers, start with a piece of paper as large as you have room for.  This art project on a grand scale gives the children just a taste of how big dinosaurs were.  I covered my art table, but you may want to take it outside and use even more space!  Draw the outline of a dinosaur with a Sharpie.  If you’re not comfortable free-handing, use an overhead projector to transfer an outline you can trace.  Provide a variety of painting tools with different textures.  I used sponges, combs, texture rollers, brushes,  print blocks, and paint brushes in a variety of widths.  The children will often use their own fingers and whole hands to paint with as well.  To accommodate all the different tools, I poured tempera paint thinly into the lids of plastic containers (sour cream, ice cream, etc.). 

Get the kiddos in their smocks and set them free.  They’ll experiment with the variety of tools and will likely even paint over one design they’ve already created.  Just let them go and experiment.  Don’t worry about staying in the lines, or what you think dinosaurs should look like.  Just let them experiment and explore with the different prints and textures.  In fact, this is a great opportunity to point out that since people and dinosaurs did not co-exist, all anyone can do is guess what colors they were.  No one knows for sure if they were earth-tones, polka-dotted, or fluorescent pink!

After the painting is done, hang the paper to dry.  It will likely look something like a very creative and exciting blob at that point.  Don’t worry!  Ours looked like this:


Once the paint is dry, cut out the outline that you drew at the beginning.  If you’re having a hard time finding your original lines because of thick paint, look on the back side of the paper for where the original marker shows through.  If you need to, re-draw some of the lines with a Sharpie.  Here’s the finished product from a recent group endeavor:


Repeat the activity on consecutive days, or have several sheets for painting on one day.  Include scenery like volcanoes and trees in addition to your dinosaurs.  Combine the pictures for a mural!  Keep your eyes out for additions that you may not have intended.  For example, you may notice a piece that looks like a dinosaur egg, or a sun.  Or the children may point out that they are making their own tar pit or rock that they want included.  Use those too!  Mural painting is a great creative and fine motor activity, while also building social skills and a sense of community as they work together.

 Click here for more dinosaur ideas!


Filed under Create, Learning through Play and Experience

Preschoolers Painting with Water – Can it get any easier?

dscn11802It seems too simple for many adults to consider, but from a child’s point of view, painting with water is a fascinating activity!  Paint cups filled only with water and a brush transfer disappearing patterns on chalkboards or sidewalks.  The consistency of the medium causes any excesses to find their own course of least resistance, giving every masterpiece an abstract flair, while also giving the artist a front row seat to the evolving shape created.  Combine the water painting with chalk for a unique creative experience as the two media are combined.dscn0938

I often introduce painting at the easel by having the children paint with water.  Together, we can work through the processes of brush control, keeping the paint at easel, and keeping the lids on the containers, without the mess of actual paint.  It’s almost like training wheels for little artists! 

For older children progressing along the writing spectrum, I sometimes write words or letters, or even shapes, on the chalkboard with chalk and then invite them to trace over the lines with the paintbrush and water.  This is a great activity for building hand-eye coordination and motor control.  Additionally, science and sensory skills are supported as the children observe, and then intentionally use, the properties of water. 

Painting with water is a great activity when you’re trying to balance out messy projects that require more supervision in your classroom, or when you need an outdoor activity, but have little time for cleanup.  For something so simple, painting with water is an activity that always gets high marks from the children!

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Filed under Create, Learning through Play and Experience, procedure/organization, sensory activity

Cookie Cutter Prints




Who said cookie cutters are just for cookies?  There are so many different ways to use them.  Go ahead, buy a big set of them.  I’ll give you plenty of ways to justify it!  Here’s just one!



 Prepare your area with art trays, paper, and your cookie cutters.  Use old plastic lids with a good ridge for a shallow paint tray.  When you mix your tempera paint, make it just a tad on the thicker side to minimize drips while the print is being positioned.  Pour your tempera paint into the lid.  You don’t need (or want) the paint to be very deep.  The children can press the cookie cutters into the paint and then onto their papers to transfer the desired shape!

This activity builds motor control and creativity as the children manipulate the cutters and create their own designs.

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Filed under Create, Learning through Play and Experience