Activity:

Create Your Own Paintbrushes!

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What You Need:

  • Pine needles
  • Twigs or sticks, one for each paintbrush desired
  • Twine, or strong string
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Bowls to hold paint

What You Do:

  1. Gather pine needles with your child. You'll need at least five handfuls of needles. Be sure to look for needles that are all different lengths.
  2. Lay the needles out on the ground. Discuss with your child whether he wants to use a lot of needles to make thick, big brushes, or only a few to make thin, skinny brushes. Encourage him to try making both.
  3. To make a paintbrush, have your child place a stick or twig in the middle of a bundle of needles. Using twine or strong string, tie a knot around the bundle onto the stick. Make sure to tie it tight. Some of the needles may slip out.
  4. Now that you've made these homemade brushes, let your child test them out. Pour some paint into a bowl, and dip the homemade brush in the paint to start. As he's painting, encourage your child to compare how the strokes of the thicker brush look in relation to the thinner brush.
  5. When you're finished with the painting, carefully wash the brushes and lay them out to dry for use next time.

For variation, encourage your child to make brushes with something other than pine needles. Maybe there's an interesting grass or plant that grows in your backyard. Let your child experiment with his bristles and create diverse and different works of art each time!

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