Saturday, 31 March 2012

Painting on different textures



The good weather brings the opportunity to paint outside and to try different textures. This week it was a couple of paving slabs, some sacking and even a window, but you could really use anything...

You will need:
  • Poster paint of different colours in pots
  • Brushes
  • A sack/material
  • Paving slabs
  • Anything else you don't mind to be a canvas
  • Set up your paints in the garden or park so that they are easily accessible (a brush for each colour in the pots) and so your child can keep coming back to the painting throughout the day.
  • Hang up the sack cloth on a wall or stapled to a tree/between two trees.
  • Look together at how the paint goes onto the cloth and how you need quite a lot of paint to  make a vivid colour splash.


  • Lay out other things to paint on such as stones, an old paving slab, some textured wallpaper, a piece of bark etc.
  • Encourage your child to look at how the paint settles on the different textures - talk about the differences together.
  • Our sacking has been up for a few days and is a work in progress. The paving slab pictures came and went with a rain shower (although there was something quite satisfying about the transience of those particular paintings)...


Or you could:

  • Endless possibilities for textures: look out for interesting things to use as a background - corrugated cardboard, textured wallpaper, plastic (although you will probably need to use acrylics), wood, stones, shells etc etc.
  • Try out different paints, felt tips, chalks, pastels on your chosen textures. See which make the best combination. 
  • Add texture with glitter, sand, feathers, leaves, wool, felt. You could even try painting on top of these additions to make yet more interesting textured backgrounds.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Hall of Mirrors


A few pieces of silver and gold card provided an instant activity - our own hall of mirrors...

You will need:
  • Silver and gold card (or card covered in tin foil)
  • Selotape
  • Begin by looking having a look in the mirror card. Bend it and see how the image changes.
  • Attach the card to a wall - some flat, some bent into convex shapes.
  • Fix two pieces of card together and create a worm-like structure. Tape down on the wall.
  • Experiment with the mirrors to see how the images change.


  • Fold the card so that you can stand it up. Put an object into the apex of the card and observe how the image is repeated in each surface. 
  • Set up lots of these folded pieces and see how may repeated images you can create.
  • Make patterns with simple objects such as leaves and flowers by positioning the into the centre of folded pieces of card.

Or you could...

  • For older children, you can use this activity to explore symmetry. Put the mirror along the edge of a simple picture and see how the image is replicated. Encourage them to draw the mirror image of the picture (rather than the repeated image).

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Milk Marbling

Photobucket Photobucket

A great emergency/rainy day activity that takes minimum preparation but produces pretty patterns. 

You will need:
  • A bowl
  • Milk
  • Food colouring
  • Cocktail stick or skewer

  • Pour some milk into the bowl.
  • Drop food colouring into the milk.

  • Take the cocktail stick and drag the colour outwards.
  • Experiment with mixing colours to create a marbling effect.


For older children:
You can turn this into an experiment to demonstrate surface tension (the idea that particles at the surface of a liquid pull on each other particularly strongly at this point). Get your child to dip the cocktail stick into some washing up liquid and then place it into the droplet of food colouring. Observe the difference: you should see the colour being pushed outwards. This is because the washing-up liquid reduces the surface tension allowing the particles at the top to spread out more and thus push out the colouring.