Early Years Activity - Non-Messy Paint Play

Monday, 3 March 2014 0 comments
I first saw this idea on pinterest, and followed the link through to StrongStart Blog, I’ve got two wee boys and my eldest especially has pretty much zero interest in any kind of arty farty mark making type activities. Ask him to climb up a ladder or balance along a log and he’s your man...grab a pen and do some writing – not so much.

We do a lot of painting and that sort of thing, it’s an easy get out for me but just sploging some paint on a piece of paper does get a little dull for all concerned so we thought we’d give this a go.

This type of activity can help develop:
Co-ordination and fine motor skills – gentle fingers out for careful work
Colours – different colours and colour combos to create colour mixing
Creativity – let the patterns run wild
Co-operative play – one piece of art work to be worked on by all

What do you need?
A table or flat surface (the floor might be fun)
Some thick paper or even card
A clear shower curtain (we didn’t have one so used Clingfilm instead!)
Some wide tape
Paints (water based poster paints are fine)

What do you do?
We covered the table with the paper (I had to tape my A4 size papers together on the back to make one big sheet – make sure you tape all the seams so the paint can’t escape out the back and go under the paper all over the table).

We splodged on lots of different colour paints, make sure you apply the paints thickly. We just used a lot of colours in the middle of the table, but next time we might try a bit more structure, maybe red and yellow in one corner (to make orange), red and blue in another (for purple), blue and yellow in another (to make green).

I covered the length of the table in cling film, taping the ends shut and then all around the edge of the table, pulling the Clingfilm tight as you go. I made sure the overlap of the sheets of Clingfilm was fairly wide so the paint was unlikely to escape through the seams.

Let the kids loose, they had a great time gradually working the paint outwards with their fingers, even mummy got involved a little and found it very satisfying to move the paint along with her fingers, almost theraputic.

It didn’t take long for my eldest to want to get some vehicles involved, so we fetched some cars and trains and saw what kinds of tracks they made.
Once the vehicles were involved there were a few snags to the cling film and a bit of paint seepage, but I carried out some running repairs by covering any holes with a completely new sheet of Clingfilm.

When done this activity was really easy to clean up, the boys were still clean so they ran straight off to go play while I quickly pulled the tape off the edge of the cling film, lifted the whole thing off wrapping it up as I went then chucked the ball of it in the bin. I then removed the paper from the table and hung it to dry. If you used a shower curtain I guess you’d take it upstairs and rinse it off in the bath, slightly more messy but more environmentally friendly!

So that’s all there is to it – it’s a real non-messy messy play, with plenty of scope for future expansions, perhaps in terms of colour mixing, or track making, or maybe to add into some seasonal celebration depending on colours or designs, you could add in some glitter paint for a sparkly feel.

Later in the week we used the painted sheet as a base for making our own shape sorting puzzle, and I'll pop that post up too when I get chance as we had a lot of fun with that one too!


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