Young Artists at Play

A few weeks ago I started what was to become affectionately known in our house as ‘Young Scientists at Play’.  This was one hour on a Monday for my two younger daughters to play at being scientists.  The theme was colour and the learning was open-ended and all about discovery.  Well, during these one hour slots, it was me that discovered something.  My two-year old was utterly absorbed.  Prior to this, I’m not sure she had done anything, apart from cry, for longer than 30 seconds.  B2 has been a tricky baby, and home-schooling with her around has called on some creative measures and a very supportive husband!  However, this one hour of peace gave me food for thought and I came up with a few other possibilities for a one hour slot at the same time every morning.  Last week I tried out one of them and whilst it required a little more in the way of clear up afterwards, it was well worth it.

I wanted something which would be:

  • Exploratory
  • Open-ended
  • Replicable on a weekly basis
  • Frugal
  • Lasting about 1 hour

This is what I came up with:

First I covered the table with lining paper, taping it down at both ends.  I gave the two younger children tops which T11 had grown out of, to protect their clothes
First I covered the table with lining paper, taping it down at both ends. I gave the two younger children tops which T11 had grown out of, to protect their clothes.  Here they are with their very willing older sisters
I had gathered together all my paint supplies, from sponges to rags to paint brushes, and of course the all important paint
I had gathered together all my paint supplies, from sponges to rags to paint brushes and rollers, and of course the all important paint, and dumped them all in the middle of the table
And let them at it!
And let them at it!
A2 was absorbed from the word go...
A2 was absorbed from the word go…
...and got progressively more dirtier as the session went on!
…and got progressively dirtier as the session went on!
A4 also thoroughly enjoyed herself
A4 also thoroughly enjoyed herself
The point of this session was to see if the whole painting with abandonment over a huge area appealed...
The point of this session was to see if the whole painting with abandonment over a huge area appealed…
...it did.  Very much!
..and it did. Very much!
Lots of mess, lots of possibilities!
Lots of mess, lots of possibilities!

But this is just glorified mess making, I hear you cry; painting got out of hand!  Ah, but it is the possibilities which entrance me, rather than the simple paint.  I’m thinking spray bottles,  squirty bottles,  icing bags, coloured bubbles, using straws to blow paint, adding glitter to the paint, adding glue and glitter to the paint, thickening the paint with flour and using basic kitchen utensils to apply it to the paper, collage painting with added bits, using pipettes to paint with….and with only my imagination to limit us, lots of fun will be had by all!  I’m also going to play about with some paint recipes to make my own, hopefully a little less expensive given the sheer quantities we’re likely to get through.  And I’ll be using everyday stuff from around the house to print, stamp, stick, mark and generally explore.

It will be so much more than simple mess making.  Using everyday things from around the house, they will learn by discovery, how things work and what things do.  So many possibilities!  So much fun to be had!

Tot School

12 comments

  1. As someone with more than a thin line of creativity running through my DNA… I LOVE this idea! Brilliant! I love your ideas and even if it was just glorified mess-making… They had fabulously creative, colourful,sensory play and were totally absorbed… Never a waste of time or resources. I saw a ‘recipe’ on pinterest I think… For homemade paints? I shall try and find it for you!

    1. So true. What I really wanted was to find something with longevity. Activities seem to last a couple of minutes tops at that age, so this is a keeper in that it lasted much longer!

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