Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Contained Finger Painting

Providing opportunities for children to explore materials like paint with their hands/fingers is an important developmental experience. It encourages fine motor strengthening and control, creative expression, and early experiences with mark making. When children are encouraged to make marks with different materials, they develop experience and interest in pre-writing behaviours - realizing that they have the ability to permanently record something tangible that can be observed, discussed, and interpreted by others. This behaviour is an important milestone for children who are learning to write. Early marks will eventually turn into drawings and as children share the 'story' behind each drawing, they will come to understand that these pictures can also be explained in oral and written words. (Schickendanz, J.A. & Collins, M.F. (2013). So much more than the ABCs: The early phases of reading and writing. National Association for the Education of Young Children)

I love to encourage children to draw and finger print in paint but know that many people are reluctant to encourage this due to the extreme messiness that is natural with the activity.  In order to contain the paint and still encourage free exploration, we used our portable water table as the canvas for our work.

Caleb selected some complimentary colours of washable paint (anything else will be much harder to clean) to use in the bin.

At first he was interested in using various painting tools to explore the paint.

I encouraged him to use all the space in the bin, including the inside walls.

Of course any kind of paint with young children will often turn to finger painting and because I wasn't worried about the messiness of this activity, I encouraged him to explore painting his hands with the various brushes.

Even though the paint was repeatedly swirled together, the complimentary colours blended into a beautiful shade of aqua green and was still appealing to use.

The paint was cool and felt so smooth and Caleb spent a long time exploring it.

This activity was fun and so easy to do! An easy way to save any pictures or printing done in the paint is to lightly press a piece of large paper against it and make a print of the work. This way children's experiences can still be saved for classroom display or portfolio use.

When we were done we simply washed the bin out in our tub. Any large water/tactile table would work well for including many children at once. Smaller bins could also be placed together on a table top with many different colour combinations.

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