Painting without the brush

If you read my previous post then you can see that depending on the age of the child, a paintbrush can either be the primary focus of a painting experience or the paint itself can be the primary focus of a painting experience…

For my 14 month old grandson, the paint brushes were what interested him the most but for two year old Clara, she is ready to explore the paint…

Clara has to be careful painting with her feet because the paint can be slippery on the paper. But no worries, Clara has this all figured out…

Just reach over and use your hands too…

Yep, for Clara exploring the paint was definitely interesting! Who needs a paintbrush when you can use your hands and feet?

By | June 16th, 2012|Categories: Painting|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Painting with a mop and a preschooler

Last week, I got a chuckle out of reading “The ‘Correct’ Tools?” and the comments from Mrs. Karen’s Preschool. Towards the end of her post, Karen stated…

“The “correct tools” in my classroom are ones that encourage fun, creativity and yes, lots and lots of giggles. Why in this world would anyone settle for just paint brushes when there is a world of possibilities out there? Oh well… I guess I should stop the ranting and do something productive today. Maybe I’ll mop the kitchen floor? Hmmm . . . I don’t think we have ever painted with a mop!”

So, thanks to Karen, guess what we did today? …

I was hoping to share Karen’s idea for painting with a mop as part of my Eric Carle birthday post but things kind of went off on a path of their own so I had to regroup on how to present this post without confusing everyone…

My little nephew, Wy, loves to wear aprons and he loves to sweep and mop floors. He drags out my dust mops and brooms every time he comes over without fail…

So after reading Karen’s idea, I thought it would be fun to share the book, “My Apron” by Eric Carle combined with a little mop painting…

Well, you need to know that Wy and I never got around to reading this book. I will save it for another day. But Wy did do some serious painting with a mop…

I spread two large sheets of paper on the driveway and gave Wy a “mop” or whatever this thing is with a handle and some washable tempera paint to paint with…

I also set out a large sponge so Wy could explore a variety of “painting tools” …

I hadn’t intended on Wy getting so messy, but since I usually have trouble getting Wy to paint, I just sat back and let him explore…

Wy went from mop painting, to sponge painting, to shoe painting…

And then the shoes came off…

And he started foot painting…

And hand painting…

And crawl painting…

And head painting…

So much for Wy’s aversion to paint. I really think we just needed to find the “correct tools!”

Here’s Wy’s finished painting. I plan to let it dry then we will recycle the now painted paper into something else next time he is over…

Hand and footprint art in the preschool classroom

As a parent, there is nothing more precious to me than hanging up a piece of art my child made out of her own hand or footprint. But as a teacher I sometimes observe hand and footprint art activities and simply wonder where the benefit is to the child.  Don’t get me wrong, I think that hand and footprint art is very cute and I think that parents love to have these types of art as keepsakes. But still, I wonder if there can or should be more….

As I observe teachers painting little feet, I like to watch the children. For some children, I notice that they love the feel of the paint. They giggle and watch intently as their foot is getting painted which means they are having fun with the experience of being painted…

After the foot or hand is placed down on a piece of paper, I start to wonder if there is something more that the child could do.

Could we throw a sheet of paper on the floor or table and let the child make lots more prints with his or her hands or feet? Or how about letting the child try to paint his or her own hand?

Often times, the handprint or the footprint is actually just the beginning step to the art process. So in that way, the child does ultimately participate in the process which is what I am looking for in the end…

I think my favorite hand and footprint activities are when the children draw around their own hands and feet…

Then begin to add other elements to their drawings…

But whether the hands are painted or drawn, ultimately I am always asking myself; “How can the children participate in the process?” or “How can I make this process a more meaningful experience for the child?”

I do like the idea of doing hand and footprint art so I don’t want to come across like I am dogging the idea of doing it.  I have no doubt that I will be sharing all kinds of hand and footprint art on this blog just because I see so much of it and in the end, I think it is so darn cute. But still, I want to take time to evaluate anything we do in the classroom. I want to encourage you to take time to evaluate what you do in your classroom.

When going for cute, also remember to build in opportunities for children to participate in the process. Look for ways to make the process meaningful to the child. Look for ways to make the process open ended and you will not only have cute but you will have created a worthwhile and creative process!