In another outdoor messy art opportunity, Meghan of Playground Parkbench, set up an inviting experience for her toddler using chalk paint and fly swatters! Using a fly swatter creates a fun, unique, splattered pattern and using chalk paint allows children to move from the paper to the sidewalk without any concerns about clean-up. This opportunity is especially great for toddlers who tend to have a curiosity about hitting and banging materials as they explore them. This mural is quick to set up, requires only a few supplies, and can be done in a group or individually!
In her book, Tinkerlab: 55 Experiments that Encourage Tinkering, Curiosity and Creative Thinking, Rachelle Doorley shares the unlimited possibilities of items that can be used for creating art. In an excerpt from her book entitled, “Yes, You Can Paint on That,” she describes how rocks, boxes, seashells, and sticks can all be used as canvases for creativity. She states, “When children see that anything can be a surface for making art, they’re empowered to find the extraordinary in the ordinary” (p. 67).
For more information about Rachelle Doorley’s book, click here!
Setting Up the Experience
Start this exploration by offering children a found and natural materials to paint by squeezing small amounts of paint on the objects and allowing children to paint. Rachelle Doorley recommends a paper plate or cereal box. For messy art experience, tempera and watercolor paints tend to be best for childhood because they are washable. Acrylic, while it sticks to everything, is not washable and will stain clothes.
She mentions the importance of following up the experience with conversation, asking questions such as “What was it like to paint on this object? How was it different from painting on paper? Which do you prefer? What other objects could we paint on?”
If you try any of these ideas, we’d love to hear how they went! We encourage you to join our Facebook page to share your experience with us and others who work in ECE in San Mateo County!