Painting opens up a world of colour and communication for children and is a wonderful way for them to create. There are many simple and exciting alternatives to using a paint brush.
String painting is easy and is a great way for children to pattern paint. You just wrap some string around a small wooden block (this could be a building block that your children play with). A square or rectangle shape is better, but make sure that it is big enough for the child to hold easily. To aid in your child’s learning, it is best to have a variety of different sizes handy. Prepare some paint and pour it into some old polystyrene trays or any tray that you can afford to use for lots of painting activities. Dip the block into the paint and press on the paper and you’re done!
Marble painting is another way for children to have fun and also learn hand eye coordination whilst creating different patterns. Prepare some paint and put it in a container that has deep sides, such as an old baking tray or a shallow cardboard box. The top of a shoe box is an excellent example providing that it is still strong and intact. Put some paper in the bottom of the tray with a small amount of paint (you can use two or three different colours at a time). Drop a marble in the tray and let the children move the marble backwards and forwards, sideways etc. to create their own work of art.
Finger painting develops the child’s sensory skills as they feel and touch the paint. Put some paint on an old table and let the children put their hands in it and make their own designs. If you do not have an old table that you can use, then you can always put some plastic on the table and this will suffice.
Please bear in mind that most paints are easily washed off surfaces and hands with hot soapy water but please check the instructions to be certain! Once the children have finished their painting, put a piece of paper on top and peel it off. Put it somewhere to dry and then they have a print of their art work to show to family and friends.
Here are some other quick tips and alternatives that your children may enjoy that can also be used for printing…
- Cotton bud painting can encourage children to paint in a different way, which develops fine motor skills.
- Cotton wool has a different feel and texture to it.
- Paint rollers are fun to use on large rectangular areas. So this would be ideal for example, if you are planning on painting a red cardboard bus.
- Cotton reels and corks can be used for pattern painting.
- Sponges cut into different shapes can be a great way to recycle and you can use both their rough and smooth sides in painting. Some examples of shapes you can use are rectangles and circles and a diamond or star. You can also purchase sponge shapes from a good toy shop, or you can order them from educational supply magazines.
- Other ideas include the cardboard rolls inside household foil and plastic wrap, plastic forks or jar lids.
Just remember to let those creative juices flow.
Helen Thompson is a qualified child care worker (Nursery Nurse) and Brain Gym consultant who has spent many years working with children aged between 0 – 8 years. Helen aims to provide busy parents, carers and teachers with fun and educational activities for children to develop their creativity.