Blue sunny skies washed with a fresh cool breeze. It’s a beautiful balmy 22 degrees Celsius (or 72 degrees Fahrenheit) in Sydney today. That’s inspiration enough to get outdoors and play with some wet paint.


Art for Kids: Wet Paint

I made up mixtures of watery acrylic paint , placed them in squirt bottles and taped up some paper on our fence.
What a difference a year makes. A year ago, M could not get enough of messy play. Now he can’t stand the feeling of being wet. This experiement with water paint was a challenge for him. He had to have his towel close by and probably spent more time cleaning himself and his spray bottles than squirting paint.
N was fascinated with the effects of gravity on the paint. He would squirt paint just to watch droplets of paint drip.

Soon, N & M’s attention moved towards the paper and cups set up on a table nearby. Without a word from me, N & M proceeded to experiment with the tools they had at their disposal. In a cooperative effort, they engaged in mixing up various concoctions of coloured paint. (E had just woken up from his nap and wasn’t in the mood to participate).
Squirt a bit of this, squirt a bit of that. Pour this mixture into that mixture. Let’s see what we get!


They also found some leaves nearby and used them to swirl the paint around.

Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of the cleanup as I was involved. Surprisingly, that was also a highlight of this activity. I hosed down what I could, but some of the paint remained on the fence. The boys used their dustpan brushes to scrub down any stubborn stains left behind and then stepped back as we all counted three… two… one… fire! And with a strong jet of water from the hose, all was clean. Oh, how I love Spring.
Lesson learnt: give children space and time to experiment and learn about the world around them. By simply setting up the activity and observing, I could see:

  • M’s change in tactile preferences and how he managed his surroundings so that it was more comfortable for him.
  • N’s curiosity of the effects of gravity on watery paint.
  • M & N’s ability to cooperatively work together without any adult guidance and intervention.
  • M & N’s’ creativity in the producing new coloured mixtures of watery paint.


N: 3 y.o.
M: 3 y.o.
E: 15 months

Sept 2011

Lessons Learnt Journal


Looking for more art ideas? Check out our Things to Make.


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About the author

Pauline Pauline & Lessons Learnt Journal is all about life with kids. Pauline is an Aussie mum and teacher who shares her love for play, math games, writing and reading activities. She believes that #playmatters, values curiosity & wonder, wisdom, obedience and respect. She also needs naps. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed.

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