Activities for Exploring Art
By 18 months old, children enjoy arranging blocks in a row and making a pattern in a sandbox by raking the sand with their fingers. By 2 years old, they are intrigued with paint and clay and ready to experiment with paintbrushes and other paint media. Between 2 and 3 years, children begin to arrange objects and materials in an order or array that is pleasing to them. While most children enjoy the sensation of spreading paint with their fingers, other children dislike getting their hands dirty and prefer to paint with a brush.
Materials for Painting
Types of Paint Watercolors, nontoxic tempera paints, finger paints
Surfaces for Painting Young children enjoy variety. Try painting on an easel, painting on individual paper, and painting on a mural (either taped to the table or on the wall).
Paint Media Toddlers can paint with brushes, fingers, sponges, Q-tips, cotton balls, eyedroppers, and string. Stamp painting is also fun: Cut sponges into designs, and dip them into paint in shallow trays. You can cut potatoes in half and etch designs into the tops. Cookie cutters allow children to make familiar designs. On a sunny day, children can enjoy using large paintbrushes to paint with water outside on stone surfaces or concrete walls and sidewalks. It is also fun to paint objects: Let the children collect and paint rocks, shells, pine cones, sticks, and scrap pieces of wood.
Painting and Pasting Activities
Finger Painting Finger painting can be done on a "messy play tray" (commercially available or donated by fast-food restaurants) or directly on the table. When the children create something they want to save, make a print by pressing a piece of paper onto the design.
Shaving Cream Finger Painting Use nonmenthol shaving cream and a smooth surface. Add food coloring to make it even more interesting.
Ivory Snow Flake Finger Painting Add a little water to Ivory Snow Flakes ($$$ cup water to 1 cup flakes), and beat the mixture with an egg beater. This makes thick suds that can be used like finger paint. Food coloring can also be added.
Pasting Once children have learned to paste, they can carry out all kinds of craft projects. For very young children, providing large tongue depressors and individual portions of paste placed in baby-food jar lids or on small paper squares works well. Another method of pasting involves watering down Elmer's Glue and painting it on with a brush. Older children can create collages by pasting scraps of paper and other materials on heavy paper or cardboard. They can also draw with paste and then sprinkle on salt, colored sand, rice, or glitter to create interesting effects.
© ______ 2007, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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