Fun, messy, creative and super-sized activities can take place outdoors. As an Outdoor Preschool Teacher for 12 years, I made opportunities for art every day in my outdoor classroom. The large space, different textures and objects, and ease of cleaning up all contribute to the success of art experiences outside. If you are a follower of my blog, plan on seeing me post oodles of more art ideas for the outdoors.
- Fun Shape Paint Swatters
- Butcher Paper or Painting Mat (a paper cloth with plastic backing)
- Colorations® Washable Tempera Paint
- Plastic Art Trays
- Place butcher paper or painting mat on the ground or adhere to a fence with clothespins or tape
- Pour paint onto the plastic art trays. One color per tray.
- Set the trays of paint on the ground or on a nearby table
- Place a different shape paint swatter in each tray (with color of swatter matching color of paint)
- Children press paint swatter into the paint and “swat” it onto the paper. They can keep “swatting” and making prints until they run out of paint on the swatter. Then have them choose a different shape swatter and different color.
- Put paper on the outdoor easel instead of the ground. Children who never paint at the indoor easel, might be excited to paint with a paint swatter and “swat the flies.”
- Squeeze a few dabs of different colored paint onto the paper and invite the children to swat the paint flies.
Of course, you can buy some inexpensive fly swatters at your local dollar store. I especially like the Fun Shapes Paint Swatters from Discount School Supply®. They are just the right size for little hands and each of the 6 styles of swatters are a different shape and color. Children can use the swatter of their choice and easily return it to its correct color paint tray.
I’m not a big believer on insisting that children wear smocks every time they want to engage in an art activity. Make smocks available for those who may want one. For some children, the idea of wearing a smock discourages them from the activity. It interferes with their freedom. Encourage parents to send their children to school in clothes that can and will get dirty.
Physical Development—Fine Motor Skills—Building hand-eye coordination
Physical Development—Gross Motor Skills—Using large arm movements and whole body as children reach and stretch and slap the paint on the paper
Cognitive Development—Math—Color matching and one-to-one correspondence (swatter to paint trays)
Cognitive Development—Math—Geometry—Learning about shapes
Language Development—Children talking about how the colors are changing as the paint splats mix together and commenting on the noise that the swatters make as they hit the paper
Social Development—Cooperative—Children share the shape swatters and the space they are working in
Discount School Supply® Product Recommendations:
Brawny Tough Large Plastic Art Trays – Set of 5 (RECTRAY)
Fun Shapes Paint Swatters – Set of 24 (FLYSWAT)
Butcher Roll Paper (#5024 or #5036)
Cooperative Mural Art Material – 4′ x 10′ (LWMAT)
Colorations® Simply Washable Tempera Paint – Set of 15 (SWTALL)
Colorations® Machine Washable Toddler Smock (PTODSMOCK)