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.
Be 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!