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May 6, 2016

  “It took me 4 years to paint like Raphael but a lifetime to paint like a child”     Pablo Picasso

Painting can be a wonderful experience for children and provides opportunities for them to explore, experiment and communicate their ideas through colour and mark-making, using a variety of materials and tools.

  • Have a positive attitude to messy activities. Encourage and support children to ‘have a go’ and model the activity
  • Discuss the importance of children enjoying the process rather than focusing on the product
  • Use aprons/paintshorts and use non toxic washable paint and have a spare change of clothes for each child in case.Explain to parents why their child may be covered in paint, clay etc and to take this into consideration
  • Encourage children to help set up and clear up for art activities and allow time for this. Explain why brushes need to be cleaned in water
  • Music can add an interesting dimension and can make even clean up time fun
  • Encourage children’s creativity and encourage experimentation by encouraging them to follow their own ideas
  • Provide a wide choice of materials- a variety of brushes, sponges and other tools that can be used for painting ie combs,sticks, feathers, spray bottles,marbles
  • Provide materials that can used to add texture to a painting – yarn,ribbon,string,sequins,sand, beads,feathers,paper,tissue
  • Display -make frames with the children and display art projects attractively whether its on a table, on the wall, hanging on a clothesline
  • Provide easels and take them outside for a different experience


 When introducing techniques, processes and materials to children, describe what you are doing and explain the choices you have made. Avoid prescribing the finished result and encourage children to make their own choices.
Open-ended questioning is also very important, as are pondering and thinking aloud. For example, ‘I wonder why that happened?’ or ‘I wonder what would happen if I add more water?’ Such comments draw the children’s attention to the possibilities for exploration without putting them under pressure to find a right answer.


Finger painting

This can be a lovely sensorial experience and can be very relaxing.Try it to music. You can make your own finger paint with 1 part water,1 part flour and foodcolouring.Foot painting is another part of the body that cane be used!

Colour mixing

Experiment with the primary colours -red,blue, yellow  -to see what colours mixed together make another colour

  • ie blue and yellow makes green
  • yellow and red makes orange
  • red and blue makes purple
  • Add white to make pink from red

Patterns and Prints

Experiment with different sizes of brushes and different tools like sponges, potatoes, to make a variety of patterns and prints

Blow painting

Pour a little paint onto paper and blow in different directing using a straw. Add colours to make interesting designs

Bubble painting

Add washing up liquid to ready mixed paint and add a drinking straw in the container of paint and blow until bubbles are formed and come to the top of the container. Take a print of the bubbles by placing a sheet of paper gently on top of the bubbles.*use non toxic paint and washing up liquid watered down.


Put small amount of different paints into a plastic tray and then add marbles. Children can take an end of the tray each to make differnt designs by tipping the tray at different angles. Place paper on top at the end to capture the unique design!

Paint on different materials:

  • paper
  • card
  • transparencies can be displayed in the windows
  • tiles
  • playdough or clay

 Use paint with collage, drawing, printmaking and 3D materials.Paint on to wet and dry surfaces

Texture it

Thicken and give texture to paint by adding flour, sawdust or icing sugar…maybe add some glitter..

Think big!

Paint using big sweeping movements on big surfaces with a variety of large tools and paint

Create both individual and group paintings, indoors and outside.

Frame and Display it

Why not make your own frames then think about ways that you could produce interesting displays at child height Ask the children for their ideas for displays. Ask them what they can do to create a display and what they could bring from home or elsewhere.

Art Inspiration

Diplay different artworks around the room as points of inspiration and to show different painting techniques-maybe Van Gogh for the swirls in his paintings,Celtic paintings, Aboriginal dot paintings (find pictures on the internet or in old art calendars)

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